Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….As the column approached the Narva Gates it was suddenly charged by a squadron of cavalry. Some of the marchers scattered but others continued to advance towards the lines of infantry, whose rifles were pointing directly at them. Two warning salvoes were fired into the air, and then at close range a third volley was aimed at the unarmed crowd. People screamed and fell to the ground but the soldiers, now panicking themselves, continued to fire steadily into the mass of people. Forty people were killed and hundreds wounded as they tried to flee. [Father] Gapon was knocked down in the rush. But he got up and, staring in disbelief at the carnage around him, was heard to say over and over again: ‘There is no God any longer. There is no Tsar.’

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….At grey of night, when the sun was gone, and no red in the west remained, neither were stars forthcoming, suddenly a wailing voice rose along the valleys, and a sound in the air, as of people running. It mattered not whether you stood on the moor, or crouched behind rocks away from it, or down among reedy places; all as one the sound would come, now from the heart of the earth beneath, now overhead bearing down on you. And then there was rushing of something by, and melancholy laughter, and the hair of a man would stand on end before he could reason properly.
….God, in His mercy, knows that I am stupid enough for any man, and very slow of impression, nor ever could bring myself to believe that our Father would let the evil one get the upper hand of us. But when I had heard that sound three times, in the lonely gloom of the evening fog, and the cold that followed the lines of air, I was loath to go abroad by night, even so far as the stables, and loved the light of a candle more, and the glow of a fire with company.

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From The Valley of Fear:

….And now, my long-suffering readers, I will ask you to come away with me for a time, far from the Sussex Manor House of Birlstone, and far also from the year of grace in which we made our eventful journey which ended with the strange story of the man who had been known as John Douglas. I wish you to journey back some twenty years in time, and westward some thousands of miles in space, that I may lay before you a singular and terrible narrative – so singular and so terrible that you may find it hard to believe that even as I tell it, even so did it occur.
….Do not think that I intrude one story before another is finished. As you read on you will find that this is not so. And when I have detailed those distant events and you have solved this mystery of the past, we shall meet once more in those rooms on Baker Street, where this, like so many other wonderful happenings, will find its end.

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….They were rich, they were ready, they were ravenous for bear. Nine days into their fourteen-day voyage on the Vanir, the most expensive cruise ship in the Arctic, the passengers’ initial excitement had turned to patience, then frustration, and now, a creeping sense of defeat. As sophisticated travellers they knew money didn’t guarantee polar bear sightings – but they still believed in the natural law that wealth meant entitlement. Ursus maritimus sightings very much included.

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From the Archives…

….What did it mean, sitting in that motel parking lot, waiting to see? What did it mean to know she’d been there, maybe just minutes before, she’d been there, so close you could maybe still feel her, hear the squeak of her tennis shoes on the doormat, smell her baby-soft hair. They’d been there, been there behind one of those clotty red doors, and done such things…and now gone. And now gone.

(Click for full review.)

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So…are you tempted?

51 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. Blimey, Lorna Doone sounds bloody awful! I know it’s supposed to be a classic but I can’t see the appeal. Mind you, I’ve only seen the couple of snippets you have posted here, but even so. The Holmes audio books continues to intrigue and I like the tone of The Ice very much. And my week wouldn’t be complete with a smattering of revolutionary literature – onwards, comrade! 😀

    • Hahaha! I picked that section because it’s one of the better bits! It has actually got better as it’s gone on, but it’s so long, and you really need to enjoy nature writing….and soppy romance… and sexism… and not much plot… actually, why am I reading it??? Fry was great at the Holmes – up there with the best! The Ice – well, hmm, I’d wait for the review before buying… Da, tovarich, power to the people!

      • Whilst I am pretty sure I won’t be reading Lorna Doone any time soon, I am REALLY looking forward to your review 🙂
        And now I am intrigued about The Ice as well – could this be another famous FF 1-star-er in the offing? I think there should be a rule that you feature one really bad book every week. I love your reviews of those 😀 (I love all your reviews, obviously)

    • It’s getting better. The first quarter bored me half to death, but then it picks up. It’s incredibly slow though – you really have to enjoy minute descriptions of nature and farming, but there’s some mild humour in it to keep me going… Stephen Fry did a great job with the Holmes narration – up there with the best, definitely! I shall enjoy dipping in and out of that one over the coming months.

  2. You do have some good reads there, FictionFan. I’m interested in the Fry, and the tone of the Paull is really appealing, too. And I’ll be very interested in what you think if Lorna Doone. Nice, varied lot of reading this time!

    • The Fry narration is excellent, I must say, especially since Doyle keeps saying things like “he spoke with an accent that was half-Irish from the county town of Cork and half-Pennsylvanian coalfield with just a touch of German” – haha! I exaggerate, but not by much! I’d never actually realised before how many different nationalities and accents he packs into his stories. Poor Stephen! 😉 Lorna Doone has picked up a bit but oh my, it’s slow!

    • Stephen Fry has done a great job narrating Holmes – I’ll enjoy dipping in and out of the collection over the next few months. The Ice – hmm, well, I’d wait for the review before deciding! Lorna Doone certainly requires a LOT of patience! 😉

  3. The Ice! This is the first I’ve heard of it, but I’m a sucker for stories about the Arctic… or Antarctic… or exploring… or ice… or snowstorms. I so hope you like this one!

  4. Oh, Sherlock Holmes, for sure! Those others sound a bit wearying, if you know what I mean. Especially the first two … all that running around. Sigh.

    • Oh, are you? They’re great, aren’t they? I love Stephen Fry too, and you can tell he’s a real admirer of the stories, which always makes a difference to a narration, I think. I haven’t really got into He Said/She Said yet – just read the first couple of pages, so not enough to judge (sorry to see it’s in the tedious present tense though!). I’m trying to make some progress with Lorna Doone before getting sidetracked again…

    • Hahaha! It’s getting better, but I don’t know that I’ll be doing any major arm-twisting… there is actually quite a nice vein of humour in it, but there’re also quite a lot of “Oh, do just get on with it, for goodness sake!” parts… 😉

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