Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September (fourth week) 2017 Reads

Once again I have several "readings in progress." I finished only one book this week but it was a good one.

This week for the short story challenge I drew a joker which means I read a story from another participant's roster. It also means I drew a second card and read two stories this week. I selected my joker story from Dale's roster

“Deal Me In 2017!”
Story: The Cafeteria by Isaac Bashevis Singer; translated by the author and Dorothea Strauss. (page 68-84 in Library of America's  Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories: One Night In Brazil to The Death Of Methuselah)
A successful writer occasionally eats in a neighborhood cafeteria where many immigrants (mostly elderly men) gather to eat and gossip. Here he meets Esther, also an immigrant but younger than most of the usual group. Over the years they see one another off and on. The final time they talk is at his place and she tells him she saw Hitler and a group of Germans meeting in the cafeteria after closing time. Was it a vision? a memory? a separate reality? or is she insane? Some time later he sees her on the street with another man from the old cafeteria crowd. Or does he?

Singer never disappoints. The Library of America three volume boxed set of his collected stories may be my best blog win ever. 

Card: Joker
Dale's roster is set up is geographically with stories from Appalachia  for spades and clubs and stories from New York City for Hearts and diamonds. The singer story is the the ♥10♥ on the roster so I chose a joker representing the city.

Story from my roster for the second card I drew (♥8♥): The Story of Kao Yu by Peter S. Beagle (online at, a great source for "Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.")

A fantasy story of an aging traveling judge in rural China;  the chi-lin, the Chinese unicorn who sometimes appears in his court, and a female criminal. The author describes it as "....a respectful imitation of an ancient style, and never pretends to be anything else. But I wrote it with great care and love, and I’m still proud of it." He certainly met his goal with this story.
I did not look for a card to represent this story because there is a marvelous illustration accompanying the story.  Alyssa Winans is the artist. She a San Francisco based fantasy illustrator and game artist. She is also a member of the Google Doodle team.

from my shelves...

The Signal Flame: A Novel  by
 An elegantly told family story of love, waiting, and loss. Krivak gives us an astonishing sense of time, place, and character.

The Romance of the Skeleton
"... a two-and-a-half minute, weird and wonderful animation depicting “the lows and lower lows of love in the afterlife.” Equal parts funny and touching, the short is the result of a collaboration between Brazil-born Vitoria Bastos and Adele Davies from Devon...."

 (Read Me)  by Helen McClory
A great essay on reading, worth reading and re-reading. " don’t have to read simpler or popular books because they give you ready currency online, or because lots of people keep talking about them. You can read obscure, weird, or difficult stuff without feeling awkward. Because you don’t have to present your opinion to the world on the books you read in a digestible, effusive tweet or a picture of the book next to a mug of tea and an aloe plant. I know you know this, that you don’t have to have an opinion at all. Many voices make reading one type of book or another a performative act that marks you as a member of a particular tribe. But all that needs to exist is you and the words. Because they are yours if you want them."

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