Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….Why hadn’t the explorers known by looking at the sky that the world was round? The sky was curved, like the inside of a huge glass ball, very dark blue with the sprinkles of bright stars. The night was quiet. There was the smell of warm cedars. She was not trying to think of the music at all when it came back to her. The first part happened in her mind just as it had been played. She listened in a quiet, slow way and thought the notes out like a problem in geometry so she would remember. She could see the shape of the sounds very clear and she would not forget them.

~The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

* * * * *

….Through the window of the bar parlour the short red face of Mr. Clark could be seen peering after the lorry. It carried some country policeman in uniform. As near the pond as it could get, it stopped. The policemen clambered down and hauled out a cumbrous apparatus of iron and rope.
….The Chief Constable strode up to the pond. “It’s not so big, Mr. Fortune. We’ll soon make sure one way or the other.”
….“Yes, yes.” Reggie walked around the bank and measured distances with his eye. “We’re going to make quite sure. They couldn’t throw him further than this. Begin from here and work towards that end.”
….The drags were put in and the constabulary hauled and the black water grew turbid and yellow. The ropes strained. “Got something,” the Chief Constable grunted. “Go steady, lads.” Out of the depths of the pond into the shallows came a shapeless mass of cloth. Policemen splashed in and lifted on to the bank something that had been a man.

~The Football Photograph by HC Bailey, in Settling Scores

* * * * *

….“We want a cheap loaf, cheap bread and provisions cheaper!”
….From the back came a song, quiet at first then louder as we all joined in.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common off the goose.

….All of us singing. I hadn’t known the words before I went in, but they were fixed pretty straight by the time I came out.
….I crossed the street, humming the tune and the thought of a good roast goose dinner in my head. I’d have it with sausages or a thick slice of bacon. I didn’t mind. Bacon. My tummy near collapsed at the thought. And peas. All the peas I could eat.
….It was punishing to think of.
….All the singing in the world couldn’t hide a thing. I was hard hungry. And I was no nearer to being fed.

~The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd

* * * * *

….When he writes of the siege of St Andrews Castle Knox can be pacily exciting, but here his tone is warmly hagiographical. He dramatizes Wishart’s words effortlessly. Knox’s plain prose is quickened by biblical phrasings, spiced by local and temporal details like the dyke at the edge of the moor and the pleasant sunshine. In such vignettes Knox writes like a proto-novelist. His wish to manipulate history seems to prepare the soil for the historical novel which would take strong root in Scotland centuries later in the age of Walter Scott. Elsewhere, as Knox delights in flourishing long transcripts of his own arguments and speeches, the reader is soon wearied by his hectoring egotism and realizes that for this man a three-hour sermon might have been on the short side.

~Scotland’s Books by Robert Crawford

* * * * *

….At last we were at the cathedral. Its great grey front, embellished with hundreds of statues and boasting a pair of the finest oak doors in Europe, rose for the first time before me, and the sudden sense of my audacity almost overcame me. Everything was in a mist as I dismounted. I saw the Marshall and Sapt dimly, and dimly the throng of gorgeously robed priests who awaited me. And my eyes were still dim as I walked up the great nave, with the pealing of the organ in my ears. I saw nothing of the brilliant throng that filled it, I hardly distinguished the stately figure of the Cardinal as he rose from the archiepiscopal throne to greet me. Two faces only stood out side by side clearly before my eyes – the face of a girl, pale and lovely, surmounted by a crown of the glorious Elphberg hair (for in a woman it is glorious), and the face of a man, whose full-blooded red cheeks, black hair, and dark deep eyes told me that at last I was in presence of my brother, Black Michael. And when he saw me his red cheeks went pale all in a moment, and his helmet fell with a clatter on the floor. Till that moment, I believe that he had not realised that the king was in very truth come to Strelsau.

~The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

* * * * *

So… are you tempted?

39 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. I’m drawn right away to Settling Scores, FictionFan. The BL and Martin Edwards have put together some great collections, and that looks like one of them. I think one of the things I like best about those collections is that they include authors that a lot of modern readers haven’t really heard of before. It’s a way to get those authors new audiences. The Glasfurd looks interesting, too – I’m liking the writing style.

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    • The Glasfurd is very good, I’m enjoying it a lot. And of course so is Settling Scores, even though some of the sporting terminology is leaving me a bit baffled from time to time! Yes, I like meeting new authors through these anthologies, and it’s good that quite often the BL then brings out one or two of their novels. Although I get the impression some of them really specialised in short stories, which was probably easier back then when newspapers and magazines printed a lot of shorts.

