February Reads: 5 Excerpts
According to Goodreads, I am 2 books ahead for my 2013 reading challenge of 50 books. I thought Sister Souljah’s book slowed me down for a moment, but I guess I’m still up on things. But, I did notice that I missed out on a whole month of reviewing books and posting excerpts due to my journey to India. Since such is the case, I decided that this post will be dedicated to those five books. Enjoy the excerpts below:
Only twice a week, the nights the review class meets, does he look forward to her company. They do not have each other’s phone numbers. He does not know exactly where she lives. She always goes with him to his apartment. She never spends the night. He likes the limitations. He has never been in a situation with a woman in which so little of him is involved, so little expected. He does not know, nor does he want to know, her husband’s name. Then one weekend, when he is on the train to Massachusetts to see his mother and Sonia, a southbound train slices by, and he wonders if perhaps the husband is on the other train, on his way to see Bridget. Suddenly he imagines the house where Bridget’s husband lives alone, longing for her, with his unfaithful wife’s name on the mailbox, her lipstick beside his shaving things. Only then does he feel guilty. -- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
He especially enjoyed watching Mrs. Sen as she chopped things, seated on newspapers on the living room floor. Instead of a knife she used a blad that curved like the prow of a Viking ship, sailing to battle in distant seas. The blade was hinged at one end to a narrow wooden base. The steel, more black than silver, lacked a uniform polish and had a serrated crest, she told Eliot, for grating. Each afternoon Mrs. Sen lifted the blad and locked it into place, so that it met the base at an angle. Facing the sharp edge without ever touching it, she took whole vegetables between her hands and hacked them apart: cauliflower, cabbage, butternut squash. She split things in half, then quarters, speedily producing florets, cubes, slices, and shreds. She could peel a potato in seconds. At times she sat cross-legged, at times with legs splayed, surrounded by an array of colanders and shallow bowls of water in which she immersed her chopped ingredients. – Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear old clothes of Dudley’s, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that was shaped like a bolt of lighting. He had had it for as long as he could remember, and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had gotten it. – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
If you intend to come along I done made out some rules for you, for make no mistake it’s going to be my house and in my house what the white man expects us to act like ain’t going to git no consideration! Now, first off you going to call me Mem, Mrs. Copeland, or Mrs. Mem R. Copeland. Take your pick. And second you is going to call our children Daphne, Ornette and baby Ruth. Although you can call any one of them ‘honey’ if you got a mind to. Third, if you ever lays a hand on me again I’m going to blow your goddam brains out–after I shoots off your balls, which is all the manhood you act like you sure you got. – The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker
It is not just the state to which the lavatories were soon reduced, fetid caverns such as the gutters in hell full of condemned souls must be, but also the lack of respect shown by some of the inmates or the sudden urgency of others that turned the corridors and other passageways into latrines, at first only occasionally but now as a matter of habit. The careless or impatient though, It doesn’t matter, no one can see me, and they went no further. When it became impossible in any sense, to reach the lavatories, the blind internees began using the yard as a place to relieve themselves and clear their bowels. Those who were delicate by nature or upbringing spend the whole day restraining themselves, they put up with it as best they could until nightfall, they presumed it would be night when most people were asleep in the wards, then off they would go, clutching their stomachs or squeezing their legs together, in search of a foot or two of clean ground, if there was any amidst that endless carpet of trampled excrement . . . – Blindness by Jose Saramago
So, here’s a quick range of thoughts. Of the five books, The Third Life of Grange Copeland was the overall favorite. A definite page turner and I finished it in about 3 days. Loved the story, loved the writing, loved the characters. The book that stayed on my mind most after completion was Blindness. There’s just something about the entire world going blind and imagining the possibilities of what we’d all do that captured my imagination. Then again, I love dystopian fiction, so it figures. I will also admit that Blindness was a challenging read. What assisted me in getting through it was that I saw the movie a few times and my remembrance of it made the book easier to follow. Unfortunately, I’ll pass on the novel’s sequel, Seeing. I read Harry Potter just to finally say I did. No further opinions about it. The Namesake is one of my favorite movies and the book was far from a disappointment. Interpreter of Maladies, however, was just okay, but it won a book award, so what do I know?
Happy reading, y’all.