knitandpurl has looked up 2581 words, created 11 lists, listed 1866 words, written 1098 comments, added 1 tag, and loved 2 words.

Comments by knitandpurl

  • "You are on the low side of the learning curve and don't even know terrain from terrane."
    John McPhee, in Elicitation, p 50 of the April 7, 2014, issue of the New Yorker

    April 13, 2014

  • "Angelica sniffed the darkness. "Cigars."
    It could have been scillas for all Tonino cared."
    The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones, p 158

    March 15, 2014

  • "Mr. McLintock nodded, with a pawky sort of grin."
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1 by Diana Wynne Jones, p 538

    March 11, 2014

  • "It is full of people working magic—warlocks, witches, thaumaturges, sorcerers, fakirs, conjurors, hexers, magicians, mages, shamans, diviners, and many more—from the lowest Certified witch right up o the most powerful of enchanters."
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1, by Diana Wynne Jones

    March 4, 2014

  • "Dallington's story had satisfied both Lenox and Jenkins as to the motivation of the brother and the sister, a long cathectic hatred of Queen Victoria, bred into the bone by their ancestors and their father, and flourishing, perhaps, without the soft guidance of a mother."
    An Old Betrayal by Charles Finch, p 266

    March 4, 2014

  • "Sophronia raised up her Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification, a present on her fifteenth birthday from Dimity's brother, Pillover. It was essentially a high-powered monocle on a stick, but useful enough to keep at all times hanging from a chatelaine at her waist."
    Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, p 8

    January 28, 2014

  • "In September I planted a line of spruce saplings along the west portico, against the better judgment of Rodgers—and now they have all but one of them died, which I view as final and irrefragable evidence that I have entered my senescence."
    A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch, pp 274-275

    January 17, 2014

  • "He helped himself gloomily to salmis of game."
    Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers, p 75

    January 6, 2014

  • "Parker, acushla, you're an honour to Scotland Yard."
    Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers, p 34

    January 5, 2014

  • "Back in her apartment she pins Amsterdam to the wall above her bed, beneath another old postcard: four brightly painted totem poles and a few muskeg spruce, leaning over a marshy inlet."
    Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith, p 13

    January 3, 2014

  • "Then came the strange events that I wrote off at the time as a kind of self-undermining parapraxis. First I forgot to pack the book; then I forgot to collect my bag from the carousel in the airport."
    The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas, p 277

    January 1, 2014

  • "It is one of those deep-acting, long-acting antipsoric medicines."
    James Tyler Kent, quoted in The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas, p 118

    December 30, 2013

  • "After I've had some soup, I go and get in the bath with two of the homoeopathy books: Kent's Lectures on the Materia Medica and a rather strange-looking volume called Literary Portraits of the Polychrests."
    The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas, p 117

    December 30, 2013

  • "Elizabeth, heavily pregnant and desperate, was there waiting while her husband and sons tried to find work in the area, having been turned away from the Tavistock stannary."
    PopCo by Scarlett Thomas, p 172 of the Harcourt paperback edition

    December 1, 2013

  • "Roast chicken and kumera and peas from the back garden, and peaches and nectarines with cream for pudding, and Beverley had been allowed a glass of sherry."
    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 185

    October 29, 2013

  • "Beyond the vision of her pumping knees on some desperate errand, and the bloodied dress above them, and playing in the yellow dust under the macrocarpa hedge, and a young women turning cartwheels on the lawn—whom she assumes to be Rita—she has only the scantiest memories of her very early life."
    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 130

    October 29, 2013

  • See citation on pohutakawa.

    October 29, 2013

  • "If you go up to Coromandel these days, up to the subtropical North, where the pohutakawa trees line the rocky coast, and the dolphins sport in a warm sea, and in the deep dark kauri forests where the tui birds break the silence and the bellbirds chime, you could well believe that the spirit of the taniwha has been put to sleep."
    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 120

    October 29, 2013

  • "I remember what Aroha said about the kehua, the spirits of the homeless dead, and how they like to inhabit animals and birds: the screech of the morepork bird in the velvety Maori night is a case in point."
    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 40

    October 27, 2013

  • "The early sun is making the snow sparkle, and the red spindleberries glow in the hedge the far side of the garden, so it's all white, green and red, like the Italian flag."
    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 32

    October 27, 2013

  • At the start of Kehua! by Fay Weldon, there's this:
    "May the Maori amongst you excuse this fictional foray
    into your world, for which, believe me,
    I have the greatest respect, having as a child
    in the Coromandel encountered both taniwha and kehua."

    October 26, 2013

  • At the start of Kehua! by Fay Weldon, there's this:
    "May the Maori amongst you excuse this fictional foray
    into your world, for which, believe me,
    I have the greatest respect, having as a child
    in the Coromandel encountered both taniwha and kehua."

    October 26, 2013

  • "And then came the mud. In it sloshed, through the broken windows. Thick mud, watery mud, rocky mud, mud with beveled-glass shards, mud with window muntins, mud with grass, mud with barbecue utensils, mud with a mosaic birdbath."
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, p 76

    October 24, 2013

  • "Turning up the deep astrachan collar of his long coat, the stranger swept out of the shop, with the air, as Miss Fritten afterwards described it, of a Satrap proroguing a Sanhedrin. Whether such a pleasant function ever fell to a Satrap's lot she was not quite certain, but the simile faithfully conveyed her meaning to a large circle of acquaintances."
    "Quail Seed" by Saki, in The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories (p 139 of the NYRB edition)

    October 14, 2013

  • "We managed to get the ponies loose in time, and the syce swam the whole lot of them off to the nearest rising ground."
    "The Guests" by Saki, p 119 of The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories (NYRB Edition)

    October 14, 2013

  • The poultry followed her in interested fashion, and swine grunted interrogations at her from behind the bars of their sties, but barnyard and rickyard, orchard and stables and dairy, gave no reward to her search.
    "The Cobweb" by Saki, p 109 of The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories (NYRB paperback)

