Book Holden: Cibola Burn

Self is on Book #5 of The Expanse, Nemesis Games. Finally! This was one of the first books she ordered during the pandemic. But she didn’t read it because she didn’t want to know what happens in Season 5 of the TV series.

Now, The Expanse Season 5 trailer has dropped, and self is finally, FINALLY starting to read Nemesis Games. As well as simultaneously re-reading Book # 4 (Cibola Burn), whose events were covered in Season 4.

p. 447:

“We need to get you inside,” Elvi replied, throwing his left arm around her shoulders and guiding him to the door. “I think you’ve been awake for something like four days.”

“It’s okay,” Holden said. “I took a lot of speed.”

LOL! Book Holden is so disarming!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Political Reads for This Fall

These are exciting times. Self is reading The Charterhouse of Parma (Brilliant and funny and moving).

Five on her ‘To-Read’ List

  • The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
  • Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace, by D. L. Hughley
  • Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye
  • In West Mills, by De’Shawn Charles Wilson
  • The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories, by Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner Caroline Kim

Hilarious Stendhal Quote of the Day

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

The Charterhouse of Parma has reached a turning point. Fabrizio is recognized by a former servant as he tries to cross the Po River. From loneliness, Fabrizio tells this servant, right away: I killed a man this morning.

Ludovic promises to help Fabrizio. They manage to evade the police, but during “the long intervals” of hiding, Ludovic decides to make Fabrizio listen to his sonnets.

Who knew this former coachman always had a deep desire to write poetry!

Fabrizio’s reflections on Ludovic’s sonnets:

  • Their feelings were true, but somehow blunted by their expression, and the verses were scarcely worth transcribing; oddly enough, this ex-coachman had passions and visions that were lively and picturesque; they turned cold and commonplace as soon as he wrote them down.

Poor Fabrizio, hiding in the willows on the banks of the Po River, forced to listen to his companion recite his bad poetry!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Who Would Make a Better Fabrizio (The Charterhouse of Parma)

Just for fun (because self would rather look at possible Fabrizios than at clowns)

Why do both men wear glasses. Anyhoo, just imagine them without glasses, riding on a horse, saber outstretched.

Self has one more candidate. But she hasn’t found a suitable picture of him. She’ll keep looking.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

How To Be

Fabrizio’s looks save him over and over again. After the defeat of the French, he stumbles across the canteen woman who, despite having lost her cart and her horse, is still intent on protecting him.

Chapter Four, The Charterhous of Parma:

Canteen Woman (That’s all she ever goes by) to Fabrizio: “Get yourself away from this defeated army; find some way out . . . The first chance you get, buy yourself some civilian clothes. Once you’re eight or ten leagues away and you don’t see any more soldiers, take the mail-coach and rest up for a couple of weeks in some nice town where you can eat beefsteaks . . . As soon as you’ve got a gentleman’s clothes on your back, tear up your travel-permit . . . never say you were in battle, and don’t breathe a word about Bonaparte . . . When you want to go back to Paris, get yourself to Versailles first, then enter Paris from that side, walk right in as if you were out for a stroll. Sew your napoleons into your trousers. And above all, when you have to pay for something, don’t let anyone see more than what you need to pay. The saddest thing of all is that people are going to cheat you and gouge you out of all you have, and what will you do once you have no money, when you don’t even know how to take care of yourself?”

Fabrizio: “I want to fight right away”

Good Friday morning. Self spent all last night howling over Chapter Three of The Charterhouse of Parma.

Self will summarize events leading to this chapter.

Fabrizio, hero of the novel, has been trying to join the Battle of Waterloo. He heads towards the scene of battle, but keeps encountering women who point him in the wrong direction because they don’t want a young man so beautiful to die. One, who Stendhal refers to only as “the canteen-woman,” even decides to accompany him, to keep him out of harm’s way.

Chapter Three:

Many delightful conversations later, the canteen-woman caught sight of three or four French soldiers running toward her as fast as they could; she quickly jumped down from her cart and managed to hide fifteen or twenty feet off the road, crouching in a hole where a huge tree had been uprooted. “Now,” Fabrizio decided, “now I’ll find out if I’m a coward!” He stood beside the little cart the canteen-woman had abandoned and drew his saber. The soldiers paid no attention to him and ran past him through the grove to the left of the path.

“Those are our men,” the canteen-woman said calmly . . .

