Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

The train tore along with an angry, irregular rhythm. It was having to stop at smaller and more frequent stations, where it would wait impatiently for a moment, then attack the prairie again. But progress was imperceptible. The prairie only undulated, like a vast, pink-tan blanket being casually shaken. The faster the train went, the more buoyant and taunting the undulations.
Guy took his eyes from the window and hitched himself back against the seat.
Miriam would delay the divorce at best, he thought. She might not even want a divorce, only money. Would there ever really be a divorce from her?
Hate had begun to paralyse his thinking, he realised, to make little blind alleys of the roads that logic had pointed out to him in New York. He could sense Miriam ahead of him, not much farther now, pink and tan-freckled, and radiating a kind of unhealthful heat, like the prairie out the window. Sullen and cruel.

* * * * * * * * *

The Graduate appeared in movie houses just as we young Americans were discovering how badly we wanted to distance ourselves from the world of our parents. It was not that the film dealt directly with racial unrest, campus protests, or an overseas war. Benjamin Braddock’s story was never intended as an accurate picture of the late sixties. Its makers had casually imagined their tale as set in 1962, the year in which Charles Webb wrote his original novel. (That’s why Ben, lounging in his family backyard, has no fear of receiving that “Greetings” letter from his draft board.) Still, The Graduate‘s prescience about matters of grave concern to the Baby Boom generation gave it a life of its own. If we young Americans were anxious about parental pressure, or about sex (and our lack thereof), or about marriage, or about the temptations posed by plastics, it was all visible for us on the movie screen. Today The Graduate continues to serve as a touchstone of that pivotal moment just before some of us began morphing into angry war protesters and spaced-out hippies.

* * * * * * * * *

Then, at just about two o’clock, they saw where they were. A quirk of wind tore the clouds apart, and two wicked peaks loomed above a line of cliffs and the perpendicular faces of glaciers that dropped sheer into the sea. The coastline looked to be about a mile away, perhaps a little more. But vastly more important, in that single glimpse, they saw to their terror that they were only a short distance outside the line of breakers, the point at which the seas ceased to behave like swells and became combers instead, rushing faster and faster towards their own destruction against the land. As each swell passed under them, they could feel it tugging momentarily at the boat, trying to get hold of her and hurl her toward the beach. It seemed now that everything, the wind, the current and even the sea itself, were united in a single determined purpose, once and for all to annihilate this tiny boat which thus far had defied all their efforts to destroy it.

* * * * * * * * *

Dear Mr Macfarlane

You call yourself a banker, you sad little man. Worse, you call yourself a ‘personal’ banker and yet you hide and cower behind the faceless law. As a banker you are meant to offer fiscal support – not withdraw it. And to send a writ, like that, with no warning . . . It defies belief. Or rather it doesn’t defy belief – a second’s thought makes one realize that it is the nasty little bureaucrats, the creepy apparatchiks of the financial state like yourself, who are the true enemies of people like me. People with ambitions, with dreams – artists, in other words. Someone, some worm like you, some vile money-lender in Renaissance Italy, would have closed da Vinci’s line of credit. I herewith terminate my account with your bank. I herewith counter-sue you for incompetence and negligence. I herewith warn you that I will write to every consumer website on the planet and inform them of –

From the story Unsent Letters

* * * * * * * * *

From the Archives…

“…I did what the Color Master had asked, and went for blue, then black, and I was incredibly slow, but for one moment I felt something as I hovered over the bins of blue. Just a tug of guidance from the white of the dress that led my hand to the middle blue. It felt, for a second, like harmonizing in a choir, the moment when the voice sinks into the chord structure and the sound grows, becomes more layered and full than before. So that was the right choice.”

* * * * *

“As she unlaced her blouse, he touched fingertips to her trembling bare shoulders and explained in his low gravel that he only ate human beings he did not know. I know your name now, he murmured. I know your travels. You’re safe.”

(Click for full review)

* * * * * * * * *

So…are you tempted?

34 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. Thanks goodness, none of these tempt me (a first!) but I still weep for those brave adventurers in their tiny boat! I will be reading the review of this one through my fingers, lest the tragedy I imagine plays out…
    (I am feeling rather more traumatised than I would like for a Tuesday morning!)

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  2. I had a moment of unease re ‘Mrs Robinson’ where I lost the plot of ‘this is opening lines’ and thought for a moment that you had changed your nationality!

    Actually those all look good (especially the two I have already read and reviewed (!) the Highsmith and the Bender – I have a feeling that you were the one who said the Bender would be one for me, all that time ago.

    Any unread Boyd will automatically raise interest……

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    • Hahaha – I see what you mean! I’m glad the bit that surprised you was the “Americans” and not the “young”…

      I’ve been meaning to read more Bender since 2013 – doing this From the Archives thing keeps reminding me of authors I meant to follow up on… *sighs* The Boyd… hmm, it’s not grabbing me… but maybe it’s the fault of the tennis watching…

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  3. You always tempt me!! I did buy Strangers on a train and need to read it. The Graduate is such a good movie…I think I’ve watched it at least twice. Is the book about the movie or an analysis? Great post.

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    • I just watched The Graduate tonight for the first time in years – I’d forgotten just how good it is! The book so far has been about the making of it and analysing it – very well – but I get the feeling the second half is going to be about its impact on culture and later cinema. It’s interesting so far… 🙂

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  4. Oh,Strangers on a Train is such a classic, FictionFan! I really hope you’ll enjoy that one. Such suspense! And The Graduate is one of my top five films. I’d be interested in what you think of that one’s treatment of the film. A good week for you, methinks.

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    • I did enjoy Strangers on a Train but maybe not as much as I anticipated – I think because I love the film so much, perhaps. The Graduate book is very good so far – interesting and well written – and a great excuse to watch the film again! Yes, cutting down on review copies is allowing me to pick lots of good stuff at the moment. 🙂

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  5. Good, after the Audible daily deal “debacle” (I already fell victim), I’ve already read everything that’s tempting me here today. Now I will have Simon and Garfunkle in my head all day (“here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…”).

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    • Haha – I have to be strict with myself on the Audible Daily Deals since I only get through a couple of audiobooks a month at most – but it’s hard! I’m so glad to have Simon and Garfunkel in my mind, finally erasing Boney M’s Ra-Ra-Rasputin… 😉

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    • I had never come across colour magic before but that was a wonderful story. There are several great stories in that collection, in fact – I found myself wanting to re-read it. *sighs* Endurance is wonderful!

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  6. YES!! These look most intriguing (I know, a first, huh?!!) I might have to expand my TBR, doggone it! I’m glad I don’t have to choose which one to dive into first, ha!

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  7. As always a varied selection, the Seduced by Mrs Robinson has me intrigued – I remember watching a substantial amount of this film whilst babysitting and I missed the ending because the parents returned home 🙂 I did catch up at a later stage – that will sound so odd to anyone born more recently i.e. after the days of videos and streaming! Fortunately I managed to see the whole film at a later date.

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    • Hahaha – yes, it used to be fun when you could only watch things when they were ON! Actually I think I concentrated better on them then. Now it’s too easy to hit that pause button… 🙂 I just re-watched it tonight – I’d forgotten just how good it is. And the book’s good so far too.

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