A selection of words and pictures to represent June’s reading:
a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
No one picks a friend for us; we come together by choice. We are not tied together through ceremony or the responsibility to create a son; we tie ourselves together through moments. The spark when we first meet. Laughter and tears shared. Secrets packed away to be treasured, hoarded and protected. The wonder that someone can be so different from you and yet still understand your heart in a way no one else ever will.
Malaya, with its mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians, is full of spirits: a looking-glass world governed by unsettling rules. The European werewolf is a man who, when the moon is full, turns his skin inside out and becomes a beast. He then leaves the village and goes into the forest to kill. But for the natives here, the weretiger is not a man, but a beast who, when he chooses, puts on a human skin and comes from the jungle into the village to prey on humans. It’s almost exactly the reverse situation, and in some ways more disturbing.
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo (2019)
Let us seek Knowledge; – the rest may come and go as it happens.
Knowledge is hard to seek, and harder yet to adhere to.
Knowledge is painful often; and yet when we know we are happy.
A sliver of light showed below, spilling across the uneven flagstones by the church door. Moonrakers, I thought. Who else would be so stealthy? I knew too that they hid their contraband in churches, using the supposed piety of the priest as cover for their criminality. I waited to see who it would be, whether I would recognise any of my father’s associates or even my father or brothers themselves.
Mr. Satterthwaite thought: “What an extraordinary thing a voice is. The things it says – and the things it leaves unsaid and means!’
“I only bid you have a care,” Jeffreys smiled; and his smile was more terrible than his frown. “Truth never wants a subterfuge; it always loves to appear naked; it needs no enamel nor any covering.”
The Historical Nights’ Entertainment by Rafael Sabatini (1917)
We all accept that the people who designed our cars knew about engines, suspension and steering, otherwise who would race off at 60 miles an hour in one? But academics tell their students the pleasure of history is that opinions are always changing, new theories floated. Unlike science, there are no inconvenient ‘facts’.
Decoding the Bayeux Tapestry by Arthur C. Wright (2019)
‘In the seventeenth century no one would ever have said of something that it was “just a story” as we moderns do. At that time people recognized that stories could tap into dimensions that were beyond the ordinary, beyond the human even. They knew that only through stories was it possible to enter the most inward mysteries of our existence where nothing that is really important can be proven to exist – like love, or loyalty, or even the faculty that makes us turn around when we feel the gaze of a stranger or an animal. Only through stories can invisible or inarticulate or silent beings speak to us; it is they who allow the past to reach out to us.’
He was a real person, the same as you and I. He had experiences that shaped him, dreams that inspired him and fears that drove him. More than anything else, it is a fact that King Richard III was a man of his times and should be judged as such.
‘Speak up, my lady!’ bellowed the Lord Chief Justice.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
The words of the proverb came to her suddenly, like a balm to her tormented soul. These men might direct her words, but her heart was her own to command.
He sees the surprise in my eyes. “Yes. The best. Look at these people – strangers – in our home, in our clothes, eating our food. Look at how they comfort and help each other. Look how much you care for Mrs Dawson and her children, all of whom you’d never even heard of until a few hours ago. There will always be someone willing to save us, Grace. Even a stranger whose name we don’t know. That is the very best of humanity. That is what puts my mind at ease on a day like today.”
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor (2018)
Cromwell, sitting at the wheel, felt his skin crawl. In the Metropolitan Police Choir, of which he was an enthusiastic if indifferent baritone member, they were just polishing up a new piece called The Listeners, a poem by Walter de la Mare:
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men…
Never before have I realised how isolated one can feel in a throng of people. Everyone around me was singing and praying, unaware of what is happening. They have no idea there’s a devil in their midst. I’m the only one.
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver (2019)
Favourite books read in June:
The Island of Sea Women and The Devil’s Slave
New authors read in June:
Yangzse Choo, Arthur Hugh Clough, Matthew Lewis, George Bellairs, Michelle Paver, Arthur C. Wright, Hazel Gaynor
Countries visited in my June reading:
Malaya, Italy, South Korea, England, France, USA, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, India
Progress made with 20 Books of Summer:
7/20 books read but only 4/20 reviewed.
Have you read any of these books? Which books did you enjoy in June?