Sentence of the Day: Leo Tolstoy

“The women began to rain down bombs onto the army like borax upon cockroaches.”

The Story of Ivan the Fool, Story # 24, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Whew, this story! Another multi-chap, the second one so far in this anthology. She doesn’t like these long fables as much as the short ones. In fact, the only long fable she liked was one of the early ones in this volume, the excerpt from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker. The Jules Verne multi-chap was just painful to slog through. And even though she read it only a few days ago, she’s already forgotten the title.

Still Story # 13, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Story # 13, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is far from self’s favorite, why then has she been stuck reading it for a full day?

Anyhoo, Feathertop the scarecrow has been dressed up in fine clothing, has been taught how to smoke a pipe, and is directed by his fond creator (a witch) to go about. He immediately bewitches the prettiest girl in the village, who fancies herself in love with him. Alas, they happen to walk past a mirror, the girl glances at it, and sees — she is walking with a SCARECROW! A SCARECROW! A SCARECROW! She faints.

A figure burst headlong into the cottage door . . . It was Feathertop!

“What has gone wrong?” demanded the witch. “Did yonder sniffling hypocrite thrust my darling from her door? The villain! . . . Did the girl scorn my precious one? . . . I’ll cover her face with pimples! Her nose shall be as red as the coal in thy pipe! Her front teeth shall drop out!”

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Everyone Is Mad at Nora

Self adores angst.

Angst is tops.

Angst is what self would love to write 24/7.

The Midnight Library begins with top angst.

The MC, Nora, ditched her brother’s band (for which she wrote songs) and her fiancée, in one fell swoop. She bumps into one of her brother’s friends on the street. It does not go well:

Ravi: Ever cleaned pub toilets, Nora?

Nora: I’m having a pretty shit time, too, if we’re doing the Misery Olympics.

Ravi cough-laughed. A hardness momentarily shadowed his face. “The world’s smallest violin is playing.”

This is indeed a very promising beginning.

The Fascination of Simulations

Elizabeth Kolbert is very fascinated by simulations of fragile ecological environments, the ones where scientists test out various doomsday scenarios. Under a White Sky is full of such sims.They cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and maintain.

What must it be like to work in one of those? Self would love it. But Kolbert is a straight arrow: she describes the scientific work in such a way that it appears — by design — dull. Kolbert doesn’t think it’s dull, but the scientists are so self-deprecating.

On p. 109, Kolbert is interviewing Paul Hardity, the Director of SeaSim, a simulation of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

She has him saying this:

  • “We come from this planet. Anyway, I’m getting a little philosophical. I’m going to have to go home and watch a hockey game.”

HAR HAR HAR!!!!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Such a Scream

After a whole day spent with scientists trying to save pupfish from extinction, a tired Elizabeth Kolbert kicks back at “the local swimming pool.” The pool’s only other occupant is “a bearded man.” As the man exits the pool, she sees “two large swastikas tattooed on his back.”

LOOOOLLLL!!!

Can you just hear self silent-screaming all the way to the Bay.

All hail, Elizabeth Kolbert.

Stay hydrated, dear blog readers. Stay hydrated.

Sentence of the Day: Elizabeth Kolbert

Self keeps wanting to spell the author’s name as “Colbert” because she loves Stephen Colbert.

Anyhoo, this author is FUNNY. Considering she’s writing about how we are all DOOMED because of our own stupidity, that’s quite a feat.

Essay # 1 of Under a White Sky did not slay self (Loved The Sixth Extinction, so Kolbert had big shoes to fill), but then Kolbert began discussing carp. Yes, you read that right: carp as in everyone’s Favorite Aquarium Fish. Apparently they have eyes affixed to the bottom of their skulls, meaning they are grazers like cows are grazers, only instead of grazing for grass the carp are grazing for algae or snails. After that, self became completely hooked. Anyhoo, someone had the genius idea of introducing carp to the Chicago River and they are destroying shellfish. Basically, the Chicago River is turning into one giant aquarium, there are probably more carp there than there are in China. They breed like crazy and it’s no use trying to make carp a popular food because they are so bony.

Essay # 2 is where self found the sentence of the day:

  • I was anxious, too, though only a little, since the Mississipi we were looking at was about five inches wide.

The author sets up all these challenges for herself, such as trying to reach the Gulf by WALKING from New Orleans and running into a little problem of wet socks. A paragraph later, she introduces us to an engineer who is keeping a close eye on a simulation of the Mississippi Delta while sitting in a folding chair in the Center for River Studies at Louisiana State. This model simulation must be really ACE because the engineer, Kolbert noticed, also “had wet socks.” The model was so accurate that it kept flooding, and the engineer couldn’t move from the folding chair because it was his job to document everything. At least, I think, Kolbert got her wet socks while actually WALKING.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Seducing the DCI

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Hudson is not a bad man. He opens doors for his (female) partner and doesn’t act like he expects to be thanked for it. But he tried to ignore the four octogenarian pensioners of the Thursday Murders Club, and they punished him by giving his partner a couch all to herself — a couch big enough for her to sit with legs folded up beneath her! — while he has to sit on a couch big enough for “two and a half”, a pensioner boxing him in on either side while they pepper him with questions about an ongoing investigation.

“So you do have a suspect? How wonderful. What do you make of the coffee and walnut?” says Joyce.

Chris lifts a slice of coffee and walnut cake to his mouth and takes a bite. Also better than M&S. Joyce, you wizard. Also, it was a well-known fact that there were no calories in homemade cakes.

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 108

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Octogenarians Do London

We could have got another black cab straight back to the station, but Elizabeth wanted to have a stroll, and so we did. I don’t know if you know Mayfair — there are no shops you would actually buy anything in, but it was very pleasant. We stopped for coffee in a Costa. It was in a beautiful building, which Elizabeth said used to be a pub and where she and a lot of her colleagues would drink. We stayed there for a while, and talked about what we’d learned.

If today was anything to go by, this whole murder investigation is going to be the most enormous fun.

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 84

btw, reading this book is enormous fun.

“They turned the Adelphi into a Travelodge …”

The Thursday Murder Club, p. 51:

  • I know that Bernard will be in his customary position at the back. I always feel like I would like to sit next to him — he is jolly company when he turns his mind to it — but I know he visits Fairhaven for his late wife, so I leave him in peace. That’s where they met, and that’s where they lived before they moved in here. He told me that since she died he would go to the Adelphi Hotel, where she used to work, and polish off a couple of glasses of wine, overlooking the sea. That’s how I first found out about the minibus, if I’m honest, so silver linings. They turned the Adelphi into a Travelodge last year, so now Bernard sits on the pier.

Quote of the Day: The Thursday Murder Club, pp. 37 – 38

  • “She must be fifty,” Ian thinks, same age as him. Different for women, though . . . If that meant having to flirt with a fifty-year-old for a couple of weeks, then so be it . . . As he shakes Karen’s hand, Ian thinks that using a bit of hand cream every now and again wouldn’t kill her. Fifty! He wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Ian’s thinking is apropos of THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN!

That is all.

« Older entries

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through fashion and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

InMyDirection

fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other