Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Happy Independence Day weekend to my Friends in the USA! I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July celebration lined up.

It looks like things are going to be pretty low-key around our place. I went on my first work trip since before the pandemic last weekend and came home with covid. Just like that! I thought I might be one of the few people to escape getting it, but no luck. I've been home from work all week, although more to quarantine myself because my symptoms are mild. Now Hubby has it and he is quite cranky with me!

I hope you take the time from your holiday (or not) weekend to share the first sentence (or so) of the books you are reading with all of us here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy this week even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met. 

-- from Part One, "A Sphere within a Sphere," The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

Catton won the 2013 Booker Prize for this chunkster of a historical novel, set in the 1860s goldrush in New Zealand, packed with opium, fortune tellers, whores, tricksters, and lovers. I just finished it today and really liked it even if I didn't completely love it. The style and tone are pitch perfect and the story is enthralling. But it gets caught in occasional swirling eddies where the story spins around but doesn't move forward. And a lot of very complicated questions get only obliquely answered in the final chapter, and only in the subtitle, which is pretty cheeky.  

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Luminaries:
Thrice already that morning the politician had protested the introduction of a new theme, returning always to his imperious patter about ships. Every time Balfour began to speak of local news, the politician declared himself sick to death of useless brooding about the hermit and the whore — when in fact, Balfour thought with annoyance, they hadn't discussed either event in any real detail, and certainly not from all corners and all sides.




Monday, June 27, 2022

Dorothy L. Sayers' Dante -- MAILBOX MONDAY


MAILBOX MONDAY

Well, isn’t this divine?

Dorothy L. Sayers was one of the Queens of the Golden Age of mysteries, along with Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and Josephine Tey. Her series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and (in some of them) Harriet Vane, is one of my very favorites.

But Sayers was also a classical scholar. In her 50s, she undertook to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy from the 14th Century Italian. She worked on the project until her death in 1957, completing the first and second volumes and most of the third before handing the project to Italian scholar Barbara Reynolds to complete.

Unlike other English translations, including the one I read in college, Sayers maintained the aba bcb cdc rhyming scheme of the original. Not an easy task! But it makes hers a more lively translation. She also included an explanation and notes after each canto. Her essays make the epic poems accessible to ordinary readers.

Sayers’ translation of Hell (Inferno) was published in 1949 as one of the first Penguin Classics. Purgatory (Purgatorio) followed in 1955. Paradise (Paradiso) was published after Reynolds completed it in 1962. Penguin Classics has continued to offer Sayers’ translation of The Divine Comedy ever since.

I was excited to find this set of blue and white Penguin Classic editions of the Sayers’ Dante at the Rose City Book & Paper Fair a couple of weeks back, at the Arches Book House booth. My goal is to do a deep dive and reread them, with all her notes and essays. But we will see when I get around to that. I may “read in” them rather than “read” them.

How about you? Have you read The Divine Comedy or plan to? What translation?


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house last week. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Velvet of vvb32reads graciously host Mailbox Monday.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes by Nigel Slater -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Man! I have been off my blogging game for a while now! Do you go through blogger slumps? I just realized that my only blog posts for over a month have been Book Beginning posts. I love Book Beginnings! But There's more to Rose City Reader than this one post every week. Or, there should be! 

Oh well. Summer. Work. Life. Things happen. I'll get my blogging mojo back one of these days. What do you do to get back in the blogging groove when you fall out of it?

In the meantime, it is time again for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Let's share the first sentences (or so) of the books we are reading this week. Or just books we feel like highlighting. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

The mistletoe — magical, pagan, sacred to Norsemen and the Druids — is still hanging over the low doorway to the kitchen.

-- from the first chapter, January 1, "A humble loaf and a soup of roots," in Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes by Nigel Slater. 

I've seen Nigel Slater's name pop up as a favorite food writer on British blogs and Instagram accounts. But I hadn't seen any of his books (other than his memoir Toast) at local shops until last week when I was poking around Vivienne, a darling cookbook store near my office. They had a copy of Notes from the Larder, described as the companion to his three volume Kitchen Diaries series. It's my now-favorite kind of cookbook, a combination of essays or memoir and recipes. It looks absolutely wonderful! I am excited to add it to my cookbook library


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave a link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. Please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings if you share on social media and I will try to find you. Make it easier for me by tagging me on twitter @giliondumas, Instagram @gilioncdumas (new account), or Facebook at Rose City Reader and I can share your posts. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Notes from the Larder:
I have always loved the color gray. Peaceful, elegant, understated; The color of stone, steel, and soft, nurturing rain.




