Wall Street Journal Books, July 23 – 24, 2016

Self found a couple of books to add to her reading list while perusing the Books section of the July 23 – July 24 Wall Street Journal:

  • Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln, by Charles B. Strozier (Columbia)
  • The Castle of Kings, by Oliver Potzsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Abahn Sabana David, by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter)
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, by R. S. Belcher (Tor)
  • The Cask, by Freeman Wills Crofts
  • Tragedy at Law, by Cyril Hare
  • Reputation for a Song, by Edward Grierson
  • The Shortest Way to Hades, by Sarah Caudwell
  • Brazillionaires, by Alex Cuadros (Spiegel & Grau)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: From THE GREEN ROAD

Self has loved all the books she’s read so far this year. Some are lighter reads than others, but in general she’s been really lucky in her reading choices. Here are the books she’s read so far in 2016:

  • Road Dogs, by Elmore Leonard
  • The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy
  • Candide, by Voltaire
  • Watch Me, by Anjelica Huston
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
  • Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart
  • The Green Road (currently reading), by Anne Enright

This is a sentence from Enright’s novel. Two “boys,” Dan and Billy, are walking together on a clear Manhattan night, just “after rain.” One of the boys is out of the closet, the other not really:

  • The boys’ winter coats were both open to the mild night, their long scarves hung down, blue and green.

And that’s it! There’s the sentence. Hope you like it as much as self did.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay night.

 

Breathe, Self, Breathe!

Here she is, in Calgary, and she doesn’t know what she should read next: Her niece Karina’s next book recommendation (She tore through Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, like white on rice!), Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (The title is pure nonsense; the book is much much better than that. There is NO girl waiting with a gun. Don’t hold your breath), or The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Of course, she is also drinking in Everlark fan fiction like crazy. A lot of stories that languished for months and months (even, years) finally updated in the last week: it’s been a veritable bonanza of good Everlark! (Take your pick: Pride and Prejudice Everlark; ballet world Everlark; Great Expectations Everlark; or vlogging Everlark)

Today, self went to Market Mall with her niece and of course we stopped by Sephora. And there was a brand self had never seen before: Tarte. And when her niece found out self’s current mascara was over three years old, her niece told her, in no uncertain terms: Throw it out, Tita. Honestly, you should be replacing your mascara every six months. (Oh. So that’s why self’s eyes were itching like crazy yesterday)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Jack the Ripper Meets THRONE OF GLASS

It’s like Ten Little Indians, Survivor, and The Hunger Games, with a fantasy setting.

Self likes!

In Throne of Glass, by Sara J. Maas, someone is knocking off, one by one, the 24 champions who have gathered together in Adarlan’s palace for a great tournament.

Is it one of the other champions, getting a head start on eliminating the competition?

Is it our plucky heroine, the Assassin rescued from the salt mines of Endovier at the very beginning of the book?

Is it some supernatural force that has found its way through a time portal?

Is it the salacious and loathsome Duke Perrington?

Is it one of the four stone gargoyles that guard the clock tower?

SPOILER ALERT!

The Assassin, whose name is Celaena, who is blond and beautiful, plucky like Katniss, and sort of despairing as well as depressed — though what she has to be depressed about self simply cannot imagine. Unless it’s the fact that she has to be an assassin! — is taken to the scene of the latest murder.

Celaena: Those are clean cuts around his ankles. His tendons were snapped by a knife, to keep him from running . . .  Look at his fingernails . . .  The tips are cracked and shattered.”

She used her own nail to scrape out the dirt beneath the victim’s nails, and smeared it across her palm. “See?” She held out her hand for Chaol to observe. “Dust and bits of stone.” She pulled aside the arm, revealing faint lines in the stone beneath. “Fingernail marks. He was desperate to get away . . . “

As, who can blame the victim? Self, too, would be desperate to get away, if she knew something was trying to kill her.

Anyhoo, self loves having discussions with her niece Karina over:

DSCN9536

Karina: self’s guide to all things YA.

What is going to happen next?

Who are these two men who love Celaena?

What makes a bad-ass female assassin?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

July in Books

July is a season all its own. Below, a list of the books self has read in July:

July 2016 (Currently Reading): Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart

  • How a feisty young woman shepherds her younger sisters to a life of independence, in 1914 rural America

July 2015

The Act of Love, by Howard Jacobson

  • How an author self never read before introduced her to the splendid pleasures of The Wallace Collection in London

July 2014

The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry

  • Again, this Irish writer breaks her heart (The first time he did was in A Long, Long Way)

July 2013

The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

  • Sicily, as you’ve never seen it before

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • So meh

The Quiet American, by Graham Greene

  • Greatness

 

Female Protagonist, GIRL WAITS WITH GUN

Self had quite a tense period some weeks ago, when she began reading The Girl on the Train.