    October 14, 2013

  • "And yet, for all that it stood so well in the centre of human bustle, its long, latticed window, with the wide window-seat, built into an embrasure beyond the huge fireplace, looked out on a wild spreading view of hill and heather and wooded combe."
    "The Cobweb" by Saki, p 104 of The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories (NYRB paperback)

    October 14, 2013

  • "As for Cassandra, who was expected to improvise her own prophecies, she appeared to be as incapable of taking flying leaps into futurity as of executing more than a severely plantigrade walk across the stage."
    "The Peace Offering" by Saki, p 75 of The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories (NYRB paperback)

    October 14, 2013

  • September 17, 2013

  • "Now we've seen that justice will collapse through abuse of hendiadys."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 165

    September 17, 2013

  • "Still, despite the tight shackles and endless drudgery, despite the difficulty in dealing with all this, how should I say, journalistic prose--for that's what it is: lifeless, banausic drivel that rushes like a torrent and lacks all color and rhythm, except that it seems to come in waves, but you could at least pace yourselves by contending with these waves one at a time, consider only the number of strokes to be made between each strike of the clock, instead of dwelling on the calendar."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 156

    September 16, 2013

  • "They took refuge in one of the izbas that are found dotted on the outskirts of Xochimilco's teeming suburbs."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 142

    September 16, 2013

  • "The conticent hour
    when the gondola's left for a neighboring dark,"
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 141

    September 16, 2013

  • "So they gathered around a horrible toadstool covered in blemishes and eschars, for these made it look a fitting exemplar, or perhaps it was more a leprous garden gnome, who carried his personal tragedy with him everywhere he went, and because of his dual nationality bumped into us more often than not."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 134

    September 16, 2013

  • "How is it possible that within a belletrist culture like that one, there was so much admiration for the works of Zi--with their soppy sentimentalism and bumpkin sophistication, their bad grammar and archaic anacoluthia, and all those gigantic leaps away from the slightly credible to the wholly fabulous?"
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 129

    September 16, 2013

  • "Beautiful, detailed notation by Aída on pulque and the agave plant."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 121

    September 16, 2013

  • "She opened with a recitation--interspersed with oscitations and eructations--of a monologue by the teenage actress in The Seagull."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 115

    September 16, 2013

  • "His voice was certainly the strangest I've heard from a creature of his kind-- at once surd and resonant, clipped and lyrical, with euphonious vowels broken by brusquely stressed consonants that reminded me a little of Careclough's Scottish brogue."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 114

    September 16, 2013

  • "d) Once the cult of St. Mawr was born, it committed itself to what was called "the small instauration" and to "the little idiom.""
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 106

    September 16, 2013

  • "The most observant of them called the period of caducity "the fall," and he'd usually announce its arrival out loud."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 90

    September 16, 2013

  • "Accents has the original strip of paper a valuable addition to my bibliophile's treasury, which contains a false enthymeme or involuntary syllogism"
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 90

    September 16, 2013

  • "Many years later, once we saw through his mask, that symbol of his claudication, we summoned the image of Von Aschenbach, as interpreted by Dirk Bogarde in the Visconti film (14, reference to Gathorne-Hardy, anecdote in the book about English public schools)."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 77

    September 16, 2013

  • "On the threshold, motionless, stands the invunche."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, pp 71 and 72

    September 16, 2013

  • "A whole argot of sectarian terms to designate where: first, the "paludinal glitterati" in Septic Midrash, then the "phalansterian demographic" constructed to "contradict the anecdote.""
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 68

    September 16, 2013

  • "Since then, having succeeded in restoring them to that previous state in which their livelihoods depended on a meager spring (one that delivers on a monthly basis), he eases a vellication of remorse with the thought that they would be amply remunerated with freedom of time and leisure, although he knows the leisure of redundancy cannot truly be enjoyed."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 55

    September 16, 2013

  • "I feel more assured by the incoherent babbling of a panhandler than by the apodictic pronouncements of philosophers."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 53

    September 16, 2013

  • "Critics and friends had already rebuked him for his honeyed volubility, and also that "nothing to say" which the terricolous Hardy suspected lay behind his ponderous, Tyrian diction."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 52

    September 16, 2013

  • "When he saw them again, on that morning in August after returning from a visit to the city, he found them quite as submissive and conceited as ever; and he, once again trapped in their especial variety of confessional antechamber (in which they oft be labored him with successions of halting effusions), sought escape by firing off--or more properly, stammering--a bêtise on the "perfumed scent" of his butler's arrhythmic respiration, which was indeed perceptible to him in more than one--and to more than one--sense."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 47

    September 16, 2013

  • "For more on the casuistry, the soteriology, and even the proctology of the letter X, see Edgar Lee Meaulnes."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 39

    September 16, 2013

  • "Entre nous, her exuberant flaunting, her canorous bays, are they not in fact . . . symphonies?"
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 16

    September 16, 2013

  • "If pleonasm is the soul of offense, at least I know when to shut up."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 13

    September 16, 2013

  • "If pleonasm is the soul of offense, at least I know when to shut up."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 13

    September 16, 2013

  • "Nicasio sits with his barracan jacket slightly open, his hand reaching--in plenipotentiary gesture--for his wallet ("ample as a library," according to Dos) so he can pay the bill."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 7

    September 16, 2013

  • Having now read The No Variations several times in the course of translating and editing, I was continually amused by its author's mock affectations, moved by his corybantic delight in language, and, despite the difficulty, I believe it has that quality proper to all fine literature, which Tertullian first noted of scripture: semper habet aliquid relegentibus, however frequently we read it, we shall always meet with something new."
    Darren Koolman, in his Translator's Preface to The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni

    September 12, 2013

  • The literal meaning of Peripecias del no is "Peripeties of No," but while the title works great in Spanish, in English, it is inkhorn.
    Darren Koolman's Translator's Preface to The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni

    September 12, 2013

  • "Set in an elementary school in Argentina in the early seventies, it is in fact a pasquinade on the bourgeois pretentions and puerile rivalries among Buenos Aires writers and intellectuals at that time."
    Darren Koolman, in his Translator's Preface to The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, p V of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback

