Want To Like This Book

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 307:

What a miracle he has wrought — he, so recently an effete idler in straitened circumstances — now master of this vast farm with its quaint brown workers moving amongst the lavender like field mice.

— William Rackham, heir to the Rackham lavender farms and perfumeries

London Walks: Hyde Park

The first time self read The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber, was over a decade ago. She hadn’t much experience of London. Now, however, she knows London, knows its general geography, and enjoys passages like the following:

  • Since moving to the West End, Sugar has taken to crossing Hyde Park, over the Serpentine into Knightsbridge, and paying frequent visits to the two Georgian houses in Trevor Square, which may look like high-class brothels, but are in fact a public library.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 35

  • Follow Sugar now into the great open space, the grandiose vacancy of Regent Street — admire those overtowering honeycombs of palatial buildings stretching into the fog of artificial infinity, those thousands of identically shaped windows tier upon tier; the glassy expanse of roadway swept clear of snow; all of it is a statement of intent: a declaration that in the bright future to come, places like St. Giles and Soho, with their narrow labyrinths and tilting hovels and clammy, crumbling nooks infested with human flotsam, will be swept away, to be replaced by a new London that looks entirely like Regent Street, airy, regular and clean.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 43

Her last trip to London was at the tail-end of October 2017. She dropped by Hyde Park and saw:

1) the Serpentine

DSCN9992

2) a fabulous Pavilion

DSCN9993

The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion designed by architect Francis Kéré

and 3) the Prince Albert Memorial:

DSCN9999

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Diet Tip: The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 16

Self is sooo glad she decided to re-read this novel. She remembered certain things, vaguely. But her interest in the technicalities of writing a historical novel is so much sharper now.

p. 16:

. . .  if you wake up too early, you’re famished, but if you wake later, you’re all right again, and then later still you’re famished again.

Author Michael Faber was “born in Holland, raised in Australia” and “now lives in the Scottish highlands” according to the book jacket. Wow, fabulous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Piles and Stacks

Hooray! Self thought of something she could post for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Piles and Stacks

Of course it’s book-related. This first shot shows the books self checked out of her local library, a month or so ago:

DSCN0063

Self’s “To Read” Pile: 8 June 2018

And here’s the stack of books currently checked out from her local library:

DSCN0364

Self’s “To Read” Pile: 5 July 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Status Report: the 2018 Reading List

There was a stretch of months where all the authors self was reading or had read were male: That’s because a lot of the books she read the first half of the year were by Philip Pullman, who she read for the first time EVER this year. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Then she read Treasure Island, then Lord of the Flies.

She finally tackled Jean Rhys (another first, despite the fact that she’s been hearing about this author since the year she entered grad school) and ended up wanting to strangle her male character in Wide Sargasso Sea.

She discovered the luminous Norwegian writer Tove Jansson in The Summer Book.

She read an excellent first novel (by Julie Lekstrom Himes), Mikhail and Margarita.

After she’s done with Travels with Charley, she re-reads Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. She read this book over a decade ago but Faber’s name came up again when she found an old list (from the time she was a Hawthornden fellow, in June 2012) of book recommendations from her fellow Hawthornden writers.

Her next authors are all women:

  • Elizabeth Strout
  • Tatiana de Rosnay
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • Jenny Allen
  • Magda Szabø
  • Rosemary Sutcliff

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“Before I Was Your Slave, Now I Am Your Master!”: The Best Trope

FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY SPOILER!

From Chapter XXV of Treasure Island:

“Well,” said I, “I’ve come aboard to take possession of this ship, Mr. Hands; and you’ll please regard me as your captain until further notice . . .  By-the-bye, I can’t have these colours . . .  and, by your leave, I’ll strike ’em.”

— Jim Hawkins, erstwhile cabin boy, stowaway, and now Captain of the Hispaniola

Bodies at Sea: Chapter XXV, TREASURE ISLAND

Do not fret, dear blog readers. It’ll be over soon, self promises. Judging by the book’s overall thickness, she only has about 1/4 of Treasure Island left to read. If you are getting sick-and-tired of pirate tropes, rest assured: in a few days, there will be no more pirate tropes. Instead, there will be epic Homerian Odyssey tropes. Because the next book on her reading list is Emily Wilson’s 2017 translation of The Odyssey.

pp. 174 – 175, Chapter XXV, I Strike the Jolly Roger:

There were the two watchmen, sure enough: red-cap on his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms stretched out like those of a crucifix, and his teeth showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands lying open before him on the deck, his face as white, under its tan, as a tallow candle.

Stevenson doesn’t come right out and say it, but . . . is this the last we’ll get to see of seaman Hands?

Such a good read so far! Five stars!

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Pirate Sentence of the Day: Treasure Island, p. 149

  • Suddenly, with a loud huzza, a little cloud of pirates leaped from the woods on the north side, and ran straight for the stockade.

— p. 149, Chapter XXI (“The Attack”)

The Castaway in TREASURE ISLAND

Do you know that when self reads a book, she mines it for every possible use? Like, in her own writing?

Right now, she’s 316 pages into writing a very dense novel that she hopes will allow readers to see what the Philippines was like in its natural, unspoiled state, before the friars turned the islands into dioceses. (Her manuscript used to be 319 pages, just an hour ago. But — really, the plot is just there so she can say something important. Hopefully. She also realizes she’s probably shooting herself in the foot by admitting this on her blog, but anyhoo! It’s not like the world is beating a path to her door!)

After castaway and the narrator get past the introductions, they first talk about cheese, and then:

“Well, now, Jim, I’ve lived that rough as you’d be ashamed to hear of.”

(Self wishes he would just say, she’s sure it can’t be that scandalous because there is literally NO ONE ELSE on that island. In other words, we are not talking Lord of the Flies here)

“Now, for instance, you wouldn’t think I had had a pious mother — to look at me?” he asked.

“Why, no, not in particular,” I answered.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

TREASURE ISLAND, Chapter XII: “Council of War”

DSCN0175.JPG

This past week has been a great, angst-y week. Not only did self definitively decide that she couldn’t bear to read further than p. 253 of The Amber Spyglass — it would break her — but she saw Avengers: Infinity War, and — she just can’t seem to escape the bloody angst. Because the movie — just ask anyone who’s seen it — has angst to the nth power.

As soon as she got home, she resumed reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (For such a slim novel, it is taking FOREVER for her to read through, maybe because she keeps having to blog about pirate tropes, practically every page)

Today’s reading had mild angst. For one thing, a mutiny has just been discovered by the captain of the Hispaniola, a rather decent man named Mr. Smollett (The name alone does not encourage confidence regarding his eventual fate).

So, what are we to do? asks someone of the captain (He means: what are we to do about the mutiny?)

“First point,” began Mr. Smollett. “We must go on, because we can’t turn back.”

The captain and his mates then begin to try and figure out which members of the crew are loyal and can be counted on. They consider a crewman named ‘Hands.’ (Self loves the names in this novel. First there was Barbecue, the ship’s cook. Now there is a seaman named ‘Hands.’)

“Hands was one of mine,” says the squire.

“I did think I could have trusted Hands,” added the captain.

“And to think that they’re all Englishmen!” broke out the squire.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

« Older entries

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor