Tag Archives: Excerpts
Cutting to the chase: MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is the first romance in a long, long, far-too-long time that had me floored; it’s the best historical romance I’ve read in recent memory (or, judging by my Goodreads, in a year or so)—it’s one of the most affecting books, no matter the genre, that I’ve ever spent a handful of hours with. It had me muttering, over and over, “Oh man, you’re a good book”—and almost despairingly; I would look up to P., who I’d shooed away early on and complain, “This is such a good book!” [Continue reading.]
[Is someone making a list of cover art that do great disservice to the book’s content? If so, could you please add this horrendous cover for Eros? We’ve got rudimentary vector images of a man standing on the neck of a very disinterested woman, while ‘splosionz happen beyond them and a fleet of fighter jets […]
The noticeable ambivalence to questions of nationality is what allows Tenorio’s short stories to freely focus on the outliers that people his stories. Race and sense of place, the politics of leaving and of staying gone-too-long—are relegated to simply being among the many circumstances that make life a pain in the ass to live. The country one was born in is simply an inherent part of one’s character—one that, via Tenorio, willfully shuns preeminence. Yes, itt’s the color of one’s hair, the tinge one’s skin takes in high summer, the hardness of one’s consonants—the fact that, at a certain era, one couldn’t enter a bar through the front door. And it’s up there alongside figuring how to kiss someone onscreen for the first time, after a career of having “gouged, bitten, clawed, stabbed”; alongside watching one’s grandfather scoop chicken liver from the sidewalk, glimpsing the white on the crown amid the haphazardly applied dye; alongside learning how to make a habit of hiding in the garage as a child, waiting for one’s too-young, too-beautiful sister to return from her date with a no-good asshole. [Continue reading.]
Why do I keep buying books at a time when I am least predisposed to actually reading them? How awkwardly—how unnaturally—I seem to be reading lately!
My brain has atrophied, I self-diagnose. And I am quick to heap the blame, if prodded; after all, surely I can’t be accountable for my own inability to respond to the provocations of literature? The heights of marrow-sucking the past couple of months of weekdays have reached are close to convincing my poor brain [my even more wretched soul!] that it’s best for everyone involved if whatever intelligent faculties I pride myself on having simply find a shadowy corner to mewl in. The weekends are too delicious a respite—naps must be made, people must be loved, secondhand bookstores to trawl, inihaw to fill my belleh. And naps must be made. [Continue reading.]
Books are deceptively tidily-packaged keystones of great power—and, if you’re lucky (as I consider myself to be), years of reading will arm you with presentiments about what a protracted brush against that power might do [to] you. And I had that hunch with The Bell Jar. I’ve known everything there was to know about the novel before I read it, and every little thing was bad news for someone like me. Call it readerly superstition, call it a far-too-strong awareness of my own psychological climate: I stayed away from Plath’s novel because it was about me.
And once I closed the book, I went back to the little gauge in my soul. There was the usual hum that runs through you after a good and/or timely book. But beyond that: I felt strange—both superior and self-pitying; I looked at all the teenagers that swarmed that coffee shop, all those souls that would never ever need to be scared of a book like The Bell Jar—all for naught or otherwise. [Continue reading.]
I spent a couple of calm-before-the-storm days with Lowell Lake, the martyr of his own hapless (even bewildered) making and the contra-hero of A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis. In neat encapsulation: “There was a sense of dwindling, like a slow leak in a balloon, as if all the vigor was slowly going out of their existence, all the light from the sky, all the color from the world, all the good thoughts from Lowell’s head.” And lest you think there’s something spectacular in this disintegration, Davis is quick to repeatedly disabuse you of that notion; for example: “His life wasn’t breaking up. On the contrary, it failed to show the smallest fissure in its bland and seamless surface.” [Continue reading.]