2008 Read:
-James Patterson - Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever
-James Patterson - Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
-Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
-Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down
-Steve Berry - The Templar Legacy
-Peter Shaffer - The Royal Hunt of the Sun
-J.D. Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
-David Mamet - Glengarry Glen Ross
-Lanford Wilson - Burn This
-Tamora Pierce - Lady Knight
-Tamora Pierce - Squire
-Tamora Pierce - Page
-Tamora Pierce - First Test
-Tamora Pierce - In the Hand of the Goddess
-Tamora Pierce - The Woman Who Rides Like A Man
-Tamora Pierce - Alanna: the First Adventure
-Louis J. Camuti - All My Patients Are Under The Bed
-Bertolt Brecht - The Caucasian Chalk Circle
-James Herriot - The Lord God Made Them All
-James Herriot - All Things Wise And Wonderful
-James Herriot - All Creatures Great And Small
-James Herriot - All Things Bright And Beautiful
-Connie Booth & John Cleese - The Complete Fawlty Towers
-Emily Carr - Klee Wyck
-Emily Carr - The House Of All Sorts
-Elie Wiesel - Night
-Ken Follett - Eye of the Needle
-Ken Follett - Code to Zero
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Missing Chums
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Secret of the Caves
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of Cabin Island
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Great Airport Mystery
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Disappearing Floor
-Leslie McFarlane/"Franklin W. Dixon" - The Hardy Boys: The Clue of the Broken Blade
-Theresa Tomlinson - The Forest Wife
-Daniel Wallace - Big Fish
-Banana Yoshimoto - Goodbye Tsugumi
-Jane Yolen - Sister Light, Sister Dark
-Jane Yolen - White Jenna
-Banana Yoshimoto - Kitchen
-Edith Wharton - Ethan Frome (*Re-read)
-Robert James Waller - The Bridges of Madison County
-Jose Saramago - The Tale of the Unknown Island
-J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
-Annie Proulx - Brokeback Mountain
-Kurt Vonnegut - Mother Night
-Graham Swift - Shuttlecock
-Rex Pickett - Sideways: The Ultimate Road Trip, The Last Hurrah

Still Reading:
-Thorton Wilder - The Ides of March
-Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged (I fully expect this to take a while since I'll read about 100 pages, then realize that a library book is due that I haven't read yet, so I'll read the library book instead.)

-Tennessee Williams - Battle of Angels
-Tennessee Williams - The Glass Menagerie
The window rattles without you, you bastard. The trees are the cause, rattling in the wind, you jerk, the wind scraping those leaves and twigs against my window. They'll keep doing this, you terrible husband, and slowly wear away our entire apartment building. I know all these facts about you and there is no longer any use for them. What will I do with your license plate number, and where you hid the key outside so we'd never get locked out of this shaky building? What good does it do me, your pants size and the blue cheese preference for dressing? Who opens the door in the morning now, and takes the newspaper out of the plastic bag when it rains? I'll never get back all the hours I was nice to your parents. I nudge my cherry tomatoes to the side of the plate, bastard, but no one is waiting there with a fork to eat them. I miss you and I love you, bastard bastard bastard, come and clean the onion skins out of the crisper and trim back the tree so I can sleep at night.

-Daniel Handler, Adverbs
Clearly, the chart was a diagram of the ark, showing it open along the side, revealing all four decks and the animal pens and enclosures, the hay lofts, the storerooms, the cabins, latrines and galleys - and, above, a cutaway of Noah's Castle, where they presently were seated, and the Chapel with its sacrificial altar and chimney. Beneath the hump of the poop deck, there was a storeroom designated as "the Armoury."
"Armoury, Noah?" said Mrs Noyes.
"Yes. In case of Pirates."
"Pirates? What are Pirates?"
"Barbarians, madam. Vandals of the seven seas."
"Are you saying you expect we shall be attacked?"
Noah shrugged. "There is always the chance," he said.
"But - in Yaweh's Edict," said Mrs Noyes; "only we were to survive."
Noah waved the suggestion aside. "Clearly, in the long run, it is true that we along shall prevail. But not without trial, madam. Not without tribulation..."
"And not without Pirates?"
"Just so."

- Timothy Findley, Not Wanted On The Voyage
Sonnet XXX
William Shakespeare

When to the session of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste.
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancelled woe,
And moan th' expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

Sonnet LXV
William Shakespeare

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'wersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful seige of batt'ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation! Where, alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none! - unless this miracle have might
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
"I can read your mind, you know," said Rumfoord.
"Can you?" said Constant humbly.
"Easiest thing in the world," said Rumfoord. His eyes twinkled. "You're not a bad sort, you know-" he said, "particularly when you forget who you are."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens Of Titan
"Must I pay in full?" he said.
"In full."
"It is all I deserve," said Saxif D'Aan. "I escaped my doom for many years, but I could not escape the knowledge of my crime. She loved me, you know. Not you."
"She loved us both, I think. But the love she gave you was her entire soul and I should not want that from any woman."
"You would be the loser, then."
"You never knew how much she loved you."
"Only -- only afterward..."

