Breathe, Self, Breathe!

Here she is, in Calgary, and she doesn’t know what she should read next: Her niece Karina’s next book recommendation (She tore through Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, like white on rice!), Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (The title is pure nonsense; the book is much much better than that. There is NO girl waiting with a gun. Don’t hold your breath), or The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Of course, she is also drinking in Everlark fan fiction like crazy. A lot of stories that languished for months and months (even, years) finally updated in the last week: it’s been a veritable bonanza of good Everlark! (Take your pick: Pride and Prejudice Everlark; ballet world Everlark; Great Expectations Everlark; or vlogging Everlark)

Today, self went to Market Mall with her niece and of course we stopped by Sephora. And there was a brand self had never seen before: Tarte. And when her niece found out self’s current mascara was over three years old, her niece told her, in no uncertain terms: Throw it out, Tita. Honestly, you should be replacing your mascara every six months. (Oh. So that’s why self’s eyes were itching like crazy yesterday)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

July in Books

July is a season all its own. Below, a list of the books self has read in July:

July 2016 (Currently Reading): Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart

  • How a feisty young woman shepherds her younger sisters to a life of independence, in 1914 rural America

July 2015

The Act of Love, by Howard Jacobson

  • How an author self never read before introduced her to the splendid pleasures of The Wallace Collection in London

July 2014

The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry

  • Again, this Irish writer breaks her heart (The first time he did was in A Long, Long Way)

July 2013

The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

  • Sicily, as you’ve never seen it before

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • So meh

The Quiet American, by Graham Greene

  • Greatness

 

Female Protagonist, GIRL WAITS WITH GUN

Self had quite a tense period some weeks ago, when she began reading The Girl on the Train.

She was supposed to continue her summer reading with Savage Park, but decided to go for Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart.

Self is intrigued by the women characters (with a title like Girl Waits With Gun, how could she not be?). Three orphaned young women live on a farm. The eldest, Constance, takes care of her younger sisters, Fleurette and Norma. There is a brother, Francis, but he is pre-occupied and ineffectual. It is Constance who is the real “tender” of the family, and she proves it when an automobile crashes into the sisters’ buggy and she is left to deal with her brother’s panic attack and the rude men who are in the automobile.

Something would have to be done about the three of us. I was tired of hearing my brother’s ideas, but I hadn’t any of my own. I did know this: a run-in with an automobile was not to be taken as evidence of our inability to look after ourselves. It was nothing but a mundane business matter and I would manage it without any assistance from Francis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Yesterday, at Blackwell’s Bookshop

Here they call it a bookshop; over there we call it a bookstore.

Oh, wait. Mendocino’s Gallery also refers to itself as a bookshop.

Self being too quick on the draw, as usual.

It is time for self to update her reading list. Yesterday, she found a thriller called Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart. (What is it with all the “Girl” titles now: Gone, Girl; Girl on the Train, etc). Sounded like it would be a perfect summer read.

Her reading list looks like this now:

  • My Brilliant Friend, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, by Elena Ferrante (currently reading)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
  • Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die, by Amy Fusselman (who must be a therapist)
  • Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Luna Moore, Met at AWP 2016 Los Angeles, at 40th Anniversary Calyx Reading

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Luz Delgado and Her Daughter Luna Moore, at the Calyx Press 40th Anniversary Reading at AWP 2016, Los Angeles, April 2

Every time self meets a new young person, she always asks for a book recommendation.

Her curiosity always pays off in spades. Hello, Infernal Devices, Cassandra Clare’s steampunk trilogy, recommended by Calgary niece Karina!

So, at the recently concluded AWP  Conference, held in Los Angeles, self met a wonderful girl named Luna Moore.

And Luna recommended:

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • the Harry Potter series

Turns out Title # 2, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, is by Aimee Bender. Which means it probably isn’t YA. Luna is quite a sophisticated reader!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Personal Bookshelf in the Mendocino Apartment

Writers travel with a lot of books. Self is amazed at how many she ends up bringing with her.

