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Silver Like Dust

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Grant wrote as if she was sitting and telling her grandmother's story over a cup of coffee, including the growth of relationship with her grandmother during the writing.
A Wild Sheep Chase

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Favorite Quotes:“A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki MurakamiNarrated by Rupert DegasIt was the first time I’d put on tennis shoes in ages, and the heels were worn through crooked. I’d been walking off-center without knowing it. Boarding a long-distance train without any luggage gave me a feeling of exhilaration. It was as if while out taking a leisurely stroll I was suddenly like a dive-bomber caught in a space-time warp, in which there is nothing. No dentist appointments, no pending issues in desk drawers, no inextricably complicated human involvements, no favors demanded. I’d left that behind, temporarily. All I had with me were my tennis shoes with their misshapen soles. (2:26:30)No matter how much speed we put on, there was no escaping boredom. On the contrary, the faster the speed, the more headway into boredom. Aaaah, the nature of boredom. (2:28:17) “Do you feel out of place?” “Not really,” I said, “it’s just that the chaos has changed shape. The giraffe and the bear have traded hats, and the bear switched scarves with the zebra.” (2:34:20)Already it was a whole new game played by new rules. No one could stop it now. (2:41:56)The connection was bad so we practically had to shout, which was not conducive to communicating delicate shades of feeling. It was like talking on a windswept hill through upturn collars. (2:44:28)Her clothes were nicely succinct. (2:52:36)“We go back a long time imposing our unrealities on each other. Whether we manage to take care of things realistically or not is another question.” “Maybe nobody really can.” “Maybe not.” (2:59:57)Speaking frankly and speaking the truth are two different things entirely. Honesty is to truth as prow is to stern. Honesty appears first and truth appears last. The interval between is in direct proportion to the size of ship. With anything of size, truth takes a long time in coming. Sometimes it only manifests itself posthumously, therefore, should I impart you with no truth at this juncture, that is through no fault of mine…nor yours. (3:04:34)I don’t know how to put it, but I just can’t get it through my head that here and now is really here and now. Or that I am really me; it doesn’t quite hit home. It’s always been this way, only much later on does it ever come together. (4:23:14)It wasn’t particularly inhospitable or cold, nor built in any unusual way, nor even much in disrepair. It was just odd, as if a great creature had grown old without expressing its feelings. Not that it didn’t know how to express them, but rather that it didn’t know What to express. (7:29:55)Silence that follows in the wake of all living things. … Only silence, which rolled like oil into every corner. Only silence, which changed ever so slightly from room to room. I was all alone. Probably more alone than I had been all my life. (8:14:22)
Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

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An easy-read history book that filled in much I did not know. Ambrose repeats himself, but repetition can be a teacher...and much was new to me. Ambrose said it was a book about "how," rather than "why" and I would agree. I wish there was more included from the Chinese and Irish perspective. Glad I read it.
Firebreak

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"...he had only to see a map to begin studying it passionately, and then, often as not, he would begin to plan some new, impossible trip which sometimes eventually became a reality. He did not think of himself as a tourist; he was a traveler. The difference is partly one of time, he would explain. Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler, belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly, over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home. ...another important difference between tourist and traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization without question; not so the traveler, who compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking." ~Paul Bowles (page 6)My interest in the convergence of cultures and the crossing of lines are generally two-fold. (1) How is identity threatened and reconstructed? (2) How and why are cultural/societal/belief lines so rigidly enforced? and how can they be circumvented without paying "the cost of life?"Paul Bowles opens with his definition of a tourist versus a traveler. Having set the stage with this distinction, the book delves into the disintegration of self which is the risk of the cultural/ideological traveler. Excellent and thought-provoking.From my perspective, being a tourist is not a negative thing. It is much better than those who never leave home. The tourist brings back some perspective of another way, but has no reason to adjust their own since of self. The traveler, on the other hand, becomes more psychologically flexible...finding self in identifications that are individual and impermanent....individual in the sense that they are not a part of a Whole which a community has agreed upon...but are self-constructed from many communities. The traveler always runs the risk of fragmentation and disintegration. I don't think a traveler is capable of being just a tourist.
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

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Mueenuddin takes us into the experience of Pakistani life with a collection of short stories. He describes the personal, daily, mundane, struggles, pains and joys which constitute all our lives. There is a vein throughout of the obdurate past resisting attempts to change "the way things are" at anything other than glacial speed. Excellent. My favorite story was "Lily," which offered a glimpse of hope..."Among the possible futures, Lily now recognized the likely one, the one she must avoid." Whether she was able to avoid it, we never know.
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Wanting

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Favorite quotes which seem to express Flanagan's story: Ellen Ternan noted these thoughts jotted in Dickens' journal that he had accidentally left behind..."The wind is rushing after us, and the clouds are flying after us, and the moon is plunging after us, and the wholly wild night is in pursuit of us; but, so far, we are pursued by nothing else." and "You can have whatever you want, only you discover there is always a price. The question is -- can you pay?" (p. 203)Later, in the closing of his play..."'What is it?' asked Dickens, with words Ellen Ternan had never heard before, unscripted words. She looked at him in shock, not knowing what was happening. 'The way we are denied love,' he continued, and she, along with the audience, could hear how hard it was for him to say these words. 'And the way we suddenly discover it being offered us, in all its pain and infinite heartbreak. The way we say no to love.' (p. 239)"And at that moment, Dickens knew he loved her. He could no longer discipline his undisciplined heart. And he, a man who had spent a life believing that giving in to desire was the mark of a savage, realised he could no longer deny wanting." (p. 241)
Winesburg, Ohio; a group of tales of Ohio small town life

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Some favorite quotes:"All men lead their lives behind a wall of misunderstanding they have themselves built, and most men die in silence and unnoticed behind the walls." "...the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, he called it his truth, and tried to live by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.""Only the few knew the sweetness of the twisted apples.""Be Tandy, little one," he pleaded. "Dare to be strong and courageous. That is the road. Venture anything. Be brave enough to dare to be loved. Be something more than man or woman. Be Tandy.""I was furious. I couldn't stand it. I wanted her to understand but, don't you see, I couldn't let her understand. I felt that then she would know everything, that I would be submerged, drowned out, you see. That's how it is. I don't know why.""Things went to smash," he said quietly and sadly. "Out she went through the door and all the life there had been in the room followed her out.""...and Hall had suddently become alive when they stood in the corn field stating into each other's eyes.""Love is like a wind stirring the grass beneath trees on a black night," he had said. "You must not try to make love definite. It is the divine accident of life. If you try to be definite and sure about it and to live beneath the trees, where soft night winds blow, the long hot day of disappointment comes swiftly...""I have come to this lonely place and here is this other," was the substance of the thing felt."...the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood."
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