Teaser Tuesdays: Father Brother Keeper by Nathan Poole

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

father brother keeper

Usually I pick out these teaser bits for you especially, but with this lyrically wonderful little book, I opened at random and found these striking lines.

All night long the dealership lights gleam in the madness of the razor wire. Large violent curls, beautiful and intricate, hang in bobs up the tall inverted parabola, and it makes you wonder, seeing all that razor wire, seeing it shine all night long, just who is living in there, and why all that fuss, and what would they do to you if they met you on the street. Would they say warm, strange things to you? Would they tuck you in, hand you the gift of a story, an old knife, kiss your forehead softly like a mother?

I think it’s a fine test of poetry, to open a book and fine something like this. The content is excellent, too.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: Death Comes for the Deconstructionist by Daniel Taylor

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

deconstructionist

There is a lot to recommend this funny little book, a novel about mental illness, academia and philosophy, with a murder mystery thrown in. For example, you know I couldn’t resist this:

So much information in one library, mountain ranges of information, Mariana Trenches of it. Earthly metaphors are insufficient; one has to go galactic to find adequate imagery for the near infinitude of what there is to know – even in this single word palace – and the heartbreaking finitude of my one little brain.

I like a good celebration of libraries, of course, and the imagery used here. Stick around…

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

hemingWay of the Day & Teaser Tuesdays: Hell and Good Company by Richard Rhodes

hembut2

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. hemingWay of the Day is my own.

hell

I was drawn to Hell and Good Company because of my interest in the Spanish Civil War, which in turn was born of my love of Hemingway, of course. So it’s natural that I’d be drawn to the lines that concern him. Sorry I’m so predictable! Hem is not the main star of this book – far from it – but I had to share these few lines.

About the Hotel Florida:

Its primary attraction was hot water. Such comfort, hardly available anywhere else in Madrid, came at a price: the Florida was directly in the line of fire from the nationalist artillery on Garabitas Hill in the Casa de Campo. Ernest Hemingway recalls people “paying a dollar a day for the best rooms in the front” of the hotel. “The smaller rooms in the back, on the side away from the shelling,” where Hemingway stayed, “were considerably more expensive.”

I like this for its dry humor, but also for its evocation of the strange circumstances of the war in Madrid: that life was carrying on, that Hemingway and others were visiting the front & literally dodging bullets by day and holding champagne parties by night in this hotel, where the best rooms had become the worst but otherwise things were carrying on.

And more about Hemingway, from poet Stephen Spender:

“A black-haired, bushy-mustached, hairy-handed giant,” Spender describes him, adding that in his behavior “he seemed at first to be acting the part of a Hemingway hero.” Spender wondered “how this man, whose art concealed under its apparent huskiness a deliberation and delicacy like Turgenev, could show so little of his inner sensibility in his outward behavior.”

This captures Hemingway nicely, and perhaps what draws me back to him as well: that he is so macho, so obnoxiously obsessed with being his own hero, also has that sensitivity & artistic talent, but feels the need to hide it. There’s nothing so fascinating to me as that interior conflict.

Of course, stay tuned for my review of this book, which I assure you (despite the above) is not nearly as Hemingway-obsessed as this blogger is.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

two-wheeled thoughts & Teaser Tuesdays: Luigi’s Freedom Ride by Alan Murray

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click for details

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Two-wheeled thoughts is my own.

luigi

I am very excited about Luigi’s Freedom Ride, a novel that accomplishes what Life is Beautiful did in film: a story about the horrors of World War II, but that is also funny, joyful, hopeful. And bicycles! Really! Go out and get this one. Review to come, but I wanted to share two bike-related lines that amused me.

Who there could possibly doubt the determination of this young, fit, self-assured bicycle man?

Who, indeed? Yes, I regret that this has to be so man-centered; but to give a little context, the setting is a 1930’s war-bound Italian culture of machismo – and the next lines are spoken in a military training camp.

All that truly mattered was mastery of the bicycle, and the unbreakable, manly bonds that flowed from such mastery.

Manly bonds! And with that I leave you.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

sunset
A new novel is coming out about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years, spent in Hollywood eking a living while Zelda wobbled along at Highland Hospital. You know I’m all over this one. Just behold the characterization in these lines.

…as he cleaned out the closets and dresser drawers, he discovered empties he couldn’t remember hiding. He would have said he’d been good about drinking, but he’d only been here six months and just upstairs there were a dozen bottles. He gathered them in a burlap sack, waited till the night watchman had passed and stuffed them deep in Bing Crosby’s trash.

And I love the oddball addition of Bing, that this suffering drunk, sordidly hiding his empties in somebody else’s trash, hid them in Bing‘s trash. Because that was his world.

I think it’s going to be a good one. Any Stewart O’Nan fans here?

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

haiti

God Loves Haiti is a novel set in the 2010 earthquake suffered by that country, and is peopled by some striking characters – for example, the one in these lines:

…The moment, this dream-concretizing climax, felt ephemeral. Like she was about to wake up where she was born, in a roofless orphanage, naked, afraid, hungry, but pugnacious.

There is shock value to learning her roots, yes, but I love that string of adjectives for more than its shock value: how about that pugnacity, hm? Stay tuned.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: Publishing by Gail Godwin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

publishing

The plentifully published Gail Godwin looks back on her career in Publishing. She is charming and humorous as well as moving; and I think these lines begin to express that.

“What kind of editor would you like to work with?” was Robert Gottlieb’s first question to me in his office, and I replied rather pompously, “Well, it will have to be someone who appreciates great literature,” then burst into sobs.

and several paragraphs later,

…on that late 1970 December day, he waited out my sobs and then said kindly, in response to my Great Literature stipulation, “Well, Gail, I’m afraid that’s going to be me.”

Lest you think her, well, obnoxiously pompous, I assure you she had reasons to be crying that day. And this description of these events is, I think, sweetly funny. I do recommend her.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

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