Onward With the Reading List: TREASURE ISLAND

Big, fat tears are rolling down self’s cheeks right now. Damn you, Philip Pullman, why?

Why?

Why?

Treasure Island, save self!

Luckily, self was able to see through her fog of tears and read all the way through to p. 7 of Chapter 1 (The Old Sea-Dog at the Admiral Benbow). And on that page she reads about ‘the dead man’s chest’ and a ‘one-legged seafaring man.”

Self almost wants to laugh: the dead man’s chest? A one-legged seafaring man? Could you be any less clichéd, R. L. Stevenson?

Then she realizes these are pirate tropes. (Look at the title of the chapter, for heaven’s sake!)

And they probably weren’t around YET when Robert Louis Stevenson used them. Because he started them. DUH!

This edition of Treasure Island (a book self has never read, because come on, even to read it would have been such a cliché! She’s only trying it now because no one cares anymore, what self reads!) has the following information about Robert Louis Stevenson:

  • Born, 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, 13 November 1850
  • Died, Vallima, Samoa, 3 December 1894
  • Treasure Island was first published in 1883.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

THE AMBER SPYGLASS, p. 241

Self is about halfway through The Amber Spyglass. As you may have noticed, dear blog readers, she has slowed her reading pace quite considerably. It’s her way of putting off the ending, which she gathers (from reading the tweets and fan fiction) is something tragic.

Without further ado, p. 241:

“What you say doesn’t make sense. The dead are dead, that’s all. There is no world of the dead.”

“I thought that was true, as well,” said Will. “But now I’m not sure. At least with the knife we can find out.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Amber Spyglass: Mary Malone

Ms. Malone appears to be wandering in some sort of African veldt.

p. 225:

The more she learned, though, the more difficult it became, as each new thing she found out suggested half a dozen questions, each leading in a different direction.

Preach!

Lines 3: HIS DARK MATERIALS

Books come in and out of self’s life all the time. Sometimes, if she’s lucky, they come when she’s most ready.

She’s currently reading The Amber Spyglass, Book III of His Dark Materials. Why has she waited this long to enter this world? She began with the most recent Philip Pullman novel, La Belle Sauvage, which she finished reading a little over two weeks ago. Then she moved on to The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife.

So far, self’s favorite passage in The Amber Spyglass is the one about choice:

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23 April 2018

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23 April 2018

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23 April 2018

LINES: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 25 April 2018

Self almost forgot it was Wednesday! She was so busy tweeting and reading The Amber Spyglass and being confused by life, such as why her library copy of the book was missing 37 pages. She’d never have noticed if it weren’t for the kind child who inserted an index card warning the reader that 38 pages were missing. Since the book itself doesn’t seem to have been mangled, this seems to be entirely the fault of the publisher: RANDOM HOUSE. Anyhoo, she might have realized eventually, since p. 206 is a page with Mrs. Coulter, and on p. 239 Mrs. Coulter is not in evidence. But, hard to say.

Now to LINES.

  • As you look through your lens this week, pay attention to LINES.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

Oh how fabulous! Self loves making her photographs into some kind of abstract representation of something totally different. That’s easy to do if you look at everything in terms of lines. Such, as her unit in the Mendocino Art Center, which is pretty empty so you can clearly see the rectangular repetitions of shelves, desk, doorway, etc.

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Unit # 12, Mendocino Art Center, April 2018

And then, the lines the blinds make across the page she is reading:

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Reading THE SUBTLE KNIFE, Book II of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy

And, finally, the lines of this aloe vera plant she saw (it was gigantic) in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens:

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Aloe Plant, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 21 April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Philip Pullman Death Scenes De-Constructed (Spoilers — The Subtle Knife)

Self thinks they are amazing. She’s near the end of The Subtle Knife, and the tension is beautifully constructed, like a Kabuki play. She thinks that’s because of the double-ness of having a daemon. People don’t just die, their daemons have to die as well. And since the daemons have been actualized — meaning, they’re actual physical beings, but have properties that are not exactly human — there is a gap in the effect of death. Self means, you’re never sure a person is actually dead until the daemon goes down, and thus two have to go down together.

