Beginning IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS, by Tim O’Brien

The recommendation is six years old, from a print-out she took home with her during her 2012 residency in Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers. We six writers in June 2012 did a lot of sharing of our favorite books. Someone decided to type them up. Self took the list home, and promptly lost it. She found it again, just a month ago, stuck in the back of a drawer of her writing desk in Redwood City. There, on p. 3, were two books by Tim O’Brien: The Things They Carried and In the Lake of the Woods.

Self began with The Things They Carried. She read it decades ago, taught it to classes. It’s held up. She liked most of the stories.

She decided not to do too much advance research on In the Lake of the Woods. She assumed it was another book about Vietnam.

She loves that O’Brien begins with descriptions of the lake. The lake is in his short stories, too — there is such a lyricism to his descriptions of it. She loves that In the Lake of the Woods is about a wounded candidate, a man who’s lost an election by a landslide.

Also, she loves (so far) the mystery.

  • Anthony L. (Tony) Carbo: Show me a politician, I’ll show you an unhappy childhood.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Bourdain: Ugly Crying

Not real. Not real. Not real.

In celebration of food, community, and life, all the food pictures self can pull from her archives in 15 minutes:

  1. Cherries, Belmont Farmers Market, May 2018
  2. Leeks, Palo Alto Farmers Market, April 2018
  3. Giant Tomato, Mendocino Art Center, March 2018
  4. Buko Pie, Philippine Airlines, January 2018
  5. Dearest Mum’s Lunch, Manila, January 2018
  6. UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City, January 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Nostalgia: New York City

Self loves As Lie Is To Grin when the narrator simply describes what he sees as he moves about New York City:

I exited the station at West Eighth Street, heading north, and stood on a traffic island, watching small plane lights appear in the darkness behind One World Trade Center.

She would love to have this book as a walking guide when she is actually in New York City, a city that is dear to her heart because that is where her parents met: her father was a law student at Georgetown, and her mother was a classical pianist who had given concerts at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher. Painfully, that is also where her older sister died, so many years ago.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flags or Banners

Happy to be reminded (by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flags and Banners) that Redwood City, CA had an amazing event on March 24, 2018.

The weather was gorgeous and everyone was smiling and happy.

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Redwood City, Courthouse Square, 24 March 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Twisted: A Pink Cat

Detail of a drawing son did when he was maybe five or six.

It’s a big drawing, about three feet by two feet. And almost a third of it is taken up by the cat’s tail:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tagged on Facebook: Your 10 Most Influential Albums

Here are self’s first five:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Place In the World 3: Son’s Room

If one were to think of nostalgia as a place, then that place would definitely be son’s room. She never could bring herself to change the layout, even though he’s long gone: grown, married, and settled in southern California. If you want to know what a museum of childhood looks like, this is the place!

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Sunday, 13 May 2018: ALL THE THINGS

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5 p.m.

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Now, most of the books and stuff scattered on the desks and cabinets are self’s.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Any Camera or Photos of Photographers

Self just loves Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges!

This week’s Foto Challenge is part of a series called Anything Goes. This week, you’re supposed to show a picture of any type of camera, or a picture of a photographer.

It turns out that self has the perfect picture for this week’s Foto Challenge: a picture she took on Saturday, 28 April 2018: Independent Bookstores Day. She had walked into Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino (one of her faaaavorite bookstores in the whole world. She’s bought so many great books from this bookstore over the years, including the book she’s currently reading: Homer’s Odyssey, the translation by Emily Wilson). The staff was posing for selfies with customers and she managed to squeeze off a quick one while they were otherwise occupied.

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Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino: 28 April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Philippine Dept. of Education Call for Supplementary Materials

Self got an e-mail yesterday from alma mater Ateneo de Manila University. They’d been trying to reach her because the Philippine Department of Education wants to include her first collection of short stories, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, in schools. It will be part of the supplementary learning materials (SLM) for Grades 7 to 12.

You know what that means, self’s Philippine publisher said. That means, they will order copies. Lots of copies. And if the publisher runs out of copies, they’ll have to print some more.

That book, self’s first, was one of five finalists for the Philippines’ National Book Award. She forgets who won that year. She told her Dad about it, and of all the things he could have said, he said this: “Do you know how famous your Mom used to be? She was so famous, she performed in Carnegie Hall!” Self had no answer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Blood, Romps, and Lashings”: The Guardian Review of VERSAILLES, Season 1

Self is watching Versailles Season 2. She is so happy the series was renewed! It has proved extremely addictive.

The Guardian: With ladies in milky baths, ocular torture and piles of flesh, Versailles returns for more pre-revolution rumbustiousness (Shouldn’t that be rambunctiousness? Whatever). But is there depth beneath the bling?

Where were we then in Versailles, which returns for a second series? The palace is still under construction, and 1,000 workers have died so far. Versailles was clearly the Qatar of its day, and those gold gates are very Gulf State chic, no?

The writer is Sam Wollaston.

Self bows to your wicked wit, Sir. She bows.

From her visit to Versailles, May 2017:

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Versailles, 28 May 2017: It was too bloody hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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