Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my reading week in quotes…

….That work room was most the solid and siccar in our house, its hidden heart. My father in a rare flight of fancy cried it The Doo-Cot. Not that we kept doves in it, but rather scrolls of contracts, receipts and undertakings. These roosted together within the wooden cubbyholes that lined three walls of the room, from knee-height to ceiling.
….My father made them himself from ornate panelling ripped from Blackfriars following one of Preacher Knox’s inspirational sermons on Christ cleansing the Temple. Most of the ornamentation had been prised or slashed off the panels, but the occasional serpent, Tree of Life, sheaf of corn and mild ox remained, to my delight as a bairn. They became part of his filing system. You’ll find the Mar papers lying down next tae the Lamb, or, with relish, The Archbishop’s accounts are to the richt o the Gates o Hell.

~ Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig

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….And although it is not among the instincts wild or domestic of the cat tribe to play at cards, feline from sole to crown was Mr. Carker the Manager, as he basked in the strip of summer-light and warmth that shone upon his table and the ground as if they were a crooked dial-plate, and himself the only figure on it. With hair and whiskers deficient in colour at all times, but feebler than common in the rich sunshine, and more like the coat of a sandy tortoise-shell cat; with long nails, nicely pared and sharpened; with a natural antipathy to any speck of dirt, which made him pause sometimes and watch the falling motes of dust, and rub them off his smooth white hand or glossy linen: Mr. Carker the Manager, sly of manner, sharp of tooth, soft of foot, watchful of eye, oily of tongue, cruel of heart, nice of habit, sat with a dainty steadfastness and patience at his work, as if he were waiting at a mouse’s hole.

~ Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

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….The thing about hearing a story like The Count of Monte Cristo from the one-thousand-page version is that whenever you sense an exciting part is coming, you have to wait and wait and wait for it to actually arrive. In fact, sometimes you have to wait so long you forget that it’s coming altogether and let yourself drift off to sleep. But in Billy’s big red book, Professor Abernathe had chosen to tell the entire story over the course of eight pages. So in his version, when you sensed an exciting part was coming, it arrived lickety-split.
….Like the part that Billy was reading now – the part when Edmond Dantès, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, is carted off to spend the rest of his life in the dreaded Château D’If. Even as he is being led in chains through the prison’s formidable gates, you just know that Dantès is bound to escape. But in Mr Dumas’s telling, before he regains his freedom you have to listen to so many sentences spread across so many chapters that it begins to feel like you are the one who is in the Château D’If!

~ The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

* * * * *


….Places, like people, have varying moods, and the moods of London are legion. Perhaps you know London best in a mood of restless toil and ceaseless purpose, or else in a spirit of nocturnal mirth and music. Perhaps your instinctive thought lingers in a dull and dreary street oppressed by the broodings of small happenings that never escape beyond front-doors; on the Embankment at dusk, with its gathering of human shadows; on the poverty of Mile End, the pathos of Regent Street, or the hard splendour of Park Lane’s new palaces.
….But there is one London which you may never or rarely have met. It is the London of the cold grey hour, and you are wise to miss it, for in its period of transition it has nothing gracious to offer you. The tail end of a tired blackness. The gradual, grudging intrusion of a light not yet conscious of its purpose. The chill of empty spaces. The loneliness of eternity. Yesterday’s newspaper slowly materialising on the pavement. Like a woman surprised before she has had a chance to shake off the night and beautify herself for the day, London gives no welcome to intruders at this hour. It pays them back heavily for having witnessed the ugly chaos of its
re-creation.

~ The Z Murders by J Jefferson Farjeon

* * * * *

So… are you tempted?

39 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. Yes, I am tempted by Dombey and Son, which is already on my second Classics Club list and also by The Lincoln Highway, because of its summary of The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas’ account does make it feel like you are imprisoned in the Chateau d’If. It reminds me I have yet to read A Gentleman in Moscow. I’m not sure I want to tackle Farjeon yet.

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    • I’ve finished both Dombey and The Lincoln Highway now and both are well wroth reading if you find the time! Haha, I loved that quote about The Count of Monte Cristo – it applies to so many of the older classics, doesn’t it? 😉

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  2. I loved the quote from the Lincoln Highway, I’ll need to check that one out. For that matter, I also need to read the Count of Monte Cristo, didn’t someone mention it on hear last week? It must be a sign. Ah, Mr. Carker is a great villain isn’t he? I always love Dickens’ detailed descriptions, though can see why some people find them a bit ott.

