Ex Libris Kirkland

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


Recently Quoted

  • Presently the smell of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…

    an excerpt from Independent People, written by Halldor Laxness in 1946

  • These children who for some mysterious reason were still alive on the moors had experienced many of its noteworthy phenomena. . . . It is always very instructive to lose one's mother in the first sunshine of the haymaking; and when one's father goes away after one's eldest brother's disappearance, then that too is a special kind of experience, a new type of misery.

    an excerpt from Independent People, written by Halldor Laxness in 1946

  • [Loki] is tolerated by the gods, perhaps because his stratagems and plans save them as often as they get them into trouble. Loki makes the world more interesting but less safe. He is the father of monsters, the author of woes, the sly god.

    an excerpt from Norse Mythology, written by Neil Gaiman in 2017

Recently Noted

  • This is well-known a as classic of fantasy(?) literature, but it's new to me. I remember I read the first bit back in college, but didn't get an accurate sense of its flavor, and gave it up.

    But man: I see now. It's an incredibly deft combination of myth and old stories, combined with a sensitivity that allows him to take ancient, mythic elements (manticores, the binding of Fenris, etc) add new and particularly modern elements - like the Robin-hood wannabe who writes his own epic ballads, and waits to be discovered by an ethnographer field recordist. It's such a unique and well-done approach, my initial thought on reading it was "nobody can ever write a book like this again."

    an note about The Last Unicorn, written by Peter S. Beagle in 1968

  • Also, a friend pointed out that this seems like the kind of book a future politician writes. Expect to see this kid on a ballot someday soon.

    an note about Hillbilly Elegy, written by J.D. Vance in 2016

  • This is apparently the liberal soul-searching book du jour - one man's story of coming up thru a 'hillbilly' background among poor whites, and the culture and challenges he faced, wittingly or un-.

    I guess I grew up close enough (not in, but nearby) to this kind of life that I don't see much that surprises me so far. My grandparents came from relatively poor backgrounds, and my parents were very sensitive to the idea of 'white-trash-ness.' Not that we ever were, but it was a standard that my family often referred to - a kind of lower threshold of all propriety. Even now, I use the term casually, but Erika is always calling me out for it.

    an note about Hillbilly Elegy, written by J.D. Vance in 2016

Looking for more recent books? Check out the Personal Timeline.



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