She was supposed to continue her summer reading with Savage Park, but decided to go for Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart.

Self is intrigued by the women characters (with a title like Girl Waits With Gun, how could she not be?). Three orphaned young women live on a farm. The eldest, Constance, takes care of her younger sisters, Fleurette and Norma. There is a brother, Francis, but he is pre-occupied and ineffectual. It is Constance who is the real “tender” of the family, and she proves it when an automobile crashes into the sisters’ buggy and she is left to deal with her brother’s panic attack and the rude men who are in the automobile.

Something would have to be done about the three of us. I was tired of hearing my brother’s ideas, but I hadn’t any of my own. I did know this: a run-in with an automobile was not to be taken as evidence of our inability to look after ourselves. It was nothing but a mundane business matter and I would manage it without any assistance from Francis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Adjusting the Reading List

The Girl On the Train was a very satisfying read! She will keep her eye out for Paula Hawkins’s next book. She hopes that, someday, there will be a sequel to The Girl On the Train.

In the meantime, self got a few pages into Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk etc. and was quite surprised to find that it is mostly about a playground in Japan, one the author encountered when she accepted the invitation of a friend to visit her in Tokyo. Self doesn’t know what she was expecting, but she knows it wasn’t a meditation on a children’s playground, not with a title like Savage Park.

Since she is still so keyed up after finishing The Girl On the Train, she decides she’s in the thriller-reading mode, so she opts to put aside Savage Park and go for the next book on her reading list: Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart.

The next book after Girl Waits With Gun: The Green Road, by Anne Enright. And after that, a book called Lonely in the City: Adventures in the Art of Living Alone. And after that, a couple of travel books, starting with The Narrow Road to the Deep North: Travel Sketches, by Matsuo Basho. Will I be able to finish more by the end of summer? Hope so.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Get Out of There, Rachel!

Such is self’s empathy for The Girl on the Train‘s Rachel that she can’t help feeling protective about her.

SPOILER ALERT

Rachel (self feels like screaming) do NOT, Do NOT go into that man’s house!

As if to prove that the problems of self and Rachel do not count for a hill of beans in this crazy world, Rachel never disappoints: she goes into the man’s house.

Given her vulnerability and her need and her alcohol dependency, it’s a wonder she’s remained alive this long. Seriously.

“Come and sit down,” the man says. “Have a drink.”

No, Rachel, do NOT accept a drink from that man!

There’s something unkind about the set of his face (Rachel thinks). The contempt that I saw on Saturday morning, after we slept together, is still there.

Rachel takes a drink. In the very next breath: Outside, I can hear shrieking —

“Sit the fuck down.”

Self knew it! She knew it was a set-up! (Quick check of how many pages till the end. About 50. Maybe in those 50 pages Rachel can get to her cell phone and call the police? Maybe in those 50 pages Rachel will find a weapon of some sort and kill HIM? Maybe in those 50 pages the reader will learn that Rachel is actually a karate black belt? Before she turned into an alcoholic, that is? Maybe the man will turn out to be harmless? Maybe the reader will learn that “Sit the fuck down” is meant as a term of endearment?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still Reading THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Gaah, this book. Doling out the suspense in teaspoon-size increments.

Anna is the current wife of Tom, who used to be married to Rachel. These three live near each other (Can you imagine? Bring on the pain!). The women in the story get their own points of view (Is this a feminist novel?) The male characters are either: a) louts; b) stinking ex-es; c) handsome unscrupulous jerks or d) clue-less. Hey, maybe this IS a feminist novel!

One day, when Anna is stuck at home minding the baby, she feels nostalgia: “I miss being a mistress.”

Yes. One day Anna’s flirting with Tom at an office party. Next thing you know, she’s a lonely stay-at-home mom.

On the idea of mistresses: there are a lot of them.

In Manila, self was included in an anthology of short stories all dedicated to “the mistress.” The title was Querida, something like that. (Suddenly, self realizes she never got her contributor copies. Why?)

This was Dearest Mum’s reaction to a short story self had written: “That’s not realistic,” Dearest Mum said. “There’s no such thing as an ugly mistress in Manila.”

Oh, Dearest Mum, you are hysterical!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

GIRL ON THE TRAIN Quote of the Day

This novel is pitch perfect. Absolutely pitch perfect. If Hawkins were ever to offer a master class on switching points of view, self would sign up!

Here we are in Rachel’s head:

  • It’s an odd thing to say, but I think this all the time. I don’t feel bad enough.

Oh no oh no oh no is something bad going to happen to Rachel? Worse, is she going to do something bad to herself?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,950 other followers