Monday, May 29, 2023

Recommendation - All the Sinners Bleed

 




Reading S. A. Cosby's All the Sinners Bleed immediately after David Joy's Those We Thought We Knew was just begging for a book hangover.

I knew it.

I knew it and did it anyway.

These men can write.
(and there has never been a bigger, louder understatement).



Like the rest of the world, I fell head over heels in love with S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears.  I was, honestly, prepared to be disappointed by All the Sinners Bleed.   What could possibly be as good as Razorblade Tears?


Ha!  Joke's on me.


Mr. Cosby is the real deal.


“S. A. Cosby’s novels always hit the grand slam of crime fiction; unstoppable momentum, gripping intrigue and deep character with a hard and telling look at culture and society. I hesitate to call All The Sinners Bleed his masterpiece because he has many more books to write and they only get better and better. Cosby no doubt carries the mantle of Faulkner with him as he uses the crime story to show us where we are and how far we still need to go. Sheriff Titus Crown lives in these pages and your heart. He's a character for the ages.”
―Michael Connelly, #1 
New York Times bestselling author of Desert Star

“On the basis of four novels, each better than the last (and
All the Sinners Bleed the best of them all), it’s fairly easy to say that American crime fiction has found its future and his name is S.A. Cosby.”
―Dennis Lehane, 
New York Times bestselling author of Small Mercies

Description

"The new novel from New York Times bestselling and Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author S. A. Cosby, "one of the most muscular, distinctive, grab-you-by-both-ears voices in American crime fiction.” —Washington Post.

A Black sheriff. A serial killer.
A small town ready to combust.


Titus Crown is the first Black sheriff in the history of Charon County, Virginia. In recent decades, quiet Charon has had only two murders. But after years of working as an FBI agent, Titus knows better than anyone that while his hometown might seem like a land of moonshine, cornbread, and honeysuckle, secrets always fester under the surface.

Then a year to the day after Titus’s election, a school teacher is killed by a former student and the student is fatally shot by Titus’s deputies. As Titus investigates the shootings, he unearths terrible crimes and a serial killer who has been hiding in plain sight, haunting the dirt lanes and woodland clearings of Charon.

With the killer’s possible connections to a local church and the town’s harrowing history weighing on him, Titus projects confidence about closing the case while concealing a painful secret from his own past. At the same time, he also has to contend with a far-right group that wants to hold a parade in celebration of the town’s Confederate history.

Charon is Titus’s home and his heart. But where faith and violence meet, there will be a reckoning.

Powerful and unforgettable, All the Sinners Bleed confirms S. A. Cosby as “one of the most muscular, distinctive, grab-you-by-both-ears voices in American crime fiction” (The Washington Post)."


Y'all.  Grab this book

And as for me?  

There is nothing out there right now grabbing my attention so I'm going to flip a coin to see what I'll be reading next, but I do know it's going to be a book written by Mr. Cosby or by Mr. Joy.  I am hooked.


It's binge reading time.



  Coin has been tossed.

Next book?


Cosby.
Joy.

Joy.
Cosby.



Well, you'll just have to wait and see . . .


I'll be back to tell you all about it right here IF it lives up to these last two books I've shared with you.  I'm betting it will.







Saturday, May 27, 2023

Grown-Up (?) Vacation Bible School for One

 I loved Vacation Bible School!


Did any of you go?


Did you love it?


Hand me some paper, scissors, glue and let me lose!


I was the happiest kid in the US of A.


And that has not changed.  


Paper!

Scissors!

Glue!

Hooray!





A couple months back I told you about a little project I was starting.


My very own book of collected quotes and passages.


http://www.meanderingsandmuses.com/2023/02/my-latest-little-project.html








So much fun!


This book is always pretty close by, so while I'm reading, playing on Facebook, or searching out a particular word, or quote, poem or song lyric, i can write it in my book. 

 It's a little exercise I'm enjoying lots.


The book itself has evolved into a bit of a "Junque Journal."


I have not been able to resist the call of colored pens and pencils, scraps of paper, stickers, washi tape, etc.


I open my book and randomly start decorating.  There is no theme.  No rhyme nor reason.



Just - - -

Paper!

Scissors!

Glue!

Hooray!


It's all aimless, random, disorganized, undisciplined, lackadaisical, unmethodical fun.

























I never know what I might find when I pick up my book to do a little journaling, or to jot down a passage or poem I just remembered or discovered.  


I just write.


And just write around the little collages and obstacles I haphazardly stuck on the pages.


I swear, the littlest things can make a girl happy.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

Like I might be 7 years old again with glue and finger paints smeared all over myself wearing a hat made from newspaper.


