A fool like him

Excerpt from Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

This is an excerpt from the book Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin.

Beyond Sixth Avenue the movie houses began, and now he studied the stills carefully, trying to decide which of all these theaters he should enter. He stopped at last before a gigantic, colored poster that represented a wicked woman, half undressed, leaning in a doorway, apparently quarreling with a blond man who stared wretchedly into the street. The legend above their heads was: “There’s a fool like him in every family-and a woman next door to take him over!” He decided to see this, for he felt identified with the blond young man, the fool of his family, and he wished to know more about his so blatantly unkind fate.

And so he stared at the price above the ticket-seller’s window and, showing her his coins, received the piece of paper that was charged with the power to open doors. Having once decided to enter, he did not look back at the street again for fear that one of the saints might be passing and, seeing him, might cry out his name and lay hands on him to drag him back. Не walked very quickly across the carpeted lobby, looking at nothing, and pausing only to see his ticket torn, half of it thrown into a silver box and half returned to him. And then the usherette opened the doors of this dark palace and with a flashlight held behind her took him to his seat. Not even then, having pushed past a wilderness of knees and feet to reach his designated seat, did he dare to breathe; nor, out of a last, sick hope for forgiveness, did he look at the screen. He stared at the darkness around him, and at the profiles that gradually emerged from this gloom, which was so like the gloom of Hell. He waited for this darkness to be shattered by the light of the second coming, for the ceiling to crack upward, revealing, for every eye to see, the chariots of fire on which descended a wrathful God and all the host of Heaven. He sank far down in his seat, as though his crouching might make him invisible and deny his presence there. But then he thought: “Not yet. The day of judgment is not yet,” and voices reached him, the voices no doubt of the hapless man and the evil woman, and he raised his eyes helplessly and watched the screen.

The woman was most evil. She was blonde and pasty white, and she had lived in London, which was in England, quite some time ago, judging from her clothes, and she coughed. She had a terrible disease, tuberculosis, which he had heard about. Someone in his mother’s family had died of it. She had a great many boy friends, and she smoked cigarettes and drank. When she met the young man, who was a student and who loved her very much, she was very cruel to him. She laughed at him because he was a cripple. She took his money and she went out with other men, and she lied to the student—who was certainly a fool. He limped about, looking soft and sad, and soon all John’s sympathy was given to this violent and unhappy woman. He understood her when she raged and shook her hips and threw back her head in laughter so furious that it seemed the veins of her neck would burst. She walked the cold, foggy streets, a little woman and not pretty, with a lewd, brutal swagger, saying to the whole world: “You can kiss my ass.” Nothing tamed or broke her, nothing touched her, neither kindness, nor scorn, nor hatred, nor love. She had never thought of prayer. It was unimaginable that she would ever bend her knees and come crawling along a dusty floor to anybody’s altar, weeping for forgiveness. Perhaps her sin was so extreme that it could not be forgiven; perhaps her pride was so great that she did not need forgiveness. She had fallen from that high estate which God had intended for men and women, and she made her fall glorious because it was so complete. John could not have found in his heart, had he dared to search it, any wish for her redemption. He wanted to be like her, only more powerful, more thorough, and more cruel; to make those around him, all who hurt him, suffer as she made the student suffer, and laugh in their faces when they asked pity for their pain. He would have asked no pity, and his pain was greater than theirs. Go on, girl, he whispered, as the student, facing her implacable ill will, sighed and wept. Go on, girl. One day he would talk like that, he would face them and tell them how much he hated them, how they had made him suffer, how he would pay them back!

