The Group (or, a 1930s SATC)

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neri's reads

(My copy. Yes, sampayan po yan.)

The Group by Mary McCarthy, 1963

Published by Virago Press

First line: “It was June, 1933, one week after Commencement, when Kay Leiland Strong, Vassar ’33, the first of her class to run around the table at the Class Day dinner, was married to Harald Petersen, Reed ’27, in the chapel of St George’s Church, P.E., Karl F. Reiland, Rector.”

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I’m 1/3 of the way into Mary McCarthy’s The Group and have not decided if I like any of the characters yet. Maybe because there are far too many. I feel some sections sound too gossipy, like those Maurice Arcache columns I used to skim in the Bulletin (or was it the Star?) — “Dahling, A said that B, a winsome brunette, said C, of Barangay Taktak, was on her way to the lady doctor’s” or something like that. All it needs is a “Trust me, palanggas” at the end of each chapter. Read More

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starting over

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on whatever

I’ve been writing more offline lately.

Even for my personal journals, on re-reading the entries most sound like I had an imaginary reader in mind. I feel like I always held something back, chose words carefully, ended with a snappy line. (Maybe it all started with that glimpse of my mom when I was seven, on her way upstairs, holding my very first diary in an empty So-en box. I presumed she read it.)

As clichéd as it sounds, I’m trying to rediscover my ‘real’ voice (if I have one at all). It’s a slow, lonely process, and it’s early days. Read More

swiss miss part 2: jungfraujoch

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europe / on the road / switzerland

Previous post on Montreux here.

We made Wengen our “base” for our Swiss Alps trip. Hubby said Lauterbrunnen, an earlier stop on the Wengernalp rail, was also a popular base as it was a little closer for traveling to nearby peaks compared to Wengen. Why didn’t we stay there? I asked. He said some people found Lauterbrunnen claustrophobic since it was in a valley. The view from Wengen of the mountains was also supposed to be better. He was absolutely right!

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Halloween Reads: Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James

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neri's reads

Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James, 1931

Published by Wordsworth Editions

First line: “It was, as far as I can ascertain, in September of the year 1811 that a post-chaise drew up before the door of Aswarby Hall, in the heart of Lincolnshire.”

Book Rx: For the reader with an active imagination. Best consumed alone, by lamplight.

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I first encountered M.R. James in a collection of ghost stories meant for children (older than I was then, surely). The first story in that book was Lost Hearts, which I later learned was one of James’. Its first line is above. Read More

Halloween Reads: Through the Woods

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neri's reads

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, 2014

Published by McElderry Books

First line: “When I was little I used to read before I slept at night. And I read by the light of a lamp clipped to my headboard. Stark white, and bright, I dreaded turning it off. What if I reached out… just past the edge of the bed and SOMETHING, waiting there, GRABBED ME and pulled me down, into the DARK”

Book Rx: Carroll is THE dream illustrator for my deepest, darkest nightmares (erm, if I had to nominate one). Highly recommended if you love beautiful, eerie art and haunting stories.

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I can’t remember when I first stumbled on to Emily Carroll’s website, www.emcarroll.com. What I do remember is reading through all her web comics in one sitting, both horrified and glued to my screen. I was hooked. Read More