• A.Word.A.Day

    Check out my favorite daily treat, A.Word.A.Day : The magic and music of words.

Teaser Tuesdays: Lillian & Dash by Sam Toperoff

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

lillian&dash

I am really loving this treat: a glimpse into the lives (fictionally rendered here) of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, in their irresistible, funny, dry voices. Here, from inside Hellman’s head:

Store detectives. Hammett once held such a job, briefly. He quit. He identified too closely with the shoplifters.

Of course he did, dear.

Do check out Lillian & Dash; it’s great fun, and this audio edition is tops.

Teaser Tuesdays: Light Shining in the Forest by Paul Torday

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

light shining in the forest

This is a remarkable novel I have here, from the author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I don’t want to say too much about it now… but there is a library.

Now Karen is at the lay-by, waiting for the blue (bookmobile) van to come. She is worried that someone else will get there first, and take out the book before she can, so she has formed a queue of one.

Isn’t that charming? And maybe a little sad…

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

Teaser Tuesdays: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

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

a walk in the woods

My limited experience with Bill Bryson has been positive; he’s a funny man. And a story of hiking the Appalachian Trail sounds appealing. So here we are with Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I must say, though, he does go out unprepared! For example, on waking up his first morning out on the trail:

It seemed very strange, very novel, to be standing outdoors in long johns.

Please tell me he had CAMPED before setting out on this adventure?! He did an awful lot of reading & purchasing, both of which are fine things to do in preparation for a new adventure, but I would also have advised some hiking and camping beforehand as well… we shall see.

Teaser Tuesdays: Never Go Back by Lee Child

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

never go back

Call me crazy, but I think this might be the sexiest Reacher novel yet. It’s early days, of course; I’ve only just begun. I had a long car trip alone up to a mountain bike race at some of my most favorite trails in Texas, and chose to start this latest Reacher book (narrowly edging out Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, which I think is up next). I am not disappointed. For one thing, I was thrilled to learn early on that Reacher has been recalled – he’s back in the army! This can only mean excitement…

My teaser for today:

Reacher led the way. Sullivan went next. The tall guy brought up the rear. They walked in single file, through the dog-legs, left and then right, to the cell door, which was unlocked and unbolted, because Reacher wasn’t in it. Reacher pulled it open and held it for the others. The tall guy smiled and took the door from him and gestured: after you. He was dumb, but not brain damaged.

Stay tuned; I don’t think this will take me long.

Teaser Tuesdays: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

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

out stealing horses

I am enjoying this audiobook on Pops’s recommendation; recall his review here. And I am enjoying, particularly a little joke like this one, in which author Petterson has his narrator note a very strange coincidence and then comment that he does not appreciate it when novelists put such strange coincidences in their books, since they are so unbelievable. It takes humor as well as guts for a novelist to poke at himself in this way! Here is the line that follows…

It may be all very well in Dickens, but when you read Dickens you’re reading a long ballad from a vanished world, where everything has to come together in the end like an equation, where the balance of what was once disturbed must be restored so that the gods can smile again.

A Dickens reference is always welcome as well; and I think this is a fine way of describing Dickens, as coming from a vanished world. It does feel that way sometimes, and perhaps recognizing his work in this way could help us enjoy him.

Well done, Pops. I will carry on.

Teaser Tuesdays: Hotel Florida by Amanda Vaill

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

hotel florida

I am, of course, enjoying immersion in the beautifully composed Hotel Florida, a history of six individuals in the Spanish Civil War.

“THE PICTURE WAS BEYOND PRAISE AND SO WAS YOUR ATTITUDE,” wired Scott Fitzgerald after the screening he saw, at which Hemingway had spoken about la causa and the loss of Lukács and Heilbrun. Fitzgerald sensed in his old and now distant friend an attachment to the film project, and to the war in Spain itself, that had “something almost religious about it.” As so often, he saw Hemingway more clearly than Hemingway saw himself.

I appreciate the larger truth in these lines about the relationship between Fitzgerald (who doesn’t much play into this story) and Hemingway (who is one of its stars).

Also, I am thrilled to note just a handful of pages later an extended excerpt from Goethe’s poem, Der Erlkönig, which I memorized in its entirety for my German class in high school. (In German.) That was fun.

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

Teaser Tuesdays: The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart


drunken botanist

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

I have only just begun this audiobook but have very high hopes that it will follow A Garden of Marvels beautifully. Booze & botany, where can we go wrong? The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks makes perfect sense to me. In her introductory pages, Amy Stewart writes:

If you’re a gardener, I hope this book inspires a cocktail party. If you’re a bartender, I hope you’re persuaded to put up a greenhouse, or at least plant a window box.

I think that puts it very well and succinctly, and I’m on board.

Teaser Tuesdays: John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire by Kim Heacox

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

muir ice

You know I couldn’t pass up a history of John Muir and his role in creating the American conservation movement! I am learning a lot, and not only about Muir and glaciers.

Today’s demographers have estimated that of the roughly 110 billion people who have lived on earth the last 50,000 years, only a small fraction have achieved age fifty and beyond; of those, half are alive today. In other words, Muir was already the beneficiary of a relatively long life.

…although of course, being Muir, he did not go gently into that good night. I am not surprised at these numbers but had never considered such a thing; it’s a little boggling, isn’t it?

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Dying Every Day by James Romm

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

dying every day

Dying Every Day is well named. Nero’s rule over Rome beginning in the first few years AD was marked by death & murder in a multitude of forms, and Seneca, his philosopher/teacher-turned-adviser, offers enormous ambiguities. I chose a teaser for you that makes that point in a single sentence.

To act as imperial panderer, dispatching an ex-slave to the princeps to stop him from sleeping with his mother, brandishing Burrus and the guard as an implicit threat – these were hardly roles he had envisioned when he returned to Rome from Corsica, his trunk full of ethical treatises.

Stay tuned!

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

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

wolves

Hooray for Stephen King as usual! This is a long one, which I appreciate, as I get to lose myself in the Outworld of this novel, the fifth in the Dark Tower series.

For our teaser today: I was struck by these lines.

“But if you get her killed, Roland.. you’ll take my curse with her when you leave the calla, if you do, no matter how many children you save.”

Roland, who had been cursed before, nodded.

Doesn’t bode particularly well, does it?

What are you reading this week?

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