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

  • All, all was ending; this, after so many preludes, was certainly death. This was the most exquisite and pure joy of death, in a bearing of bitterness too great to be borne. Above her the sky every moment grew more high and empty; the rain fell from a source far beyond all clouds. Below her the myriad drops, falling in slanting lines, struck the great river in innumerable little explosions, covering the whole surface. She saw each of them with an admirable exactitude-each at the same time as she saw all, and the flowing river and the empty sky, and herself no longer bodily understood, but a point, a point reflected from many drops and pierced by many drops, a spark of the light floating in the air.

    an excerpt from All Hallows' Eve, written by Charles Williams in 1945

  • He had been used to think that nothing could shock him; he had been wrong. The universe is always capable of a worse trick than we suppose, but at least when we have known it we are no longer surprised by anything less.

    an excerpt from All Hallows' Eve, written by Charles Williams in 1945

  • Dimly there moved in her, since her reconciliation with Betty, a sense that love was a union of having and not-having, or else something different and beyond both. It was a kind of way of knowledge, and that knowledge perfect in its satisfaction.

    an excerpt from All Hallows' Eve, written by Charles Williams in 1945

Recently Noted

  • I heard about Freya Stark last year and have been waiting to get my hands on more info about her; this looks to be the definitive biography. Stark was, despite her Game-of-Thrones sounding name, an italian-english traveler who was one of the first europeans (esp women) to travel through various parts of the middle east. She seems entirely self-driven: she was never rich or important, but by pluck and determination just got herself to the middle east, learned a ton of languages, and slipped past various border guards, protectorate cordons, etc. My kind of traveler to read about! She wrote about her travels like a good Englishperson, and has several popular books that have been in print since the 30s.

    It's interesting, although I kind of don't care much about her personal life - and there are long spells of details about her relationships - but all I want to hear about are her travels. I should really have skimmed this faster and moved on to her actual writing to get to those primary sources.

    an note about Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark , written by Jane Fletcher Geniesse in 2001

  • What a page turner! I'd been putting this off because I was intimidated by its length (I know, I know) but also because I have FEELINGS about french books. Mostly those feelings are: bleh. But man! what a fun story. I'm only 3/4 thru and it's a riot.

    an note about The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844

  • Picked up the audio version for a long solo trip, so I'd have something going during my many times waiting in lines at airports. I really, really enjoyed this! At first I definitely suffered from the usual fantasy fatigue of all the worldbuilding - all the made-up nouns and verbs that stand between me and understanding what's happening in this story. This was also a problem for me in Leckie's space scifi book I read, Ancillary Justice.

    But getting past that, it was really interesting. The reader in the audiobook - Adjoa Andoh - did a great job, with some great voice acting (which can go so wrong so quickly!). This is especially important as a large part of the novel is written in the second person, which is TOUGH. There's a lot of 'you did this. But did you notice X? how did you feel when Y happened? But the payoff of the second person is also worth it, and completely interesting. I really liked this.

    an note about The Raven Tower, written by Ann Leckie in 2019

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