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review 2018-08-12 21:50
LOVE RUN AGROUND
Breakup: The End of a Love Story - Catherine Texier

Catherine Texier's story of the breakup of her 18 year relationship with a man who was also her literary partner, lover, best friend, and father of their 2 daughters can best be described as 'an anatomy of an affair'. 

From the book's first pages, Texier provides the reader with an open access into the gradual unraveling of what had been for her, a loving and satisfying relationship. Her partner was in emotional withdrawal. Oftentimes, he was surly, abrupt, or would give her the silent treatment. The more I read, the more his selfishness became evident to me. Texier found it so hard to let go of what they had together. And, in his own way, even after admitting --- while both were seeing a psychologist to help sort out their evolving feelings about each other and their dying relationship --- to having an affair and continuing to spend time with 'the other woman', he and Texier continued an intermittent, fiery sexual relationship. As I was reading all this, I wanted to say out loud: "Why don't the two of you make a clean break of it?" Easy for me to say, I know, as a single man with no children. But that's how I felt as I watched their relationship slowly deflate and disintegrate. 

I felt sorry for Texier because she was completely blindslided by her partner stepping out on her with this woman. In Texier's words: "The rage of being rejected. It’s one thing to be with a guy and see that he’s losing interest and maybe you are too, and quite another to have built a family and two literary careers and a house and eighteen years of shared companionship, the passion still going full swing in spite of the mounting tensions, and to feel the plug being pulled out overnight without warning.”

There is a denouement between Texier and her ex-partner. As a way of fully coming to grips with the end of the relationship, she has a big blowout party in the apartment she had shared with him and their children. "The party was meant as the kickoff of my new life. It was packed. It went on all night. It was exhilarating. A kind of exorcism. I was reclaiming my sexuality on the turf of our love. The very place where we had loved and hurt each other. I performed it with the ferocious energy of life feasting over a still-warm corpse. I barely had to lift a finger. Everybody had come to celebrate with me. A week before, I had bought a secondhand Isaac Mizrahi poppy-red stretch dress with spaghetti straps. I had carefully chosen the dress. Nothing short of red would have done. The dress worked its magic."

"BREAKUP: The End of a Love Story" has valuable lessons to provide the reader about the dynamics of an intimate relationship that comes to an unhappy end.

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text 2018-08-12 19:15
Reading progress update: I've listened 1886 out of 4260 minutes.
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection - Arthur Conan Doyle,Stephen Fry

Done with Memoirs.

 

I'm always in a complicated spot where Memoirs is concerned. To me, while I realize it counts among it's stories Holmes first case, his decision to start his career, his last, and even the introduction of his brother, making it a "must" for the construction and rounding up of the character (and something I feel ACD definitely was aiming at so as to divest himself of Holmes, Macondo style), I always find that Adventures was more enjoyable.

 

Now, the fact that, after making sure Mrs Watson was traveling, he took Watson with him in The Final Problem, but sent him off at the last moment will always ring inside me on sheer evidence of protectiveness.

 

Listening to The Hound of the Baskervilles foreword now. As always, it brings all this delicious nuggets to the fore. In this instance, my Harry Potter crazed self keeps picturing a Houdini desperately trying to convince the muggle that no, it was not real magic, and shit, he was about to get in trouble with the ministry if he kept it up.

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text 2018-08-11 13:53
Reading progress update: I've listened 1763 out of 4260 minutes.
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection - Arthur Conan Doyle,Stephen Fry

At the opening of the Musgrave ritual, we were told

 

An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.

 

Five stories later

 

"I will be at your service in an instant, Watson. You will find tobacco in the Persian slipper."

 

But for celebrating continuity and call-backs

 

"The alarm had reached Scotland Yard by this time, and Mr. Forbes, the detective, came round at once and took up the case with a great deal of energy."

 

I'll take the rebounding brick of tagging the police as energetic by in-world characters, like some kind of praise, that keeps on coming back and get's all the more insulting and hilarious on each repeat.

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review 2018-08-09 00:40
The Adventures of Elizabeth in Ruegen
The Adventures of Elizabeth in Ruegen - Elizabeth von Arnim

I can't believe how long it took me to read this book.  It was my second Elizabeth von Arnim book, after reading Elizabeth and Her German Garden, and i have to say it was harder going at first.  Her Adventures in Rügen start off in a much more florid style of writing than she used in German Garden; her verbosity was challenging, to say the least, and I found myself putting the book down and passing it by for days on end.  I was determined though, because I had to believe the writing I loved in German Garden would be in there somewhere.

 

And it was.  By the fourth day (page 87), the Elizabeth I had expected started showing up. Coincidentally it was about this time that her idyllic trip round Rügen started to become less idyllic and more comic.  By the fifth day (page 115) I was pretty well hooked, and where as the first 115 pages took me three weeks to read, the remaining 185 took just a few days.  As the book, and her trip,  progress, the writing becomes more concise and the pace ratchets up higher and higher until it reaches its final, devious, and hilarious conclusion.  I loved the last two chapters, they had me chuckling regularly, and the ending was absolutely perfect.  

 

A few notes about my copy of this book: I was lucky to find a 1904 copy in beautiful condition that includes a pristine pull out map of Elizabeth's trip.  A few things about it made me smile though: the cover title spells the island's name as Ruegen, but everything else in the book uses Rügen.  Both are correct (as ue is the alternate for ü), but the inconsistency left me curious about why.  Also, my edition's copyright is in the USA, but it states that it is strictly intended for circulation in "India and the British Colonies" only, and the publisher is Macmillan, London.  So we have a book written in Germany, printed by a London publisher, copyrighted in the USA, for circulation in India and the colonies.

 

This is why I love old books.  

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url 2018-08-07 12:14
Leonardo's "To-Do" List
Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image - Toby Lester

(Source)

 

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