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Category Archives: fiction

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!

“She’s got that Carraway melancholy.  Bennett Sr. might be the one that put the gun to his head, but they’re all geared that way.”

Balls by Nanci Kincaid

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snippets from books

The Good Children by Kate Wilhelm

Two years earlier a counselor had told Amy that we were not unlike army children, who had to make friends quickly and adjust to new surroundings all the time.  We knew the difference even then.  Army brats were with other army brats.  A best friend on Friday might be half a world away by Monday, but they might meet again later, and they were all in the same situation.  We were always going into a community of children who had known one another for years, who had slumber parties, whose parents knew the other parents and shared car pools, were room mothers, went running together.  If the schools we had come from had not yet touched on subjects, we were the new dummies.  Amy and Kevin had taught me fractions.  Dad had taught Amy how to diagram sentences.  If our previous schools had been more advanced, we were stuck-up, snobs.  We always knew more about geography than anyone, often more than our teachers.  We all learned not to volunteer answers.  Our accents were always wrong — too southern, too northern, too midwestern. . . . We never knew the new recess rules, the pecking order.  If we carried lunches in boxes, the other kids used brown paper bags.  If we took drinks in thermoses, they bought milk at school.  We were used to being out of step for weeks or even months.

snippets from books

“Now we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang.  Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.”

Everybody was willing.  So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it.  It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he musn’t eat and he musn’t sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band.  And nobody that didn’t belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he  must be sued; and if he done it again he must be killed.  And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot, forever.

In Notebook #35, Mark Twain wrote: “In those old slave-holding days the whole community was agreed as to one thing–the awful sacredness of slave property. To help steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a hunted slave, or feed him or shelter him, or hide him, or comfort him, in his troubles, his terrors, his despair, or hesitate to promptly betray him to the slave-catcher when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, & carried with it a stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away. That this sentiment should exist among slave-owners is comprehensible–there were good commercial reasons for it–but that it should exist & did exist among the paupers, the loafers the tag-rag & bobtail of the community, & in a passionate & uncompromising form, is not in our remote day realizable. It seemed natural enough to me then; natural enough that Huck & his father the worthless loafer should feel it & approve it, though it seems now absurd. It shows that that strange thing, the conscience–the unerring monitor–can be trained to approve any wild thing you want it to approve if you begin its education early & stick to it.”

Blockade Billy

I’ve always liked Stephen King’s short stories, although I can never predict where they are going . . . and I think that speaks to his talent as a writer.  ONE of the things speaks to his talent.

. . . But Faraday was what we had.  I remember DiPunno saying he wouldn’t last long, but not even Jersey Joe had an idea how short a time it was going to be.

Faraday was behind the plate when we played our last exhibition game that year.  Against the Reds, it was.  There was a squeeze play put on.  Don Hoak at the plate.  Some big hulk–I think it was Ted Kluszewski–on third.  Hoak punches the ball right at Jerry Rugg, who was pitching for us that day.  Big Klew breaks for the plate, all two hundred and seventy Polack pounds of him.  And there’s Faraday, just about as skinny as a Flav-R Straw, standing with one foot on the old dishola.  You knew it was going to end bad.  Rugg throws to Faraday.  Faraday turns to put the tag on.  I couldn’t look.

Faraday hung on to the ball and got the out, I’ll give him that, only it was a spring training out, as important in the great scheme of things as a low fart in a high wind.  And that was the end of his baseball career.  One broken arm, one broken leg, a concussion–that was the score.  I don’t know what became of him Wound up washing windshields for tips at an Esso station in Tucumcari, for all I know.  He wouldn’t be the only one.

reading assignment

 

 

Book Nuts select books to read and discuss

 

The Book Nuts meet at the Seguin library the last Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. to discuss books (and various other mundane subjects).

The discussions are interesting and lively and the relationships are invaluable!

Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE (13 May 1907 – 19 April 1989; pronounced /ˈdæfni duː ˈmɒri.eɪ/) was an English author and playwright. Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941, Jamaica Inn, and her short stories The Birds and Don’t Look Now. The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Her elder sister was the writer Angela du Maurier. Her father was the actor Gerald du Maurier. Her grandfather was the writer George du Maurier. Daphne du Maurier was born in London, the second of three daughters of the prominent actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and actress Muriel Beaumont (maternal niece of William Comyns Beaumont). Her grandfather was the author and Punch cartoonist George du Maurier, who created the character of Svengali in the novel Trilby. These connections helped her in establishing her literary career, and du Maurier published some of her very early work in Beaumont’s Bystander… [Wickipedia]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the 'old' books are often the best reading

 

snippets from books

Under a low sun, pursued by fish and mounted by crows and veiled in a loud languid swarm of bluebottle flies, the body comes down the river like a deadfall stripped clean.

It proceeds as do all things moving down the Mississippi in the late summer of the year, at a stately pace, as if its blind eyes were busy taking in the blue sky piled dreamily deep with cloud.  Thee will be thunder by suppertime and rain to last the whole night long but just now the early day is brilliant and entirely without flaw.  How long the body has been floating would be a mystery if any individual had yet taken note of its passage and mused so upon it, but thus far, under that sky of blue and white and upon this gentle muddy bed as warm with a school of sunfish and one or two small mouth bass darting warily as thieves, it has passed only empty fields and stands of willow and thick brushy embankments uninhabited.

A crow screams and flaps off, bearing an eye as brown and deep as the Mississippi herself.

Sunday morning, early, and the river is without traffic.

An alligator gar, eight feet if it’s an inch, rises deathlike from the bottom and fastens its long jaw upon a hipbone, which snaps like rotten wood and comes away.  The body entire goes under a time or two, bobbing and turning, the eggs of blowflies scattering into the water like thrown rice.  The urgent sunfish eddy.  The bluebottles hover, endlessly patient, and when the body has recovered its equilibrium and resumed its downward course they settle once more.

Boys note its passage first, boys from the village taking the long way to Sunday school, and their witness is as much nature’s way as is the flow dissolution of the floating body into the stratified media of air and water.  The corpse is not too very far from shore and clearly neither dog nor deer nor anything but man.

“I’ll bet its old Finn,” says one of them, Jo or Tom or Bill or perhaps some other.  On this Sunday morning down by the riverbank they are alike as polished stones.  “My pap says they’ll fish him from the river one day for sure.”

“Go on,” says another.”

“Yes sir.  A worthless old drunk like that.”

“Go on,” says the other again.  He picks up a flat stone and tests it in his hand, eyeing the crow, which has returned and sunken its beak into a pocket of flesh.  “Shows how much you know. That ain’t even a man.”

“I reckon you think it’s a mule.”

“It’s a woman, no question.”

The lot of them go jostling together and squinting into the sunrise and blinking against the glare on the water as if the only thing superior to the floating corpse of a man would be the floating corpse of a woman, as if seeking in unison for a lesson in anatomy and never mind the cost.

Finally, from one of them or another but in the end from the childish heart in each save the learned one, this confession:  “How can you tell?”

“Men float facedown.  Anybody knows that.”  Skipping the stone across the water to flush the crow, ruining his good trousers with the offhand brush of muddy fingers.

Finn by Jon Clinch

page 444

One sentence from Freedom by Jonathan Franzen:

He became another data point in the American experiment of self-government, an experiment statistically skewed from the outset, because it wasn’t the people with sociable genes who fled the crowded Old World for the new continent; it was the people who didn’t get along well with others.