She’s been in Mendocino most of January. Here’s her stash:

  • Of course, Miguel Hernandez, in the translation by Don Share
  • World of the Maya, by Victor W. Von Hagen, the copy she had with her at 21, when she and her roommate, Sachiko, an anthropology major, rode the third-class public bus from Mexico City to Chichen Itza
  • The Best American Travel Writing, 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Travel Writing, by Cynthia Dial
  • Secret London: An Unusual Guide, by Rachel Howard and Bill Nash
  • Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, by Phil Pullman
  • Lost Between: Writings on Displacement, edited by Catherine Dunne and Federica Sgaggio
  • Travelers’ Tales Guides to Spain, edited by Lucy McCauley
  • Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia, edited by Teri Shaffer Yamada
  • copies of her first collection, post-Stanford: Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, as well as copies of the anthology she co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape
  • Conamara Blues, by John O’Donohue
  • Firelines, by Marcus Cumberlege
  • The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason
  • Writing the Memoir, by Judith Barrington
  • Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 – 1971
  • Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan
  • Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros, by Alan Berlow
  • Tonle Sap: The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage, by Colin Poole

Don’t even get self started on the journals!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Ack! Capitol Peeta, Need Beta!

This morning, on a whim, self decided to see if she could find herself a Beta. Maybe then, she thought, she will get to finish at least one of her Hunger Games fan fics.

Self finds a site that lists all the Betas in the known universe, browses by title, finds the one for The Hunger Games, clicks on that, and up pops:

a list of 2,683 names

Yowza! These are people who have volunteered their extra time and/or writing expertise to help you finish your Hunger Games fan fic. And they come from all over the world.

Self is quite amazed. There are Betas for 1984 and A Christmas Carol, Betas for A Farewell to Arms and A Room With a View, Betas for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Alice in Wonderland, Betas for Angela’s Ashes and Anne of Green Gables, Betas for As I Lay Dying and Atlas Shrugged, Betas for Atonement and Beowulf, Betas for the Bible and Black Beauty, Betas for Bleak House and Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Betas for Brave New World and Canterbury Tales, Betas for Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye, Betas for Cat in the Hat and Charlotte’s Web, Betas for Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Chronicles of Narnia, Betas for Coraline as well as Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The list never ends. It just goes on and on and on and on and on.

Self can’t even.

Will the hunt for a Beta take self down a Rabbit Hole? Seems like it already has!

Whoever said that the internet would bring about the death of books and reading clearly did not know what he/she was talking about.

Stay tuned.

Bookshelf Survey: Folklore Thursday’s Dee Dee Chainey

Read this list . . . and die!

No, self doesn’t mean die like in that Japanese horror movie The Ring.

She means, die as in perfection! Bliss!

And, just so you know, self did get those two fairy tale books she mentioned in an earlier post. So that’s what she’ll be reading after Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior.

Self knows she just did major adjustment to her reading list. For one thing, she was supposed to read The Strain. But after delving more into that book, she just couldn’t rid herself of the nightmares.

No book should be giving her nightmares: it’s almost Christmas!

So she got the Philip Pullman translation of the Brothers Grimm, and a collection of Chinese folk tales (Publisher: Princeton University Press). She got both books from the Strand.

Also, today, by happenstance, self wandered into the editorial offices of J Journal, in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and met the two extremely nice and committed editors, Adam Berlin and Jeffrey Heiman. If you like reading and writing about social justice, then you should know about J Journal. And you should subscribe. And submit.

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10th and 59th, New York City

After the death of Isotope, which she felt most keenly (and not just because they published one of her hybrid pieces), she feels journals that go beyond one specific area of knowledge (like medicine; or law; or criminal justice) and explore what creative writers can bring to the table, journals like that should be cherished.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Science Fiction, Coming to a Theater Near You

(From Tor.com, which has an amazing amount of new content, every day — but of course, they are a conglomerate of writers, while self is just SELF!)