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  2. I’m immediately drawn to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter because of the language and imagery. I’ll wait and see about Settling Scores and The Prisoner. I’m not sure about The Year Without Summer, but I am curious to know more. Scotland’s Books seems as if it would take some dedication!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must say I’m in the unusual position of thinking all of these are very good this week, even Scotland’s Books which I was kinda dreading! I just wish I could get back in the reading groove properly so I could finish one or two of them!! It’s very difficult to keep a book blog running if you never actually finish a book… 😉

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      • You manage to entertain us very well in a widely bookish way 🙂 We all need to give ourselves adjustment space in these strange and strained times. It’s midnight here and the country’s just officially entered lockdown for four weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’ve sort of locked down now too although it all seems a bit confused about who’s allowed to go to work and who isn’t. Fortunately not a problem for me! On the upside, it appears we’re really cleaning up air quality around the world – maybe we’ll learn some lessons from this once it’s over…

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  3. Beautiful writing in that Carson McCullers excerpt. Settling Scores seems interesting. There was enough description in that paragraph from The Prisoner of Zenda to choke a horse. But the situation is compelling. The Year without Summer seems sadly fitting for what’s happening today.

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    • I’m enjoying the McCullers more than I thought I might. They’re all good this week actually. Hahaha – I love that quote from The Prisoner of Zenda – I’m a sucker for that kind of over-the-top melodrama! The Year Without Summer reminds me that things could be worse… 😉

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  4. I’m still intrigued by Settling Scores. Got to get my fix of sports somehow, right? And The Year Without Summer sounds strangely like what we’re all enduring right now. That might be too much for me to take! Still, the selection you’ve chosen is good, and who knows? We might be able to learn something from it!

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    • Settling Scores is very good even though some of the sporting terminology baffles me a bit from time to time! I’m enjoying The Year Without Summer too – although it’s about a disaster, it’s different enough to the disaster we’re currently living through to keep it bearable!

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  5. Settling Scores sounds promissing, plus as a short story collection, it shouldn’t require too much consentration and should be easy to dip in and out as you feel able. I don’t think I could cope with A Year Without Summer just now though. As others have said, it all seems a bit too close for comfort.

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    • Ha, it’s no coincidence that Settling Scores is the one I’m actually getting to the end of! All the books are good this week but my concentration levels mean I’m reading them at a glacial pace. The Year Without Summer is very good – although it’s about a disastrous time too, it’s different enough from what we’re going through currently to keep it bearable…

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  6. “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” is one of the most intriguing titles for a book I am aware of. Whoever can come up with that expression, I suspect, must be at the very least a capable writer or poet and probably much more. Even though McCullers did not come up with the expression, it’s still a fantastic title for a book.

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    • Your comment made me google it and it turns out it’s from a Scottish poet, so I’m feeling a bit of patriotic pride now! (Even though I’ve never actually heard of the poet… 😉 ) A great title can be such a draw – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, And Quiet Flows the Don, For Whom the Bell Tolls… makes me wonder why so many authors opt for a character name or a single word title.

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  7. I’m looking forward to your full review of The Year Without Summer. That one has intrigued me since you first mentioned it! (I think I added it to my wish list at the time)

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  8. The quote you included from the year without summer seems especially fitting right now. Of course, people who weren’t starving before coronavirus won’t be starving now, and yet, we are all shopping like it! Calm down people, you don’t need 6 packages of pasta, the grocery stores are still open LOL

    Sorry this probably seems like a random rant but I went grocery shopping this morning and couldn’t help myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve picked up The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter so many times over the last couple years and not read it. It’s like I’m worried it won’t measure up to her other books I’ve read, which seems silly since I’ve heard so many people say it’s her best.

    I’ve been working my way through the Shardlake series, so it might make for a nice break…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I hope you’re enjoying Shardlake – I love those! The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is very good so far although I’m not far into it yet. But it’s the first of her books that I’ve read so I can’t say how it might compare to her others. Very occasionally it reminds me it was written by someone very young, but not often enough to be a problem so far…

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    • It’s quite heavy going but I’m finding it really interesting so far. I’m only up to the Reformation though – I can’t wait to get to “modern” authors like Scott and Stevenson that I’ve actually heard of! 😉

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    • They’re all good but I’m struggling to concentrate on them at the moment, except for the crime short stories. I fear I shall have to have a constant diet of murder for a while to help me relax… 😀

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