    September 10, 2013

  • No such titan ever visited
    during my days as aedile. Yet wisps
    still buttonhole us in random moats:
    - from "Gravy for the Prisoners" by John Ashbery, p 28 of the August 26, 2013 issue of the New Yorker

    September 3, 2013

  • "Video games have turned everyone under the age of 20 into experts on military history and tactics; 12-year-olds on school buses argue about the right way to deploy onagers and cataphracts while outflanking a Roman triplex acies formation."
    "It's All Geek to Me" by Neal Stephenson, pp 60-61 of Some Remarks

    September 2, 2013

  • "Of course the Carbonite stilettos pierced it as if it were cork board, but this spoiled his aim long enough for me to whip my wakizashi out from between my shoulder blades and swing at his head."
    "Slashdot Interview" by Neal Stephenson, p 28 of Some Remarks

    August 29, 2013

  • "Scatter patterns in sand, adnates, cancellates, gaping
    whelk husks, a toy tractor-trailer, cracked
    and dinged, beside the spine of a plastic tree,

    the helmet-shaped shelter of a shadow cast
    by a not-quite-buried wedge of pottery . . ."
    "Hermit Crab" by Stephen Burt, p 28 of the August 5, 2013 issue of the New Yorker

    August 13, 2013

  • "Scatter patterns in sand, adnates, cancellates, gaping
    whelk husks, a toy tractor-trailer, cracked
    and dinged, beside the spine of a plastic tree,

    the helmet-shaped shelter of a shadow cast
    by a not-quite-buried wedge of pottery . . ."
    "Hermit Crab" by Stephen Burt, p 28 of the August 5, 2013 issue of the New Yorker

    August 13, 2013

  • "She sent me out to check ten sycamores at the backs of some houses in Romsey to see whether there was a root problem when it came to the sewers (the sycamores were fine, though a leylandii clump was too close to the houses by far) and by the time I got back to work she'd sent me an email saying I'd been assigned next week off, on half-pay—in October, which is one of our busiest times."
    Artful by Ali Smith, p 57

    August 3, 2013

  • "What is this picture but a fragment?
    Is it linen—papyrus—who can say?
    All those stains and fents and stretched bits, but
    she was a character, even a beauty, you can see that
    from the set of her head and the rakish snood
    her tight black curls are fighting to escape from."

    "The Sandal" by Edwin Morgan, quoted in Artful by Ali Smith, pp 25-26

    August 2, 2013

  • "You laugh out loud and tell me what Angela Carter said about that 'fubsy beast': she thought he looked more like a pajama case than a tiger. I go away and look up the word fubsy. I've never heard it before."
    Artful by Ali Smith, p 16

    August 2, 2013

  • "He hangs his distinctive coat on a peg and says, "I have found a wonderful subject for you: Stesichorus's palinode ..." Yes, I can still see Mr. Bailly very clearly."
    Climates by André Maurois, translated by Adriana Hunter, p 11 of the Other Press paperback edition

    July 23, 2013

  • "Steeplebush flourished by some other name, lost ow, long before there were steeples."
    "Neon" by Carl Phillips, in Silverchest (p 24)

    July 22, 2013

  • "Set free from carking care and amply provided for, we were able to give most of our time and energy to our real profession – which, of course, is Sapping – and so moving northward and then westward we presently arrived, after a leisurely but eventful journey, much of it very comfortably underground, at the eastern border of Bombardy."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 335 of the New York Review of Books edition

    July 19, 2013

  • "Set free from carking care and amply provided for, we were able to give most of our time and energy to our real profession – which, of course, is Sapping – and so moving northward and then westward we presently arrived, after a leisurely but eventful journey, much of it very comfortably underground, at the eastern border of Bombardy."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 335 of the New York Review of Books edition

    July 19, 2013

  • "The Judge, as it happened, was playing clock-golf with his Cook, and his two maids were watching, so there was some delay before the visitors were admitted."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 205 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "Are you quite sure, Mrs. Wellaby, that you haven't committed even the least little tiny tort in the last few days? Because I am ready, now as ever, to defend you against any accusation whatsoever, no matter whether it be barratry or illicit diamond-buying, forgery or coining, breach of promise to marry, or armed resistance to capture."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 199 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "'Because you're a stiff-necked, rascally, rebellious, unruly rout of predestined skilly-swillers,' he would yell."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 185 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "He wore a canvas jacket, whipcord breeches, and a bowler hat."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 75 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "For tea they had scones and pancakes, crumpets and pikelets, muffins and cream buns, plum cake and seed cake and cream cake and chocolate cake, and often some bread and butter as well."
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 23 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "It was a pleasant room with a window facing south, a satinwood bed, a satinwood dressing-table, and a satinwood writing desk at which Miss Serendip used to sit and write letters to her seven sisters"
    The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, p 19 of the New York Review of Books hardcover

    July 17, 2013

  • "These rackets are strange: they look like "old rackets" (like violas to violins, crumhorns to bassoons); one of them has an extremely large wooden frame and the racket itself (the stringed part) is a tiny round (not oval) hole that is obviously stringless."
    La Boutique Obscure: 124 Dreams by Georges Perec, translated by Daniel Levin Becker

    July 8, 2013

  • "On the second floor of the Opera atelier, Anna Maria sat at a dressing table with a small mirror, took a round etui from her pocket, extracted the reddened cotton wad, spit on it, and blotted her lips."
    The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, p 162

    July 2, 2013

  • "Miss Hagman had the perfect life: a luxurious apartment, more than adequate means, and she was free to be a coryphée, to socialize with all manner of people—from royalty to artists."
    The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, p 157

    July 2, 2013

  • "It was Sunday, a popular night for balls and fetes, and I could hear the distant blast of a waldhorn signaling a bacchanal."
    The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, p 13

