What I’m Reading: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, by Neil Gaiman

I have dreamed of that song, of the strange words to that simple rhyme-song, and on several occasions I have understood what she was saying, in my dreams. In those dreams I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. In my dream, it was the tongue of what is, and anything spoken in it becomes real, because nothing said in that language can be a lie. It is the most basic building brick of everything. In my dreams I have used that language to heal the sick and to fly; once I dreamed I kept a perfect little bed-and-breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say, in that tongue, “Be whole,” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

A beautiful story. I read it all in just under a day, and now that it’s over, these are my thoughts: that I want a little black kitten with a spot of white on her ear; I want Shephard’s pie and raisin pudding with custard; I want to dip my feet into the ocean; and I want to have a friend like Lettie.

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What I’m Reading…”The Dinner”, by Herman Koch

I looked, as I said before, at Claire’s face in profile. If she turned her head and looked at me, I would know. Then she would have seen the same thing I did.

Claire turned her head and looked at me.

I held my breath–or rather, I took a deep breath, so that I could be the first to say something. Something–I didn’t know exactly which words I would use–that would change our lives.

Claire held up the bottle of red wine: there was only a bit left in the bottom, just enough for half a glass.

“Do you want this?” she asked. “Or should I open another one?”

Though it started slow, I finished the last 2/3 of the book in one sitting. My co-worker likens this novel to Gone Girl, and though the plots of those two books haven’t much in common, I think it’s a solid comparison. I slogged my way through Gone Girl because I was assured that the payoff would, in the end, be worth it. I didn’t think it was.

In The Dinner, the payoff is worth it. The story doesn’t so much unfold as slowly unravel, as details that were present all along come into sharper focus under the light of new information. The final picture is horrible, but just the sort of tragedy you can’t look away from.

What I’m Reading: Dreams and Shadows, by C. Robert Cargill

“You have much to understand about the nature of man.”

“You’re no man.”

“No,” said Coyote. “I am his unflattering reflection.” He shook his head. “I have outlived billions of gallons of blood, and you think I somehow delight in the spilling of a few more pints. You see my hand in the affairs of a few mortals and you think that I’ve but wound them up so I can watch them bounce off one another in the night. Never have you asked yourself why I might do such a thing–to what end this bloodshed might serve.”

What I’ve Read: “Adaptation” by Malinda Lo

Meant to get to this while I was actually reading it, but time is running away from me. Here is a passage I marked to share:

Reese pulled Amber closer. She couldn’t get close enough. It was extraordinary: the feel of Amber’s skin on hers, the places their bodies fitted together, the way she felt like she would melt if Amber didn’t touch her, and maybe even if she did —

But when Amber’s fingers slid beneath the waistband of Reese’s jeans, she froze. An unexpected panic raced through her, and before she knew what she was doing, she grabbed Amber’s hand and pulled it away, whispering, “Not yet.”

Amber stopped. She laid her head on the pillow, facing Reese, and smoothed back Reese’s hair from her flushed cheeks. “Okay,” Amber said, and kissed her gently on the corner of her mouth. “Okay.”

A sweet and sexy scene between the two teenagers, and an excellent example of how your partner should react when you want to slow down.

What I’m Reading: The Ode Less Travelled

I’ve just started Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within”. I think I’m going to like it.

But how well or badly we were taught English literature, how many of us have ever been shown how to write our own poems?

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to rhyme. Don’t bother with metre and verses. Just express yourself. Pour out your feelings.

Suppose you had never played the piano in your life.

Don’t worry, just lift the lid and express yourself. Pour out your feelings.

We have all heard children do just that and we have all wanted to treat them with great violence as a result.

Well, exactly.

From Kraken, by China Miéville

Billy’s black hair was touseled in a halfheartedly fashionable style. He wore a not-too-hopeless top, cheap jeans. When he had first started at the centre, he had liked to think that he was unexpectedly cool-looking for such a job. Now he knew that he surprised no one, that no one expected scientists to look like scientists anymore.

I feel the same way about librarians. When I first announced I was going to pursue a career in libraries (and before I’d actually started) several people made the comment that “Wow, you’re going to make a pretty hip librarian.” Because I have long, red hair that I wear in a layered, modern style. I have a nose ring, and multiple ear piercings. I wear cowboy boots and brightly colored tights.

But nope! I surprise no one. Librarians just don’t look like librarians anymore.

The people of the village have always hated us.

From We Have Always Lived In The Castle, by Shirley Jackson:

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

This is the opening paragraph: one of the best introductions to a novel and to a character I’ve ever read.

There was everything


Silhouette of a Sparrow, by Molly Beth Griffin.

Isabella lifted my chin with one hand, the other gripping the railing so we wouldn’t fall, and kissed me, hard. Once, twice, three times, again and again.

I lost count of kisses and minutes and up and down and pain and joy and fear and loss and happiness and risk. I’d say there was nothing in the world except her right then, but that would be a lie. There was everything, and it filled me up to bursting.

Some kiss. ♥