As you can see, perfection is not part of this game.


Just kid like fun.


Being a grown-up is over rated.


























Have I mentioned how much I love being retired?



Y'all, life is good.






Friday, May 26, 2023

Latest Recommendation - Those We Thought We Knew by David Joy

 

If you know me you know I read.


A lot.


I keep a record of the books I read in the sidebar of Meanderings and Muses.  See it?  Over there to your right - ๐Ÿ‘‰       scroll down . . .





I do this for several reasons.

One, I love lists.

Two, I'd never be able to join in on the Favorite 10 (20, however some many) Lists at the end of the year.

Three, To remind me of the books I've read so I won't buy them again.  Re-read, sure, but re-buy - no.  Unless it's to give to a friend.


So.

Even though I keep a running list of what I'm reading, it's pretty rare for me to dedicate a post to a single book.

If I do that, you can be sure it's because I found it to be pretty special.  Either the subject, or the characters, or the setting spoke to me.  Usually though, it's the writing.   The voice.  Sometimes, like in this case, it's the whole package.  Even the cover.


There are writers, and then there are writers.



The man can write.


Being completely transparent - all of David Joy's books are not for me.  That doesn't mean I don't get his brilliance.  


THOSE WE THOUGHT WE KNEW is a book I might not have tried right away except for the simple fact that it was suggested to me via NetGalley via a little widget assuring me I'd receive it, and I would enjoy it.


Boy Howdy, did I enjoy it.

Omg this book.  I would give it a parade if I could.  

The subject matter is timely.  And it's important.

The characters are jump-off-the-page honestly, sometimes brutally, written.

The setting rich in description and atmosphere, with spot-on rich, stylish dialogue.

The writing is brilliant.  Lyrical and raw and mesmerizing.  Hopeful and heartbreaking.
Asking tough, necessary, questions.



S. A. Cosby says "Those We Thought We Knew is a beautifully fearless contemplation. The best novels ask the hard questions and task us to come up with answers. Joy is asking the hardest question and daring us to answer truthfully.”

Description from NetGalley

“From award-winning writer David Joy comes a searing new novel about the cracks that form in a small North Carolina community and the evils that unfurl from its center.

Toya Gardner, a young Black artist from Atlanta, has returned to her ancestral home in the North Carolina mountains to trace her family history and complete her graduate thesis. But when she encounters a still-standing Confederate monument in the heart of town, she sets her sights on something bigger.

Meanwhile, local deputies find a man sleeping in the back of a station wagon and believe him to be nothing more than some slack-jawed drifter. Yet a search of the man’s vehicle reveals that he is a high-ranking member of the Klan, and th uncovering of a notebook filled with local names threatens to turn the mountain on end.

After two horrific crimes split the county apart, every soul must wrestle with deep and unspoken secrets that stretch back for generations. Those We Thought We Knew is an urgent unraveling of the dark underbelly of a community. Richly drawn and bracingly honest, it asks what happens when the people you’ve always known turn out to be monsters, what do you do when everything you ever believed crumbles away?”



I can thank NetGalley.com for helping me discover a wealth of books and authors I might not have discovered without their generosity.  And I am thankful.

I try to repay that generosity by spreading the word and by backing up what I say by spending some money.

I've reserved a copy of THOSE WE THOUGHT WE KNEW at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC, and I'll be taking a drive to Sylva to be front and center in line to have my book signed on August 1 for Mr. Joy's book launch.  And to thank him for sharing his gift with us.


I hope to see some of you there.

In the meantime, here's a story he wrote for The Bitter Southener.  You should read it.




Life is good when there are writers like David Joy writing.


Let's hold on to our writers and not allow ignorant people opportunities to ban books that entertain us, educate us and open our minds.  


Speaking of The Bitter Southener; check out their general store - https://bsgeneralstore.com/   (you're welcome! ๐Ÿ˜Š )











Note: FTC Disclosure Notice: Dear FTC - I received a digital copy of Those We Thought We Knew from NetGalley.com. No other compensation was offered or accepted beyond the possibility of a review of the book.

Also, i have no connection to The Bitter Southener other than as a reader and a fan.










Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Day in Town

 Yesterday was a gorgeous day and I spent most of it in town running errands, shopping, and having a "Kaye Day."


Manicure, hair cut, and a cute new denim dress from TJMaxx.  


It was a good day, one that included an over-due visit with my friend Ellie Miller in her new salon, Muse.  THE most perfect spot for Ellie and her clients.  Welcoming, relaxed, intimate, professional.  



