Teaser Tuesdays: The Stand by Stephen King (audio)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

Yes, it’s true. In the middle of new work for graduate school and all, I have begun a new audiobook, and it is (of course) a whopping Stephen King novel, my buddy Jack’s favorite of all the Kings. (My iTunes usually tells me how long a book is in hours. This one it says is 1.9 days long.) So here we are. I’ve chosen a teaser for you that I especially enjoyed.

the-stand

Dr. Emmanual Ezwick still lay dead on the floor, but the centrifuge had stopped. At 1940 hours last night, the centrifuge had begun to emit fine tendrils of smoke. At 1945 hours, the sound pickups in Ezwick’s lab had transmitted a whunga-whunga-whunga sort of sound that deepened into a fuller, richer and more satisfying ronk! ronk! ronk! At 2107 hours, the centrifuge had ronked its last ronk and had slowly come to rest. Was it Newton who had said that somewhere, beyond the farthest star, there may be a body perfectly at rest? Newton had been right about everything but the distance, Starkey thought.

I liked these lines for the awesome use of onomatopoeia (a word I never spell without help) and sense of plain fun that King inserts into even the direst or goriest of situations. I love this guy.

Stick around, and maybe I’ll be ready to review this mammoth in a month or three.

Teaser Tuesdays: Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About American’s Lingua Franca by John McWhorter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

Linguistics, race, and what is weirdly unique about the United States: I was drawn to this book for its subjects. It’s just a slim little thing, too. Here’s a teaser for you:

talking-back

When humans move, or are moved, in large numbers and have to pick up a language quickly, typically their version of the language is more streamlined than the original one. This is worldwide linguistic reality, not special pleading for the speech of black people in the United States. We know this from Modern English itself, as well as, if anyone asks, from Mandarin Chinese compared to other Chineses like Cantonese, Persian compared to languages related to it, like Pashto and Kurdish, Indonesian, Swahili, and many, many others.

There is some ambiguity in those final clauses: are we to understand that Indonesian and Swahili are similar to Persian, too, or just the Pashto-and-Kurdish phrase? (I think the latter. Maybe some semicolons would help!) But the overall point is well taken. It’s been an interesting & informative read; I hope you’ll join me.


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

Teaser Tuesdays: Otherwordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely From Around the World by Yee-Lum Mak, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

Otherwordly is a lovely book, which I came across when Shelf Awareness sent me this blog post from Chronicle Books. I immediately bought the book.

otherwordly
It’s just a slim little thing, easily flipped through in a sitting, but I’m taking my time browsing back and forth. Here’s a sample word:

Nefelibata (noun, m+f, Spanish and Portugese): lit. “cloud-walker”; one who lives in the clouds of their own imagination or dreams, or one who does not obey the conventions of society, literature, or art

And the illustrations are perfect, too. I wish you could see the illustration that accompanies this (and one other) word on this spread: a crowd of people in dark somber colors, raincoat and umbrellas, and the one young woman with her head bare, a red ribbon in it, a red coat, holding a bunch of tulips. Her head is raised slightly to the sky and she has a hint of a smile on her lips.

My review to come.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Evening Road by Laird Hunt

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

The Evening Road is a meandering novel set on the country roads of Indiana on a terrible night. One of its several strengths is in the two strong voices it’s told in, and the turns of phrase it employs.

evening-road
For example, in describing the details that don’t seem like they’d matter, but do:

There is a curve to a piece of fried catfish that satisfies the eye. Leads you off to the rocks and reeds of the river where it once swam. I was about to set in to cutting at the center of that curve when a nickering voice nosed the air just behind me.

Doesn’t that make you hungry? And I like what we learn about the incoming voice with the use of that verb, nickering.

This one is coming in February; keep your eyes open.


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

Teaser Tuesdays: Take Me to Paris, Johnny by John Foster

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

I am reading a beautiful, sad memoir about a love affair and the death of the beloved to AIDS. Juan was a Cuban refugee living in New York City and training as a dancer when he met John, an Australian history professor.

take-me-to-paris-johnny
John Foster tells this story with some lovely lines, like these.

I have one other memory of that November afternoon: the wind. It whipped off the river sharp and mean, and we were glad to step down from the street into the musty warmth of the subway on our way home. Juan was still living out of the bag of summer clothes that he had deposited, and since retrieved, at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Deceptively simple; but can’t you feel the wind? Whipping off sharp and mean really gets it there, for me. As I read this book, I feel like the tone of the title suits it: dreamy, sad, with some whimsy. Look for my review closer to the December pub date.

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

Teaser Tuesdays: Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, trans. by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

This one will be coming to you as a Maximum Shelf in the next few months, and the book, not until March (sorry). It is Malin Persson Giolito’s first novel to receive an English translation, and we are in for a treat.

quicksandI’ve chosen this teaser because I think it speaks to some of the themes of the book.

The people in this room do not go together. People like us don’t usually spend time together. Maybe on a Metro platform during a taxi-driver strike, or in the dining car on a train, but not in a classroom.

The plot centers around a school shooting, but has quite a few other things going on, including commenting on class, immigration, race and racism, media and the criminal justice system. Essentially, in all those areas, it’s concerned with how people do and do not naturally go together. So what happens when a mismatched group, as our narrator feels this one is, is thrown together?

Stay tuned!

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

Teaser Tuesdays, in praise of words: Gods, Wasps and Stranglers by Mike Shanahan

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

If you’ll excuse me for reprising the book from last Friday’s book beginning, I couldn’t resist these lines about how the name of the Ficus benjamina came to be.

gods-wasps-and-stranglers

Linnaeus gave the name Ficus carica to the common domesticated fig species after Caria – a region of ancient Anatolia in what is now Turkey. The scientific name he gave the other fig of my childhood, Ficus benjamina, has a more convoluted origin. Cut the tree and white latex will bleed out. Various other species also produce this particular kind of sticky fluid, which people have used for centuries to make perfumes, incense, medicines and other products. This substance is known as gum benzoin, from an Italian interpretation of a Javan word that is Arabic in origin. English tongues mangled the word some more to form ‘gum benjamin.’ So over time, the benzoin trees ended up being called benjamin trees, hence the benjamin fig (Ficus benjamina). I prefer its better-known name – the weeping fig – which it got because, when it sheds its leaves, they fall like green tears to the ground.

Whew! and, isn’t it extraordinary, the journey that term has made through languages and geography to bring a standard “ficus” tree to us? I love language.

The rest of the book is excellent, too.


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

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