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Category Archives: fiction

snippets from books

Anyone who has ever owned or cared for or loved (and who doesn’t?!) a dog, will find this book moving.  {An aside: I often dream about the last dog we owned – Ginger – such a sweet sweet dog we had for fourteen loving years and I miss her to this day.}

A ‘blurb’ on the jacket of W. Bruce Cameron’s novel, A Dog’s Purpose A Novel for Humans:

“Usually when I read a book this brilliantly written, I wish I had written it, but in this case I’m just grateful it was written at all.  For years I grieved and agonized over the choices I made in caring for my dog at the end of her life, but after hearing from Bailey how deeply our dogs feel what we humans go through, I know my dog loved me till the end, and loves me still, as I love her.  This book healed me.” – Cathryn Michon, author of the Grrl Genius Guide to Life

One afternoon I was drowsily watching Sister and Fast yank on a scrap of cloth they’d found when my ears perked up–an animal of some kind was coming, something large and loud.  I scrambled to my feet, but before I could race down the creek bed to investigate the noise Mother was there, her body rigid with warning.  I saw with surprise that she had Hungry in her teeth, carrying him in a fashion that we’d left behind weeks ago.  She led us into the dark culvert and crouched down, her ears flat against her head.  The message was clear, and we heeded it, shrinking back from the tunnel opening in silence.

When the thing came into view, striding along the creek bed, I felt Mother’s fear ripple across her back.  It was big, it stood on two legs, and an acrid smoke wafted from its mouth as it shambled toward us.

I stared intently, absolutely fascinated.  For reasons I couldn’t fathom I was drawn to this creature, compelled, and I even tensed, preparing to bound out to greet it.  One look from my mother, though, and I decided against it.  This was something to be feared, to be avoided at all costs.

It was, of course, a man.  The first one I’d ever seen.

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Teaser Tuesday (one sentence)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

She had lived in the neighborhood since defecting from the suburbs the week after that funeral, but she generally avoid setting foot inside St. Raphael Cathedral, wary of her ancestors’ brand of piety.

Colleen Smith’s novel, Glass Halo, is a gem.

Nick Bantock (author of the Griffin and Sabine series) writes: “Eloquently bittersweet, Glass Halo takes you through a stained window into a world of shards.”

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

Two sentences from Bloodroot by Amy Greene:

I didn’t see nothing wrong with John Odom at first, but even if I’d seen that snake coiled up inside his heart I wouldn’t have tried to stop her.  I could tell by her eyes Myra had to have him whatever the outcome.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays  participants can add the book to their To Read Lists if they like your teasers!

The Dog of the South by Charles Portis is a gem!

My wife Norma had run off with Guy Dupree and I was waiting around for the credit card billings to come in so I could see where they had gone. . . . They had taken my car and my Texaco card and my American Express card.

snippets from books

Melanie Rae Thon writes that “If Evan S. Connell, William Faulkner, and Norman Maclean had been born as one person, he might possess the extraordinary gifts of Bruce Machart.  The Wake of Forgiveness is a wild, Godforsaken cry delivered in language so lush we cannot stop listening.  The dazzling velocity of Machart’s prose bears a tale redemptive and resonant as myth, insistent and intimate as breath in the body.”

From the book:

The horses, they’re beautiful, though no longer the most beautiful in Lavaca County, and they don’t work the fields.  They race, they rest, they eat, they mate, and they race.  That don’t pull a plow.  That work Vaclav leaves to his four sons, and when Guillermo Villasenor drives his two Spanish-bred stallions and three olive-skinned daughters up the farm-to-market road from town, and when the carriage clears a thick stand of mesquite trees with arthritic branches and thorns long enough to skewer a foot in a way only careless barefoot boys and Jesus might fully appreciate, and the girls get their first glimpse of their future husbands, what they see, instead of blond-haired and handsome Czech farm boys, like they’ve been told by their father to expect, are weathered young men straining against the weight of the earth turning in their wake, their necks cocked sharply to one side or the other, their faces sunburned despite their hats and peeling and snaked with raised veins near the temples, their boots sliding atop the earth they’re sweating to unearth.  The four of them work harnessed two abreast in front of their father; who’s walking in their work, one foot in each furrow, spitting stained juice between his front teeth and periodically cracking a whip to keep the boys focused and the rows straight.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

May and I have no intention of getting on that boat.  We couldn’t even if we wanted to because I threw away the tickets, but our parents don’t know that.

snippets from books

Which is the proper response to a written invitation?  When introducing couples what name is given first, the gal’s or the dude’s?  When does a man take his hat off, and why is he wearin’ one anyhow?  What is the usual hour of the day to start passing the jug around at an informal wine-tasting party?  Does shrimp cocktail call for this fork or that fork or some other goofy utensil you never heard of and wouldn’t recognize if the First Lady stabbed it into the back of your  ******* hand?

Jamalee had acquired a great thick dilapidated and somewhat dampened book of manners, and the book smelled like a cotton picker’s hatband.  She spotted lessons in that volume and tossed them before us, and we three snuffled after the kernel of meaning.  The main idea was that we should each of  shed the skin that limited us, the social costumery we wore that communicated our low-life heritage at a glance, and adopt a new carriage and a routine of manners and that air of natural-born worthiness that the naturally born worthy displayed.

“We weren’t raised with decent values,” she said.  “We’ll have to memorize some on our own.”

Jamalee needed to borrow a desert of hot sand and scour it through our skulls so we could start over with scrubbed-clean skulls and build uncrippled brains to stock anew with useful thoughts and habits and intentions.

This process went on over a span of days.

Jamalee would bow her tomato head, dive into the warped pages of that book, then trot out more protocol you couldn’t imagine ever needing to know.  She was teachy around many themes: learn this, taste this, become that different thing.  She wanted us to become “civilized,” which I think to her meant to ape the quality folks right down to spittin’ at our own shadows.

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell