Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday is a meme hosted by me. To see the meme rules, the list of other blogs participating (or to join in the fun yourself), please go to the original post here. This weeks TST comes from Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (read my review here).

“The yellow light from the sun came in through a window and fell on the pale-yellow linoleum tiles of the floor, and on the walls of the kitchen, which were painted yet another shade of yellow, and Mariah, with her pale yellow skin and yellow hair, stood still in this almost celestial light, and she looked blessed, no blemish or mark of any kind on her cheek or anywhere else, as if she has ever quarrelled with anyone over a man or over anything, would never have to quarrelled at all, had never done anything wrong and had never been to jail, had never had to leave anywhere for any reason other an a feeling that had come over her.” page 27

What an absolutely beautiful, atmospheric, lilting and highly imageric single sentence that is, huh? Just reading it evokes the sense of Lucy; almost like reading someone’s diary and considering their innermost thoughts and observations – glorious.

All Those Ways Of Leaving by Nick Earls

All Those Ways Of Leaving – Nick Earls

My Rating: Must Read! Get It Now!
Suggested Audience: YA – Adults
Page Count: 54
Publication: 2012 (Read Via iBooks)


Background

As she lies in her hospital bed sucking on her hair, upping her morphine and trying not to screech at her mother who is trying to be helpful but is only causing frustration, Shelly contemplates her past and the number of ways she has left various stages of her life as well as all the things she's done that make all the things she'll never do–like have a proper mid-life crisis–slightly more tolerable.

“You are leaving a molecule at a time. You’ve warned him of that now. You are leaving by allowing your abilities to lapse and slip away uncontested, one by one.

It’s night and sometimes you’re asleep and sometimes you’re awake, and you’re dreaming up ways of leaving. You are swelling muscles and striding out, as though this has never happened. You are leaving from the roof by a hang-glider that’s been waiting for you there all this time. You are leaving in a cab, the cab that took you home legless last Melbourne Cup, six days before you stopped being perfectly healthy.”

(Excerpt From: Earls, Nick. “All Those Ways of Leaving.” This material may be protected by copyright.)

My Thoughts

Given my own family history with the absolute hell that is cancer as well as my experience of Nick Earl's exceptional skills as an author, as i began reading All Those Ways Of Leaving, I fully expected that I would need to put the novel down at some point, so difficult and emotional it is to read of a patient dying from cancer.

For this reason, I expected that I wouldn't like or enjoy this short story, but such is my love of Nick Earls' writing that I chose to give it a try anyway.

I am grateful for persevering despite the challenging topic. Shelly is the kind of character I think we all hope we would be should be ever be faced with such adversity. She has an inner voice that is both familiar and distanced from the reader, making her simultaneously a likeable and mysterious protagonist who you cheer on with every turn of the page. I read out sections of this short story to my mother (who has had her own battles with cancer) and she laughed and cried, saying how much she identified with Shelly's voice and feelings.

For a short story, I was entranced by how cleverly Nick Earls paints a picture which is so detailed without the need for many words; In 54 pages, he manages to create what some authors struggle to portray in a trilogy. I think part of the magic was the way he uses second person narration as a way to connect the reader with the protagonists journey. I think it's fair to say that most adults have some experience of cancer or other life threatening illness, and it's Nick Earls' use of the second person that forces the reader to delve into the uncomfortable memories, feelings and emotions and reconnect with these again.

I strongly recommend this short story to anyone looking for a quick but emotionally-stirring read.

Where Can I Get It?

To buy All Those Ways Of Leaving for a great price and have it shipped straight to your door for free, check out the Book Depository.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

 

30 Day Book Challenge!

I found this little challenge on That Little Book Blog (awesome book blog, by the way – do check it out and support a fellow book blogger!) and anyway, I thought it sounded like a fun little challenge to undertake!

As I am participating in another challenge and want to keep things interesting (every bloggers plight), I think the best method of attack is doing this challenge somewhat haphazardly, so you'll get to know me slowly but not be totally scared away…

So keep eyes open for these posts, coming soon!

 


 

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
My Rating: Good Weekend Read
Suggested Audience: YA – Adults
Page Count: 288
Publication: 2012

 

Background

After losing his job as a San Franciscan web-designer, Clay Jannon stumbles across the peculiar aisles of Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, where customers are few and, what's more, they do not seem to actually buy anything. Curious and in need of employment, Clay applies for a job at the bookstore, and through his computerised analysis of the clientele's behaviour, discovers that the bookstores secrets extend far beyond the stuffed bookshelves.

“Inside: imagine the shape and volume of a normal bookstore turned up on its side. This place was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall, an the shelves went all the way up – three stories of books, maybe more. I craned my neck back (why do bookstores always make you do uncomfortable things with your neck?) and the shelves faxed smoothly into the shadows in a way that suggested they might just go on forever”

My Thoughts

It would be hard to find a review that doesn't gush all over Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. And for the most part, this review isn't going to be much different!

Not only did I really enjoy the melding of book geekery and technology, the storyline really drags you in and keeps you guessing. I really appreciated how Robin Sloan uses analogies and diagrams (who DOESN'T like diagrams in books!) to help the less tech-savvy understand the gist of what he was talking about. I admit that most of it STILL managed to fly over my head (I am so very very bad with technology – case in point: I am writing this post at the Apple Store while I wait for some desperate help from any Genius going).

But anyway – I loved the mix of sidekicks, especially Clay's artist roommate who turns their lounge room into a hand-crafted miniature city using bits and pieces he finds. Totally loved that and momentarily imagined myself doing this myself (only decided against it as I imagined my lovely fiancé's response to it, which would probably result in him tripping over said miniature city and my subsequent early demise, my body lying amongst crushed up cereal boxes scattered across the floor…). Aside from this character is a charmingly intelligent female sidekick, Kat, a refreshing portrayal of femininity in the 21st century. She works at Google and offers Clay a lot of support in a way that traditional, stereotypical portrayals of femininity avoid.

Robin Sloan is an artist of the written word. He paints together scenes with such penache that you just get absorbed into the narrative world. And with Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, it's a secretive and enigmatic bookshop – a place that most bibliophiles are not averse to in the first place. And so, in a lot of ways, reading Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore feels very comfortable and familiar to the lover of reading.

The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest—not a friendly California forest, either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach. There were ladders that clung to the shelves and rolled side to side. Usually those seem charming, but here, stretching up into the gloom, they were ominous. They whispered rumors of accidents in the dark.

As I read it, I exclaimed to anyone who asked that I loved the book, that this would be one of those magical books that gets read over and over; a narrative that is devoured instead of read. Well… Now that I have finished it, I am not sure that I would re-read; you know what it's like – once the mystery is solved, the magic is over. But in saying that, I think that Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore has the potential to be made into a wonderful film (I see Tom Hanks as Mr Penumbra), and I would definitely pay to see it.

Where Can I Get It?

To buy Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookshop for a great price and have it shipped straight to your door for free, follow this link to the Book Depository.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository