Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Little Red Hen

Daily Dose

From Beijing Coma, by Ma Jain, translated by Flora Drew


"In the evening, my mother sits on a chair at the end of my bed and rubs my clenched toes. Then she takes out my father's journal again. After flicking through a few pages she begins to read out loud. 'People who have beds to lie on are so lucky. they can dream their lives away...'' Huh, that sounds just like him."

From page 411

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #168


Daily Dose

From If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver


"Isn't it like her to insist that now one can ask of the novel only to stir a depth of buried anguish, as the final condition of truth which will save it from being an assembly-line product, a destiny it can no longer escape?"

From Chapter 6

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe


"This roasted yam soaked in red palm-oil and eaten in the open farm was sweeter than any meal at home."

From Chapter Seven

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Black Boy, by Richard Wright


"Diversion and recreation, with the exception of reading, were unknown."

From Chapter 15

Saturday, July 27, 2019

All American Chicken

Daily Dose

From The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, by Saki


"An unwonted peace hung over the Villa Elsinore, broken, however, at frequent intervals, by clamorous lamentations suggestive of bewildered bereavement."

From The Quest

Friday, July 26, 2019


“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” 
-- Lewis Carroll 

My grandmother had what we called a secretary -- really just a small desk with multiple drawers and pigeon-holes and panel you pulled out to write on. Fascinating piece of furniture when I was a kid. She kept her bills in it, stationary, stamps, oddments of all sorts. She wrote letters at it, as intended.  Later she wrote at her little kitchen table, but it's that desk I remember best. One wasn't meant to play with it or on it, but we did. There was a drawer with rubber-bands and little, white paper tags with red string, another with old pens. Come on.  The retractable panels alone were worth a scolding. It was a time-machine, that desk, standing on its tall, spindly legs, facing away from grandma's one bay-window. 

It was in that desk I found one of my great-grandma's diaries. That was thrilling. History, right there in my sticky little hand. Perfect Palmer Method penmanship because Great Grandma taught school, but the writing was painfully small as I remember it, so as not to waste paper, no doubt. What family secrets might have been in that little, soft-leather book?!

Nope. Chickens. Eggs. Weather. Bible study. Very disappointing to a boy obsessed with I, Claudius on the television. No intrigues, no incest, no thwarted inheritance, and not a murder to be had. How very boring my people seemed to have been. (When asked if he ever did this or that in childhood; went ice-skating, or ate cotton-candy, the beloved husband will invariably reply that no, "We were too busy struggling to survive." So theatrical, but perfectly true, most times. They were poor, and black. The struggle really was real.)

A proper historian of domestic matters in the American Century would probably be able now to make much more of my great-grandmother's diaries than I did. I realize now that those eggs were income. A chicken "dressed" was not an amusing Internet meme but a meal, or again, money. The weather mattered when one needed the beans or the hay. 

My father once proudly showed me a letter by a relative written during the Civil War. Now that was fascinating. It was in a box of old photographs and tintypes, all of people who looked like my Dad, even if we didn't know anymore who most of them were. (My brother is the family historian, so I'm sure he's kept all of this material that may have survived. Probably knows more about the people in those pictures than Dad did.)

I've kept at least the letters sent to me. My father wrote once in awhile, when he had something to send; usually photographs, or a present, but sometimes just to write, or in response to a letter from me. I still have all the letters my grandmother sent. She was a great one for letters, was my paternal grandmother. She wrote letters as a matter of course. Long-distance phone-calls were expensive. Stamps were cheap. Like her mother, she had that legible hand nearly all her life; sharp, orderly cursive that did not require lined paper or a reason to write. Toward to end, her lines started to collapse a little into the right corner and the writing became a bit shaky. There were more words struck through and replaced with better ones in the narrow space above. She became a great one for underlining as emphasis. Some things were more  important than others. She was also a great one for newspaper clippings. Dad was too. Obituaries, recipes, cartoons, local news, though it wasn't always clear why these were included. Usually though there'd be some spidery little annotation, but often as not this would just say, "thought you'd like this."

My grandmother's letters were every bit as everyday as her mother's diaries, if more detailed and considerably less cryptic. Pancake-suppers, car-trips, family, flowers, weather, guilt. "Your Dad works too damn hard," was  a truism evidently worth repeating many. many times, as was "I know your mother misses you." That'll get you, whatever age and distance. 

Most of my grandmother's letters were good to get and keep because there was so little in them that depended on time or events in a larger sense.  She voted a straight Democratic Party all her life -- though perhaps a Nixon or a Reagan slipped in there, alas. The radio she listened to was local, as were the newspapers she read and the television news she watched. Time was told in seasons; how deep was the snow, how hot the sun was while she was weeding, the thunder-storm that woke her. The people she knew were family and the friends of family, church, the Grange, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, her quilting circle. The meals she ate she cooked, or for a good cause, or a treat. Her days were her own until the time came and they couldn't be and then the letters stopped.

One or two of her letters I did not keep because they were cruel. She could be a termagant, Lella Belle Craft, née Sopher. She made many a day Hell for my parents, my poor mother in particular. Once in a great while, she wrote to me in anger and was not justified in saying the things she said. I mention this not to revenge myself on her memory, but just to say I knew her as she was and loved her as she was, as we all did, even when she didn't make that easy.

Worth remembering that she wrote to me though, regularly, and I kept nearly all the letters she wrote.

Since my father died, I try to write to my mother every Saturday. Can't manage this some days, but I try.  I work Saturdays at the bookstore and there are mornings that get away from me. When my father died, I was there, home, at his bedside. We all were. When I got back to Seattle, I bought a new box of short envelopes and started writing to my Mum. I still haven't finished that box yet, but nearly. My mother was never much a one for letters, but now and again she writes, mostly to send a present, now and then just to write. We talk regularly and once a year I still get back to see her for a week or two. In the meanwhile, I write -- well, type. Nobody needs to try reading my handwriting anymore, bad at its best.

My letters aren't much more than what you'd think. I mention the weather, ask after her health, tell her about ours. (A friend likewise middle-aged calls this endless conversation about health the "organ recital.") I tell my mother about work. I complain. I talk about my sister and her family and my brother and his. I will mention politics and current affairs because how could I not? but that's seldom the point.

I read and collect books of letters from nearly all my favorite writers, the letters of historical figures, anthologies of letters. I've read nearly all the published letters of Henry James, of Marcel Proust, and Charles Lamb, and Samuel Johnson, of William Cowper and Edward Fitzgerald, of Mencken and Bishop, Walpole and Woolf. I love published letters for what they say of the times and for the company of the writers. As a literary form letters come somewhere among my favorites just after personal essays and well before short stories or criticism. I have a whole case in my library of just letters and more besides.

Despite my fondness for the literary form, or perhaps because of that, I make no claim for the letters I write now to my mother.  If anything, my letters are proof of no special talent. What they are, I hope, are just evidence of my devotion to my mother, itself no special thing. Who doesn't love his mother? (Not strictly true I know. I have friends who have mothers to whom no devotion is due.  One needn't be Nero to not like Agrippina. I get it.) I write to my mother then because it is something I can do, a way to remind her that she is always in my thoughts, that I am grateful that I got a good one. I write to my mother in the hope it will please her. I write to my mother because I love her.

And I write to my mother because my father is no longer there.

I write this, as I write letters to my mother, to make myself feel a bit better in his absence. 

We do what we can.


Daily Dose

From Agrippina: The Most Extraordinary Woman of the Roman World, by Emma Southon


"The baby , being swaddled by a nurse, was named after her mother and became Julia Agrippina Minor. The Romans never were very inventive with their names."

From Chapter One: Daughter

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Poor People, by William T. Vollman


"You are rich, so tell me: Who does that make you? What would they have been had poverty not diminished them?"

From Chapter Twenty-Two, I Think You Are Rich, 3

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Gay Plumage

Daily Dose

From Rain and Other South Sea Stories, by w. Somerset Maugham


"But he grew conscious that sometimes, when he was away, Ethel cried."

From The Pool

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #167

Daily Dose

From Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence


"'I tell you, every generation breeds a more rabbity generation, with India rubber tubing for guts and tin legs and tin faces. Tin people!'"

From Chapter 15

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From For the Time Being, by Annie Dillard


"Our generations rise and break like foam on shores. Yet death, at least in the West, apparently astonishes and blindsides every man-bubble of us every time."

From page 118

Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages, by Richard E. Rubenstein


"Now, however, this ancient Platonic ice was beginning to melt. Most people might still be defined by their membership in large hereditary groups, but some were becoming mobile. Wandering scholars and troubadours, traders and Crusaders, itinerant preachers and country folk moving to the city -- all were developing a new sense that, no matter what universal class they belonged to, their individuality mattered."

From Chapter 3

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Stacked Against Me

Back when I was managing bookstores, I had a simple test to determine if a new clerk would be allowed to work on displays.  The new hire would be given  a tall stack of a new title and asked to add the books to an existing display.  (This tells you how long ago this was, that bookstores still stocked more than a dozen copies of nearly anything new.)  As part of the test, there would be an empty space near the edge of the table, where the fewest copies of other books were.  If the new clerk moved the books around on the table to accommodate the new title and maintain the basic pyramid with the highest point in the middle of the table, then that clerk would be asked to do display again.  If the clerk simply put the high stack on the empty spot and left them there, teetering at the edge of the table, that was that.  Never again.  If he or she at least put one or two copies in the empty slot and put the rest into under-stock, that at least was a sign that the individual was educable, if not exactly a born aesthete. 

I was sometimes rebuked by coworkers, assistant mangers and the like, for not explaining this test to those who had failed it.  I stood by my method, but I wasn't inflexible on the point.  Anecdotal as this system seemed, I can honestly say that I never found a single clerk who had failed this test to be good at display-work thereafter.  Doesn't mean that they might not draw a lovely poster, say, or a letter a sign -- back when we still did those things too -- but, in my experience, anyone who can't stack books in a practical and attractive way on his or her first day working in a bookstore, never will.

Seems a rather trivial task, I recognize, but I found that the instinct was all, in this.  One wouldn't think this would be much of an issue nowadays when, with the exception of bestsellers and staff recommendations there are precious few new books we still get in bulk. Nonetheless, it's still a pretty good test for determining who has the eye for retail display work, I'd bet.

As a dealer in used books, I now have a corollary.

People bring me books in every conceivable container and means of conveyance from bags and boxes to bins and, yes, once in a bucket (!). The best books tend to be in boxes. Not always true. Nothing good comes from a fruit-crate or a lid. Likewise those big boxes from a moving company, meant for towels and linens and other comparatively light but bulky stuffs, those are a bad sign. I've learned some people never clean their reusable grocery tote-bags. (One hopes those were spilled raisins in there.) And there are some well-intentioned souls who put each book in an individual, resealable, plastic bag, as if a paperback and a pb&j were much the same thing. Nothing signals unsaleable used books like those giant, plastic storage-bins. Nothing. No good can come of 'em. Anyone who stores books like loose shoes or pool-toys, isn't selling anything I'm looking to buy.

That said, I usually ask the seller to leave their books, good and bad, in whatever they came in. This is to do with stacking again. Not the aesthetics of the thing now, but the practical incapacity it seems of even the true lovers of books to place one book upon another in a way that doesn't endanger the lot.

An elephant folio* edition of Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary will not stay at rest atop a thin tower of Nancy Drew. Boswell's Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, unabridged, was not meant to sit on a mixed stack of religious pamphlets, paperback mysteries, and a collection of National Geographic magazines, sticky with age. Most people can't seem to figure this out. Nothing to do with books, this, though one might be forgiven for thinking better of people who own books. The assumption would be that even a rudimentary understanding of gravity -- all I myself possess -- would suffice to avoid disaster when stacking books. Not so.

Even the biggest, thickest books may be delicate things. The rare and valuable, just like the common and useless, all fall the same way and are just as likely to burst, break at the hinges, or in some other of many ways come to ruin when tumbling off even a fairly low desk. Stands to reason?

But then common sense would tell us it is not a good thing to use Proust as coaster for a coffee mug, or to read a signed-first-edition while sitting in the tub, or to allow a parrot to sharpen its beak -- an instinctive behavior that should otherwise be understood by the pet's owner -- on a First Folio Shakespeare. I have seen all this though, including parrot-damage, save the First Folio. Only humans, so far as we know, can write a sonnet, or even read one, yet the supposed nobility of intellect that makes this so does not prevent our species from dripping nacho-cheese, repeatedly, into a set of Goya prints. Tragic.

But forget the bores and the beastly, ill-mannered eaters of drippy snacks.  How can we not distinguish big from little? Wide from narrow? Heavy from light?

Anyone who has ever had to stack firewood, or china, anyone who has moved lumber, or played with alphabet-blocks in a playpen should have this knowledge, yes?

Two quick confessions.

When I was boy, my father once set me to stacking salvaged bricks.  That went about as well as the above might lead the reader to suspect. My father was mystified that any child, let alone a child of his, would do this six inches from the side of a barn and not in an orderly pile, but as if to be build a mortar-less, freestanding wall, three feet high. No mason, me.

Much later I got my first bookcase, which was a converted jelly-cupboard; high but not deep and older probably than my grandmother's mother. Into this I crammed books until no more could be crammed and then, of necessity you understand, I started piling yet more of my yard-sale treasures on top. I did this until the books on top could only be accessed by standing on the foot-board of my bed. (Wait for it.) One night, my parents asleep on the other side of my bedroom-wall, me tucked in my virgin bed like a lamb in sweet hay, my father woke to the sound of what he thought must be a truck crashing into the house. Finally locating the origin of the crash from my none too subtle cries, Dad burst through my locked bedroom door to discover his youngest son buried alive, my nose for once not buried in a book but bloodied by a bunch of  'em. Ascertaining that nobody was dead and the double-wide intact, my father went muttering back to bed. Had to get up and go to work in GD the morning. Boy doesn't have the sense God give a goose, etc.

Who then am I to judge?

Still, now that I am well past the age my poor father would have been then, I find myself muttering nothing nearly so nice when I watch some otherwise reasonable-seeming soul balancing a physics textbook on a copy of Pat the Bunny, on an empty CD case, on a commemorative thimble from the Seattle World's Fair. Takes everything in me not to talk about rectangles at that moment, but I don't.

Thick as bricks, some of us.

*A book sized just as the name suggests.

Daily Dose

From Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey


"'I must try running away one day,' she said lightly. 'There is a lot of the past I should like to drop behind me.'

And Daniel came with the cheese, and they talked about other things."

From Chapter 19

Friday, July 19, 2019

Another Fashionable Fowl

Daily Dose

From Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift


"But when he heard my Voice, and found what I delivered to be regular and rational, he could not conceal his Astonishment."

From Chapter Three

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, by Mark Kurlansky


"Like bordellos, oyster cellars catered to different clientele depending on the neighborhood. Also as with bordellos, the menu was always similar, but the atmosphere and presentation greatly varied."

From Chapter Seven, The Crassostreasness of New Yorkers

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fashionable Fowl

Daily Dose

From Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain


"As I walk up to Broadway and climb into a taxi, I'm thinking grilled tuna livornaise with roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus for fish special."

From Dessert, A Day in the Life

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Memorial for Charles

If we are fortunate, we find our family when we fall. If we are lucky, our family is there when we come into the world. Our mothers love us and raise us. Our fathers love us and stay. Our brothers and sisters, if we have them, come up with us. Our grandparents and our aunts and uncles, our cousins and relations – some of us are lucky in all these, some not. Our Gods, our language, our culture, surround and embrace us, our place in the world is made for some of us before we are born and we are sustained by what we come to know as ours – if we are lucky. Not everyone is.

Some of us, most of us, find some love in the wider world as we go out into it. We make our friends and then new friends and then friends after these. We fall in love or we don’t. We find family as we rise, if we are lucky and that family, that new family: husbands, wives, partners, lovers, the families we move into and the families we make, become part of the family we have. That is the ideal. That is the expectation with which most of us have been raised. It is not always so, but we often wish it were, even when that is not our own experience, entirely.

A child falls with every expectation that someone will be there to pick the child up, to sooth the pain, kiss the bruise, to make the world right itself, time and time again. Sooner or later we learn, most of us, to right ourselves. If we are raised right, we learn to lift others.

Some of us find our family as we rise and do not know that we have until we fall. We find the friend who will be our friend when we grow old. We find the friend who will take us in, who will listen, who will love us still when we are wrong, or absent, or simply different from the friend they assumed they knew. If we are lucky we get to keep these friends with us. We are not always lucky. If we are lucky our friends can become the family we choose, and that family can be there to catch us when we inevitably fall again, when we sometimes cannot right ourselves, or the world, when our other family is too far away, or won’t have us, or no longer know how to help.

