Dystopia: Tyrone Guthrie Centre, 2014

Self is trying to put together a collection. Which involves a laboriously slow process of selection. It is nice, though, re-reading stuff.

from Spores:

(Set in the far future. Very, very, very far. Society’s divided into classes:  Earthstar, Silverleaf, Shag, and Common. The main characters are a pair of lab workers named K and R. K is a girl, R is a boy. The story’s told from R’s point of view)

“We be needing foxes,” I said once.

“You lousy hedgehog,” the boss said, giving me a good one. My right eye swelled up almost immediately.

“You not be asking me to fetch, you lousy Common!” He gave me another good one on the way out.

K trembling there in the corner.

The voice was birthed while eavesdropping at the dinner table in Annaghmakerrig.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Advice for the Soldier Returning From Iraq

Don’t kill yourself. Don’t beat your wife.

— from the title story of Iraq War vet Phil Klay’s collection Redeployment

In Honor of International Women’s Day

Books that rocked self’s world:

  • Break It Down, by Lydia Davis
  • Empty Chairs, by Liu Xia
  • The Charm Buyers, by Lillian Howan
  • Yes (A screenplay), by Sally Potter
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
  • Night Willow, by Luisa Igloria
  • Palayok: Philippine Food Through Time, by Doreen Fernandez
  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
  • Bad Behavior, by Mary Gaitskill
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  • After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
  • Memories Flow In Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writings from Calyx, edited by the Calyx Editorial Collective
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy, by Cassandra Clare
  • Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  • Going Home to a Landscape: a Filipino Women’s Anthology, edited by Virginia Cerenio and Marianne Villanueva

The Next 3 Books on Self’s 2017 Reading List

Self began reading Ape House, by Sara Gruen. It really plays with your head because right away, the bonobos are introduced with such clearly human traits, and we don’t see them as “animal.” (So what is the point? If they’re already human, why are we reading? Dare self say — because on p. 11 there are already seeds sown of a romance? Ugh. It’s not that self hates romance. It’s just that she wanted to read a story that was primarily about bonobos) But, no denying, Sara Gruen really goes for it. She bare-knuckles her story and you either buy her point of view or you don’t.

Self then began reading the next book on her reading list: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. And, OMG, he doesn’t pull any punches either. He goes straight for the mythopoetic, quoting from a book on American folklore (and, eerily, finding the exact quote to reflect what self has been thinking all these years, which is: why are there no tikbalangs or mangkukulams in the United States? Is it because these creatures cannot get on a plane?)

So, because self is always searching for certainty, and she just finished reading Peter Lovesey’s Skeleton Hill and it was excellent, and self thinks she might be on something of a run, she decides to be truly daring and pick up the third book on her 2017 reading list: Phil Klay’s Redeployment. And here’s yet another writer who doesn’t pull any punches. His stories of men fighting in the front lines in Iraq — they will not thrill you. For instance, the title story: “We shot dogs. Not by accident.”

Which to read first? In point of fact, self already has six books lined up: the other three books on her current reading list are by Mary Beard, Francis Parkman, and Edward Gibbon. Eminent historians, all. Self hasn’t read so much history in a very long time.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Economist Books of the Year 2015

Yes, self is a year behind in her reading of The Economist. So pathetic.

Anyhoo, here are the books self picked to add to her reading list: four histories, three works of fiction, one book on Culture, Society and Travel.

HISTORIES

  • Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, by Susan Southard — “a searing account of five teenage survivors of the bombing of Nagasaki”
  • Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwell — “a great and terrible story of a battle . . . fought 200 years ago, told with energy and clarity”
  • The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East — “how a multinational Muslim empire was destroyed by the first World War”
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard — “about Rome from its myth-shrouded origins to the early third century”

CULTURE, SOCIETY AND TRAVEL

  • Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, by Rebecca Herzig — “a curious account of hair-erasing, and why people have tried clamshell razors, lasers, lye depilatories, tweezers, waxes, threading and electrolysis to try and free themselves from hairiness”

FICTION

  • Seiobo There Below, by Laszlo Krasznahorkai — Seventeen stories, “a fitting winner of the 2005 Man Booker International Prize”
  • Submission, by Michael Houellebecq — “France under Muslim rule,” 2022
  • An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, by Jessie Greengrass — a “spectacularly accomplished, chilly debut collection of short stories about thwarted lives and opportunities missed”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Lysley Tenorio

“It was always a bogus-looking act, but at some point I just assumed that Filipinos were somehow predisposed to believing anyone who claimed to understand their pain.”

— from the story “Felix Starro” in the Lysley Tenorio collection, Monstress

Self’s Life in Books

In 2013, she read a total of 30 books.

In 2014, to her great disappointment, she managed to read only 7.

Thus far, in 2016, she’s read 18 books. Oh happy happy joy joy.

2013 was a great year for her reading life.

She read:

  • Bicycle Diaries, by David Byrne
  • Anna Karenina
  • Don Quijote
  • Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses
  • Mildred Armstrong Kalish’s Litte Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression
  • Sister Carrie
  • The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
  • The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
  • City of Thieves, by David Benioff
  • The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michae Connelly
  • Henry M. Stanley’s How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa

In 2015, self’s great reads were:

  • Silas Marner
  • Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
  • The Act of Love, by Howard Jacobson
  • Middlemarch, by George Eliot
  • Bad Behavior, by Mary Gaitskill

This year, self’s favorite books have been:

  • The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins (which she just realized she’d already read five years ago: She didn’t remember a thing!)
  • Anjelica Huston’s second memoir, Watch Me
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Matsuo Basho
  • Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton

She’s struggling through Northanger Abbey. Really struggling. But she is determined to finish it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Spring Fling, Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: Sunday, 13 May 2016

Tomorrow! Sunday, 13 March 2016: Book Event at self’s FAVORITE BOOKSHOP IN THE WORLD:

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

If self could live in a bookstore, she would live in Gallery Bookshop. Because all she has to do is look out the window and she sees the bluffs and the mighty Pacific Ocean.

DSCN9383

Self’s Books, Available Now in Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Self is signing at 1 p.m.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Reading Laird Barron’s OCCULTAION on Christmas Eve!

Occultation is soooo creepy. The publisher is Night Shade Books of San Francisco. Self bought her copy years ago, from Borderlands on the Mission.

Sorry, dear blog readers, sorry. It is Christmas Eve. Why is self reading horror?

She thought it would give her ideas for writing a Vampire Peeta fan fic of her own.

It’s about annihilation and transformation.

There is a very smart introduction written by Michael Shae in which he says:

To be transformed, to be remade, is not a passive exercise. It is an excruciating eclosion, a branching, fracturing emergence into a much bigger, hungrier universe.

Shae is right. Can anyone imagine that process — even if it’s a familiar trope like turning into a vampire or becoming zombi-fied — isn’t painful?

(About becoming a zombie: to read a story about just how painful it is, read Carrie Ryan’s in the anthology, After: Ninesteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. In that story, people have discovered a way to un-zombify the zombies. It’s told from the point of view of one of these un-zombified. And the way she describes the process of recovery is awful. So we imagine what it must have been like to turn in the first place)

Self will leave dear blog readers alone now so they can think about holiday good cheer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Gatskill Sentence of the Day (Story # 8, BAD BEHAVIOR)

“Connie, yo!” Franklin appeared with his hair in his eyes and his pores flowing magnanimously.

— “Other Factors” (Story #8 in Bad Behavior)

 

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