-- Michael Moorcock, The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate
Elric weighed the large gold wheel in his hand before replacing it in his pouch. "He was something of a legend in Melniboné. His story is part of our literature. He was a great sorcerer - one of the greatest - and he fell in love. It's rare enough for Meliboneans to fall in love, as others understand the emotion, but rarer for one to have such feelings for a girl who was not even of our own race. She was half-Melnibonéan, so I heard, but from a land which was, in those days, a Melnibonéan possession, a western province close to Dharijor. She was bought by him in a batch of slaves he planned to use for some sorcerous experiment, he singled her out, saving her from whatever fate it was the others suffered. He lavished his attention upon her, giving her everything. For her, he abandoned his practices, retired to live quietly away from Imrryr, and I think she showed him a certain affection, though she did not seem to love him. THere was another, you see, called Carolak, as I recall, and also half-Melnibonéan, who had become a mercenary in Shazar and risen in the favor of the Shazarian court. She had been pledged to this Carolak before her abduction..."

"She loved him?" Count Smiorgan asked.

"She was pledged to marry him, but let me finish my story..." Elric continued: "Well, at length Carolak, now a man of some substance, second only to the king in Shazar, heard of her fate and swore to rescue her. He came with raiders to Melniboné's shores, and aided by sorcery, sought out Saxif D'Aan's palace. That done, he sought the girl, finding her at last in the apartments Saxif D'Aan had set aside for her use. He told her that he had come to claim her as his bride, to rescue her from the persecution. Oddly, the girl resisted, suggesting that she had been too long a slave in the Melnibonéan harem to re-adapt to the life as a princess in the Shazarian court. Carolak scoffed at this and seized her. He managed to escape the castle and had the girl over the saddle of his horse and was about to rejoin his men on the coast when Saxif D'Aan detected them. Carolak, I think, was slain, or else a spell was put on him, but Saxif D'Aan, in his terrible jealousy and certain that the girl had planned the escape with a lover, ordered her to die upon the Wheel of Chaos - a machine rather like that coin in design. Her limbs were broken slowly and Saxif D'Aan sat and watched, through long days, while she died. Her skin was peeled from her flesh, and Earl Saxif D'Aan observed every detail of her punishment. Soon it was evident that the drugs and sorcery used to sustain her life were failing and Saxif D'Aan ordered her taken from the Wheel of Chaos and laid upon a couch. 'Well,' he said, ' you have been punished for betraying me and I am glad. Now you may die.' And he saw that her lips, blood-caked and frightful, were moving, and he bent to hear her words."

"Those words? Revenge? An oath?" asked Smiorgan.

"Her last gesture was an attempt to embrace him. And the words were those she had never uttered to him before, much as he had hoped that she would. She said simply, over and over again, until the last breath left her: 'I love you. I love you. I love you.' And then she died."

-- Michael Moorcock, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
Fran Kubelik: He's a taker.
C.C. Baxter: A what?
Fran Kubelik: Some people take, some people get took. And they know they're getting took and there's nothing they can do about it.
-- The Apartment (1960)

I've never gotten the hang of Sundays either, come to think of it.
Riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky, I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and I knew I would never be so happy again.

--F. Scott Fitzgerald
Savage Norse soldiers from the middle ages who, it is said, went into battle naked. Hence "going berserk." So to truly go berserk, you should take off your pants. Noted.

-- A.J. Jacobs, The Know It All
It had only been a month since he had left behind his court and his queen-to-be, letting Yyrkoon sit on the throne of Melniboné until his return. He had thought he might learn more of the human folk of the Young Kingdoms by mixing with them, but they had rejected him either with outright hatred or wary and insincere humility. Nowhere had he found one willing to believe that a Melnibonéan (and they did not know he was the emperor) would willingly throw in his lot with the human beings who had once been in thrall to that cruel and ancient race. And now, as he stood beside a bleak sea feeling trapped and already defeated, he knew himself to be alone in a malevolent universe, bereft of friends and purpose, a useless, sickly anachronism, a fool brought low by his own insufficiences of character, by his profound inability to believe wholly in the rightness or the wrongness of anything at all. He lacked faith in his race, in his birthright, in gods or men, and above all he lacked faith in himself.