If we are lucky we know our family when we fall.

I have been lucky. We have been lucky.

I made a friend. We were young. Smart as we were, we were stupid as only young men can be. We made each other laugh. We were smokin’ hot, though neither probably knew that with any confidence at the time. We worked together and roamed and had long, clever conversations, meant to signal to each other how smart we were. There were confidences and controversies, and the world was new, and darker than we thought, but still negotiable. It was fun, great fun, and so, I now think, were we.
But we did not know what we did not know yet; all the things we’d have to be taught, all the things we couldn’t change, all the things that would. We did not know. I am so grateful now for our ignorance then. We would learn.

We did not know, we could not have known, that we had found family in each other, that we would be brothers. I’ve hesitated to use that word. I have. We did, but now I can say it here. It seems to me a word we earned.

We talk too much nowadays about joy. I do, anyway. We talk about the things that give us joy. We’re told to find our “bliss.” There’s no harm in it – maybe -- most of the time, but it distracts us, distracts me, from what can matter more. Joy finds us, just as grief does, and it’s good to know these things as they come to us, to recognize what matters as it happens. We are told to be “present,” – as if we have a choice, most of us, most of the time. There are practices; meditations, faith, philosophy, meant to help us. What we avoid, most of us, because we can, is what is only mournful, what is too hard; our knowledge of our own ignorance, our impotence, failure, loss. It isn’t always joy we need to find in the fall. There may not always be a lesson. The universe does not always mean to teach us. Sometimes the loss is all. Some losses are irreparable. There is an indifference that can be almost impossible to bear.

Charles would have argued with this. Would that he were here to tell me I am wrong.

Sometimes we only find our family in the fall.

Sometimes we can only name our brothers when they are gone.

He was my friend. He was my brother. We were family.

So long as I live, I will miss him.

He fell before his time. We cannot have him back. All we can do is take care of his family in his absence. Love the people he loved. Fight the battles he taught us to fight. Remember the pleasure we had in his company. Try to be better, as he did, all his life.

Sometimes we find our family in the fall. The people in this room, the people who can’t be with us now but would be if they could, his family, ours, mine, we must do as best we can now. We must all try to do better, not because I say so – why should any of you listen to me? – but because he would want us to.

Hopefully, if we are lucky, if we try as he did, every day to be better than we might be on our own, we too will find our family before it is too late, that they may be with us in the fall.

That may be all we can ask of life. Here is his example, in this room.

We must remember this. I will try, my brother, I will try.

Daily Dose

From The Poems and Letters of Andrew Marvell, edited by Herschel Maurice Margoliouth


You, that decipher out the Fate
Of humane Off-springs from the Skies,
What mean these Infants which of late
Spring from the Starrs of Chlora's Eyes?

Her Eyes confus'd, and doubled ore,
With Tears suspended ere they flow;
Seem bending upwards, to restore
To Heaven, whence it came, their Woe.

When, molding of the watry Sphears,
Slow drops unty themselves away;
As if she, with those precious Tears,
Would strow the ground where Strephon lay.

Yet some affirm, pretending Art,
Her Eyes have so her Bosome drown'd,
Only to soften near her Heart
A place to fix another Wound.

And, while vain Pomp does her restrain
Within her solitary Bowr,
She courts her self in am'rous Rain;
Her self both Danae and the Showr.

Nay others, bolder, hence esteem
Joy now so much her Master grown,
That whatsoever does but seem
Like Grief, is from her Windows thrown.

Nor that she payes, while she survives,
To her dead Love this Tribute due;
But casts abroad these Donatives,
At the installing of a new.

How wide they dream! The Indian Slaves
That sink for Pearl through Seas profound,
Would find her Tears yet deeper Waves
And not of one the bottom sound.

I yet my silent Judgment keep,
Disputing not what they believe:
But sure as oft as Women weep,
It is to be suppos'd they grieve

Monday, July 15, 2019

Country Fried Fashion

Daily Dose

From Horizon, by Barry Lopez


"Christopher demurred when I asked for details about the ceremony that had given him facial scars."