    June 27, 2013

  • "From the Wikipedia entry for "thyrsus":
    In Greek mythology, a staff of giant fennel (Ferula communis) covered with ivy vines and leaves, sometimes wound with taeniae and always topped with a pine cone."
    - from The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson, p 131

    June 1, 2013

  • ""I'll see a lion, a tiger, a jackal. I'll be attacked by a naja cobra, and a gharial. I'll rescue a child from the claws of a condor."
    My Beautiful Bus by Jacques Jouet, translated by Eric Lamb, p 83

    May 23, 2013

  • "Then ask him if he wouldn't happen to have some glasswort, and if not than percebes, or goose barnacles, those little crustaceans like the ones you find in Galicia and the Madrilenian markets."
    My Beautiful Bus by Jacques Jouet, translated by Eric Lamb, p 45

    May 22, 2013

  • "The remnants of a lacy filibeg clung to the twisted circlets of the Crimson crown, its garnets glinting dully, and the Punctilious Trousers bore unpleasant stains."
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 239 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • "Saloona observed an urceolate figure who held a jeroboam of frothing liquor."
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 239 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • "She gestured at the waiting cabriolets and winged caravans, parked alongside the bridled destriers and sleeping gorgosaurs that lined the long curving drive."
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 236 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • ""The Crimson Court has a legendary kitchen. Too long have you languished here among your toadstools and toxic chanterells, Saloona Morn! At great danger to myself, I have secured you an invitation so that you may sample the Paeolinas' nettlefish froth and their fine baked viands, also a cellar known throughout the Metarin Mountains for vintages as rare as they are temulent. Still you remain skeptical of my motivations.""
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 225 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • ""You require the use of my prism ship and my fungal electuaries. I remain uncertain of the benefits to myself.""
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 225 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • ""An ustulating spell directed at his paramour's bathing chamber. The squireen has been reduced to ash. The optimate's need to retain his affection has therefore diminished.""
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 223 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • ""The Queen was not aware of it either," replied Paytim. "Her brother poisoned her and seized control of the Crimson Messuage. He has impertinently invited me to attend his coronoation as Paeolina the Twenty-Ninth.""
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 221 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • "Clans have fought and died over this periapt."
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 217 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • "When the dishes were cleared and the last of the locust jelly spooned from a shared bowl, Paytim poured two jiggers of amber whiskey. She removed a pair of red-hot pokers from the kitchen athanor, plunged one into each jigger, then dropped the spent pokers into the sink."
    "The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 216 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    May 1, 2013

  • "Insensibility, melancholia, hebetude; ordinary mental tumult and more elaborate physical vexations (boils, a variety of thrip that caused the skin of an unfaithful lover to erupt in a spectacular rash, the color of violet mallows)—Saloona Morn cultivated these in her parterre in the shadow of Cobalt Mountain."
    "Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 209 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    April 29, 2013

  • "His former colleagues were now living eidolons of youth, beauty, health, joy, desire flitting past him in the studio, lovely and remote as figures from a medieval allegory."
    - "The Far Shore" by Elizabeth Hand, p 130 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    April 28, 2013

  • "Its scales rose to form a stiff, brilliantly colored armor, a farthingale glimmering every shade of violet and green."
    "Hungerford Bridge" by Elizabeth Hand: p 122 of Errantry: Strange Stories

    April 28, 2013

  • "Today, I blame myself for my irenicism: I should never have allowed the issue of Les Temps modernes on the Arab–Israeli conflict to open with Rodinson's article, 'Israel, a Colonial Reality?', for I do not believe that this is, or has ever been, the case: in my films and in my writings, I have striven tirelessly to reveal the complex reality of Israel."
    The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 399-400 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition

    April 19, 2013

  • "To get from Beijing to Pyongyang, one went either by rail or by air: the first entailed a forty-eight-hour journey with a stop of indeterminate length at the Sino-Korean border before travelling north at a snail's pace through the septentrional regions of North Korea since there had recently been a catastrophic explosion that had destroyed a railway station and two trains, resulting in countless victims."
    The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 315 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition

    April 18, 2013

  • "I didn't feel qualified, but I accepted and we began to work, proceeding by a Socratic, maieutic method – which is something I'm rather good at."
    The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, p 191 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition

    April 16, 2013

  • "It was over Duelo a garrotazos that I had apagogically envisaged rolling the opening credits for my film Tsahal, about the Israeli army and the wars it was compelled to fight."
    The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 31 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition

    April 9, 2013

  • "Thus all they had to select from was tea, bread and sweet butter, porridge, ham and broiled mushrooms, rabbit pie, fricandeau of eggs, mayonnaise of prawns, and spiced beef."
    Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, p 121

    March 11, 2013

  • "Instead he listens, just in case Tom gets tripped up in the briar patch of plesiosynchronous protocol arcana, whence only Randy can drag him out."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 406 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    February 3, 2013

  • "Lord Woadmire is not related to the original line of Qwghlm, the Moore family (Anglicized from the Qwghlmian clan name Mnyhrrgh) which had been terminated in 1888 by a spectacularly improbable combination of schistosomiasis, suicide, long-festering Crimean war wounds, ball lightning, flawed cannon, falls from horses, improperly canned oysters, and rogue waves."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 255 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 30, 2013

  • "Propped up against the stonework next to the building's entrance is a gaffer dressed in an antique variant of the Home Guard uniform, involving knickerbockers."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 253 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 30, 2013

  • "He swings it on the end of its wristband, made in cunningly joined armor plates. It is heavy enough to stun a muskellunge."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 192 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 28, 2013

  • "As a result, the authorities of his country, the United States of America, have made him swear a mickle oath of secrecy, and keep supplying him with new uniforms of various services and ranks, and now have sent him to London."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 146 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 28, 2013

  • I didn't know the military meaning of this, as in:
    "The Marines charge the wastebaskets as if they were Nip pillboxes, and Lieutenant Ethridge seems mollified."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 189 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 28, 2013

  • "Soon they are standing before the fort's entrance, which is flanked by carvings of a pair of guards cut into the foamy volcanic tuff: halberd-brandishing Spaniards in blousy pants and conquistador helmets."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 121 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 26, 2013

