Teaser Tuesdays: The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

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

unraveling

I’ve only just started this book, so this teaser comes from the early pages, and I am nearly as ignorant as you are about Mercy Louis and her setting.

The whole world falls apart in summer. Murder rates rise with the heat, hurricanes brood off the coast, waiting to batter us.

One thing I do know is that she is an unusual teenager, dreading rather than happily anticipating summer. There is a sense of foreboding from the very first pages.

I fancy myself familiar with her small town, on the Gulf Coast and on the border between Texas and Louisiana, because that’s not far from where I grew up. But the differences between the big city (mine) and the small town can be huge.

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Her Own Vietnam by Lynn Kanter

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

vietnam

Our protagonist, Della, was an army nurse and is only just beginning to attempt to deal with her experiences there.

Suddenly every conversation was about Vietnam. After all this time, she finally wanted her family to ask her about it, but when they did she didn’t like it, or she didn’t like the questions they asked or the way they squirmed when she answered.

So simple, this concept, despite its self-conflict; and so representative, I think. I love that in a piece of writing.

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Suitcase City by Sterling Watson

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

suitcase

From just the first few pages:

They were the easy, pretty people who stopped in at the Cedar Key docks and ate in the restaurants and then sailed on to the next piƱa colada or planter’s punch. Teach called them the Whatever People. Whatever was an attitude, a place where people had enough time and money to let things happen to them, things that felt good.

These lines set up the backdrop of this book in several ways. We learn our geographical setting, as well as the class background of the protagonist, and his attitude towards others. I think that’s solid. And I like the concept of the Whatever People. Something about this idea reminds me of the Fitzgeralds, Scott and Zelda, always so aware of everyone’s class and of what they could afford to not care about.

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Dead Wake by Erik Larson

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

dead wake

Unsurprisingly, Erik Larson’s newest release is outstanding, a masterpiece of gripping narrative writing with its own momentum. No one would ever think to compare this to a standard, old-fashioned book of history.

One of the things I think he does well is juxtaposition. For example, read these few lines, and imagine them side-by-side with a description of life aboard a German military submarine.

Aboard the Lusitania, there was quiet. There were books, and cigars, and fine foods, afternoon tea, and the easy cadence of shipboard life: strolling the deck, chatting at the rails, doing crochet, and just sitting still in a deck chair in the sea breeze. Now and then a ship appeared in the distance; closer at hand, whales.

It’s the whales that do it for me.

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

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.

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