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Seduce me with Words.

 
 
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 08:27 pm
So tempt me to read a book you really liked by giving me a paragraph or a couple of lines from it. It can be new or old, fiction or non, but one you really enjoyed and would want to share with others.

Here's one of my picks:

"A Walk In The Woods" by Bill Bryson:

( from page 5)

"Nearly everyone I talked to had some gruesome story involving a guileless acquaintance who had gone off hiking the trail with high hopes and new boots and come stumbling back two days later with a bobcat attached to his head or dripping blood from an armless sleeve and whispering in a hoarse voice, "Bear!" before sinking into troubled unconsciousness.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 6,663 • Replies: 47
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 10:26 pm
Here's one of my favorite passages from Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence:

"The next morning Archer scoured the town in vain for more yellow roses. In consequence of this search he arrived late at the office, perceived that his doing so made no difference whatever to any one, and was filled with sudden exasperation at the elaborate futility of his life."
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 10:56 pm
bookmarking


(& leafing through a few favourite books!)
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 11:19 pm
Milan Šimečka, Letters from prison: on how he recongnizes great literature:

"Whenever I detect some note, a slight trembling of the soul, a touch of beauty, some little novelty, whatever it is that transforms lines of text into literature, I feel it like the wind in my face, like the warmth in my stomach after a glass of wine, simply as something that defies description but exists nonetheless."
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 11:19 pm
Milan Simecka for those who don't do accents...
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jan, 2008 11:32 pm
from Neal Stephenson's *Snow Crash* (sorry it's lengthy):

This is America. People do whatever the **** they feel like doing, you got a problem with that? Because they have a right to. And because they have guns and no one can ******* stop them. As a result, this country has one of the worst economies in the world. When it gets down to it--we're talking trade balances here--once we've brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they're making cars in Bolivia and microwaves in Tadzhikistan and selling them here--once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel--once the Invisible Hand has taken all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider to be prosperity--y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else

music
movies
microcode (software)
high-speed pizza delivery
Razz
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 07:59 am
bookmark


( getting east of eden )
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:05 am
Excellent idea for a thread! Thanks, Green Witch.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:31 am
wandeljw wrote:
Excellent idea for a thread! Thanks, Green Witch.


You're welcome wandel. I got the idea from a librarian friend of mine who often reads me passages from books she is enjoying as a way to get me interested. Yesterday I came home and found she was on my answering machine reading a few lines from her current favorite. The tactic has worked and I've discovered numerous good books that way.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 11:07 am
Quote:
It seems very doubtful at this juncture that history will judge the Iraq war kindly. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, training ground, and operational base for jihadist terrorists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.


America at the Crossroads, FrancisFukuyama
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 06:33 pm
My all-time fave:
Quote:
One morning Gregor Samsa awoke from uneasy dreams to find he had been turned into a large insect.


For anyone who doesn't know, that's the opening line from Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis.
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Debacle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 07:26 pm
In this excerpt, the author is discussing the "Walkabout" as practiced by Australian Aboriginals.

". . . I picked up an image of those 'tame' blackfellows who, one day, would be working happily on a cattle-station: the next, without a word of warning and for no good reason, would up sticks and vanish into the blue.
They would step from their work-clothes, and leave: for weeks and months and even years, trekking half-way across the continent if only to meet a man, then trekking back as if nothing had happened.
I tried to picture their employer's face the moment he found them gone.
He would be a Scot perhaps: a big man with blotchy skin and a mouthful of obscenities. I imagined him breakfasting on steak and eggs - in the days of food-rationing, we knew that all Australians ate a pound of steak for breakfast. Then he would march into the blinding sunlight - all Australian sunlight was blinding - and shout for his 'boys'.
Nothing.
He would shout again. Not a sound but the mocking laugh of a kookaburra. He would scan the horizon. Nothing but gum trees. He would stalk through the cattle-yards. Nothing there either. Then, outside their shacks, he'd find their shirts and hats and boots sticking up through their trousers . . ."

From The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 07:35 pm
Afterward, he tried to reduce it to abstract terms, an accident in a world of accidents, the collision of opposing forces -- the bumper of his car and the frail scrambling hunched-over form of a dark little man with a wild look in his eye -- but he wasn't very successful. This wasn't a statistic in an actuarial table tucked away in a drawer somewhere, this wasn't random and impersonal. It had happened to him, Delaney Mossbacher, of 32 Pinon Drive, Arroyo Blanco Estates, a liberal humanist with an unblemished driving record and a freshly waxed Japanese car with personalized plates, and it shook him to the core. Everywhere he turned he saw those red-flecked eyes, the rictus of the mouth, the rotten teeth and incongruous shock of gray in the heavy black brush of the mustache -- they infested his dreams, cut through his waking hours like a window on another reality. He saw his victim in a book of stamps at the post office, reflected in the blameless glass panels of the gently closing twin doors at Jordan's elementary school, staring up at him from h is omelette aux fines herbes at Emilo's in the shank of the evening.