  • "The United States part is, however, a safe bet, because every time he arrives at a curb, he either comes close to being run over by shooting-brake or he falters in his stride; diverts his train of thought onto a siding, much to the disturbance of its passengers and crew; and throws some large part of his mental calculation circuitry into the job of trying to reflect his surroundings through a large mirror. They drive on the left side of the street here."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, pp 143-144 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 26, 2013

  • "Farther south, the mountains are swidden-scarred—the soil beneath is bright red and so these parts look like fresh lacerations."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 32 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 22, 2013

  • "The speed and power of their growth is alarming, the forms they adopt as bizarre and varied as those of deep-sea organisms, and all of them, he supposes, are as dangerous to an airplane as punji stakes to a barefoot pedestrian."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 30 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 22, 2013

  • "The duralumin struts and catwalks rambled on above him for miles."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 23 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 21, 2013

  • ""Yes! Russell and Whitehead. It's like this: when mathematicians began fooling around with things like the square root of negative one, and quaternions, then they were no longer dealing with things that you could translate into sticks and bottlecaps. And yet they were still getting sound results."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 18 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 21, 2013

  • "For each stop—each timbre, or type of sound, that the organ could make (viz. blockflöte, trumpet, piccolo)—there was a separate row of pipes, arranged in a line from long to short."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 8 of the Avon Books paperback edition

    January 20, 2013

  • "But when a hornet got into the house and swung across the ceiling in a broad Lissajous, droning almost inaudibly, he cried in pain at the noise."
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 7 of the Avon paperback edition

    January 20, 2013

  • "With only a few days to listen to the recordings, make notes, digest files from Time correspondents, read morgue clippings, and skim through several books, I was soon sprawled on the floor at home, surrounded by drifts of undifferentiated paper, and near tears in a catatonic swivet."
    - "Structure" by John McPhee, p 46 of the January 14, 2013 issue of the New Yorker

    January 15, 2013

  • I'd never heard this as a verb, I don't think! As in:
    "Maureen emerged from behind the counter in her short black dress and frilly apron, and Shirley corpsed into her coffee."
    The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 351

    January 10, 2013

  • "It was all very confusing, and she continued to enjoy Easter eggs and decorating the Christmas tree, and found the books that Parminder pressed upon her children, explaining the lives of the gurus and the tenets of Khalsa, extremely difficult to read."
    The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 301

    January 10, 2013

  • ""And what about you?" Simon roared at his wife, who was still frozen beside the computer, her eyes wide behind her glasses, her hand clamped like a yashmak over her mouth."
    The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 283

    January 10, 2013

  • "Nobody came in answer to the bell, but she could hear a small child grizzling through the ground-floor window on her left, which was ajar."
    The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 66

    January 10, 2013

  • "I found I was a bit cold-pigged—drained, not dried entirely."
    "Hello! Hi! Hello!" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty, p 111

    January 1, 2013

  • "He carves horses and he paints a whole group on their points of hips, the throatlatches, on the tails, and so forth."
    - "One of the Great Drawbacks" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty (p 75)

    January 1, 2013

  • "A woman who took orders there popped a lozenge the color of bixbite into her mouth."
    - "Give Them Stuff" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty (p 55)

    January 1, 2013

  • ""Can I see that?" he said, "What is that?"
    It was a baby porringer."
    "On the Job" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty, p 29

    December 31, 2012

  • "I crossed the street to survey the lake and I heard crepitations—three little girls bouncing their ball."
    "My Defects" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty (p 13)

    December 31, 2012

  • "Lawrence Lessig, the whilom Special Master in the Justice Department's antitrust suit against Microsoft, complained that he had installed Internet Explorer on his computer, and in so doing, lost all of his bookmarks--his personal list of signposts that he used to navigate through the maze of the Internet."
    - "In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson

    December 24, 2012

  • "She was around fifty, garishly painted and dressed in the faded style of a older generation, in a worn silk paletot."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 195

    December 24, 2012

  • "As if the spectres with which he paid for his passage to England, the soucouyants with which he revenged his uncle and family, all those bloodthirsty ghosts of his narrative have come alive in this city."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 191

    December 24, 2012

  • "By now Amir has become used to the overbearing smells of London houses, especially around the kitchen: the odours, he feels, are stronger and more basic — burnt meat, boiled vegetables — than in respectable houses in his village, which are open to the cleansing air, purified by agarbattis."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 105

    December 23, 2012

  • "The matter was brought before the village panchayat, which had assembled, as was the custom, under the peepal tree in the village square."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 49

    December 19, 2012

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_religiosa

    December 19, 2012

  • "Little good it did him though, this facing of a new future, the diligence with which he, in his youth, worked as a munshi before the death of his father called him back to the land, and the way in which he set himself to learn the customs and language of the Firangs."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, pp 25-26

    December 19, 2012

  • "I had always admired Hamid Bhai's ability to guess where the cut kite would alight, just as I admired his capacity to hold his breath for so long during our games of kabbadi."
    The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 24

    December 19, 2012

  • "Sign language has its own syntax patterns, dialects and accents (American Southerners are known for "blurry" signing), and even usage experts, who teach native signers to use the language with concinnity."
    "Little Strangers" by Nathan Heller, p 89 of the November 19, 2012 issue of the New Yorker

    November 29, 2012

  • "Composed of Paste and glued with Tragacanth, the Theme of this Device was an heroic Feat known as 'Callock's Leap'."
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 391

    November 10, 2012

  • "From his command post in the doorway of the Great Hall, Mister Pouncey pondered lists of secretaries and seal-keepers, council clerks and sergeants-at-arms. Was the Clerk of Petty Bag senior to a gentleman groom? he wondered. How important was the Keeper of the Hanaper, or the Chafe Wax?"
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 214

    November 10, 2012

  • See citation on mazzard.