-- Michael Moorcock, The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate
"And I am Cymoril," she said. "You will destroy us both." Her voice softened and she stroked his hair. "You will destroy us, Elric."
"No," he said. "I will build something that will be better. I will discover things. When I return we shall marry and we shall live long and we shall be happy, Cymoril."
And now, Elric had told three lies. The first concerned his cousin Yyrkoon. The second concerned the Black Sword. The third concerned Cymoril. And upon those three lies was Elric's destiny to be built, for it is only about things which concern us most profoundly that we lie clearly and with profound conviction.
-- Michael Moorcock, Elric of Melniborné
"Five to one against and falling..." she said, "four to one against and falling... three to one... two... one... probability factor of one to one... we have normality, I repeat we have normality." She turned her microphone off - then turned it back on - with a slight smile she continued: "Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
-- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Here's something else I think about: in the movies, the way criminals are ready to squeal so long as they're entered into a witness relocation program. They're given a brand new name, passport and home, but they'll never be able to contact anybody from their old life again; they have to choose between death and becoming someone entirely new. But you know what I think? I think the FBI simply shoots everybody who enters the program. The fact that nobody ever hears from these dead participants perversely convinces outsiders that the program really works. Let's face it: they go to the same magic place in the country where people take their unwanted pets.

-- Douglas Coupland, Eleanor Rigby
I called you up and I said How were you and could I please speak to the Idea of You? You said Excuse Me? I said I didn't call to talk to you, I called to talk to the Idea of You. I said I had been doing some thinking. I had realized that all the time I had been seeing you, it was really the idea of you that I wanted to go out with. You asked me how I had come to this astonishing conclusion. I said Oh, little things had tipped me off; the way you knocked over your water glass last Wednesday, when the idea of you was grace and ease. The way you fumbled for words on Sunday, but the idea of you always knew what to say. I said I always understood the idea of you, but lately you were beginning to confuse me. There was a momentary pause as you handed over the receiver, and then a voice came on the line that reminded me of you but without those annoying glitches and halts. We talked for a few minutes in what felt like a carefree, ideal way; and then the Idea of You asked to speak to the Idea of Me. I asked for clarification of this bizarre suggestion--and it asserted that the Idea of Me was too sensitive and intelligent to reject the human imperfections of someone I loved. Sensing that I had somehow dropped the ball, I nobly stepped aside so that the Idea of Us could live happily ever after.
Down through the ceiling comes a fire siren and people screaming that we're supposed to ignore. Then gunshots and tires squealing, sounds we have to pretend are okay. They don't mean anything. It's just television. An explosion vibrates down from the upstairs. A woman begs someone not to rape her. He's not real. It's just a movie. We're the culture that cried wolf.
Looking at the book, open in her hands, Mona leafs back and forth. She says, "If I just knew what they used as ink, I'd know how to read it."
If it's ammonia or vinegar, she says, you'd boil a red cabbage and daub on some of the broth to turn the ink purple.
If it's semen, you could read it under fluorescent light.
I say, people wrote spells in peter tracks?
"And Mona says, "Only the most powerful type of spells."
If it's written in a clear solution of cornstarch, she could daub on iodine to make the letters stand out.
If it was lemon juice, she says, you'd heat the pages to make the ink turn brown.
"Try tasting it," Helen says, "to see if it's sour."
And Mona slams the book shut. "It's a thousand-year-old witch book bound in mummified skin and probably written in ancient cum." She says to Helen, "You lick it."
There are worse things than finding your wife and child dead. You can watch the world do it. You can watch your wife get old and bored. You can watch your kids discover everything in the world you've tried to save them from. Drugs, divorce, conformity, disease. All the nice clean books, music, television. Distraction.
These people with a dead child, you want to tell them, go ahead. Blame yourself.
There are worse things you can do to the people you love than kill them. The regular way is just to watch the world do it. Just read the newspaper.
"Why don't you just call him and say you want the damn shirt back?" Harriet had asked reasonably.
"He knows I want it back," I said savagely. "I have nothing to say. I don't want to talk to him. Maybe never again. But I want that shirt back."
More time passed - days, another week, and another. By now it was clear that our dissolution had entered the dangerous stage. He continued to call, once a week now. I continued to not return his calls. I was smarting, I was bitter. But I wanted that shirt back. Like most material possessions caught in the breakup crossfire, it had taken on talismanic properties.
"Could he be wearing it?" I asked Marco. "Is that why he hasn't sent it back?" I thought of its stretchy silk fabric, the way it exposed my collarbone, its beautiful russet color, like ripe plums. It seemed a little feminine for Sean.
"Jesus, the shirt, the shirt!" Marco groaned. "Just forget about it! Is that so impossible?"
"Maybe that new girlfriend is wearing it," I mused. "I want my shirt back. It is my Calvin Klein shirt and I paid a lot of money for it and I want it back. Why is he holding it hostage?"
But I knew why, and I had a feeling so did Sean. He and I didn't have any mutual friends, so there was no chance of getting information about the other through that channel. And we didn't work near each other, or live in the same neighborhood. The shirt was the last link. Once it was back in my hands, that was...well, it.
Here I am.
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