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

HOOOLY Cow, Stendhal!

Self has spent one whole day — today — reading and re-reading Chapter One of The Charterhouse of Parma. Since she’s already quoted from the chapter several times, she will, in the interest of efficiency, summarize. Otherwise, she’ll still be here tomorrow.

Napoleon’s army marches into Lombardy, expecting to be met with surly peasants. Instead they are greeted with wide open arms and love. Crazy, right? It turns out the Italians are very superstitious, and there is a prophecy that Napoleon’s troops will leave of their own accord, in thirteen weeks exactly. So why worry, be happy!

After thirteen weeks, when the French do not leave, the people realize that the prophecy actually meant thirteen months.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: Evan Thomas

The Lazy B got about ten inches a year, barely enough, and in some years not that.

— p. 9, First: Sandra Day O’Connor

The first female justice on the US Supreme Court grew up on a cattle ranch called the Lazy B in Arizona, and the ranch hands (most from Mexico) named their horses Hysterectomy, Hemorrhoid, Idiot, and in one case, Swastika (in jest, self is sure)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

my guilty pleasures: Bicycles

Self was supposed to watch a Curtis Choy movie on eventbrite, which started at 5 p.m., but was having difficulty because she couldn’t remember the password to the email account linked to the event, and she didn’t feel like thinking up a new password because she’s had that same password pre-populated on all her different accounts for about 10 years, and if she changes one, it means she’ll have to change everything, and that would suck. Can’cha just tell self is such a whiz at all these different on-line events she signs up for? Also, she doesn’t feel like creating a new account for just one event, as that’s how she ends up with a gazillion new accounts all over the place, that she continually forgets the password for, and that is how things get out of hand.

Instead, self will reminisce about a crazy adventure she had in 2012, when she agreed to meet an old friend and her two daughters in Amsterdam.

The trip down memory lane was triggered by viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, one of self’s absolute faves. Her most recent post is on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: BICYCLES. viveka starts off her post by citing some statistics about bikes in the Netherlands.

In 2012, self was wrapping up a residency at a writer’s retreat in Scotland. Her friend was renting a house in Amsterdam for a few weeks and invited self to join them. Self didn’t know until she arrived that she’d be expected to bike all over, and she hadn’t gotten on a bike in 30 years (because California suburbs are bike deserts). So the first thing that happened to self was: she pretended like she had no problem biking, and immediately fell down. And she kept falling down. The last straw was when she crashed into a car at a traffic light. The man got out of his car and self wanted to die of shame. Have you ever seen a Dutch person angry? Neither had self, until that moment.

After that wonderful experience, the rest of the day continued, but self was “out of it.” That is, she was on automatic pilot, falling in between cars, falling on the sidewalk, etc. The worst part was, it was only her first time in Amsterdam in 40 years. So she didn’t recognize anything. Come to think of it, she didn’t even know why she agreed to bike in the first place. She would have gotten anywhere she wanted to go, much faster, if she had just walked. But her friend had gone to all this trouble of renting a bike for her (before self arrived). So it would have seemed really mean and petty if self didn’t at least try to show her appreciation. By biking and falling down. Biking and falling down.

Then we boarded a ferry to a distant island, and it was expected that the whole group would bike the circumference of the island. Self wondered why no one asked themselves: is this woman capable of biking the circumference of an island, after that display she gave of falling down 20 times on her way to the ferry? Apparently that was not a question that occurred to anyone. End of story.

Self has no memory of the island at all, even what it was called, and she has no memories of Amsterdam except a wee canal, and afterwards encountering a young man who was blissfully enjoying the sun, and who offered her a joint. NICE! The time to have enjoyed that joint was before she got on a bike, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth!

Self will post pictures with bicycles, shortly.

In the meantime, stay safe, all!

Currently Listening To

The New Abnormal, podcast launched by The Daily Beast in April.

Hosts: Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson

Money Quote: “. . . between Mary Trump, Demon Sperm, and the world still in chaos . . . ”

Yes. Yes. We are in the Last Days of the Trump Presidency, and it is a wild and crazy time, involving  bad hydrochloroquine sell jobs, threats to end TikTok and the US Post Office (and even the elections), and the U.S. Secretary of Education telling America their kids are “natural stoppers” for corona virus hence they should do their patriotic duty by GETTING OUT THERE, ATTENDING SCHOOL, and SAVING THEIR COUNTRY.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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