Nevertheless, when she came to die, which she did eventually, looking more grotesque than ever, as she deserved, his thoughts were abruptly arrested, and he was chilled by the expression on her face. She seemed to stare endlessly outward and down, in the face of a wind more piercing than any she had left on earth, feeling herself propelled with speed into a kingdom where nothing could help her, neither her pride, nor her courage, nor her glorious wickedness. In the place where she was going, it was not these things that mattered but something else, for which she had no name, only a cold intimation, something that she could not alter in any degree, and that she had never thought of. She began to cry, her depraved face breaking into an infant’s grimace; and they moved away from her, leaving her dirty in a dirty room, alone to face her Maker. The scene faded out and she was gone; and though the movie went on, allowing the student to marry another girl, darker, and very sweet, but by no means so arresting, John thought of this woman and her dreadful end. Again, had the thought not been blasphemous, he would have thought that it was the Lord who had led him into this theater to show him an example of the wages of sin. The movie ended and people stirred around him; the newsreel came on, and while girls in bathing suits paraded before him and boxers growled and fought, and baseball players ran home safe and presidents and kings of countries that were only names to him moved briefly across the flickering square of light John thought of Hell, of his soul’s redemption, and struggled to find a compromise between the way that led to life everlasting and the way that ended in the pit. But there was none, for he had been raised in the truth. He could not claim, as African savages might be able to claim, that no one had brought him the gospel. His father and mother and all the saints had taught him from his earliest childhood what was the will of God. Either he arose from this theater, never to return, putting behind him the world and its pleasures, its honors, and its glories, or he remained here with the wicked and partook of their certain punishment. Yes, it was a narrow way—and John stirred in his seat, not daring to feel it God’s injustice that he must make so cruel a choice.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Go Tell It On the Mountain – Summary

“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” 

Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the son of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

Copyright © 1953 by James Baldwin

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

When he had read all the books

This is a quote from the book Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin.

Quote by James Baldwin, “He would enter on another day, when he had read all the books uptown, an achievement that would he felt, lend him the poise to enter any building in the world.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Go Tell It On the Mountain – Summary

“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” 

Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the son of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

Copyright © 1953 by James Baldwin

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

Another sensation seized us: curiosity

Excerpt from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

This is an excerpt from the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, translated by Ilse Lasch.

Thus the illusions some of us still held were destroyed one by one, and then, quite unexpectedly, most of us were overcome by a grim sense of humor. We knew that we had nothing to lose except our so ridiculously naked lives. When the showers started to run, we all tried very hard to make fun, both about ourselves and about each other. After all, real water did flow from the sprays!

Apart from that strange kind of humor, another sensation seized us: curiosity. I have experienced this kind of curiosity before, as a fundamental reaction toward certain strange circumstances. When my life was once endangered by a climbing accident, I felt only one sensation at the critical moment: curiosity, curiosity as to whether I should come out of it alive or with a fractured skull or some other injuries.

Cold curiosity predominated even in Auschwitz, somehow detaching the mind from its surroundings, which came to be regarded with a kind of objectivity. At that time one cultivated this state of mind as a means of protection. We were anxious to know what would happen next; and what would be the consequence, for example, of our standing in the open air, in the chill of late autumn, stark naked, and still wet from the showers. In the next few days our curiosity evolved into surprise; surprise that we did not catch cold.

There were many similar surprises in store for new arrivals. The medical men among us learned first of all: “Textbooks tell lies!” Somewhere it is said that man cannot exist without sleep for more than a stated number of hours. Quite wrong! I had been convinced that there were certain things I just could not do: I could not sleep without this or I could not live with that or the other. The first night in Auschwitz we slept in beds which were constructed in tiers. On each tier (measuring about six-and-a-half to eight feet) slept nine men, directly on the boards. Two blankets were shared by each nine men. We could, of course, lie only on our sides, crowded and huddled against each other, which had some advantages because of the bitter cold. Though it was forbidden to take shoes up to the bunks, some people did use them secretly as pillows in spite of the fact that they were caked with mud. Otherwise one’s head had to rest on the crook of an almost dislocated arm. And yet sleep came and brought oblivion and relief from pain for a few hours.

