Bookish selfie…

A snapshot of my recent reading in quotes…

….The commissioner added, “These guys talk about a Day of Retribution, when those who’ve made their lives miserable will get what’s coming to them. We’ve been seeing increasing references to it.”
….“It’s a delicate balancing act,” Joesbury said. “They want to get their communities excited, wound up about what’s coming, without giving too much away.”
….Brabin said, “Why babies? Why was the first attack on babies? How does that fit with their woman-hating agenda?”
….“We think it’s about attention?” Joesbury said. “Terrorists want to shock, to have everyone talking about them. An attack going unnoticed would be the worst kind of failure. Well, what would cause more outrage than an attack on a baby?”
….“Killing a puppy?” Brabin suggested.
….Joesbury let his lips relax into a half smile. “I stand corrected.”

~ The Dark by Sharon Bolton

* * * * *

….While Mannering was gazing round the ruins, he heard from the interior of an apartment on the left hand the voice of the gipsey he had seen on the preceding evening. He soon found an aperture through which he could observe her without being himself visible; and could not help feeling that her figure, her employment, and her situation conveyed the exact impression of an ancient sibyl.
….She sate upon a broken corner-stone in the angle of a paved apartment, part of which she had swept clean to afford a smooth space for the evolutions of her spindle. A strong sunbeam through a lofty and narrow window fell upon her wild dress and features, and afforded her light for her occupation; the rest of the apartment was very gloomy. Equipt in a habit which mingled the national dress of the Scottish common people with something of an Eastern costume, she spun a thread drawn from wool of three different colours, black, white, and grey, by assistance of those ancient implements of housewifery now almost banished from the land, the distaff and spindle. As she spun, she sung what seemed to be a charm.

~ Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott

* * * * *

….A week before he was due to leave, Katherine held a small goodbye tea party for her husband. He had few friends and most of them were also tuners: Mr Wiggers, who specialised in Broadwoods, Mr d’Argences, the Frenchman whose passion was Viennese uprights, and Mr Poffy, who wasn’t actually a piano tuner since he repaired organs mostly – It is nice, Edgar once explained to Katherine, to have variety in one’s friends. Of course, this hardly spanned the full array of Those Associated with Pianos. The London Directory alone, between Physicians and Pickle and Sauce Manufacturers, listed Pianoforte makers, Pianoforte action-makers, Pianoforte fret-cutters, hammer coverers, hammer- and damper-felt manufacturers, hammer rail-makers, ivory bleachers, ivory cutters, key makers, pin makers, silkers, small-work Manufacturers, Pianoforte string makers, Pianoforte tuners. Notably absent from the party was Mr Hastings, who also specialized in Erards, and who had snubbed Edgar ever since he had put up a sign in his workshop reading ‘Gone to Burma to tune in the service of Her Majesty; please consult Mr George Hastings for minor tunings that cannot await my return’.

~ The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

* * * * *

….He began to hiccup with nerves at the thought of facing for the seven hundred and thirty-eighth time his harsh house-keeper – his wife. There she would be, lying in the big shameless bed that filled up half the room, a bony shadow within the mosquito tent, a lanky jaw and a short grey pigtail and an absurd bonnet. She thought she had a position to keep up: a government pensioner; the wife of the only married priest. She was proud of it. “José.”
….“I’m.. hic…coming, my love,” he said, and lifted himself from the crate. Somebody somewhere laughed.
….He lifted little pink eyes like those of a pig conscious of the slaughter-room. A high child’s voice said: “José.” He stared in a bewildered way around the patio. At a barred window opposite, three children watched him with deep gravity. He turned his back and took a step or two towards his door, moving very slowly because of his bulk. “José,” somebody squeaked again, “José.” He looked back over his shoulder and caught the faces out in expressions of wild glee; his little pink eyes showed no anger – he had no right to be angry; he moved his mouth into a ragged, baffled, disintegrated smile, and as if that sign of weakness gave them all the licence they needed, they squealed back at him without disguise, “José, José. Come to bed, José.” Their little shameless voices filled the patio, and he smiled humbly and sketched small gestures for silence, and there was no respect anywhere left for him in his home, in the town, in the whole abandoned star.

~ The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

* * * * *…

So… are you tempted?

25 thoughts on “Bookish selfie…

    • Hmm… I’m not convinced that they will this time! Apart from The Dark, which isn’t really your kind of thing I think, none of them are exactly inspiring me to glow with enthusiasm at the moment… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Killing babies? And puppies! I don’t think I can read The Dark.
    However, The Piano Tuner is very tempting. When I started to play piano I bought an old piano for $5 that should have gone to the tip instead of home with me. My piano tuner tuned it, played something beautiful on it then told me never to call him again to tune that piano.

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    • Hahaha! I thought that was a really amusing dig at the British attitude, where cruelty to puppies is considered far far worse than cruelty to a child! 😉
      Funnily enough, there’s not nearly as much about tuning pianos in The Piano Tuner as I was expecting! How rude of your piano tuner – I hope your poor piano didn’t hear him! 😂 Still, I like to blame my guitar for all the horrible noises it makes – can’t be my fault! – so at least you could blame your piano… 😉

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  2. I do like Sharon Bolton’s work, FictionFan, as you know. So The Dark interests me. I don’t know about that whole killing babies and puppies, though! I’m going to wait for your review for that one. The Piano Tuner got my attention, too. Something about the writing style appeals to me. And you don’t read a lot about piano tuners – somehow that piques my interest. You do have some great choices here, and I look forward to reading what you think of them!

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    • The Dark has started out well but then I got sidetracked by the tennis! I don’t think it’s going to be as disturbing as that quote makes it sound – context is everything! 😉 The Piano Tuner – hmm, I like the writing too but I could do with a bit more plot! However, I’m only halfway through – maybe the second half will wow me!

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    • Haha, I don’t think it’s going to be as disturbing as that quote makes it sound – context is everything! 😉 I loved that quote from The Power and the Glory, but overall I found the book less good than I remembered. Maybe I’m more cynical these days. I did feel sorry for Father José though!

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    • I’m not surprised – the US seems to be going through a spell of madness at the moment. Still, maybe the hearings will achieve some kind of catharsis and get the poison out of the system… 🤞

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  3. Definitely not The Dark — no killing of puppies for me. I shudder at the idea! However, The Piano Tuner’s excerpt sounds intriguing. Of course, I’d have to have more than this big paragraph before actually picking up a copy, but at least my interest is piqued.

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    • Haha, that’s what happens when you take a quote out of context! So far no puppies have been killed – in fact, there are no puppies in it! 😂 Hmm,,, I like that quote from The Piano Tuner too, but the book’s dragging a bit in the mid-section…

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    • The Dark has started well, but I’ve got sidetracked by the tennis now! Same applies to Walter Scott – I’m hoping it’ll grab me more as I go along. Books should never be forced to compete with Rafa for my attention… 😉

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