Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…


….Then she closed her mouth, looked again at the cat-eyed boy, and lacing her fingers, spoke her next words very slowly to him.
….“Listen. Go around to the back of the hospital to the guard’s office. It will say ‘Emergency Admissions’ on the door. A-D-M-I-S-I-O-N-S. But the guard will be there. Tell him to get over here on the double. Move now. Move!” She unlaced her fingers and made scooping motions with her hands, the palms pushing against the wintry air.
….A man in a brown suit came toward her, puffing little white clouds of breath. “Fire truck’s on its way. Get back inside. You’ll freeze to death.”
….The nurse nodded.
….“You left out a s, ma’am,” the boy said. The North was new to him and he had just begun to learn he could speak up to white people. But she’d already gone, rubbing her arms against the cold.
….“Granny, she left out a s.”
….“And a ‘please.’”

* * * * * * * * *

….Like two charging bulls they came together, and like two wolves sought each other’s throat. Against the long canines of the ape was pitted the thin blade of the man’s knife.
….Jane Porter – her lithe, young form flattened against the trunk of a great tree, her hands tight pressed against her rising and falling bosom, and her eyes wide with mingled horror, fascination, fear, and admiration – watched the primordial ape battle with the primeval man for possession of a woman – for her.
….As the great muscles of the man’s back and shoulders knotted beneath the tension of his efforts, and the huge biceps and forearm held at bay those mighty tusks, the veil of centuries of civilization and culture was swept from the blurred vision of the Baltimore girl.
….When the long knife drank deep a dozen times of Terkoz’ heart’s blood, and the great carcass rolled lifeless upon the ground, it was a primeval woman who sprang forward with outstretched arms toward the primeval man who had fought for her and won her.
….And Tarzan?
….He did what no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing. He took his woman in his arms and smothered her upturned, panting lips with kisses.
….For a moment Jane Porter lay there with half-closed eyes. For a moment – the first in her young life – she knew the meaning of love.

* * * * * * * * *

….When I first travelled to Europe [from Australia] as a student in 1983 I was thrilled, certain that I was going to the centre of the world. But as we neared Heathrow, the pilot of the British Airways jet made an announcement I have never forgotten: ‘We are now approaching a rather small, foggy island in the North Sea.’ In all my life I had never thought of Britain like that. When we landed I was astonished at the gentle quality of the air. Even the scent on the breeze seemed soothing, lacking that distinctive eucalyptus tang I was barely conscious of until it wasn’t there. And the sun. Where was the sun? In strength and penetration, it more resembled an austral moon than the great fiery orb that scorched my homeland.

* * * * * * * * *

….The flames leap merrily as I write. They must consume all when I am done. They may take me too, in the end, but they will keep me warm first. Perhaps I will be found like poor Brother Severus, whose body vanished into ash and left only his feet and one hand still in the chair! What devil took him so, that charred him even before he went to hell?
….Am I afraid of the other place? What fool is not? Yet I have raised great churches to set against my sins. It is my fervent hope that there is no eternal torment waiting for me now. How they would smile then, the dead, to see old Dunstan cast down! Made young again, perhaps, to be torn and broken for their pleasure. I could bear it better if I were young, I know. How those saints would laugh and shake their fat heads. I wonder, sometimes, if I can feel them clustered around me, all those who have gone before. Like bees pressing on a pane of glass, I feel their souls watching. Or perhaps it is just the wind and the scratching of woodworm in cantilevered joists.
….Settle, Dunstan. Tell the story.

* * * * * * * * *

So…are you tempted?

43 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

    • I loved A Princess of Mars and read a couple of the follow-ups which were great fun too. I grew to love Tarzan too after a bit, but it felt more dated somehow because it’s set in the real world…

    • Totally agree – they’re sheer enjoyment whether set in the jungle or on Mars! It always takes me a few chapters to get back into his style and from then on I love them… 😀

  1. Oh, it’s been a bit since you’ve done a bookish selfie, FictionFan! This is great. I’m finding myself drawn to the Toni Morrison, but I think they’re all worth the time and effort. I’ll be interested in what you think.

    • Yes, the porpy went on strike this week – or perhaps he’s been furloughed… 😉 It’s a particularly good batch of books this last week after a rather disappointing run so it seemed like a good week to resurrect the selfie…

    • I’m enjoying Solomon but so far it isn’t quite grabbing me the way Beloved did – still fairly early days though! Haha – I thought that Tarzan quote was hilarious and just about summed up everything I enjoy about his over-the-top writing style! But I think the Barsoom books still have the edge for me…

  2. I will have to read the Toni Morrison one day – I found her stuff hard but good to read. I read Tarzan years ago and remember finding it kind of hilarious how much Burroughs believed in the innate intelligence of the Englishman. (I seem to remember Tarzan teaches himself to read without ever having interacted with another person.)

    • I loved Beloved but for some reason I’m finding this one harder to get into – I don’t think I’m quite “getting” it yet. Haha – yes, I found the whole innate English gentleman stuff hilarious too, and you remember correctly! Somehow Burroughs manages to defeat my usually strict credibility monitors and take me along for the ride anyway… 😀

      • I’ll be curious to read your Song of Solomon review when you’re finished. I’ve never read any other Burroughs although I’ve always been intrigued by Tarzan and the Ant Men.

        • Ha! Tarzan and the Ant Men sounds great, but I think it’s the tenth or something in the series and I don’t know if I have the strength for all that vine-swinging and rippling biceps…. 😉

    • Me neither till quite recently, but I’m discovering that so many of these old films started out as books. I bet they had to tone it down a lot for the movies though – loads of violence and some very outdated attitudes. Still great fun though!

  3. There’s something about Dunstan that intrigues me. Maybe it’s just the blurb you selected, but I find myself curious over what kind of story this is … and where the plot goes from here. I’ll let you read it first and then come to a clearer decision!

    • As always with audiobooks I’m taking forever with Dunstan but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s basically historical fiction – Dunstan was a real person – and the writing is great! Fingers crossed, but it’s heading for five stars at the moment… 😀

  4. I love the quotes you’ve chosen! All four of those books sound tempting, in different ways…I’ve never considered reading Tarzan, but maybe I should give it a try.

    • It’s been a particularly good reading week – I’m enjoying all of them and loved Tarzan! Burroughs’ style takes a bit of getting used to, but once I get my mind tuned to him I always find him a hugely entertaining writer. Review soon… 😀

    • They’re all good reads this week and I’m hoping I’ll be recommending them all when I finish them. I must admit I’m finding Song of Solomon harder to get into than Beloved – I feel I’m maybe missing lots of symbolism or something…

    • The Europe book is very interesting so far, though I’ve only just started it. I’m suffering panic attacks about Song of Solomon – for some reason I can’t seem to get lost in it. I have a feeling it’s maybe full of symbolism and cultural stuff I’m missing. But it’s early days, so I’m hoping it will end up blowing me away as much as Beloved did…

  5. I loved Dunstan and found it properly entertaining. I went to Catholic school and Dunstan was the name of one of the houses, and little did those kids (Not me, I was in Cuthberts) know their house was named after a pretty dodgy badass.

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