Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting with other bloggers, who do the same.
To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.
Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!
What better way to spend a Friday!
Today’s feature is an e-book I have been eager to read, from a new-to-me author. My Real Children, by Jo Walton, is the story of one woman’s two versions of her life.
Beginning: VC: 2015
“Confused today,” they wrote on her notes. “Confused. Less confused. Very confused.” That last was written frequently, sometimes abbreviated by the nurses to just “VC,” which made her smile, as if she were sufficiently confused to be given a medal for it. Her name was on the notes too—just her first name, Patricia, as if in old age she were demoted to childhood, and denied both the dignity of surname and title and the familiarity of the form of her name she preferred.
56: (Tricia 1949)
She changed in Bristol Temple Meads and bought a pallid sausage roll at the station buffet which she could hardly eat despite her hunger. She was afraid—of Mark, who had been so strange on the telephone and so silent since, of the new life she was plunging into, of marriage, and most of all of her wedding night.
Blurb: It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know-what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.
Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War-those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history; each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. Jo Walton’s My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives…and of how every life means the entire world.
I am eager to continue reading this book, and to discover how it all unfolds.
On other bookish fronts this week, I have conducted another purge, removing several of the older books from two of my shelves…and taken the books to the library collection drive. Below is a photo of one of the shelves BEFORE the clearing out.
And here it is AFTER:
Here are the books I donated, a combination of what I took from this living room bookshelf (above), as well as from some other shelves throughout the house.
Before I began the purges several months ago, I had counted my physical books (print format), and they totaled 1435.
Today, after this last purge, I counted what remains. Ready for it? 630 books!
I am pretty sure that I’m not done yet, but I think we can conclude that I am making real progress. Do you have any bookish news to celebrate today?