RSS Feed

Tag 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!

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.

Advertisements

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

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

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!

I had at once pushed back the bedclothes and tiptoed into my mother’s room–and there sure enough had found her staring at the ceiling all glassy-eyed and with her throat cut.

Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar

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.”

“A door is just an idea.”

Florida people were generally used to storms.  Most people had stories to tell about hurricanes or tornadoes or floods at least.  there was a strange excitement in the danger.  Not much bravado, just an acceptance of the perils of nature as the divinely inspired way of things.  People facing storms had the opportunity to contemplate their lives, to prepare for the possibility of death — which most likely would not happen — but the exercise was a good one.  It made people grateful instead of bitter.  Afterwards, even if everything was ruined, you could feel good just being alive.  Spared is what people would say they were.  Spared mean chosen, special, with purpose.  How many people could say that about themselves?  It was like something to look forward to.

We played cards by candlelight late into the night.  Gin.  Mother mostly won.  Sowell’s heart wasn’t in it.  He wasn’t paying attention.  Even Wade could beat him.  We ate carrots and pickles and slices of white bread with preserves.  The food in the refrigerator had begun to spoil.  It was beginning to put off a smell.

The thunder was insistent, like door knocking that would not let up.  It seemed about making us let something inside — and we didn’t want to.  We refused.  The early thunder was almost polite, distant and just as comfortable as hearing your name called at suppertime.  But the later thunder had lost all patience, given up on convincing us and decided to threaten us, like a maniac who’d knock the door down by banging his head against it if he had to.  It made me know instead that we don’t always get to decide what we let and what we keep out.  A door is just an idea.

As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid

snippets from books

One of the ladies hanging garlands laughed.  “It’s easier with the second one, isn’t it?  By the time you’ve had four, you’re satisfied just to keep them all fed, diapered, and bathed.  Mine were eighteen months to twenty-two months apart.  it seemed like I never would get through washing diapers.  Every day, another load of diapers.  We had that old wringer washer, and I’d sand there and churn that thing, and churn that thing, then wring the diapers, and hang the diapers, and in the meantime, the children would be tearing up the house, or running in the mud hole, and here I’d go again.”

Wanda giggled along with her.  “My mother used to put the babies in those long dresses, and when she had work to do in the kitchen, she’d pick up the table leg and set it down on the end of the baby’s dress.  That way she’d know right where we were.  Of course, she married at seventeen and had seen, so she had to do something.”

. . . Driving the winding road to town, I thought of how it must feel to be unable to do the things you’d done all your life, how frustrating it would be to have to ask for help when you were accustomed to doing for yourself–as if you were a child again, only as a child you know you’ll grow out of your problems.  For Grandma, the problems would only grow larger, the list of forbidden activities longer, the need for help greater.  She was like a prisoner in a cell with the door slowly being boarded shut.

Rage against the dying of the light.

Now I understood those words.  Grandma was angry with the passage of time more than she was with us–frustrated with her own body, and the fog in her thoughts, and her doctors telling her what to do, and her children trying to take away what was familiar.


. . . “My daddy hung on to those horses for a long time after we had tractors.”  She sounded just like Grandma.  In the amber light from the fire, she looked like Grandma Rose in the pictures.

“It nearly killed Grandpa to see those horses go,” Grandma added as she came into the room.  She sat on the other side of Aunt Jeane and touched the picture with trembling fingertips.  “He kept horses for years after all the other farmers around here had given them up.  Oh . . . and,Kate, your father wanted so badly to get rid of those animals.  he was all for the newest machinery.  Said it wasn’t efficient to have those horses sanding here eating when they weren’t any use anymore.  But Grandpa hung on.  When the tractors would get stuck in the mud, he would smile at your father and tell him to go hook up the team, and here those horses would come, prancing across the field, so happy to have something to do.  Grandpa would hook them on the tractor, and there they would throw themselves into the harness and pull the tractor right out.  Grandpa would smile at your dad and throw his hands into the air and say how there were still some ways that horses were better than that new machinery.”  Throwing her head back, she laughed, her eyes cloudy with the mist of memories.

Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Technical English. She lives on a small ranch in Texas with her husband, Sam, and their two young sons.