    November 10, 2012

  • "Gooseberries and raspberries came from Motte's fruit cages. Mazzards and bigaroons followed."
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 183

    November 10, 2012

  • "Beyond it lay overgrown beds and plants John had never set eyes on before: tall resinous fronds, prickly shrubs, long grey-green leaves hot to the tongue. Nestling among them he found the root whose scent drifted among the trees like a ghost, sweet and tarry. He knelt and pressed it to his nose.
    ' That was called silphium.' His mother stood behind him. 'It grew in Saturnus's first garden.'"
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 88

    November 10, 2012

  • See citation on skirret - in the "cow parsnip" sense.

    November 10, 2012

  • "Familiar smells drifted in the air: fennel, skirrets and alexanders, then wild garlic, radishes and broom."
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 85

    November 10, 2012

  • "John and his mother swished through carpets of vetches and fescues or pushed their way through the bushes, splashing through springs that broke through the turf and flowed through the grass in secret cascades."
    John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 42

    November 10, 2012

  • 'I didn't exist at Creation,
    I didn't exist at the Flood,
    And I won't be around for Salvation
    To sort out the sheep from the cud-

    'Or whatever the phrase is. The fact is
    In soteriological terms
    I'm a crude existential malpractice
    And you are a diet of worms.

    - from "God, A Poem" by James Fenton

    November 6, 2012

  • "The Canavans—they had for decades and centuries brought to the Ox elements that were by turn complicated and simple: occult nous and racy semen."
    "Ox Mountain Death Song" by Kevin Barry, in the October 29 & November 5, 2012 issue of the New Yorker, p 106

    November 1, 2012

  • "Unsurprisingly, the audiences got longer and more ragged, with a growing number of her loving subjects going away regretting that they had not performed well and feeling, too, that the monarch had somehow bowled them a googly."
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 41 of the FSG hardcover edition

    October 13, 2012

  • "He took the books up to the Queen's floor and, having been told to make himself as scarce as possible, when the duke came by hid behind a boulle cabinet."
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 16 of the FSG hardcover edition

    October 13, 2012

  • "'Not dolly enough,' said the equerry, though to the private secretary not to the Queen. "
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 15 of the FSG hardcover edition

    October 13, 2012

  • The "a person of a keen, irritable temper" definition of this one is new to me. As in (re: Cecil Beaton):
    "'No, of course not. You'd be too young. He always used to be round here, snapping away. And a bit of a tartar. Stand here, stand there. Snap, snap. And there's a book about him now?"
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 7 of the FSG hardcover edition

    October 13, 2012

  • "Unbriefed on the subject of the glabrous playwright and novelist, the president looked wildly about for his minister of culture."
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 4 of the FSG hardcover edition

    October 13, 2012

  • "My work required careful research (as patient as Gutenberg taking his time making an ink that was neither too fluid nor not fluid enough) to find a discrete way to starch the lips of these slits. I used kaolin."
    Savage by Jacques Jouet, translated by Amber Shields, p 58 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback edition

    October 13, 2012

  • "She who knew neither past nor future, who had neither a tomorrow nor memories, had been obliged without warning to come here, to follow this grand deviation of the arrow of time—the most beautiful fleuron of occidental decadence."
    - Savage by Jacques Jouet, translated by Amber Shields, p 36 of the Dalkey Archive paperback edition

    October 12, 2012

  • "Don't know about duppies, Keisha. Don't want to know about them."
    NW by Zadie Smith

    October 7, 2012

  • "Now everyone came to brunch with their "quality" paper and a side order of trash. Tits and vicars and slebs and murder."
    NW by Zadie Smith, p 299

    October 7, 2012

  • ""Exactly," says Paloma triumphantly, "there is not enough regulation. Too many rail workers, not enough plumbers. Personally, I would prefer the kolkhoz.""
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 281 of the Europa Editions paperback

    September 28, 2012

  • "I limit myself therefore to a refrain of asthenic yeses in response to Jacinthe Rosen's hysterical salves."
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 133 of the Europa Editions paperback

    September 28, 2012

  • "At the moment he is enduring Jacinthe Rosen's pithiatic prattling. She brings to mind a hen at the foot of a mountain of grain."
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 133 of the Europa Editions paperback

    September 28, 2012

  • "Thus we use up a considerable amount of our energy in intimidation and seduction, and these two strategies alone ensure the quest for territory, hierarchy and sex that gives life to our conatus."
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 97 of the Europa Editions paperback

    September 28, 2012

  • "Had I but the leisure to bite into the standard meter, I would slap myself noisily on the thighs while reading, and such delightful chapters as "Uncovering the final sense of science by becoming immersed in science qua noematic phenomenon" or "The problems constituting the transcendental ego" might even cause me to die of laughter, a blow straight to the heart as I sit slumped in my plush armchair, with plum juice or thin driblets of chocolate oozing from the corners of my mouth..."
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 58 of the Europa Editions paperback

    September 28, 2012

  • "It looks like an enormous shell, fucus growing all over it, straight out of The Water Babies."
    The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 91 of the 50th anniversary edition

    September 3, 2012

  • "As the noise of the helicopter's engine faded out on the roof above them, Riggs and Macready bent down and inspected the crude catamaran hidden behind a screen of bocage under the balcony."
    The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 73 of the 50th anniversary edition

    September 3, 2012

  • "Descending to three hundred feet above the water, they began to rake up and down the distal five-mile length of the main channel."
    The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 72 of the 50th anniversary edition

    September 3, 2012

  • "She noticed Riggs peering over his shoulder at the bar. 'What's the matter, Colonel? Looking for your punka-wallah? I'm not going to get you a drink, if that's what you're after. I think you men only come up here to booze.'"
    The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 39 of the 50th anniversary edition

    September 3, 2012

  • "Kerans shrugged, smiling at her amiably. 'I missed you.'
    'Good boy. I thought perhaps that the gauleiter here had been trying to frighten you with his horror stories.'"
    The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 37 of the 50th anniversary edition