BTW, wonder why there are so few women on this list? Self has actually met one of these authors: Charlie Jane Anders. Long long time ago. Don’t bother asking him if he remembers self.

  • The Man In the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick: Presents an alternate history where America loses World War II and is split between Nazi Germany and Japan.
  • Preacher, by Garth Ennis (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist):  After getting accidentally possessed by a creature called Genesis, Reverend Jesse Custer goes on a quest to find God. Joining him for the journey are his ex-girlfriend and a wise-cracking Irish vampire.
  • American Gods, by Neil Gaiman: It’s about the battles between old gods and new.
  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik: Plain, clumsy, loyal Agnieszka is handed over to the Dragon, a fearsome wizard who takes one girl from her village every ten years.
  • The Dark Tower, by Stephen King: Combining elements of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and Westerns, it follows a gunslinger on his quest to find a tower that is both physical and metaphorical.
  • Skin Trade, by George R. R. Martin: A private investigator gets involved in a string of gruesome serial killings that reminds her of her father’s death two decades prior.
  • Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson: The story tracks the colonization and terraforming of Mars, as told through the perspectives of the First Hundred who are chosen to leave behind an Earth suffering from overpopulation, ecological disasters, and the emergence of transnational corporations threatening to overthrow the world’s governments.
  • Midnight Texas, by Charlaine Harris: Phone psychic Manfred Bernardo relocates to Midnight, Texas, and then winds up overstaying his welcome — probably because of all the murders.
  • How To Talk To Girls at Parties, by Neil Gaiman: Enn and his friends go to a party hoping to talk to girls, only to discover that the girls, especially one named Zan, are not what he expected.
  • Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi: 75-year-old John Perry enlists in an inter-galactic war that has soldiers fighting in younger bodies into which their consciousness is implanted.
  • Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson: The Big Blackout cuts Earth off from the Stars and Sun through an alien barrier.
  • Six Months, Three Days, by Charlie Jane Anders: Tracks the doomed relationship between a man who can see the future and a woman who can see many futures.
  • Luna, New Moon, by Ian McDonald: In 2110, fifty years after the moon’s colonization, the top ruling families — the Five Dragons — are intermarrying, poisoning, sabotaging, and battling for control of the Moon.

Stay tuned.

 

ERAGON, p. 8

  • BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE STONE? Eragon asks himself.

Whatever you do, boy, do not leave it in the forest.

It’s like that moment in The Matrix when Morpheus holds out the pills to Neo.

Well, Neo, which one do you pick? Which? (Of course we know what he is going to pick. Otherwise, END OF STORY)

Still, self fusses at Eragon like he wouldn’t know any better: Do not leave that stone on the ground, Eragon, do you hear me? DO NOT!

Of course Eragon is going to keep the stone. He’s fifteen, for crying out loud. Teen-agers never stop to consider consequences.

It’s simply ridiculous the way self gets into these books. Her reading material this year has veered widely from history (The Third Reich at War) to Mark Twain (Journey to the Equator) to The Infernal Devices to The 100 to Harold Jacobson’s The Act of Love to Eragon.

She also finds it amazing that every single teen-ager whose home she has had the privilege to share in the past year has shown her shelf after shelf of actual books.

Hey, weren’t we told in some distant past that the internet would destroy the printed book forevermore? Render printed matter (like newspapers) obsolete?

The people self sees with Kindles are all middle-aged. She hasn’t seen a single teen-ager with a Kindle. And neither has she met a single teen-ager who reads novels on their cell phones.

It is only self who madly scrutinizes her cell when there are at least three people ahead of her in line. What is she reading? Fan fiction of course, lol.

And then the reluctance of these teen-agers when she asks to bring one of their books to her room. Promise you won’t read them while you’re eating! They’re hardcover and, you know, PRICELESS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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