I would like to mention a few similar surprises on how much we could endure: we were unable to clean our teeth, and yet, in spite of that and a severe vitamin deficiency, we had healthier gums than ever before. We had to wear the same shirts for half a year, until they had lost all appearance of being shirts. For days we were unable to wash, even partially, because of frozen water-pipes, and yet the sores and abrasions on hands which were dirty from work in the soil did not suppurate (that is, unless there was frostbite). Or for instance, a light sleeper, who used to be disturbed by the slightest noise in the next room, now found himself lying pressed against a comrade who snored loudly a few inches from his ear and yet slept quite soundly through the noise.

If someone now asked of us the truth of Dostoevski’s statement that flatly defines man as a being who can get used to anything, we would reply, “Yes, a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how.” But our psychological investigations have not taken us that far yet; neither had we prisoners reached that point. We were still in the first phase of our psychological reactions.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Man’s Search for Meaning – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. Man’s Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living.

Copyright © 1946 by Viktor E. Frankl.

Translated by: Ilse Lasch

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

Love has to end

This is a quote from the book If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura, translated by Eric Selland.

Quote by Genki Kawamura, “Love has to end. That’s all. And even though everyone knows it they still fall in love.
I guess it’s the same with life. We all know it has to end someday, but even so we act as if we’re going to live forever. Like love, life is beautiful because it has to end.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt from the book here.

If Cats Disappeared From the World – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .

Because how do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil our narrator will take himself – and his beloved cat – to the brink. Genki Kawamura’s If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.

Copyright © 2018 by Genki Kawamura.

Translated by: Eric Selland

More details can be found here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

Life is desire

Excerpt from If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura

Photo by Daria Shatova on Unsplash

This is an excerpt from the book If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura, translated by Eric Selland.

In my dream the man says, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” The little tramp wears a silk hat and an oversized suit, twirling his walking stick as he approaches. I’ve always been moved by these words. When I first heard them and even more so now. I want to tell him how important theyare to me but I can’t get the words out.

The little man continues: “There’s something just as inevitable as death. And that’s life.”

Yes, I get it! For the first time I understand the significance of these words, now that I’m so close to death. Life and death have the same weight. My problem is just that for me the scales are starting to tip more toward the latter.

Until now I’d been living as best I could, and I don’t think I was doing too badly. But now, all I seem to have left is regrets. It feels like my life is gradually being crushed by the overwhelming weight of death.

The man in the suit seems to know what I’m thinking and comes over, stroking his little toothbrush mustache. “What do you want meaning for? Life is desire, not meaning. Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish.”

That must be it. It has to be. Life has meaning for everything, even a jellyfish or a pebble by the side of the road. Even your appendix must exist for a reason.

So what does it mean when I make something disappear from the world? Isn’t that an unforgivable crime? With the meaning of my own life so up in the air, I’m beginning to wonder whether I might actually be worth less than a jellyfish.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Cats Disappeared From the World – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .

Because how do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil our narrator will take himself – and his beloved cat – to the brink. Genki Kawamura’s If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.

Copyright © 2018 by Genki Kawamura.

Translated by: Eric Selland

More details can be found here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

So desperately lonely

This is a quote from the book Babel by R.F. Kuang.

Quote by R.F. Kuang, “He could have cried then. He’d been so desperately lonely, and had only now realized it, and now he wasn’t, and this felt so good he didn’t know what to do with himself.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt from the book here.

Babel – Summary

Here is the book summary:

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel. The tower and its students are the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver-working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as the arcane craft serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide . . .

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Copyright © 2022 by R.F. Kuang.

More details can be found here on Goodreads and on Storygraph.

It was all worth it

Excerpt from Babel by R.F. Kuang.

Photo by Simon Haslett on Unsplash

This is an excerpt from the book Babel by R.F. Kuang.

Next, Professor Playfair gathered them around and empty worktable for a demonstration. ‘Now, the common man thinks that silver-working is equivalent to sorcery.’ He rolled his sleeves up to his elbows as he spoke, shouting so they could hear him over the din. ‘They think that the power of the bars lies in the silver itself, that silver is some inherently magical substance which contains the power to alter the world.’