    September 3, 2012

  • "A specially commissioned report, commending 'the alluvial nature of the soil', listed the valley's crops 'of all kinds from the rarest to the coarsest qualities. Tobacco, the fig, the vine, the olive, the poppy, the cotton plant and mulberry tree are all indigenous products, whilst maize, barley, beans, flax, hemp and a variety of pulse and oleaginous seeds are raised in large quantities. Valonia, yellow-berries, wool, goats' hair, dyestuffs, drugs, skins, honey, wax and likewise abound.' The only hindrance was the primitive condition of the region's Ottoman infrastructure; by revolutionising the pre-industrial carriage of the valley's largely perishable produce, the railway company's backers meant to make a killing."
    Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 270 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition

    September 1, 2012

  • "The village was empty. The flank of a sleeping dog heaved in the shade of a blue water bowser."
    Meander: From East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 164 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition

    August 28, 2012

  • "I was curious about the watermills. The locals spoke of these mills as they might have referred to old mine workings or to the quicksands of tidal flats, to ice-covered ponds or the craters of rumbling volcanoes; I sensed it might pay this visiting canoeist to understand the local view if only because watermills meant no more to me than innocuous echoes of a pre-industrial past, a stock feature of picturesque period landscapes, high wheels turning harmlessly within the barred confines of their leats."
    Meander: From East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 135 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition

    August 28, 2012

  • "By the time she returned with my breakfast — a tight-waisted glass of black tea, bread. crumbly white cheese, ship-lapped slices of tomato and cucumber, honey, and a boiled egg — and with more parsley for her husband, I was deep in the lead stories."
    Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 21 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition

    August 25, 2012

  • "Dr. Tulp will soon be here
    in his black hat, prosectorial
    instruments in hand"
    - from "A Waltz Dream" by W.G. Sebald, translated by Iain Galbraith, in Across the Land and the Water - p 97 of the Random House hardcover

    August 18, 2012

  • "When the monster didn't
    show the marram
    was permitted to reoccupy
    the fortified strip"
    - from "Holkham Gap" by W.G. Sebald, translated by Iain Galbraith, in Across the Land and the Water - p 68 of the Random House hardcover

    August 15, 2012

  • "Mr Thwaite often attended the Sports Days, and Maitland came, too, dressed in brown tussore and a picture hat and carrying a reticule."
    Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam, p 233 of the Europa Editions paperback

    August 12, 2012

  • "'Now just go through to the dairy,' said Paul Treece's mother, 'and on the stone you'll see pork sausages. We'll fry them for the chicken on the fire. The bread sauce is at the bottom of the oven and there'll be room. The plum pudding's well away. There's room for another pan. It's a fine pow-sowdy. I'se not my usual self this year. Most-times I'se brisker. Maybe it's soon to be bothering with Christmas, but Paul wouldn't have wanted us overcome.'"
    Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam, p 178 of the Europa Editions paperback

    August 12, 2012

  • "And yet, as though to punish me now for calquing my own images over these sidewalks long ago, Via Clelia was giving them all back—but not a thing more."
    Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman, p 30 of the FSG hardcover

    July 18, 2012

  • "The wishfilm we leave on our walks glistens on the city's hard surfaces like the luminous imprint of fish scales left on a butcher's block hours after the fish was caught, cut, and cooked—outside of time. It still glistens, still pulsates, reaching out to strangers, calling out to them, sometimes long after we're gone. The remanence of our presence, our lingering afterimage on this city—the best of us."
    Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman, p 155 of the FSG hardcover

    July 18, 2012

  • "Biffy was a man of principle. He refused, on principle, to sell a huge tricolored pifferaro bonnet decorated with a cascade of clove pinks, black currants, and cut jet beads to Mrs. Colindrikal-Bumbcruncher for her daughter."
    Timeless by Gail Carriger, p 18

    July 11, 2012

  • "He spoke in a hushed voice. "I traced Madame Lefoux to the dahabiya docks. A peculiar sort of place. Lost the scent there. I'm afraid she may have boarded a ship. ...""
    Timeless by Gail Carriger, p 278

    July 11, 2012

  • Also a style of hat in the late 1870s: per the Berg Dictionary of Fashion History it's a "hat with a short, chimney-pot crown trimmed with an aigrette in front."

    July 10, 2012

  • "The ox was sleek, black, muscular; when it plodded into the spotlight, under the guidance of a wrangler, the stage crew and other rehearsing performers shifted tensely, as if each motion might mark the start of a faena."
    - "Listen and Learn" by Nathan Heller, in The New Yorker, July 9 & 16, 2012, p 69

    July 8, 2012

  • "Men show off; women pretend to be impressed—the eternal circle of the selective lek."
    Winter by Adam Gopnik, p 147 of the House of Anansi paperback edition

    June 23, 2012

  • "Where, we wonder, are the people of Nashville? That's one thing we like about our cities, we agree: there are always people about. They're usually drunk, of course. Drunk and lairy. But that is a good sign."
    Dogma by Lars Iyer, p 20

    June 9, 2012

  • "Capitalism and religion, W. says. Or, in my case, failed capitalism and failed religion. Somehow, I'm the key to his project, W. says. Somehow I'm the key to the copula, though he's not sure how."
    Dogma by Lars Iyer, p 12

    June 8, 2012

  • "I was there close by him, by the four of them as they assembled the fusee chain, or four fusee chains."
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 141 of the Knopf hardcover edition

    June 6, 2012

  • "The white charlock, which was obviously as much of a pest in Furtwangen as its yellow brother in Low Hall, touched the morbid scene with falsely cheerful light.'
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 94 of the Knopf hardcover edition

    June 5, 2012

  • "Did you know when applying to register a rebuilt Mini one must declare whether one's fucking chassis or monocoque body has been replaced or modified in any way?"
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 85 of the Knopf hardcover edition

    June 5, 2012

  • "Before the glass cleaning began I would have to remove the brass collet at the end of each rod. The collet would fit into some as yet unseen mechanism which would rotate the rods."
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 78 of the Knopf hardcover

    June 5, 2012

  • "Finally they retired and when Sumper left the field, I scraped his plate, the last skerrick of cheese sauce as well."
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 65 of the Knopf hardcover edition

