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

  • That's the problem with people who are not human. You can't tell how badly they're hurt, or how much they need your help, and until you ask, they don't always know how to tell you.

    an excerpt from Borne, written by Jeff Vandermeer in 2017

  • Therefore, though I am but ill qualified for a pioneer, in the application of these two semi-sciences to the whale, I will do my endeavour. I try all things; I achieve what I can.

    an excerpt from Moby-Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851

  • 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

Recently Noted

  • And as usual, JVDM is a great writer - he's obscure and poetic in a way that helps you sense the alienness, the unutterable, unnamable, unmediated unprocessableness of something that's completely outside your experience and isn't particularly interested in making itself coherent to you. Unless it wants to eat you. Or just happens to eat you by accident.

    an note about Borne, written by Jeff Vandermeer in 2017

  • If you liked Jeff Van de Meer's Southern Reach Trilogy but wished they were a bit more novel-like, or just-so-slightly more accessible: this is the book for you. I think it's honestly better than the predecessors.

    JVDM keeps all the highlights: the intense weird, the aggressive alienness of his Other (the talking biotech plant/animal/blob, the city-block-sized flying bear, the unnamed disasters), but wraps it in a more understandable package. Your point of view character (Rachel, a scavenger in the wasteland of the City) is less damaged and more cognitively whole than the Southern Reach characters, or at least in ways that matter.

    It's a page-turner, and set inside a satisfyingly built world. The Ruined City where the action takes place has destroyed by some unnamed Jackpot of rampant pollution, runaway biotechnology, and climate change. But despite the pileup of ho-hum apocalypse causes, the world seems like one that I'm curious about. JVDM does a great job of putting the action within a larger cultural context: Our heroes are operating on the fringes of a larger war, a battle for territory between the Magician, the Company, Mord (the cruise-ship-sized flying bear), and more.

    an note about Borne, written by Jeff Vandermeer in 2017

  • This book has gotten so much coverage in the last few years, I don't have much to observe about it that hasn't been said elsewhere. Except: man, I am ashamed of this country.

    an note about Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015

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