Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….“But I do beg you will not countenance that thoughtless way people have of flinging them up into the air. It is liable to do great harm, to confuse their intellects; and a girl, when grown into a woman, has greater need of her intellect than a man. It is a grievous error to fling them to the ceiling.”
….“God’s my life!” cried Jack, pausing in his stride. “You don’t tell me so? I thought they liked being tossed up – they laugh and crow and so on, almost human. But I shall never do it again, although they are only girls, poor little swabs.”
….“It is curious, the way you dwell upon their sex. They are your own children, for all love, your very flesh; and yet I could almost suppose, and not only from your referring to them as swabs, a disobliging term, that you were disappointed in them, merely for being girls. It is, to be sure, a misfortune for them – the Orthodox Jew daily thanks his Maker for not having been born a woman, and we might well echo his gratitude – but I cannot for the life of me see how it affects you, your aim being, as I take it, posterity, a vicarious immortality: and for that a girl is if anything a better assurance than a boy.”

~The Mauritius Command by Patrick O’Brian

* * * * *

….That same day Rachel couldn’t remember which side her father had parted his hair on, and she’d realized again what she’d learned at five when her mother left – that what made losing someone you loved bearable was not remembering but forgetting. Forgetting small things first, the smell of the soap her mother had bathed with, the color of the dress she’d worn to church, then after a while the sound of her mother’s voice, the color of her hair. It amazed Rachel how much you could forget, and everything you forgot made that person less alive inside you until you could finally endure it. After more time had passed you could let yourself remember, even want to remember. But even then what you felt those first days could return and remind you the grief was still there, like old barbed wire embedded in a tree’s heartwood.
….And now this brown-eyed child. Don’t love it, Rachel told herself. Don’t love anything that can be taken away.

~Serena by Ron Rash

* * * * *

….“But you do believe, don’t you,” Rose implored him, “you think it’s true?”
….“Of course it’s true,” the Boy said. “What else could there be?” he went scornfully on. “Why,” he said, “it’s the only thing that fits. These atheists, they don’t know nothing. Of course there’s Hell. Flames and damnation,” he said with his eyes on the dark shifting water and the lightning and the lamps going out above the black struts of the Palace Pier, “torments.”
….“And Heaven too,” Rose said with anxiety, while the rain fell interminably on.
….“Oh, maybe,” the Boy said, “maybe.”

~Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

* * * * *

….Madam Flemington and the minister sat opposite to each other, silent. He was evidently trying to make a beginning of his business, but his companion was not in a mood to help him. He was a person who wearied her, and she hated red hair; besides which, she was an Episcopalian and out of sympathy with himself and his community. She found him common and limited, and at the present moment, intrusive.
….“It’s sma’ pleasure I have in coming to Ardguys the day,” he began, and then stopped, because her eyes paralysed his tongue.
….“You are no flatterer,” said she.
….But the contempt in her voice braced him.
….“Indeed, that I am not, madam,” he replied; “neither shall it be said of me that I gang back from my duty. Nane shall assail nor make mock of the Kirk while I am its minister.”
….“Who has made a mock of the Kirk, my good man?”
….“Airchie.”
….The vision of her eight-year-old grandson going forth, like a young David, to war against the Presbyterian stronghold, brought back Madam Flemington’s good-humour.
….“Ye may smile, madam,” said Duthie, plunged deeper into the vernacular by agitation, “ay, ye may lauch. But it ill beseems the grey hair on yer pow.”
….Irony always pleased her and she laughed outright, showing her strong white teeth. It was not only Archie and the Kirk that amused her, but the whimsical turn of her own fate which had made her hear such an argument from a man. It was not thus that men had approached her in the old days.

~Flemington by Violet Jacob

* * * * *

So… are you tempted?

46 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. Flemington looks good, I need to get my act together and start engaging with Scottish literature again. I also put Brighton Rock on the reading list I created before Lockdown, so I’ll get to it eventually, maybe in a few years.

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    • Flemington was excellent – I must try to write a review before I forget all the details! I also loved Brighton Rock, and the narration was great – another one that’s waiting for a review. I’ll be getting the sack from the blogosphere soon… 😉

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    • I thought Brighton Rock was great – one of Greene’s best. And unlike Serena, it captures the real noir feel, even though it doesn’t have quite the glamour of the femme fatale and so on – seedy noir. What a difference!

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    • I really tried with the O’Brian but I’m afraid all the sailing jargon was too much for me in the end, and I abandoned it. *sobs* Flemington, however, was excellent… 😀

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  2. Not sure any of these sound appealing right now. I’m probably just being curmudgeonly because I’m getting tired of having to stay home. That, and I’m bone-weary, after hitting the grocery-store at 6 a.m. today (after a two-week hiatus). And despite everybody saying the trucks are bringing in products, there are still lots of empty shelves. Grr!

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    • Ha! Even just the idea of shopping at 6 a.m. exhausts me! Our supermarket seems to have got most stuff back in stock now but I’m finding doing very occasional big shops weird – I usually pop down every few days. It’s amazing how as soon as I get home, I remember all the things I forgot to buy… 😉

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  3. Shame on you for sharing one of the better excerpts from Serena! You might make someone want to read it! (and we know how that would probably turn out) 😉

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  4. The Flemington does attract my attention and I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on it (in due course 🙂). The writing in the Rash extract is why I will, in time, read the three novels of his that I have yet to read.

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    • Yes, he really does write some lovely prose and I’d be willing to read another of his some time to see if he can redeem himself, but next time I’ll read the blurb and reviews more carefully before jumping in! Flemington was excellent, and I really must try to write a review of it before I forget why… 😀

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          • I hope you do have lots of enticing classics to come. You have indirectly influenced my local library again! I requested them to purchase an ecopy of Flemington and I got an almost instant positive response, so I’m looking forward to reading this soon. I’ve been buried in Dundee and Angus recently with my family researching so I’m especially interested in these stories.

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            • Oh good! I didn’t read the tales, leaping straight to the novel, but I’ll definitely go back and read them. The novel too is set mostly in that area, but also takes in Edinburgh. The Scottish Books book I’m reading is adding to my list, though not quite as much as I’d hoped…

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    • I went through a huge love affair with his books in my teens and early twenties and have been enjoying revisiting him recently. Some of them are a bit dated now, but when he’s on form, he’s brilliant… 😀

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