The Battle of Red Hill, cont. (Spoiler-Free)

Fell asleep before midnight, resumed reading A Little Hatred on first waking. The Battle of Red Hill is many pages, probably the longest section of the novel. Which means, when self resumes reading this morning, it is still undecided.

Point of view: Leo van Brock

He caught sight of his standard. The white field, the golden lion. Hanging sodden at the near end of the bridge. And there was Stour Nightfall’s. The slavering wolf on grey. Drooping in the rain at the far end. A lion fought a wolf in a circle of blood, and the lion won.

— p. 297, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness, by Joe Abercrombie

A digression: Self was curious about ALH ships, so she went looking for fan fiction. She found only 3 (Pitiful: Everlark has 6000+), and all of them are between The Young Lion and . . . Jurand, his shield man (?)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: A LITTLE HATRED, p. 115

Just blazing through this book, which is so entertaining. Not too many people have died, yet. Self is keeping a body count (like she did with Eddie’s Boy, lol) After a gruesome hanging in the beginning, and one fight scene a few chapters ago, she hasn’t had to metaphorically “cover her eyes.”

If you can’t find a way to win that doesn’t involve torturing some half-mad girl, then maybe you don’t deserve to win at all.

Poetry Tuesday: Joan McGavin

There is a gingko tree in self’s backyard. Scrawny, it has remained the same height for almost ten years. Nevertheless, it is still alive.

Gingko

by Joan McGavin, from her first collection, Flannelgraphs (Oversteps, 2011)

I pass two beautiful trees almost every day.
Casting around, in your absence, for a way to say
how I feel about us,
I think about them: I discover a fact:
their kind, fossils tell us, has remained unchanged
one hundred and eighty million years.

In the absence of tablets, stone or wax writing,
In this time of separation, of smallness of gestures,
casting around for a way,
shedding my inhibitions like leaves,
speaking for myself alone,
let’s say: i feel for you what,
loving all its autumns,
the gingko feels for life.


Joan McGavin, the Hampshire Poet 2014, has written two poetry collections, and is a trustee of the Winchester Poetry Festival.

Currently Reading: LA BELLE SAUVAGE, p. 325

Hugely enjoying Volume One (La Belle Sauvage) of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy, The Book of Dust. Love the characters, all of them. Even the villains. Kudos, Mr. Pullman.

Towards the end of the novel, a flood of Biblical proportions overwhelms Oxford, England:

“The creatures in the water . . .  I don’t mean fish neither, nor water voles; I mean the old gods. Old Father Thames. And other beings as well. There was a man with us, he saw a mermaid near Henley. The sea was so full she come right up the river, even that far from the coast, and this chap, he swore to me that if he saw the mermaid again, he’d go off with her. Well, two days later he disappeared, and chances are he did just that. I believe it, anyway.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry About the Bloomsbury Hotel, London

They give poetry books to each guest, which is how self happened upon this poem by Jo Shapcott:

New commission

It’s a hot night. We walk our wheelies from the tube.
The brick walls seep warmth. On the way we smell shop-
flowers through the traffic, hear church bells, loiter
in the odd sweet spot until we’re here, looking up
at a paradox of double steps. Still curbside, we sense
that if there’s a muse of stairways, she lives here,
inside these buildings made of red brick and rain.
Through the doors and we’re inhabiting a chandelier
or library or a chapel or a cave, and our minds flash and glow
with noises, words and tastes until our hearts have softened
inside our bodies and when we leave, the street is silk under
the lamps.

 

#amreading: Peter Lovesey, SKELETON HILL

Having dispatched The Executioner’s Song (Stopped not-quite-halfway), self is starting her first Peter Lovesey, Skeleton Hill.

p. 9:

  • He had entered a field, staying roughly parallel with the road, when there was a rich splash of red in the evening sun as a fox broke from its cover and dashed in front of him only a few yards ahead. The sight uplifted him. He didn’t have the countryman’s contempt for such animals. Anything that survived in the wild by its own efforts would get his support.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: Galway Kinnell

An Excerpt from Conversation

For Maud

–How old?

It was completely inadvertent.
It was more or less late afternoon.
and I came over a hilltop
and smack in front of me was the sunset.

–Couldn’t you have turned around and gone back?

Wherever you turn, a window
in a childhood house fills with fire.

–Remember the pennies we put on the track,
how the train left behind only the bright splashes?

Everything startles with its beauty
when assigned value has been eradicated,
especially if the value assigned is one cent.

–Does the past ever get too heavy to lug around?

If your rucksack is too heavy, it could
wrestle you down backwards.

–Does it ever get lighter?

Yes, when so-called obsolete words
start falling off the back end of the language.

(from the Galway Kinnell collection, Strong Is Your Hold)

Catherine Morland Muses on Henry Tilney

This week, self is teaching her writing students about different narrative techniques, like for example musing. Of which Northanger Abbey has many excellent examples.

Northanger Abbey, Chapter XIV:

It was no effort to Catherine to believe that Henry Tilney could never be wrong. His manner might sometimes surprise, but his meaning must always be just — and what she did not understand, she was always ready to admire . . . The whole walk was delightful, and though it ended too soon, its conclusion was delightful too . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Playlist for Catherine Morland

Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

Right? Right?

“If you say run/ I’ll run to you.”

Almost word for word what our smitten heroine told Mr. Henry Tilney, when she had barely met him.

More later.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And On the Everlark Front

Self’s faaaavorite Everlark tags (for those readers who respect self’s reading choices: she goes high-brow and low-brow. Not that she’s calling Everlark low-brow. For all we know, Jane Austen might have been writing fan fiction if she were alive today. Shut up! Not sorry)

  •  Cyborg Katniss
  • Cyborg Peeta
  • Junior Scientist Peeta
  • Dark Peeta
  • Killer Katniss
  • Vampire Peeta
  • Age Gap Everlark

Hmmm, let’s see. What else?

On the Northanger Abbey front, the dastardly brother-sister team of Isabella and John Thorpe try and twist Catherine’s arm into ditching a sort of “date” she has made with Mr. Tilney to go for a walk. Will they succeed? Stay tuned.

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