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    • Ha, yes, The Count of Monte Cristo got mentioned because some reviewers compared it to that awful SF novel I reviewed last week! I’m sure the original is much better! There’s a lot of humour in the Towles, and his writing is great, but there are some oddities about it too – review coming soonish. Dickens’ descriptions are fab – they make the characters unforgettable!. Dombey review also due soonish! (Once the tennis is finished and I can actually get some reviews written, that is…)

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  3. Oh, I’ve missed the Bookish Shelfie, FictionFan! So nice to see it again! You’ve got some good reads on this week, too. And I want to read The Lincoln HIghway; it sounds appealing! Of course, Dickens is always worth a read, too…

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    • Some very quotable books this week! The Lincoln Highway is well worth reading although I have some reservations too – review soon! And Dombey brought me through the festive season in my usual Dickensian fashion! 😉

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  4. The Lincoln Highway sounds good to me (and yes, I read The Count of Monte Cristo back in high school). Are you seriously reading ALL these books at one time?? Gee, no wonder you read so much more than I can!

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    • There’s a lot of humour in The Lincoln Highway and he’s a great writer – review soon! Ha, I’ve never read The Count of Monte Cristo – maybe I’ll add it to all the other monster books that seem to be infesting my TBR at the moment! Well, I finished some and started others so I wasn’t reading all of them at the same time exactly… haha, I do tend to have at least three books on the go at any one time though. 😀

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  5. I’m reading Dombey & Son and enjoying it….well, I was reading it until I put it aside temporarily to pick up Amber & Clay (another thick one)…..Have you seen Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz? It’s categorized as an upper middle grade or lower YA. It contains a substantial amount of Greek mythology, and it’s thick. It’s also fairly violent in its presentation, in keeping with the harshness of the gods. Am reading it for my in person discussion group.

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    • It took me over a month to read Dombey – it’s a monster, even for Dickens! No, I haven’t come across that one – I don’t often read YA or middle grade books. Good to know that young people are having to suffer massive books too, though… 😉

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  6. I have not read anything by Farjeon and that quote doesn’t motivate me, but I probably want to try something by that author eventually.

    Very glad to hear that you liked The Lincoln Highway. Sometime I will get to that one also.

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    • I enjoyed the Farjeon overall – review soon – and his style isn’t all like that, but he does drift off into these literary descriptions now and then, I quite liked that! The Lincoln Highway is well worth reading – he’s a great writer, though as usual I had some small issues with the story – again, review soon!

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  7. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow, so The Lincoln Highway is definitely on my list. I never read his first book, but others have told me it wasn’t as good. How did this one compare?

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    • I always enjoy his writing, and always have a bit of an issue with how his stories play out, and The Lincoln Highway was the same. I’ll definitely be recommending it, but as usual I’ll be complaining about some aspects of it – review soon! I still think Rules of Civility was my favourite, although I’ve enjoyed all three.

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    • Haha, that was successful then! Rose Nicolson is very good so far – loving his use of Scots, but it’s not so heavy that it would be difficult for non-Scots, I think. The Z Murders is an enjoyable romp, The Lincoln Highway was very good overall with a couple of reservations, and Dombey is Dickens! So go for them all… 😉

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  8. I loved Dombey and Son, that quote is one of many occasions when Dickens’ language felt like luxuriating in a warm bath. The quotes from Rose Nicolson and Z Murders also entice me toward those books,

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    • I finally finished Dombey and Son last week – phew, it’s a long one, even for Dickens! I love his descriptions of everything, but especially of villains – he isn’t scared to take a metaphor to its extremes but he does it superbly, and then remembers to keep using it for that character all the way through. Rose Nicolson is another extremely slow read, but I’m savouring every word! It’s the kind of Scottish novel I keep hoping to find but rarely do. The Z Murders was fun – his plotting leaves a little to be desired, but I think his writing is excellent.

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        • Yes, these anniversaries are always tough. I still come across the occasional book in the depths of my TBR that is there because of one of our conversations, or I’ll read a book and wish I could recommend it to her… 🙂

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