At this point, self has read three Philip Pullman books. And no two deaths are exactly alike.

There is something so stoic about Pullman’s characters. The reader (self) hides under a blanket, screaming — but the characters themselves are  puzzled by their injuries, and don’t make much of them (All the while the reader thinks: Get yourself to the emergency room! Call 9-1-1!) and we live every moment of their disbelief and shock when finally —

UGH. WHY.

She also thinks she won’t watch film or television adaptations of this universe. They’ll either focus entirely on the action, or have the characters feeling tragic because they can almost see the end approaching — and how would we get the curious timing of human/daemon deaths that add so much to the books? The film would have to be directed by a person with deep roots in Kabuki or Noh theatre (She’s seen real live Kabuki performances in Tokyo, theatre is a particular love of hers, just saying) Could they get Kathryn Bigelow? Because she did such a beautiful job with the deaths in The Hurt Locker.

There are only five or 10 pages left to go in The Subtle Knife, and the character self is reading about keeps acting as if ’tis but a scratch. But of course, how would the character know he/she only has that many pages left to live? That’s masterful, keeping that scene going till the very end.

She thinks of another scene in a novel that she read maybe two decades ago, which ended with the main character saying, in the last line: I die.

At that point, PHOOEY. When your main character has to tell you he/she is dead, that is one lousy ending. Self nearly threw the book across the room.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

THE SUBTLE KNIFE, p. 287

In Pullman’s novel, Texas is a country. And a Texan hot-air balloonist named Lee Scoresby is trying to help Serafina Pekkala save Lyra Belacqua:

Lee was too cool by nature to rage at fate; his manner was to raise an eyebrow and greet it laconically.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading List 2018: Update

Moving so slowly through The Subtle Knife but someone tweeted about the end and self was so upset that she’s picking up the pace to get it over with.

There are years that stand out in her memory for being particularly rich and focused.

For example, the year she went on a memoir binge and read nothing but memoirs.

Then, the year she only read translations.

Then, the year she only read books written by women.

Then, not too long ago, the year she only read travel books.

Then one summer, she only read Henning Mankell. She read seven of his books one after the other.

It’s with no small surprise that self looks back at the books she’s read so far 2018 and finds that her favorites have been novels. Because she hasn’t been able to enter the required headspace to appreciate a good novel for a very long time.

Here are the novels she’s read so far this year: Moshi Moshi, Conclave, The Mandibles: A Family, La Belle Sauvage, The Golden Compass

And they’ve all been really good!

After she finishes reading The Subtle Knife, she’ll read the last book in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.

Then she’ll move through some novels she read in her childhood: Treasure Island, The Old Man and the Sea, Lord of the Flies, Wide Sargasso Sea. (This shouldn’t take long, most are very short. More like novellas, really)

Finally, she compiled a list of 20 novels published 2017. She tried to stick to small presses. Avoiding blockbusters at all cost. Reading through that list will probably get her through 2018.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#currentlyreading Book II of His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife

This book has a strange title! How can a knife be subtle? This is definitely not a children’s book, self doesn’t know why it’s in the Children’s section of the public library. If self is left wondering what a subtle knife is, how much more so a child!

Quibble: Why does Lyra pronounce “ain’t” as “ent”? Is that an Oxford thing? It lends her speech a curious, backwoods-hillbilly-type quality.

Onward.

p. 167:

“. . . he’s my daemon. You think you ent got daemons in this world, but you have. Yours’d be a dung beetle.”

“If the Pharaohs of Egypt were content to be represented by a scarab, so am I,” he said.

LOL

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: THE SUBTLE KNIFE, p. 2

So here it is, 2018, the year self decided to barrel through all of Philip Pullman.

Working in strict chronological order (if not in book publication order), she started with La Belle Sauvage, Vol. One of The Book of Dust, the prequel trilogy to His Dark Materials.

Five Stars!

She just finished The Golden Compass.

Four Stars!

She just began The Subtle Knife.

p. 2, Will Parry talking about his mother to his former piano teacher:

  • “She just needs someone to be kind to her, and I think you could do that quite easily, probably.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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