#currentlyreading: MANDERLEY FOREVER: A BIOGRAPHY OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER, p. 17

Cannon Hall, Hampstead, London

November 2013

As I emerge from Hampstead tube station, in the north of London, the first thing that comes to my mind is that I have been here before: I came when I was a teenager, to visit the house of the poet John Keats, on Primrose Hill.


In self’s mind, memories of 2015 (or could it have been 2016?) when she met Emily in Chez Nous on Hanway Place off Tottenham, just before Emily moved from the Bloomsbury Hotel to Hampstead Heath, and offered to show self around, in a bid to get self to move from Russell Square to Hampstead, where Emily rented a room from a woman who lived in a big, old house not far from Benedict Cumberbatch’s.

Fun times.

In the end, self listened to her old Assumption Convent classmate who advised her to stay put. She’s lived in Russell Square every year now for five years, when she comes to London.

Stay tuned.

Message from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee

  • The Supreme Court won’t fix gerrymandering soon, so it’s up to voters.

Charlotte Observer

Half of the officials who will take part in redistricting in 2021 will be elected this year, including governors who will have veto power over rigged maps.

This year, the National Democratic Committee is targeting:

  • 12 states
  • 10 governor’s races
  • 275 state legislative seats

Many of these elections are taking place in districts that are already gerrymandered, so Democrats are facing an uphill battle.

But the electoral fight IS winnable. It happened in Virginia and Wisconsin.

What do we want? We want “to see voters picking their politicians instead of politicians picking their voters.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Piles and Stacks

Hooray! Self thought of something she could post for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Piles and Stacks

Of course it’s book-related. This first shot shows the books self checked out of her local library, a month or so ago:

DSCN0063

Self’s “To Read” Pile: 8 June 2018

And here’s the stack of books currently checked out from her local library:

DSCN0364

Self’s “To Read” Pile: 5 July 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Travels with Charley, p. 58

Steinbeck heads for the Connecticut River:

It is very strange that when you set a goal for yourself, it is hard not to hold toward it even if it is inconvenient and not even desirable.

This is very true. Human beings are SO confused.

First Day of San Francisco Refugee Food Festival

In honor of World Refugee Day, June 20, San Francisco this week is hosting the Refugee Food Festival.

The festival kicks off today in one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite San Francisco restaurants, the Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building.

The chef, Pa Wah, from Burma, “spent the majority of her life in the Mae La refugee camp in Thailand.”

The other participating chefs are from Bhutan, Iraq, Myanmar, Senegal, and Syria.

More information on the festival, here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Freedom! Thinks the 21-Year-Old Narrator

And then Tim O’Brien says, Not so fast.

The border with Canada is so close, all the narrator has to do is get to the other side of a river.

  • My conscience told me to run, but some irrational and powerful force was resisting, like a weight pushing me toward the war. What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame. Hot, stupid shame. I did not want people to think badly of me. Not my parents, not my brother and sister, not even the folks down at the Gobbler Café.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien

At some point in mid-July I began thinking seriously about Canada.

Adding to the Reading List: A Process

Self is back home in Redwood City, California. About a mile from her house is a Barnes & Noble (in the Sequoia Station shopping center). She spent about an hour in there today, updating her reading list (The list is her ne plus ultra, her be-all and end-all, her secret game plan, and her whole raison d’etre as a writer).

She’s newly arrived from Mendocino, California (which has a pretty fabulous bookstore: Gallery Bookshop on Main Street), and her first stop is, of course, a bookstore.

Gallery Bookshop had on hand: The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway); Lord of the Flies (William Golding); Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys); The Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey (Homer); Utopia (Thomas More); As Lie Is to Grin (Simeon Marsalis); Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders); Mikhail and Margarita (Julie Lekstrom Himes); and The Summer Book, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson.

This afternoon, in her Redwood City Barnes & Noble, self went in with a long list of about 20 authors who published novels in 2017. She found two of the 20. She moved on to her next list, the list of books recommended by her fellow writers in Hawthornden, Scotland, June 2012. She struck out on all the names on p. 1 (The list is three pages long, single-spaced), except for Tim O’Brien, all of whose books are available in-store. She was kinda hoping it wouldn’t be O’Brien because his books, though very well written, are depressing. Self asked if they had any of Tamar Yoseloff’s poetry collections, but they did not.

So that’s what her reading list looks like for the remainder of 2018. She doesn’t think anything can top Philip Pullman, though. She was such a mess yesterday that a fellow fan fiction writer had to reach out and say, about The Amber Spyglass: It is safe to read “mid-way on p. 419 to 420. Then put the book away forever.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Reading List 2018: Update

Moving so slowly through The Subtle Knife but someone tweeted about the end and self was so upset that she’s picking up the pace to get it over with.

There are years that stand out in her memory for being particularly rich and focused.

For example, the year she went on a memoir binge and read nothing but memoirs.

Then, the year she only read translations.

Then, the year she only read books written by women.

Then, not too long ago, the year she only read travel books.

Then one summer, she only read Henning Mankell. She read seven of his books one after the other.

It’s with no small surprise that self looks back at the books she’s read so far 2018 and finds that her favorites have been novels. Because she hasn’t been able to enter the required headspace to appreciate a good novel for a very long time.

Here are the novels she’s read so far this year: Moshi Moshi, Conclave, The Mandibles: A Family, La Belle Sauvage, The Golden Compass

And they’ve all been really good!

After she finishes reading The Subtle Knife, she’ll read the last book in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.

Then she’ll move through some novels she read in her childhood: Treasure Island, The Old Man and the Sea, Lord of the Flies, Wide Sargasso Sea. (This shouldn’t take long, most are very short. More like novellas, really)

Finally, she compiled a list of 20 novels published 2017. She tried to stick to small presses. Avoiding blockbusters at all cost. Reading through that list will probably get her through 2018.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: THE SUBTLE KNIFE, p. 2

So here it is, 2018, the year self decided to barrel through all of Philip Pullman.

Working in strict chronological order (if not in book publication order), she started with La Belle Sauvage, Vol. One of The Book of Dust, the prequel trilogy to His Dark Materials.

Five Stars!

She just finished The Golden Compass.

Four Stars!

She just began The Subtle Knife.

p. 2, Will Parry talking about his mother to his former piano teacher:

  • “She just needs someone to be kind to her, and I think you could do that quite easily, probably.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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