But, honestly?  I almost cried at how very ugly some of Highway 321 from Boone to Blowing Rock has become.

How many car washes and quick oil change places does one small town need?






Ugly.  Ugly.  Ugly.  



"Progress" has hit Boone big since we moved here in 1996.

I miss the look and feel of the small mountain town Boone was.



Which is why I'm perfectly content to spend most days at home in Meat Camp, which I love dearly.












Life is good in Meat Camp.
















Monday, May 22, 2023

Paris by Alan Seeger (Complete version)

Paris by Alan Seeger
First, London, for its myriads; for its height,
Manhattan heaped in towering stalagmite;
But Paris for the smoothness of the paths
That lead the heart unto the heart's delight. . . .


Fair loiterer on the threshold of those days
When there's no lovelier prize the world displays
Than, having beauty and your twenty years,
You have the means to conquer and the ways,


And coming where the crossroads separate
And down each vista glories and wonders wait,
Crowning each path with pinnacles so fair
You know not which to choose, and hesitate --


Oh, go to Paris. . . . In the midday gloom
Of some old quarter take a little room
That looks off over Paris and its towers
From Saint Gervais round to the Emperor's Tomb, --


So high that you can hear a mating dove
Croon down the chimney from the roof above,
See Notre Dame and know how sweet it is
To wake between Our Lady and our love.


And have a little balcony to bring
Fair plants to fill with verdure and blossoming,
That sparrows seek, to feed from pretty hands,
And swallows circle over in the Spring.


There of an evening you shall sit at ease
In the sweet month of flowering chestnut-trees,
There with your little darling in your arms,
Your pretty dark-eyed Manon or Louise.


And looking out over the domes and towers
That chime the fleeting quarters and the hours,
While the bright clouds banked eastward back of them
Blush in the sunset, pink as hawthorn flowers,


You cannot fail to think, as I have done,
Some of life's ends attained, so you be one
Who measures life's attainment by the hours
That Joy has rescued from oblivion.

II


Come out into the evening streets. The green light lessens in the west.
The city laughs and liveliest her fervid pulse of pleasure beats.


The belfry on Saint Severin strikes eight across the smoking eaves:
Come out under the lights and leaves
to the Reine Blanche on Saint Germain. . . .


Now crowded diners fill the floor of brasserie and restaurant.
Shrill voices cry "L'Intransigeant," and corners echo "Paris-Sport."


Where rows of tables from the street are screened with shoots of box and bay,
The ragged minstrels sing and play and gather sous from those that eat.


And old men stand with menu-cards, inviting passers-by to dine
On the bright terraces that line the Latin Quarter boulevards. . . .


But, having drunk and eaten well, 'tis pleasant then to stroll along
And mingle with the merry throng that promenades on Saint Michel.


Here saunter types of every sort. The shoddy jostle with the chic:
Turk and Roumanian and Greek; student and officer and sport;


Slavs with their peasant, Christ-like heads,
and courtezans like powdered moths,
And peddlers from Algiers, with cloths
bright-hued and stitched with golden threads;


And painters with big, serious eyes go rapt in dreams, fantastic shapes
In corduroys and Spanish capes and locks uncut and flowing ties;


And lovers wander two by two, oblivious among the press,
And making one of them no less, all lovers shall be dear to you:


All laughing lips you move among, all happy hearts that, knowing what
Makes life worth while, have wasted not the sweet reprieve of being young.


"Comment ca va!" "Mon vieux!" "Mon cher!"
Friends greet and banter as they pass.
'Tis sweet to see among the mass comrades and lovers everywhere,


A law that's sane, a Love that's free, and men of every birth and blood
Allied in one great brotherhood of Art and Joy and Poverty. . . .


The open cafe-windows frame loungers at their liqueurs and beer,
And walking past them one can hear fragments of Tosca and Boheme.


And in the brilliant-lighted door of cinemas the barker calls,
And lurid posters paint the walls with scenes of Love and crime and war.


But follow past the flaming lights, borne onward with the stream of feet,
Where Bullier's further up the street is marvellous on Thursday nights.


Here all Bohemia flocks apace; you could not often find elsewhere
So many happy heads and fair assembled in one time and place.


Under the glare and noise and heat the galaxy of dancing whirls,
Smokers, with covered heads, and girls dressed in the costume of the street.


From tables packed around the wall the crowds that drink and frolic there
Spin serpentines into the air far out over the reeking hall,


That, settling where the coils unroll, tangle with pink and green and blue
The crowds that rag to "Hitchy-koo" and boston to the "Barcarole". . . .


Here Mimi ventures, at fifteen, to make her debut in romance,
And join her sisters in the dance and see the life that they have seen.


