Dorothy Parker- The Complete Stories

dorothy parkerIf I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is go back to New York City circa 1930 and kidnap Dorothy Parker.  I would force her to tell me stories.  Ask her for fashion advice.  Writing advice.  Definitely ask for advice about women.  And we would absolutely, absolutely paint the town.  I can’t imagine anything more fun. Continue reading

“Night Thoughts” by Sarah Arvio

Night ThoughtsHow could I not be enchanted by the premise of this book?  Have you not heard me talk about my own “night thoughts” here?  Is there a more fascinating topic?  Sarah Arvio’s “night thoughts” are not the same as mine, however.  Rather than those panicky thoughts in the moments between waking and sleeping, or that come to you in the dark sleeplessness that confronts you upon being awakened suddenly, she is talking exclusively about dreams.

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“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel- Book Review

station-elevenEven as I set out to review this book, I’m not sure how to go about it.  As we’ve discussed here before, literary appreciation is a subjective exercise, at least in part.  And what makes any particular book “good” or “bad” has a lot to do with who you are, the context you are reading that book in, your taste in books, and what other criteria you rely on in assigning that book a value.  There is a body of readers for whom “enjoyment” is the only measure of success.  If they read a book and like it, then that is a “good” book, and there’s nothing you can do to convince them otherwise.  Contrarily, there are bodies of literary criticism for whom nothing written in the last hundred years or more is worth the paper it is printed on.  These same broad general theories have application to specific pieces of literature.  In that context, would I recommend Station Eleven to you?  That depends. Continue reading

Cash Back?

cash backIn a short story I read recently, “The Language of Things Around the House” by Lydia Davis (from her Can’t and Won’t collection), she talks about words and sounds she, I actually don’t know how you’d put it: thinks she hears around the house?  hears in the sounds these things make? thinks when she sees these particular things, internally, but so coherently it is almost like the impressions are words being spoken aloud.  This isn’t exactly that, but I experience a similar phenomenon every time I use my debit card at the store. Continue reading

“The Word Exchange” by Alena Graedon

the-word-exchangeI read this intelligent, suspenseful, and captivating novel a few months ago, and have been trying to figure out how to review it, and do it justice, ever since.  I’m still not sure.  I loved it, but it was almost, and I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but it really was almost too smart.  Too clean.  Too perfect.  Without reservation, I would recommend it highly to anyone.  But it’s intimidating.

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Story Intro?

She was beautiful in all the conventional ways.  Striking blue eyes.  Blond hair.  That smile.  But only the silly (well, the silly and the young), fall in love just based on looks.

Ah, Love.

She held her pen, all business, the angle of her body the perfect balance between assertive and indifferent, the tilt of her head offering also the possibility of amusement, however slight.

“So, what makes you think you’d be a good fit for our firm?” she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he offered.  “I tend to find that I’m a good fit just about everywhere I go.”

 

Blood Meridian, Chapter 18: “Damn if you aint a sorry specimen.”

night riverThis has got to be the shortest chapter in the book, consisting of maybe just a line or two over three pages.  But there are some profound points to consider, particularly as pertaining to the view of zealous Christian religion and the behavior of the judge. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Seventeen: “[M]ore things exist without our knowledge than with it.”

National Geographic PictureINTRODUCTION

There are chapters where things happen and there are chapters where things are said.  I love them all, but especially love the chapters where the judge holds court.  And this one is a doozy. Continue reading

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Does anyone else do the Goodreads Reading Challenge?  I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now, and really enjoy it.  Enjoy it, and hadn’t thought too much about it, until just recently when I read an article on, I believe it was Book Riot, where one of its submitters said she was taking a break from the Challenge, or at least dialing it way back, because of the hold it had taken on her life.  Granted, she had some ridiculous goal of reading something like 300+ books a year, and so found herself reading while eating, reading in the shower, reading instead of ever going out with friends, not sleeping so she could read, and reading junk just to fill a quota.  This is taking it to the extreme.  But I have experienced a micro version of some of these. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Sixteen: “In the desert were drag marks.”

desert-background-with-cactusINTRODUCTION

Lost scouts, found scouts, wild bulls, and lots of drinking, this was another rowdy chapter.  It increasingly seems like all these men have a death wish, or at least a death indifference.  But the judge keeps smiling, and they keep on drinking and dancing.  One gets the distinct impression that things are about to get a lot uglier too.  We’ll see. Continue reading