From Jackal Camp

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Politick Clerihew


John Dryden,
Never shy when
Changing horses in midstream,
Quickly backed the new regime.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poetical Works, by John Dryden


He, who could view the book of destiny, 
And read whatever there was writ of thee, 
O charming youth, in the first opening page, 
So many graces in so green an age, 
Such wit, such modesty, such strength of mind, 
A soul at once so manly and so kind, 
Would wonder when he turned the volume o'er, 
And, after some few leaves, should find no more, 
Nought but a blank remain, a dead void space, 
A step of life that promised such a race. 
We must not, dare not, think, that heaven began 
A child, and could not finish him a man; 
Reflecting what a mighty store was laid 
Of rich materials, and a model made: 
The cost already furnished; so bestowed, 
As more was never to one soul allowed: 
Yet after this profusion spent in vain, 
Nothing but mouldering ashes to remain, 
I guess not, lest I split upon the shelf, 
Yet, durst I guess, heaven kept it for himself; 
And giving us the use, did soon recall, 
Ere we could spare the mighty principal. 
Thus then he disappeared, was rarified, 
For 'tis improper speech to say he died: 
He was exhaled; his great Creator drew 
His spirit, as the sun the morning dew. 
'Tis sin produces death; and he had none, 
But the taint Adam left on every son. 
He added not, he was so pure, so good, 
'Twas but the original forfeit of his blood; 
And that so little, that the river ran 
More clear than the corrupted fount began. 
Nothing remained of the first muddy clay; 
The length of course had washed it in the way: 
So deep, and yet so clear, we might behold 
The gravel bottom, and that bottom gold. 
As such we loved, admired, almost adored, 
Gave all the tribute mortals could afford. 
Perhaps we gave so much, the powers above 
Grew angry at our superstitious love; 
For when we more than human homage pay, 
The charming cause is justly snatched away. 
Thus was the crime not his, but ours alone; 
And yet we murmur that he went so soon, 
Though miracles are short, and rarely shown. 
Learn then, ye mournful parents, and divide 
That love in many, which in one was tied. 
That individual blessing is no more, 
But multiplied in your remaining store. 
The flame's dispersed, but does not all expire; 
The sparkles blaze, though not the globe of fire. 
Love him by parts, in all your numerous race, 
And from those parts form one collected grace; 
Then, when you have refined to that degree, 
Imagine all in one, and think that one is he. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #166

Daily Dose

From Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime, by Alex Espinoza


" It seems everyone I knew has at least one story to share about cruising Griffith Park (except me)."

From Chapter 6, Cruising Computers

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fashionably Feathered Protein

Daily Dose

From Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann


"There was one question that the judge and the prosecutors and the defense never asked the jurors but that was central to the proceedings: Would a jury of twelve white men ever punish another white man for killing an American Indian?"

From Chapter 20, So Help You God!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Fashionably Feathered en français

Daily Dose

From Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan


"And all the while we spoke very little about what we were venturing towards, or what we were leaving behind."

From Chapter 6

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From If You Want to Make God Laugh, by Bianca Marais


"I pour a glass of wine, filling it up to the brim, before putting on my cheeriest voice and slapping on a wide smile. 'Gather around, everyone!'

Everything's fine, everything's fine, everything's fine."

From Chapter Forty-Nine, Ruth

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #165

Daily Dose

From The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig, translated by Anthea Bell


"But never -- and I am sure of this -- have I loved life more fervently, and now I know that all who are indifferent to any of the shapes and forms it takes, commit a crime (the only crime there is!)"

From Fantastic Night

Monday, July 8, 2019

Another Fashionably Feathered

Daily Dose

From Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje


"A room without argument and a spare table appealed to both of us."

From A Working Mother

Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens


"Mr. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two: supposing even that the stranger had been more familiar: so he drank his gin-and-water in silence, and read his paper with a great show of pomp and circumstance."

From Chapter XXXVII

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Hue and Cry: Stories, by James Alan McPherson


"For those who choose to live their lives as animals, life is really simple. In the human jungle there are only the hunters and the hunted. The idea of social classes is a mythical invention, I suspect manufactured like religion by successful hunters who have found their prey and who want to maintain what they have already won from other hunters."

From All the Lonely People