Her hair, a tight hat just allows to brush beneath the narrow brim,
Docked, in the model's present whim, `frise' and banged above the brows.


Uncorseted, her clinging dress with every step and turn betrays,
In pretty and provoking ways her adolescent loveliness,


As guiding Gaby or Lucile she dances, emulating them
In each disturbing stratagem and each lascivious appeal.


Each turn a challenge, every pose an invitation to compete,
Along the maze of whirling feet the grave-eyed little wanton goes,


And, flaunting all the hue that lies in childish cheeks and nubile waist,
She passes, charmingly unchaste, illumining ignoble eyes. . . .


But now the blood from every heart leaps madder through abounding veins
As first the fascinating strains of "El Irresistible" start.


Caught in the spell of pulsing sound, impatient elbows lift and yield
The scented softnesses they shield to arms that catch and close them round,


Surrender, swift to be possessed, the silken supple forms beneath
To all the bliss the measures breathe and all the madness they suggest.


Crowds congregate and make a ring. Four deep they stand and strain to see
The tango in its ecstasy of glowing lives that clasp and cling.


Lithe limbs relaxed, exalted eyes fastened on vacancy, they seem
To float upon the perfumed stream of some voluptuous Paradise,


Or, rapt in some Arabian Night, to rock there, cradled and subdued,
In a luxurious lassitude of rhythm and sensual delight.


And only when the measures cease and terminate the flowing dance
They waken from their magic trance and join the cries that clamor "Bis!" . . .


Midnight adjourns the festival. The couples climb the crowded stair,
And out into the warm night air go singing fragments of the ball.


Close-folded in desire they pass, or stop to drink and talk awhile
In the cafes along the mile from Bullier's back to Montparnasse:


The "Closerie" or "La Rotonde", where smoking, under lamplit trees,
Sit Art's enamored devotees, chatting across their `brune' and `blonde'. . . .


Make one of them and come to know sweet Paris -- not as many do,
Seeing but the folly of the few, the froth, the tinsel, and the show --


But taking some white proffered hand that from Earth's barren every day
Can lead you by the shortest way into Love's florid fairyland.


And that divine enchanted life that lurks under Life's common guise --
That city of romance that lies within the City's toil and strife --


Shall, knocking, open to your hands, for Love is all its golden key,
And one's name murmured tenderly the only magic it demands.


And when all else is gray and void in the vast gulf of memory,
Green islands of delight shall be all blessed moments so enjoyed:


When vaulted with the city skies, on its cathedral floors you stood,
And, priest of a bright brotherhood, performed the mystic sacrifice,


At Love's high altar fit to stand, with fire and incense aureoled,
The celebrant in cloth of gold with Spring and Youth on either hand.

III


Choral Song


Have ye gazed on its grandeur
Or stood where it stands
With opal and amber
Adorning the lands,
And orcharded domes
Of the hue of all flowers?
Sweet melody roams
Through its blossoming bowers,
Sweet bells usher in from its belfries the train of the honey-sweet hour.


A city resplendent,
Fulfilled of good things,
On its ramparts are pendent
The bucklers of kings.
Broad banners unfurled
Are afloat in its air.
The lords of the world
Look for harborage there.
None finds save he comes as a bridegroom, having roses and vine in his hair.


'Tis the city of Lovers,
There many paths meet.
Blessed he above others,
With faltering feet,
Who past its proud spires
Intends not nor hears
The noise of its lyres
Grow faint in his ears!
Men reach it through portals of triumph, but leave through a postern of tears.


It was thither, ambitious,
We came for Youth's right,
When our lips yearned for kisses
As moths for the light,
When our souls cried for Love
As for life-giving rain
Wan leaves of the grove,
Withered grass of the plain,
And our flesh ached for Love-flesh beside it with bitter, intolerable pain.


Under arbor and trellis,
Full of flutes, full of flowers,
What mad fortunes befell us,
What glad orgies were ours!
In the days of our youth,
In our festal attire,
When the sweet flesh was smooth,
When the swift blood was fire,
And all Earth paid in orange and purple to pavilion the bed of Desire!


Saturday, May 20, 2023

A Light Left On by May Sarton


In the evening we came back

Into our yellow room,

For a moment taken aback

To find the light left on,

Falling on silent flowers,

Table, book, empty chair

While we had gone elsewhere,

Had been away for hours.


When we came home together

We found the inside weather.

All of our love unended

The quiet light demanded,

And we gave, in a look

At yellow walls and open book.

The deepest world we share

and do not talk about

But have to have, was there,

And by that light found out.