Heaven, My Home, p. 94

“Forgiveness has a limit.”

It was a luxury black folks couldn’t afford . . .

Attica Locke, everybody.

Sentence of the Day: YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY, p. 23

Self is very slow in reading this book. Whether it’s because she’s decided to landscape her whole yard (single-handed) — The neighbors are liking the changes, leaving bags of persimmons and lemons, even two pots of young plants, on her porch as encouragement! — or because she’s shortly to begin teaching her on-line course, or because POTUS’s life hangs in the balance — she knows not. The fact remains: she’s only able to read a few pages a day.

Nevertheless! Here is the attention-grabbing sentence (Honestly, she’d have been outside again if she hadn’t just realized she was out of clean masks, and if the Century 20 were still showing first-run movies):

  • Miriam lived in Silver Lake, a hipster yuppie neighborhood, and ever since she moved there, she’d developed a biting scorn for the Valley — Granada Hills in particular.

Huh! Self actually knows a few people who live in Silver Lake. They are nice.

Oh! She also finished putting together a HUGE raised planter box in the backyard, right next to the magnolia tree. She’s emptied two bags of potting soil in it, which only filled it about a quarter of the way. About eight more bags, maybe? It’s for lettuce.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Reading Year, So Far 2020

At the end of January, she landed on her first great read of 2020: Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

February was TOTALLY GREAT! She spent the entire month reading two good books: The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, and I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.

The end of March brought her to Brideshead Revisited.

The end of April brought her to Leviathan Wakes, by James. S. A. Corey.

Last half of May: Caliban’s War (Book 2 of The Expanse) and Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker.

June: Abaddon’s Gate and Cibola Burn, Books 3 and 4 of The Expanse

July: The Snakes, by Sadie Jones

End of August: The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal

September: Great, great month. Read In West Mills, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, and Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Sen. Joe McCarthy (totally absorbing, great biography) by Larry Tye.

Currently reading: Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha.

To look forward to this month: the official launch of Caroline Kim’s collection, The Prince of Mournful Thoughts, the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Beginning IN WEST MILLS, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow

The Charterhouse of Parma: Five Stars

In terms of her reading life, August was the bomb. All the books she read were library check-outs (YAY! Library’s back, it’s back, it’s back!)

She read, in addition to The Charterhouse of Parma: Colonel Chabert, by Balzac; First: Sandra Day O’Connor, by Evan Thomas; and The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste.

Excited to begin a new novel (and discover a new writer). Opening Sentence of In West Mills:

In October of ’41, Azalea Centre’s man told her that he was sick and tired of West Mills and of the love affair she was having with moonshine.

Well! That is some opening.

The author bio on the book jacket says that De’Shawn Charles Winslow is from North Carolina. He is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

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

Stendhal Quote of the Day

Chapter Eleven, The Charterhouse of Parma:

As we see, Fabrizio was one of those unfortunates tormented by their imagination, this is frequently the defect of intelligent men in Italy. A French soldier of equal or even inferior courage would have ventured to cross the bridge immediately, without brooding in advance upon the difficulties, but he would also have proceeded with all his composure when, at the end of the bridge, a short fellow dressed in gray said to him: “Go into the police office and show your passport.”

At this point, 1/3 of the way through The Charterhouse of Parma, self sincerely hopes dear blog readers adore Stendhal as much as she does. Otherwise it’s going to be a long September.

Interesting side note: In Chapter Eleven, Fabrizio’s height is revealed. He is five foot five. Wow, that is short! Somehow, she imagined him as tall and lean.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Your Daily Dose of Stendhal, Here

Sometimes her eager imagination concealed things from her, but she never entertained those deliberate illusions produced by cowardice.

— Chapter Six, The Charterhouse of Parma

Stendhal Sentence of the Day

During the fifteen days Fabrizio spent in the Amiens inn, kept by an obsequious and greedy family, the Allies were invading France, and Fabrizio became an entirely different man, so many and so deep were his reflexions upon the things which had just happened to him.

The Charterhouse of Parma, Chapter Five

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?”

Chapter Four: Returning to the “Canteen Woman”

Don’t worry, self will not be giving blow by blow of each chapter of The Charterhouse of Parma. But she just wanted to do a quick post on the illustrations, by Robert Andrew Parker.

She finds them utterly charming, almost fairy-tale like. She’ll hunt up a hard copy of this book for her personal bookshelf.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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