He unlocked the left drawer and pulled out a blank silver bar. ‘They’re not wholly wrong. There is indeed something special about silver that makes it an ideal vehicle for what we do. I like to think that it was blessed by the gods – it’s refined with mercury, after all, and Mercury is the messenger god, no? Mercury, Hermes. Does silver not then have an inextricable link to hermeneutics? But let’s not get too romantic. No, the power of the bar lies in words. More specifically, the stuff of language that words are incapable of expressing – the stuff that gets lost when we move between one language and another. The silver catches what’s lost and manifests it into being.’

He glanced up, took in their baffled faces. ‘You have questions. Don’t worry. You won’t start working with silver until near the end of your third year. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the relevant theory before then. What matters now is that you understand the magnitude of what we do here.’ He reached for an engraving pen. ‘Which is, of course, the casting of spells.’

He began carving a word into one end of the bar. ‘I’m just showing you a simple one. The effect will be quite subtle, but see if you feel it.’

He finished writing on that end, then held it up to show them. ‘Heimlich. German for the secret and clandestine, which is how I’ll translate it to English. But heimlich means more than just secrets. We derive heimlich from a Proto-Germanic word that means “home”. Put together this constellation of meaning, and what do you get? something like the secret, private feeling you get from being somewhere you belong, secluded from the outside world.’

As he spoke, he wrote the word clandestine on the flip side of the bar. The moment he finished, the silver began to vibrate.

Heimlich,’ he said. ‘Clandestine.’

Once again Robin heard a singing without a source, an inhuman voice from nowhere.

The world shifted. Something bound them – some intangible barrier blurred the air around them, drowned out the surrounding noise, made it feel as though they were the only ones on a floor they knew was crowded with scholars. They were safe here. They were alone. This was their tower, their refuge.

They were no strangers to this magic. They had all seen silver-work in effect before; in England it was impossible to avoid. But it was one thing to know the bars could work, that silver-work was simply the foundation of a functioning, advanced society. It was another thing to witness with their own eyes the warping of reality, the way words seized what no words could describe and invoked a physical effect that should not be.

Victoire had her hand to her mouth. Letty was breathing hard. Ramy blinked very rapidly, as if trying to hold back tears.

And Robin, watching the still quivering bar, saw clearly now that it was all worth it. The loneliness, the beatings, the long and aching hours of study, the ingesting of languages like bitter tonic so that he could one day do this – it was all worth it.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Babel – Summary

Here is the book summary:

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel. The tower and its students are the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver-working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as the arcane craft serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide . . .

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?

Copyright © 2022 by R.F. Kuang.

More details can be found here on Goodreads and on Storygraph.

This is her secret

This is a quote from the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Quote by Emily St. John Mandel, “But this is her secret: she doesn’t want it to end.”

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt from the book here.

Station Eleven – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Copyright © 2015 by Emily St. John Mandel.

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

She never would have imagined

Excerpt from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

This is an excerpt from the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Miranda is at work when Arther Leander calls her again. She’s an administrative assistant at a shipping company, Neptune Logistics, where she spends quiet days at a desk shaped like a horseshoe in a private reception area outside her boss’s office door. Her boss is a young executive named Leon Prevant, and his door is almost always closed because he’s almost always out of town. there are acres of gray carpeting and a wall of glass with a view of Lake Ontario near her desk. There’s rarely enough work to keep her occupied for more than an hour or two at a time, which means she can often spend entire afternoons sketching—she’s working on a series of graphic novels—with long coffee breaks, during which she likes to stand by the glass wall and look out at the lake. When she stands here she feels suspended, floating over the city. The stillness of the water, the horizon framed by other glass towers and miniature boats drifting in the distance.

A soft chime signifies and incoming email. During the long period when her position was staff by an incompetent temp—”The winter of our discontent,” Leon Prevant calls it—Leon took to outsourcing his travel planning to his subordinate Hannah’s administrative assistant Thea who is impeccable in a smooth, corporate way that Miranda admires, and who has just forwarded Leon’s flight confirmation emails for next month’s trip to Tokyo. In Thea’s presence she feels ragged and unkempt, curls sticking up in all directions while Thea’s hair is glossy and precise, her clothes never quite right whereas Thea’s clothes are perfect. Miranda’s lipstick is always too gaudy or too dark, her heels too high or too low. Her stockings all have holes in the feet and have to be worn strategically with specific pairs of shoes The shoes have scuffed heels filled in carefully with permanent marker.

