And Now For Something Completely Different

Finished The Overstory this morning (Found the ending very sad), and began Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown.

Never in a million years would she have imagined herself reading such a book, but self  happened to catch a hilarious interview with the author, Anne Glenconner, when she was in Dublin. The woman told the funniest stories! When she was on her honeymoon, a virgin bride, her husband booked them into a place called The Naughty Hotel.

Glenconner’s great-great-grandmother had to refer to her husband, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, as ‘Leicester,’ at all times. One day, passing a nurse with a baby in the corridor of his house, the Earl demanded of the nurse: “Whose child is that?” To which the nurse responded, “Yours, my lord!”

Summers were spent in “an old manner by the beach,” for a holiday known as No-Stays Week, when the women “quite literally let their hair down and “took off their corsets.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Overstory, p. 288

Hopefully, self will finish reading this book here, in Oxford. Then, she can lug it home to Redwood City, where it belongs. Even though Redwood City has NO actual redwoods any more.

Loggers to Nick Hoel and Olivia Vandergriff, into their second week of sitting on the crest of an ancient redwood:

  • “These trees are going to die and fall over. They should be harvested while they’re ripe, not wasted.”

Nick (or Olivia, it’s not all that clear in this passage):

  • “Great, let’s grind up your grandfather for dinner, while he still has some meat on him.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: Blue Water, Distant Shores

In which self’s MC, a feckless guy from Murcia named Matias, confesses to the local Abbott that he has suddenly been struck by “the call.” Year: 1764.

Abbott: You have never evinced interest.

Matias: Can one not be struck by the desire? It came to me suddenly.

Abbott: When?

Matias: After the recent flood.

Abbott: I see.

Matias: I was afraid. I promised Saint Anne I would enter the priesthood if she but stopped the wind from howling.

That is one of the passages self happens to really like, whether or not it is historically accurate.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Swan Song, Maria: THE PARASITES, p. 320

Self is struggling to FINISH THIS BOOK before she gives away too many spoilers and ruins it for everybody.

The passage below is spoiler-ific (but not an out-and-out spoiler)

Maria: Lucien, if I told you I was on the verge of suicide, that I was contemplating throwing myself under a tram, that the whole world had turned sour upon me, and the people that I love don’t love me anymore — what would you suggest as a panacea?

Lucien: How about a facial, madame?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Peaky Blinders S4:E4

  • “This pub’s come to our attention for its lack of ice.”

 

Is Daphne Describing Self?

The Parasites, Ch. 16 Opening:

When people play the game ‘Name three or four persons whom you would choose to have with you on a desert island,’ they never choose the Delaneys. The don’t even choose us one by one as individuals. We have earned, not always fairly we consider, the reputation of being difficult guests. We hate staying in other people’s houses. We detest the effort of plunging into a new routine. Houses that are not ours, or where we have staked no claim, are like doctors’ houses, like dentists’ waiting-rooms, like the waiting-rooms at stations; we do not belong.

We are unlucky too. We catch the wrong trains and arrive late for dinner. SoufflĂ©s are ruined. Or we hire cars then have to ask if the driver can be put up in the village. All this causes a commotion. We stay up much too late at night, at least Niall does, especially if there is brandy, and in the morning we lie in bed until past twelve. The maids — if there are maids, and in the old days there used to be — never can get into our rooms.

Self has lived in this book for weeks. Weeks. But leave she must, for that is life.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Great Gilda Cordero-Fernando

(Read all the way to the end; this post has many digressions)

Re-reading a fantastic short story, “Hothouse,” by Gilda Cordero-Fernando, a mimeographed copy of which self just pulled from a closet overflowing with old files.

Thank you, Jennie and Marie Kondo for inspiring self to organize! She had to drop everything and leave for Manila for two weeks, supposedly Dearest Mum Read the rest of this entry »

“The Son of My Father”: Story # 20 in Carlos Bulosan’s THE LAUGHTER OF MY FATHER

Make no mistake, this father of the narrator’s, to whom Bulosan dedicates 25 (memoir-ish) short stories, would be no one’s idea of a good father. He drinks, he gambles, he sleeps with the neighbor’s wife, he gives the family home to a Mexican beauty he has a crush on. But here we are.

Bulosan treats all his father’s foibles with such affection and humor. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE, BULOSAN MUST BE A SAINT.

From The Son of My Father:

“You are a tragedy, Simeon!” they said.

It was true. Father was a tragedy. My brother Osong was not his spitting image at all. Osong was tall and fair of complexion. His bones were sharp and the hair on his legs was thick and long. He spoke several languages and dialects. He did not drink anything that had alcohol. He smoked American cigars and cigarettes.

Father was small and dark. His bones were soft and the only hair he had was on his head. And it was nothing to brag about, either. He could not read or write.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: London Smiles

Self just got back from a trip to Ireland and England.

The last week of May, she met up with Amy Toland of Miami University Press and took her to her favorite London restaurant, Chez Nous, 22 Hanway Street. Self has been coming here since 2014, Julie is an amazing cook!

DSCN9990

Julie, chef of Chez Nous on Hanway Street in London; Amy Toland, Managing Editor of Miami University Press

This cheeky picture of Harry and Meghan was hanging on the wall of a wee cheesecake shop on Drury Street:

DSCN0238

Son was in London for work. Self spent time with her daughter-in-law, Jennie. Here’s Jennie in a London cab:

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Love the prompt from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!

Stay tuned.

Back in London!

Prague was very pretty but people do not speak English there.

London is adorable because as usual there is traffic and the skies are grey.

It’s another Bank Holiday. OMG, so many of these! Can someone please explain what is going on?

The last thing she remembers doing in London was watching John Wick 3 at the Odeon on Tottenham (Five Stars!) and meeting Jennie for dinner at Chez Nous immediately after. Then walking with Jennie down Great Russell Street and pointing out the British Museum and the Antiquarian Bookseller and paying a very brief visit to the Bloomsbury Hotel (The lobby looks like most of the space is taken up by a bar. Or mebbe it’s always been that way and she’s just mis-remembering?)

In Paddington, she used an ATM to withdraw pounds. A message told her: PUT YOUR CASH AWAY QUICKLY.

Then, as if she needed another reminder, the PA system began to squawk: THERE ARE PICKPOCKETS HERE.

She dashed into an exit elevator like her pants were on fire. GOTTA GET OUT OF PADDINGTON I’M SURE I’M BEING STALKED BY SOMEONE WHO SAW ME USE THE ATM.

The taxi rank was beautiful: it snaked all the way back, looked like at least 50 taxis, each moving smartly forward evey few seconds. She wished she had the wherewithal to take a picture. But she was SO deathly afraid of pickpockets. Seriously, though, that is some serious taxi business going on at Paddington.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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