Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….“It’s a bit of a climb from this side,” said Parker.
….“It is. He stood here in the ditch, and put one foot into this place where the paling’s broken away and one hand on the top, and hauled himself up. No. 10 must have been a man of exceptional height, strength and agility. I couldn’t get my foot up, let alone reaching the top with my hand, I’m five foot nine. Could you?”
….Parker was six foot, and could just touch the top of the wall with his hand.
….“I might do it – on one of my best days,” he said, “for an adequate object, or after adequate stimulant.”
….“Just so,” said Lord Peter. “Hence we deduce No. 10’s exceptional height and strength.”
….“Yes,” said Parker. “It’s a bit unfortunate that we had to deduce his exceptional shortness and weakness just now, isn’t it?”
….“Oh!” said Peter. “Well – well, as you so rightly say, that is a bit unfortunate.”

* * * * *

In truth I sometimes lost track of where Buddy’s thoughts ended and mine began. For years I couldn’t tell if I liked a movie or a book or a New Yorker short story without consulting him first. Then later I disagreed for the sake of disagreeing, failing to see how much I was still in his sway. In later years on the show I learned to write lines for his monologues in his voice and to come up with the sort of questions he’d be likely to ask in his interviews. He told me once that I’d become the other half of him, which he meant as a compliment but made me feel weird, like his soul had subsumed mine. One reason I left New York for the Peace Corps was a desire to silence his voice within my thoughts

* * * * *

“Let them go,” he said – “let them go, Catharine, those gallants, with their capering horses, their jingling spurs, their plumed bonnets, and their trim mustachios: they are not of our class, nor will we aim at pairing with them. Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird chooses her mate; but you will not see the linnet pair with the sparrow hawk, nor the Robin Redbreast with the kite. My father was an honest burgher of Perth, and could use his needle as well as I can. Did there come war to the gates of our fair burgh, down went needles, thread, and shamoy leather, and out came the good head piece and target from the dark nook, and the long lance from above the chimney. Show me a day that either he or I was absent when the provost made his musters! Thus we have led our lives, my girl, working to win our bread, and fighting to defend it. I will have no son in law that thinks himself better than me; and for these lords and knights, I trust thou wilt always remember thou art too low to be their lawful love, and too high to be their unlawful loon. And now lay by thy work, lass, for it is holytide eve, and it becomes us to go to the evening service, and pray that Heaven may send thee a good Valentine tomorrow.”

* * * * *

….The Osage had been assured by the U.S. government that their Kansas territory would remain their home forever, but before long they were under siege from settlers. Among them was the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who later wrote Little House on the Prairie based on her experiences. “Why don’t you like Indians, Ma?” Laura asks her mother in one scene.
….“I just don’t like them; and don’t lick your fingers, Laura.”
….“This is Indian country, isn’t it?” Laura said. “What did we come to their country for, if you don’t like them?”
….One evening, Laura’s father explains to her that the government will soon make the Osage move away: “That’s why we’re here, Laura. White people are going to settle all this country, and we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick.”

* * * * *

….Bannerman remembered a cartoon he had seen once in an old Punch magazine. Two crocodiles basking in a jungle swamp, heads facing each other above the muddy waters. One of them saying, ‘You know, I keep thinking today is Thursday.’ Bannerman smiled. It had amused him then, as it amused him now. What bloody difference did it make . . . today, tomorrow, yesterday, Thursday? It was ironic that later he would look back on this day as the day it all began. The day after which nothing would ever be quite the same again.
….But at the moment, so far as Bannerman knew, it was just a day like any other. He gazed reflectively from the window a while longer, out across Princes Street, the gardens beyond, and the Castle brooding darkly atop the rain-blackened cliffs. Even when it rained Edinburgh was a beautiful city. Against all odds it had retained its essential character in the face of centuries of change. There was something almost medieval about it; in the crooked hidden alleyways, the cobbled closes, the tall leaning tenements. And, of course, the formidable shape of the Castle itself, stark and powerful against the skyline.

* * * * *

So…are you tempted?

43 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. Well…I can pretty nearly always be tempted with a Peter May, FictionFan. He’s that talented. And I’ve heard that the Grann is good. I’ll be interested in what you say about them. You’ve got a decent variety of books going this week; I think that makes reading more engaging. A reader can go back and forth among the different styles.

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    • Spoiler alert! The Peter May is great! I had lowered my expectations since it was an early one republished, but I needn’t have worried. 😀 The Grann is making me very angry about the treatment of the Native Americans at the moment! Yes, I do like a variety in my reading – I begin to lose interest if I read too many of the same kind of book one after another…

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  2. I thought I’d read Clouds of Witness but I don’t recognise that quote at all! Time for a re-read (or possibly a first read, if my memory is entirely false…) Happy Golden Age adventures, FF!

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    • I thought I’d read it before too, but it didn’t ring any bells this time so I must have missed it. Well worth a re-read, especially if you’re a Wimsey fan! Ha – I think I’m stuck in a faulty time machine… 😀

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  3. That is utterly FASCINATING about Little House on the Prairie from Killers of the Flower Moon. I read those books when I was little, and obviously those references went right over my head, but now? Jeez.

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  4. I’ve already read Killers of the Flower Moon, but I’m certainly tempted by both the first and the last… particularly the Peter May.

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  5. You’ve reminded me that I have both Clouds of Witness and The Man with No Face – and wish I had more time to read them both now! I’m also impressed by the number of books you have on the go at the same time – quite a feat of juggling I should think. 👍

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    • Ha! I think I’ve given everyone the wrong impression! These are all books I was reading at some point during the last week, but not all at the same time. I finished a couple and started another couple. I usually read three at a time – a factual, a fiction and a crime. I enjoyed Clouds of Witness but loved The Man with No Face, so that’s the one you should prioritise… 😉

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  6. I’ve seen Killers of the Flower Moon and have it on my library list. I’m not sure how this has happened but I’m reading 4 books but really need to spend some time finishing at least 2 of them since they are for buddy reads. So I don’t need to start anything else (although a library hold came in for a nonfiction one I’m curious about)

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    • Killers of the Flower Moon is keeping me in a constant state of outrage about how the Native Americans were treated. I usually read three at a time – a factual (slowly), a fiction and a crime or sci-fi. Although there’s five on here, I finished a couple during the week and started a couple more. #Juggling 😀

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  7. I read KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON last week and will discuss with a book group next week. Then I’ll share more about my experience. It did make me angry. And I already related that it had 3 narrators on the audio – the first was so irritating and the other two were just fine. Of course, I can always be tempted by a Peter May book. Always.

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    • I’m still reading it but it’s making me angry too! Not quite so keen on the way the book’s laid out though – it seems to jump around a lot, and I feel he repeats stuff quite often. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts! You should give into temptation over this Peter May – it’s great! 😀

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    • Ha! No, I think I’ve managed to mislead everyone! These are all books I was reading at some point in the last week, but I finished a couple during the week and started another couple. I usually read three at a time – a factual, which I tend to read very slowly, a fiction and a crime. And maybe an audiobook, though I’m dreadful for starting them and then never finishing them…

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  8. I don’t remember that from my childhood reading Little House on the Prairie! Definitely not Lord Peter, maybe The Man With No Face or The Dakota Winters, but will wait for your reviews.

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