Thursday, June 16, 2022

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

I just got back from a trip to see all five grandkids and found a copy of this Muse book waiting for me. How exciting! I need a little quiet time with a book after the rug rats, adorable as they may be. 

I won this copy of Muse in a giveaway from Pegasus Books -- the first book giveaway I've ever won. Have you ever won a book giveaway? Do you enter them? I enter anytime I see a book I like, like this one. But my lucky number has ever come up before. 

So I am excited to share it right away on Book Beginnings. Please share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are excited about this week. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) is one of the most famous paintings in the world, and also one of the most mysterious. 

-- from the Introduction to Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington (2022 Pegasus Books). 

Ruth Millington is an art historian and author. In Muse, she explores the stories of the people depicted in 30 famous portraits and the relationships they had with the artists who painted them.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add a link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Muse:
In seventeenth-century Europe, female artists were deprived of formal education, denied access to art academies and even their movement was restricted. Gentileschi fought against such adversity, learning to read and write in her twenties, before becoming the first woman to be granted membership of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence in 1616.
Millington challenges the idea that muses are young women depicted in paintings by old male artists. The muses in her book are women and men, young and old, and all play a more active role in inspiring and influencing the art they are a part of.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

What are your book plans for this weekend? My weekend is filled with grandkids, so I don't think I'll get much reading in. But I hope to snatch a few pages here and there. 

Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading -- or just a book that caught your fancy -- here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Gerald Middleton was a man of mildly but persistently depressive temperament. Such men are not at their best at breakfast, nor is the week before Christmas their happiest time.
-- Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson, a darkly comic satire of academia and society.  

This mid-century British novel has been on my TBR shelf for a long time. It is one of the books I picked for my TBR 22 in '22 Challenge list. Maybe I should save it for December, but I grabbed it and am going to read it now, in the middle of summer. Since Angus Wilson was one of England's first openly gay novelists, this can count as my book for Pride Month.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below and use the hashtag #bookbeginnings if you share on social media. Have fun!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Anglo-Saxon Attitudes:
There was no want of artificial flowers in the Corner House entrance hall. An enormous cardboard turkey and an enormous cardboard goose, owing their inspiration to somewhat vulgarized memories of Walt Disney, held between them the message MERRY XMAS made entirely of white and pink satin roses.



Friday, June 3, 2022

Love is Blind by William Boyd -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

I really am here on Friday with Book Beginnings. Sorry I didn't get the post up early! I was out of the office most of the day yesterday and forgot to post before I left!

What are you reading this week? Please share the opening sentence (or so) with us here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Brodie Moncur stood in the main window of Channon & Co. and looked out at the hurrying pedestrians, the cabs, carriages and laboring drays of George Street.
-- from Part I, Edinburgh 1894, Chapter 1, in Love is Blind by William Boyd. This is historical fiction set at the turn of the 20th Century. It is a plot-driven novel about a Scottish piano tuner sent to manage the Paris branch of a piano company. He becomes professionally involved with an Irish concert pianist and romantically involved with that man’s Russian girlfriend. Things get even more complicated when their entire retinue relocates to St. Petersburg.

This is one of my book club's picks for this summer and I love it. I am just about finished with it and have enjoyed every page. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave a link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. If you post on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings so we can find each other. 

Speaking of social media, if you are on Instagram, you can find me at my new account, gilioncdumas. My old account got hacked and my many attempts to retrieve it were unsuccessful, so I started over. Find me at my new account! The new account is my name with my middle initial C. You should probably unfollow my old "giliondumas" account (no middle initial). The nasty hackers are quiet now but you never know when they might try to spam you or sell you cryptocurrency!

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This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Love is Blind:
“Paris, Brodie, Paris! The city of light. La ville lumineuse. How I envy you!”
Enjoy your weekend!




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