The opening paragraph in T.C. Boyle's moder classic "The Tortilla Curtain"

Run, don't walk, to your local book store and pick up this gem of a book -- Gustav Ratzenhofer
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:02 pm
Don't look away. I want you to look at me.

He looked at Chigurh. He looked at the new day paling all about. Chigurh shot him through the forehead and then stood watching. Watching the capillaries break up in his eyes. The light receding. Watching his own image degrade in that squandered world.


--Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:19 pm
Though a circus dwarf once comforts her by describing a fantasyland filled with gold and jewels, where everyone is a zwerg, Trudi finds that real life is not so magical. She is physically and emotionally assaulted, and, as a teenager, watches in horror as the Nazis come to power and assault and later "deport" her Jewish friends, who are now considered "different." Trudi's experience of her own "otherness" makes her a sympathetic friend and active supporter of the local Jews, and Hegi evokes great power by connecting the overwhelming Nazi horrors with the life of one small person in one small community. Through Trudi, Burgdorf's citizens come alive--those who befriend her and those who reject her, those who support her efforts to help the Jews and those who don't, and those who pity her and those who are inspired by her.

Ursula Hegi - "Stones from the River"
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:33 pm
gustavratzenhofer wrote:
Afterward, he tried to reduce it to abstract terms, an accident in a world of accidents, the collision of opposing forces -- the bumper of his car and the frail scrambling hunched-over form of a dark little man with a wild look in his eye -- but he wasn't very successful. This wasn't a statistic in an actuarial table tucked away in a drawer somewhere, this wasn't random and impersonal. It had happened to him, Delaney Mossbacher, of 32 Pinon Drive, Arroyo Blanco Estates, a liberal humanist with an unblemished driving record and a freshly waxed Japanese car with personalized plates, and it shook him to the core. Everywhere he turned he saw those red-flecked eyes, the rictus of the mouth, the rotten teeth and incongruous shock of gray in the heavy black brush of the mustache -- they infested his dreams, cut through his waking hours like a window on another reality. He saw his victim in a book of stamps at the post office, reflected in the blameless glass panels of the gently closing twin doors at Jordan's elementary school, staring up at him from h is omelette aux fines herbes at Emilo's in the shank of the evening.

The opening paragraph in T.C. Boyle's moder classic "The Tortilla Curtain"

Run, don't walk, to your local book store and pick up this gem of a book -- Gustav Ratzenhofer



What a coincidence. I started that book when I was moving and it got tossed in a packing box, just found it again today. Yaaaay. (I agree about that opening paragraph.)
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 08:38 pm
Let me know how you like it, osso. My favorite book by my favorite contemporary author.
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 09:02 pm
I'm not sure how funny this will be when taken out of context, but this is my favorite scene from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's rollicking Good Omens:

Quote:
He sniffed. Something was burning--there was an unpleasant smell of scorched metal and rubber and leather.

"Excuse me," said a voice from behind him. R.P. Tyler turned around.

There was a large once-black car on fire in the lane and a man in sunglasses was leaning out of one window, saying through the smoke, "I'm sorry, I've managed to get a little lost. Can you direct me to Lower Tadfield Air Base? I'm know it's around here somewhere."

Your car is on fire.

No. Tyler just couldn't bring himself to say it. I mean, the man had to know that, didn't he? He was sitting in the middle of it. Possibly it was some kind of practical joke.

So instead he said, "I think you must have taken a wrong turn about a mile back. A signpost has blown down."

The stranger smiled. "That must be it," he said. The orange flames flickering below him gave him an almost infernal appearance.

The wind blew towards Tyler, across the car, and he felt his eyebrows frizzle.

Excuse me, young man, but your car is on fire and you're sitting in it without burning and incidentally it's red hot in places.

No.

Should he ask the man if he wanted him to phone the A.A.?

Instead he explained the route carefully, trying not to stare.

"That's terrific. Much obliged," said Crowley, as he began to wind up the window.

R.P. Tyler had to say something.

"Excuse me, young man," he said.

"Yes?"

I mean, it's not the kind of thing you don't notice, your car being on fire.

A tongue of flame licked across the charred dashboard.

"Funny weather we're having, isn't it?" he said, lamely.

"Is it?" said Crowley. "I honestly hadn't noticed." And he reversed back down the country lane in his burning car.

"That's probably because your car is on fire," said R.P. Tyler sharply.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 09:44 pm
gustavratzenhofer wrote:
Let me know how you like it, osso. My favorite book by my favorite contemporary author.


I was about a third of the way through when I lost track of the book in the packing jamboree, and remember liking it, that it was building, building...
I suppose I'll start over, or at least skim over (have a book to read for the a2k book club first).
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2008 09:54 pm
Funny, shapeless...
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