Ex Libris Kirkland

Ex Libris Kirkland is my entirely self-centered way to keep track of what I read, what I like, and what I want to remember.

Recently Quoted

  • June 13. Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality. Yonder rises another white skyland. How sharply the yellow pine spires and the palm-like crowns of the sugar pines are outlined on its smooth white domes. And hark! the grand thunder billows booming, rolling from ridge to ridge, followed by the faithful shower.

    an excerpt from My First Summer in the Sierra, written by John Muir in 1911

  • The sculpture of the landscape is as striking in its main lines as in its lavish richness of detail; a grand congregation of massive heights with the river shining between, each carved into smooth, graceful folds without leaving a single rocky angle exposed, as if the delicate fluting and ridging fashioned out of metamorphic slates had been carefully sandpapered. The whole landscape showed design, like man's noblest sculptures. How wonderful the power of its beauty! Gazing awe-stricken, I might have left everything for it. Glad, endless work would then be mine tracing the forces that have brought forth its features, its rocks and plants and animals and glorious weather. Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever. I gazed and gazed and longed and admired until the dusty sheep and packs were far out of sight, made hurried notes and a sketch, though there was no need of either, for the colors and lines and expression of this divine landscape-countenance are so burned into mind and heart they surely can never grow dim.

    an excerpt from My First Summer in the Sierra, written by John Muir in 1911

  • [I love this kicker: 'am delighted with this little bush.']

    This fine carpet shrub begins to appear at, say, twenty-five hundred or three thousand feet above sea level, is about knee high or less, has brown branches, and the largest stems are only about half an inch in diameter. The leaves, light yellow green, thrice pinnate and finely cut, give them a rich ferny appearance, and they are dotted with minute glands that secrete wax with a peculiar pleasant odor that blends finely with the spicy fragrance of the pines. 'The flowers are white, five-eighths of an inch in diameter, and look like those of the strawberry. Am delighted with this little bush.

    an excerpt from My First Summer in the Sierra, written by John Muir in 1911

Recently Noted

  • As much as I love Tristram Shandy, it's weird that I've never picked up other work by Sterne. This was funny, but also: I'd forgotten how HARD it is to parse some of this. Like in Shandy, Sterne is playing with structure and wordplay here, and it takes some pretty close reading for me.

    an note about A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, written by Laurence Sterne in 1768

  • This is real literary fiction, and on paper sounds like something I'd like. Loopy, meandering first-person story from a woman who makes big weird sculptures! The tough part came as it covered a global flu-like pandemic, and London shut down and just-about-collapsed. It was like the UK version of Covid but worse. It's beautifully written, but it's BRUTAL. incredible, visceral descriptions of mental illness, sex, and death that are really impressive, but left me wondering how happy I was to actually be reading it.

    an note about Burntcoat, written by Sarah Hall in 2021

  • Also, this is the best payoff for a Prologue I can recall ever reading. It's not like a mind blowing thing, but I REALLY enjoyed it, had a dumb grin on my face as I listened.

    an note about Cibola Burn, written by James S. A. Corey in 2014

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Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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