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

  • Nobody likes to be tapped on the knee. Practically nobody likes to be tapped anywhere.

    an excerpt from When Did You See Her Last?, written by Lemony Snicket in 2013

  • Asinine is a word that sounds like you shouldn't say it, so when you do say it, people often gasp. This makes it a delicious way of saying 'not very smart,' which is all it means.

    an excerpt from When Did You See Her Last?, written by Lemony Snicket in 2013

  • The three of us stood there for a minute. I don’t know what Stew was thinking, and the filing cabinet wasn’t thinking anything. But I was thinking, is this the world? Is this really the place in which you’ve ended up, Snicket? It was a question that struck me, as it might strike you, when something ridiculous was going on, or something sad. I wondered if this was really where I should be, or if there was another world someplace, less ridiculous and less sad. But I never knew the answer to the question. Perhaps I had been in another world before I was born, and did not remember it, or perhaps I would see another world when I died, which I was in no hurry to do. In the meantime, I was stuck in the police station, doing something so ridiculous it felt sad, and feeling so sad it was ridiculous. The world of the police station, the world of Stain’d-by-the-Sea and all of the wrong questions I was asking, was the only world I could see.

    an excerpt from When Did You See Her Last?, written by Lemony Snicket in 2013

Recently Noted

  • These have the same appeal as the Unfortunate Events series, with their multi-threaded mysteries, and droll word-based humor. I don't know at what age Felix and Trudy might like them, but I read them for fun.

    This picks up exactly where the last one left off, with a slightly expanded mystery but firmly locked within the larger story in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. I can probably review these as one big item. But I didn't!

    an note about When Did You See Her Last?, written by Lemony Snicket in 2013

  • I adored this book. It starts off mostly as a first person diary or epistolic thing, featuring a wise and wordy correspondent - slightly cantankerous but generally benevolent if isolated. It's set in the early 1900s in the pacific northwest frontier, and the first half could have easily been a Marilynne Robinson book sitting somewhere between Gilead and Housekeeping. There's a woman-against-the-world vibe to it that rings quite a bit Helen De Witt's Last Samurai, too. I loved those books, so I loved this. It even surpassed my dislike of American Frontier settings in general.

    BUT THEN, the plot takes a turn, and our heroine goes through an experience that undercuts what she knows about the world - but it's done in a relatively gentle, compassionate way. The actual plot picks up here as well, moving this from a wry, measured pace to something larger and broader but ultimately more exciting - from a river to an oceanic current.

    an note about Wild Life, written by Molly Gloss in 2000

  • I have trouble writing about the experience of this book without divulging any plot details.

    an note about Wild Life, written by Molly Gloss in 2000

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