Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….Now, thirty years after it all ended, the Slow seemed the most natural thing in the world. It felt quaint to imagine people reacting to it with shock.
….Hopper knew she was one of the last ‘before’ children: born four years before the planet’s rotation finally stopped. She was a rarity. There had been plenty born since, of course, but the birth rate had plummeted in those final years. The world had paused, waiting for the cataclysm, and those children already young had been treated like royalty – fed well, treated whenever possible, as if in premature apology for a spoiled planet their parents could not mend.
….But during those years, new children were perceived at best as an extravagance, at worst as a cruelty. Why bring a child into a world winding itself down? The chaos and shortages at the end of the Slow had kept the planet’s libido in check.

~The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray

* * * * *

….Mrs. Dreed was not a housekeeper; she was an atmosphere. She was a chill wind blowing down a corridor. A draught under the door. A silence descending on a cocktail party. A shadow on the grass. Mrs. Dreed was always present before she was actually noticed. A premonitory shiver went down the spine, a turn of the head, and there she was – tall, gaunt and usually disapproving. Her dresses were severe and tubular. She wore them with the air of a prison wardress. If Sam’s theatrical guests, in a general sense, be looked upon as Royalists, then Mrs. Dreed was without question the Roundhead in their midst.

~Death in White Pyjamas by John Bude

* * * * *

….The divisiveness of the new ideologies could turn brothers into faceless strangers and trade unionists or shop owners into class enemies. Normal human instincts were overridden. In the tense spring of 1936, on his way to Madrid University, Julián Marías, a disciple of the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, never forgot the hatred in the expression of a tram-driver at a stop as he watched a beautiful and well-dressed young woman step down onto the pavement. ‘We’ve really had it,’ Marías said to himself. ‘When Marx has more effect than hormones, there is nothing to be done.’

~The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor

* * * * *

….His wife replied very emotionally, “No man has ever seen either of my daughters since they stopped going to school when they were little girls.”
….He struck his hands together and shouted at her, “Not so fast…. Slow down. Do you think I have any doubts about that, woman? If I did, not even murder would satisfy me. I’m just talking about what will go through the minds of some people who don’t know us. ‘No man has ever seen either of my daughters…’ God’s will be done. Would you have wanted a man to see them? What a crazy prattler you are. I’m repeating what might be rumoured by fools. Yes… he’s an officer in the area. He walks along our streets morning and evening. So it’s not out of the question that people, if they learned he was marrying one of the girls, would suspect that he might have seen one of them. I would despise giving my daughter to someone if that meant stirring up doubts about my honour. No daughter of mine will marry a man until I am satisfied that his primary motive for marrying her is a sincere desire to be related to me… me… me… me…”

~Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz

* * * * *

….“Well, let me tell you, Jeeves, and you can paste this in your hat, shapeliness isn’t everything in this world. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that the more curved and lissome the members of the opposite sex, the more likely they are to set Hell’s foundations quivering. Do you recall telling me once about someone who told somebody he could tell him something which would make him think a bit? Knitted socks and porcupines entered into it, I remember.”
….“I think you may be referring to the ghost of the father of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, sir. Addressing his son, he said ‘I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, thy knotted and combined locks to part and each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine.’”
….“That’s right. Locks, of course, not socks. Odd that he should have said porpentine when he meant porcupine. Slip of the tongue, no doubt, as often happens with ghosts.”

~Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse

* * * * *

So… are you tempted?

54 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. I do feel I need to meet Mrs Dreed, but I don’t feel I want to meet “me, me, me”! I’ll be interested in your review of The Last Day to see how well that apocalyptic idea was explored – I do like a good apocalypse 😉 Jeeves doesn’t usually connect so much with me, but I love that quote, knitted socks and porcupines indeed!

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    • Isn’t Mrs Dreed a wonderful description? I think I’m finally a John Bude fan! Haha – yeah, the guy in Palace Walk is not my idea of a romantic hero, but actually the book is very good. The Last Day review will be out today so I’ll leave you in suspense. 😉 Haha – I love Bertie and most of the quotes I know come via him rather than from the originals… 😂

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  2. They all look good this week, there is certainly a fair variety. I especially loved the extract from Death in Striped Pyjamas, it is description at its best. I now have a vivid picture of Mrs. Dreed, and we probably all know someone like her.

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    • Isn’t it a brilliant description? I think I can now declare myself a John Bude fan at last! Most of this week’s books are very good – just the history book turned out to be awful and has been ditched. Back to the drawing board on the Spanish Civil War challenge!

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  3. So happy to see Jeeves here, FictionFan! The Bude looks good, too (I haven’t read enough of his work, I sometimes think). It’s good to have those authors you’re fairly certain you’ll like there; that way, if you’re disappointed by one or another of the other reads, well, at least it wasn’t a total loss… 😉

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    • I love that description from the Bude book – in fact, the whole book was great! I think finally he’s won me over. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of Jeeves. 😀 Haha – yes, the history book has been duly deleted from my Kindle. Back to the drawing board on the Spanish Civil War challenge, I fear… 😉

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  4. I’m tempted by the Palace Walk novel set in the culture of 1900’s Cairo, having previously read the undoubtedly lighter weight mystery/crime novels set in Saudi Arabia by Zoe Ferraris (where investigations were conducted only within the social structure) & the Mamur Zapt series also set in a similar age Cairo by Michael Pearce. I suspect it wouldn’t be much less of a serious read than The Last Day ‘end of the world’ novel option, but I think I would be able (& want) to engage more with a culture that existed (& appears to continue in some places) than a futurist fiction.

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    • It took me a while to get into Palace Walk but it turned out to be a great read in the end – it really gives a picture of the culture at that period with no anachronistic judgements of it. Both those series sound interesting – I don’t think I’ve read any mysteries set in Egypt. The Last Day is set in the very near future so it actually has a contemporary feel to it and the society is very much a depiction of how we might behave in those circumstances. I enjoyed it, but as literature Palace Walk is definitely the better of the two… 😀

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  5. So that’s where “the fretful porpentine” came from!! I don’t recall reading Jeeves, so I hadn’t a clue. You’ve got a great batch here this week. I’m especially intrigued by The Last Day. Something odd and creepy going on there, and I’m looking forward to your review.

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  6. This excerpt from the Bude had me adding it to my wishlist at Amazon. Are you sure her name isn’t Mrs. Dread rather than Dreed??

    I’ve marked The Last Day in my library app and almost borrowed it last night, opting instead for a collection of stories by Ted Chiang. I look forward to your review of it!

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    • Haha – isn’t that such a great description? I must say Death in White Pyjamas is my favourite Bude by miles – definitely one for the wishlist! The Last Day review will be out today, so I’ll leave you in suspense… 😀

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