    June 5, 2012

  • "still pointed westward
    down the long voe,
    down toward the ocean
    where the business is."
    - from "The Overhaul" by Kathleen Jamie, p 60 of the May 28, 2012 edition of the New Yorker

    May 30, 2012

  • "Then, perhaps two months later, when I had stepped, as I often did, into the totalisator agency in a suburb adjoining my own suburb, I saw the monk in a far corner, reading one of the form-guides on the wall."
    Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane, p 238 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback

    May 26, 2012

  • "Some of these worked as stockmen or labourers or kitchen-hands and lived in quarters not far from the homestead; others seemed to have no other homes than a row of humpies beside the creek."
    Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane, p 49 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback edition

    May 22, 2012

  • "Invariably I have some refreshment placed upon the fortepiano of the bushy-haired, gasconading lout of a band leader."
    Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, pp 54-55 of the NYRB paperback

    May 9, 2012

  • "The tone of this voice—I've studied it in considerable depth—reproduces in sound the approximate impression made on the eye of the progress of a snail, so resplendently languorous, so lazy, so brown, so very reptant, so slimy, so gluey, and so terribly if-not-today-why-not-tomorrow."
    Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, pp 48-49 of the NYRB paperback

    May 9, 2012

  • Well, I knew what this word meant in 2008 but had since forgotten. Rediscovered it today, thus:

    "Certainly one finds the most and greatest elegance on Tauentzienstrasse; the Kurfürstendamm is delightful with its trees and calashes."
    Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, p 19 of the NYRB paperback

    May 8, 2012

  • "She swam in mangrove swamps, amongst the maze of roots in the mud, snapping up fiddler-crabs and mudskippers, spitting shell into the inspissated mess of mud, leaf skeletons, seaweed."
    Ragnarök by A.S. Byatt, p 66

    May 6, 2012

  • "Her nose was fine and her brows were dusky, like smoke, like the lower world's kenning for 'forest', seaweed of the hills."
    Ragnarök by A.S. Byatt, p 46

    May 3, 2012

  • "Dead from the cancer, and sometimes you still felt a fulgurating sadness over it, even though he really was a super asshole at the end."
    - from "Miss Lora" by Junot Díaz, p 63 of the April 23, 2012 edition of the New Yorker

    April 24, 2012

  • "Two bees report on traffic, warning listeners
    to the anemophily channel
    as the natural disaster
    of humanity comes closer
    every morning. Work while you can, they say."
    - from "Flooded Meadow" by Stephen Burt, p 52 of the April 23, 2012 edition of the New Yorker

    April 24, 2012

  • "They miss, too, the wooden turf carts that lie weathered and rain-pocked at the side of the road. They miss the angle of the slanes, leaning up against the carts."
    - "Transatlantic" by Colum McCann, p 103of the April 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker

    April 18, 2012

  • "For all his sentimentality about gentlemanly chivalry, Lord doesn't shy away from what the sinking and its aftermath revealed about the era's privileges and prejudices. "Even the passengers' dogs were glamorous," begins a tongue-in-cheek catalogue in "A Night to Remember" that includes a Pekingese named Sun Yatsen—part of the entourage of Henry Harper, of the publishing family, who, Lord laconically reports, had also picked up an Egyptian dragoman during his preëmbarkation travels, "as a sort of joke.""
    - "Unsinkable" by Daniel Mendelsohn, p 68 of the April 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker

    April 18, 2012

  • "It is evidently a problem of method, he went on as if overwhelmed, one believes one is looking through a wider and wider lens, but one sees only the lens, the irisations, the dust motes on its surface, when I was an art critic I was always knocking my head against this decisive problem, how to speak about Flemish painting, how to speak about the blue of the virgin's cloak without forever erasing the color behind the word that qualifies it?"
    Invitation to a Voyage by François Emmanuel, translated by Justin Vicari, pp 41-42 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback

    April 12, 2012

  • "the postcard pictures weren't innocent, four women laughing, straining wheat through their wicker tamis in a blond light,"
    Invitation to a Voyage by François Emmanuel, translated by Justin Vicari, p 13 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback

    April 12, 2012

  • (I looked this up because it's the title of a John Ashbery poem, in his book A Wave.)

    April 8, 2012

  • "The figure of Mercury had become both more theatrical and more human: no longer a statue, he was draped in a freshly laundered chlamys that set off his well-formed but slight physique; the broad-brimmed petasus sat charmingly on his curls."
    - "Description of a Masque" by John Ashbery, p 29 of the Noonday Press paperback edition of A Wave

    April 8, 2012

  • Blurb on the back of A Wave by John Ashbery says:
    "The charm of Ashbery's urbane style—so various, so beautiful, so new—persists throughout A Wave, and will induce the rereadings the poem demands. It is a style that resists, in its glowing reflectiveness, the approaching darkness of the cimmerian moment."
    —Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books

    April 6, 2012

  • "In a dystopian society in the future, a group of wealthy, epicene overlords—authoritarians with violet hair and the vicious manners of French courtiers—threaten and control an impoverished population."
    "Kids at Risk" by David Denby, in The New Yorker, p 68 of the April 2, 2012 issue.

    April 4, 2012

Comments for knitandpurl

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  • I suspect you have an open italic bracket in your comment on terrane because it is italicising the front page no end.

    April 13, 2014

  • yarb, thanks - you're right that a Witch Grass list would be fun - maybe if I re-read it ... :)

    November 11, 2010

  • I'm very much enjoying your Witch Grass gleanings. They deserve their own list.

    November 9, 2010

  • Hey k&p! Good to see you around again :-)

    December 23, 2009

  • Thank you for listing the word "yowdendrift". I didn't know of it. It's beautiful.

    July 14, 2009

  • Hi enjoyed your list!
    Could you add a word to my list??
    I just began to use this site and I am learning how to use it.
    Thanks!

    June 15, 2008

  • Hi K&P,
    I have been enjoying your list, and particulaly like your username. Good to see you around!

    July 21, 2007