2020 Reads: The List So Far

The books below took her through a tumultuous year. Books are listed in the order in which she read them:

  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino
  • Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang
  • Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Rafael Bob-Waksberg
  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • The Run of His Life: The People vs OJ Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin
  • TheChildren of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
  • Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey
  • Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us, by Frans de Waal
  • Caliban’s War, by James S. A. Corey
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker
  • Abaddon’s Gate, by James S. A. Corey
  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells
  • Cibola Burn, by James S. A. Corey
  • Her Protector’s Pleasure, by Grace Calloway
  • The Snakes, by Sadie Jones
  • The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste
  • First: Sandra Day O’Connor, by Evan Thomas
  • Colonel Chabert, by Honorée de Balzac
  • The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal
  • In West Mills, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
  • Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye
  • Your House Will Pay, by Stephanie Cha
  • Heaven, My Home, by Attica Locke
  • Bread and Salt: Stories, by Valerie Miner
  • The Prince of Mournful Thoughts, by Caroline Kim (Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize)
  • Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, by Edward Ball

Battle is Joined, Woo Hoo!

Still Chapter Three, The Charterhouse of Parma:

It might have been two o’clock in the afternoon . . . when a group of generals, followed by some twenty hussars, galloped past a corner of the vast field, on the edge of which he was still standing; his horse whinnied, reared two or three times, then pulled violently at the bit. “So be it, go!” Fabrizio decided.

Left to himself, the horse galloped off to join the escort following the generals. Fabrizio counted four gold-braided hats. Fifteen minutes later, Fabrizio understood from a few words spoken by a hussar near him that one of these generals was the famous Marshal Ney. His happiness was complete . . .

Last Thursday of August 2020

The Charterhouse of Parma, Chapter Two, ends:

  • An hour before daylight, Fabrizio was on the road again, and by lavishing caresses on his horse, he managed to persuade it to trot. By about five in the morning, he heard the cannonade: Waterloo had begun.

On to Chapter Three!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Who Was Colonel Chabert?

From Andrew Brown’s Introduction to Colonel Chabert

The Battle of Eylau, fought under a heavy fall of snow on February 1807 between two rows of frozen lakes, set 80,000 Russians against 60,000 French. The French infantry, subjected to heavy Russian cannonades, fell back in disarray . . . What saved the Grande Armée from complete defeat … were the French cavalry charges repeatedly launched straight at the centre of the Russian and Prussian lines. One of these charges was led by Colonel Chabert: the troops under his command broke through the Russian lines, but . . . Chabert himself was cut down from his horse by a Russian sabre, and disappeared under the hooves of the 1500-strong cavalry charge led by Murat.

Colonel Chabert is a fictional character. But — what a point of view!

(Fighting for the other side: Prince Andrei Bolkonsky of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Literature is amazing.)

Today the skies are smoky from wildfires. Wind is blowing from the east. (California just can’t seem to catch a break) Governor declared a state of emergency.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Next on the Reading List

Honoré de Balzac’s swift, short, and brutal novelette.

Being in the British Army (1944)

Brideshead Revisited, p. 14:

  • I slept until my servant called me . . .

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED opens with . . . war?

And here self was expecting a fantastically elegiac escape into the English countryside, but no . . .

When I reached ‘C’ Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full view below me through the grey mist of early morning. We were leaving that day. When we marched in, three months before, the place was under snow; now the first leaves of spring were unfolding.

Another surprise was that it’s written in first person. So how is Waugh going to pull off writing erotic when his first person is stuffy English? Something happens, she does know that, lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Novel-In-Progress: FARM, MOUNTAIN, SEA, Ch. 1

Self’s novel is set on the island of Negros, in the central Philippines, at the start of the Japanese Occupation during World War II. Honorato, an hacendero‘s son, and Moses, the enkargado, are ordered to the mountains by Honorato’s father.

Self is bringing it, people. Just bringing it. Right now, her manuscript stands at 247 pages.

The next day the forest rears up before them, indescribably dense. It takes them a mere hour to reach the first line of trees. Upon entering, they find themselves under a thick canopy of foliage, the light fading to a cathedral dimness. Birds and an occasional monkey frolic overhead.

Moses leads the way, hacking the heavy vines and tree branches that block their path. Soon, his back is soaked with sweat. Honorato watches silently as the enkargado removes his shirt. The older man’s back is ribbed and corded and hard-looking, with small scars pocking the surface, from what past injury Honorato can only guess.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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