Elmore Leonard’s “Fire In the Hole”

Self checked out a collection of Elmore Leonard short stories from the Redwood City Public Library early this year. She hasn’t managed to get to it yet. COVID happened, and then self’s mind flew out the window.

This afternoon, while browsing through her stack of “To Read” books, she encountered the Elmore Leonard collection, and immediately turned to the title story.

Opening line:

  • They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.

omg!

Justified!

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Timothy Olyphand and Walton Goggins! Those two actors were born to play Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Did either of the two ever win an Emmy? Did the show itself ever win an Emmy? For the six years of its run, self doesn’t think she ever skipped an episode.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

2020 in Books

Self had an unbelievable string of great reads, in the spring. Here were the books she read:

  • Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Rafael Bob-Waksberg
  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin
  • Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

After that run, she stumbled on The Expanse, and has so far read four novels in the series (The ninth is supposed to appear either this year or next. Ha!), all of them super-engaging. Highly recommend!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

KUWENTO (Stories), Self’s First Book

A copy is in Green Library.

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Photo Montage: 2020 So Far

Four

Some years, self reads by theme. There was the year she read only women authors. Another year, she read only memoir. She remembers the summer she decided to read everything ever written by Henning Mankell (That was a very fun summer)

Last year, hmm, she doesn’t think she had a theme last year. Looking at her reading list for 2020, it’s clear 2020 is the year for reading fiction. Just straight-up good literary fiction.

Self read twelve books so far 2020.

Here were her top reads (arranged in the order in which she read them):

  • January: Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  • February: The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • February: I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • End of March, beginning of April: Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

She’s currently reading her first Liane Moriarty: Big Little Lies.

She’s hoping to get into the Ruth Galloway detective series. She’s just ordered Book # 1, The Crossing Places.

Even if there were no “shelter in place,” self knows she would still be doing the same things she’s doing right now: reading, writing, watching TV, gardening, cooking, laundry.

Sharing a picture of her Fourth of July rose, just starting to bloom.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

A Book Launched: MsAligned 3

MsAligned Vol. 3: Women Writing About Men launched in the spring. This spring. Which means, during the corona virus epidemic. But it’s out there now, out in the world.

Thank you, Editor Rebecca Thomas. Thank you, Pat Matsueda, Founder of MsAligned. Thank you, El Leon Literary Arts and Manoa Books, for co-publishing. Thank you, Shawna Yang Ryan, for the lovely Introduction. Thank you, Lillian Howan, for soliciting self’s story. Thank you, Melissa Chimera, for the beautiful front-cover art. Thank you, Carly Elizabeth Huggins, for the beautiful back-cover art.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

Mary Archer * Mary Carozza * Ryan Nicole Granados * Lillian Howan * Gerda Govine Ituarte * Caroline Kim * Rachel King * Pat Matsueda * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Jeannine Ouellette * Connie Pan * Ann Pancake * Grace Loh Prasad * Marilyn Stablein * Rebecca Thomas * Marianne Villanueva

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro: SNARK

A direct quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Diamond As Big as the Ritz appears below. Poor Julian indeed! Hemingway’s contempt is code. The ‘someone’ is probably Hemingway.

  • The rich were dull and they drank too much, or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor Julian and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, “The very rich are different from you and me.” And how someone had said to Julian, Yes, they have more money.

 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Top, top angst:

Then one of her two children was killed in a plane crash and after that was over she did not want the lovers, and drink being no anaesthetic she had to make another life. Suddenly, she had been acutely frightened of being alone. But she wanted someone that she respected with her.

The narrator doesn’t know how lucky he is, to be stuck in the bush with a “rich bitch” (sic) who can shoot like nobody’s business and still, despite narrator’s gangrenous foot giving off fumes, calls him “Darling.”

But, the narrator must whine. This is one aspect of the famous Hemingway detachment.

P.S. Reading Hemingway makes self want to eat bacon. Every day. Sorry, yes. Despite reading about gangrenous foot today.

Stay tuned.

In Another Country

Food in this story: chestnuts. In Milan. In the fall. The war is just over (Which war? Self had to google: World War I)

Also, the Café Cova, “next door to the Scala” which “was rich and warm and not too brightly lighted, and noisy and smoky at certain hours” (a tourist trap now, according to Yelp)

We were all at the hospital every afternoon, and there were different ways of walking across the town through the dusk to the hospital. Two of the ways were alongside canals, but they were long. Always, though, you crossed a bridge across a canal to enter the hospital. There was a choice of three bridges. On one of them, a woman sold roasted chestnuts. It was warm, standing in front of her charcoal fire, and the chestnuts were warm afterward in your pocket.

 

The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

It starts off the collection, and it’s pretty long (for a Hemingway short story). All about a safari in Africa. Interesting, told from the safari guide’s point of view, who OF COURSE finds the wife attractive. The husband, Macomber (only in his mid-30s, but intimidated by the safari guide), is portrayed as a wimp. Despite these clichés of manhood and/or lack thereof, self finds herself empathizing much with Macomber. His reluctance to shoot the lion, for instance.

In this short story, the meal in question is breakfast.

Robert Wilson, the guide, has kippers and coffee.

“Finish your breakfast and we’ll be starting.”

Also, the lion’s point of view is part of this story. Pretty cool, that part. And you will feel, in your bones, how disgusting it is to hunt lions. Feeling and knowing are two different things.

Wife rewards Big Lion-Hunter with a kiss on the mouth, right in front of her husband. Guess Hemingway thinks that’s what all real men deserve, when they’ve finished off a lion. They deserve to be rewarded with a kiss from a beautiful woman. Because — hey! Hunter-killers are rad! Self can’t think of any story she’s ever read that infuriated her so much.

Story becomes very noir-ish towards the end, characters speak very “posh,” in a version of British stiff-upper-lip.

Her sympathies to Macomber.

Stay tuned.

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