The clothes are a problem. Most of Miranda’s office clothes come from a bargain outlet just off of Yonge Street, and they always look okay under the dressing room lights but by the time she gets home they’re all wrong, the black skirt shining with acrylic fibers, the blouse in a synthetic fabric that clings unpleasantly, everything cheap-looking and highly flammable.

“You’re an artist” her boyfriend Pablo said that morning watching her while she tried various layering options under a blouse that had shrunk in the wash. “Why would you want to conform to some bullshit corporate dress code?”

“Because my job requires it.”

“My poor corporate baby,” he said. “Lost in the machine.” Pablo talks about metaphorical machines a lot, also the Man. He sometimes combines the two, as in “That’s how the Man wants us, just trapped right there in the corporate machine.” They met at school. Pablo graduated a year ahead of her, and at first his career seemed so brilliant that she stopped being a waitress at his invitation he sold a painting for ten thousand dollars and then a larger one for twenty-one thousand and he was poised to become the Next Big Thing, but then a show got canceled and he sold nothing else in the year that followed, absolutely nothing, so Miranda signed with a temp agency and found herself a short time later at her desk in a high tower outside Leon Prevant’s office door. “Hang in there, baby,” he said that morning, watching her dress. “You know this is only temporary.”

“Sure,” she said. He’s been saying this ever since she registered with the temp agency, but what she hasn’t told him is that she went from temporary to permanent at the end of her sixth week on the job. Leon likes her. He appreciates how calm she always is, he says, how unflappable. He even introduces her as such, on the rare occasions when he’s in the office: “And this is my unflappable assistant, Miranda.” This pleases her more than she likes to admit to herself.

“I’m going to sell those new paintings,” Pablos said. He was half-naked in the bed, lying like a starfish. After she got up he always liked to see how much of the bed he could sleep on at once. “You know there’s a payday coming right?”

“Definitely,” Miranda said, giving up on the blouse and trying to find a T-shirt that might look halfway professional under her twenty-dollar blazer.

“Almost no one from that last show sold anything,” he said, talking mostly to himself now.

“I know it’s temporary.” But this is her secret: she doesn’t want it to end. What she can never tell Pablo, because he disdains all things corporate, is that she likes being at Neptune Logistics more than she likes being at home Home is a small dark apartment with an every-growing population of dust bunnies, the hallway narrowed by Pablo’s canvases propped up against the walls, an easel blocking the lower half of the living room window. Her workspace at Neptune Logistics is all clean lines and recessed lighting. She works on her never-ending project for hours at a time. In art school they talked about day jobs in tones of horror. She never would have imagined that her day job would be the calmest and least cluttered part of her life.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Station Eleven – Summary

Here is the book summary from Goodreads:

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Copyright © 2015 by Emily St. John Mandel.

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

The rising hope of adventure

This is a quote from the the collection of short stories called Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro.

Quote by Alice Munro, “Then we are backing out of the driveway with the rising hope of adventure, just the little hope that takes you over the bump into the street, the hot air starting to move, turning into a breeze, the houses growing less and less familiar as we follow the short cut my father knows, the quick way out of town.”

Have you read this any short stories from Alice Munro? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt from the book here.

Dance of the Happy Shades – Summary

Here is the book summary:

Alice Munro’s territory is the farms and semi-rural towns of south-western Ontario. In these dazzling stories she deals with the self-discovery of adolescence, the joys and pains of love and the despair and guilt of those caught in a narrow existence. And in sensitively exploring the lives of ordinary men and women, she makes us aware of the universal nature of their fears, sorrows and aspirations.

Copyright © 1968 by Alice Munro.

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.