Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my recent reading in quotes…

….As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable diminishing replicas of themselves inside. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections. The minutes and hours glided by as in a dream. When the cathedral bells tolled midnight, I barely heard them. Under the warm light cast by the reading lamp, I was plunged into a new world of images and sensations peopled by characters who seemed as real to me as my surroundings. Page after page I let the spell of the story and its world take me over, until the breath of dawn touched my window and my tired eyes slid over the last page. I lay in the bluish half-light with the book on my chest and listened to the murmur of the sleeping city. My eyes began to close, but I resisted. I did not want to lose the story’s spell or bid farewell to its characters just yet.

~ The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

* * * * *

….“Do you feel like playing mouse in a little game of cat-and-mouse?”
….Bertie polished his eyeglass industriously. “Absolutely, old top,” he agreed. “I’ll play any part you like, you bet I will, if it means hitting von what’s-his-name a wallop.”
….“That’s fine,” returned Biggles. “This is what you have to do. Go to Karga. Tell Angus what’s in the wind. Get all hands working on the Whitley, making it look as much like a civil machine as possible. Then, at dawn, take off and fly it through. You’ll have to work fast. Come over here at about ten thousand, and then head for the danger zone.”
….“Here, I say, what about some guns?” protested Bertie.
….“You can stick as many guns in as you like, as far as I’m concerned,” granted Biggles. “Angus will provide you with some gunners. But don’t go fooling about. You’re not supposed to fight. Leave that to us. We shall be upstairs, waiting for the Messerschmitts. Angus can send out a radio signal that you’re on your way. If von Zoyton picks it up he’ll soon be after you. Is that clear?”
….“Absolutely, yes, absolutely,” murmured Bertie. “What fun! Here I go. See you in the morning. Cheerio, and so forth.”

~ Biggles Defends the Desert by Capt. W.E. Johns

* * * * *

….Hannah crossed the room and sat on the bed, then sank back, pulled a pillow towards her and pressed it to her face. What was she doing? Was this crazy?
….Ever since she had stumbled across the Vanity Fair article two weeks ago and found out exactly what was happening at the University of Virginia, she’d been too caught up in the frantic forward momentum of her plan to have time to think. Except, no… that was bullshit. She’d had plenty of time to think, she just hadn’t allowed herself to. And now she was in Charlottesville, at the point of no return. It wasn’t too late. She could still leave, take her bags, head back to Maine. Except… she’d be going back to what? More of the same? No chance for change, for things to really, truly, get better?
….No. No way. She was here for a reason and no way was she going to chicken out before she’d even got started.

~ The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

* * * * *

….“A child?” said Edwin Digweed. “We are going to have a child?
….“Not as such,” said Edgar Wield.
….“Not as such. As what then? As an entrée at supper fricasseed à la Swift? As a parthenogenetic earnest of Jehovah’s good intentions? As an early entry to some new Dotheboys Hall you are planning to found here in Enscombe to finance your dotage? Or is this infant in fact a Mafia dwarf turned Queen’s evidence for whom you are caring under the witness protection programme?”
….Wield, accustomed to his partner’s blasts of invective fancy, bowed his head meekly before the storm. When it abated, he said, “Pete Pascoe’s lass, Rosie. I promised I’d show her the menagerie.”
….“With a view to joining it perhaps?
….“Eh?”
….“Edgar, since we set up house together, I have put the interests of domestic harmony above my professional calling and pandered to your bibliophobia by making this cottage to all intents and purposes a book-free zone. And what have you brought into our life by way of return? I shall tell you what. First, an aerobatic ape; then, a possibly rabid dog; and now, a female child. What more need I say? I am speechless. I rest my case.”

~ Arms and the Women by Reginald Hill

* * * * *

So… are you tempted?

38 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

  1. I’ve been wanting to read something by Dervla McTiernan for a while now, FIctionFan, and just haven’t yet. She’s getting some great reviews, and I wonder just what she’s like as a writer, so that one got my attention. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a Reginald Hill (re)read, so it’s good to see that one on your list, too. And a Biggles!!! How fun! You’ve got a nice set of reads going here.

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    • I enjoyed the McTiernan, though I got the impression from reviews that the consensus is that this isn’t her best, and that her series novels are better. I’m looking forward to trying them for myself! Biggles happily turned out to be just as enjoyable to the old me as the young me! And I do like the banter between Digweed and Wieldy… 😀

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    • I’m about a quarter of the way through The Shadow of the Wind now, and still haven’t decided whether I’m enjoying it or not! I love the banter between Digweed and Wieldy – I wish they got a bigger part in the later novels. Ha, I shall have to try to change your mind about Biggles – I feel I may be reading more of them in the future… 😉

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  2. The Murder Rule sounds interesting, but I’d have to read the cover blurb — and your review! — before making up my mind! Not sure I could read through Biggles though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That probably wasn’t the best quote from Biggles – it just made me laugh because the other guy sounded like Bertie Wooster! The Murder Rule was quite fun but I had my usual credibility issues with it… review soon!

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  3. Biggles was my dad’s favourite when he was growing up, and I’m sure I read one or two of his old books at my grandma’s house when I was very young, but I have no memory of them at all now. I await your review with interest to see if I should revisit or if he’s best left in the past.

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    • My older sister was the Biggles fan in our house and got me reading them from a young age. I’m glad to say this one stood up very well to the passage of time – great fun! Review soon… 🙂

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  4. I’m not overly tempted by these, but if I had to pick one, it would be Biggles. It sounds like it would be quite entertaining! I’m currently reading the Graham Greene we talked about reading together later in the year. I totally forgot about that until I was already well into it!

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  5. Reading the quote from Shadow of the Wind it brought home how much more I enjoyed Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s book of short stories I read recently! The Reginald Hill is fun – always happy to encounter Wieldy and Digweed in one of the books.

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    • I’m nearly halfway through The Shadow of the Wind and am still not sure if I’m enjoying it or not! It’s very wordy and I’m seriously hoping the plot is going somewhere worth the long journey. I love Wieldy and Digweed – I wish they got more time in the later books.

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  6. I’ve never read Biggles, but that extract reminds me of Bertie Wooster.
    I was completely enraptured by The Shadow of the Wind when I read it, but cannot remember a thing about it now, even though I thought it life-changing at the time.

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    • Haha, that’s why I chose that quote – it made me think of Bertie too! But really the book is very different – a proper adventure story.
      Well, I’m about halfway through The Shadow of the Wind now and am still not sure where it’s heading, or even if I’m enjoying it or not! Life-changing, eh? That’s an incentive for me to stick with it! 😀

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  7. Well not surprisingly the CRZ book looks and sounds beautifully written – no wonder he’s one of those “I must get to him” authors! And this is the book he’s most known for, isn’t it?

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    • I think so – it’s the first of his I’ve read. It is beautifully written but it’s incredibly long and wordy. I’m hoping the story will turn out to be worth the time investment in the end!

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    • I am enjoying it, although it’s very wordy and I’m still not sure where the story is going even though I’m nearly two-thirds of the way through! Fingers crossed the ending makes the journey worthwhile! 😀

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