Posts tagged "books"

The wind blowing across the British Isles was odorous with fear of asylum seekers, infecting everybody with the panic of impending doom, and so articles were written and read, simply and stridently, as though the writers lived in a world in which the present was unconnected to the past, and they had never considered this to be the normal course of history: the influx into Britain of black and brown people from countries created by Britain.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

Yes, but I’m worried I will leave grad school and no longer be able to speak English. I know this woman in grad school, a friend of a friend, and just listening to her talk is scary. The semiotic dialectics of intertextual modernity. Which makes no sense at all.

Chimamanda Ngozi Abichie, Americanah (2013)

And later, unrelated to the above:

She had told Blaine about it later, and there was an impatience in her tone, almost an accusation, as she added that academics were not intellectuals; they were not curious, they built their stolid tents of specialized knowledge and stayed securely in them.


She hungered to know everything about America, to wear a new, knowing skin right away: to support a team at the Super Bowl, understand what a Twinkie was and what sports “lockouts” meant, measure in ounces and square feet, order a “muffin” without thinking that it really was a cake, and say “I ‘scored’ a deal” without feeling silly.
 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

And they ambled, these Americans, they walked without rhythm. They avoided giving direct instructions: they did not say “Ask somebody upstairs”; they said “You might want to ask somebody upstairs.” When you tripped and fell, when you choked, when misfortune befell you, they did not say “Sorry.” They said “Are you okay?” when it was obvious that you were not. And when you said “Sorry” to them when they choked or tripped or encountered misfortune, they replied, eyes wide with surprise, “Oh, it’s not your fault.” And they overused the word “excited,” a professor excited about a new book, a student excited about a new class, a politician on TV excited about a law; it was altogether too much excitement.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

At the checkout, the blond cashier asked, “Did anybody help you?”

"Yes," Ginika said.

"Cheley or Jennifer?"

"I’m sorry. I don’t remember her name." Ginika looked around, to point at her helper, but both young women had disappeared into the fitting rooms at the back.

"Was it the one with long hair?" the cashier asked.

"Well, both of them had long hair."

"The one with dark hair?"

Both of them had dark hair.

Ginika smiled and looked at the cashier and the cashier smiled and looked at her computer screen, and two damp seconds crawled past before she cheerfully said, “It’s okay, I’ll figure it out later and make sure she gets her commission.”

As they walked out of the store, Ifemelu said, “I was waiting for her to ask, ‘Was it the one with two eyes or the one with two legs?’ Why didn’t she just ask ‘Was it the black girl or the white girl?’”

Ginika laughed. “Because this is America. You’re supposed to pretend that you don’t notice certain things.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

Obinze just said trunk, ma. He said it’s in the trunk of your car." In their America–Britain jousting, she always sided with his mother.

“Trunk is part of a tree and not a part of a car, my dear son,” his mother said. When Obinze pronounced “schedule” with the k sound, his mother said, “Ifemelunamma, please tell my son I don’t speak American. Could he say that in English?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)

Team Obinze, tbh


Like, I do actually like High Fidelity…

andrewtsks replied to your post:1994
Seriously, that “music or misery” quote from Hornby’s the most insufferable thing he’s ever written, which says quite a lot. If it’s a question you must ask, you can take comfort in the fact that you have never truly been miserable.

…but this is true doe.

EDIT: These days, I mostly remember it as a Fall Out Boy song.


At the Novitiate, the motherless Kataoka children were inconsolable. Father Cieslik worked hard to keep them distracted. He put riddles to them. He asked, “What is the cleverest animal in the world?” and after the thirteen-year-old girl had guessed the ape, the elephant, the horse, he said, “No, it must be the hippopotamus,” because in Japanese that animal is kaba, the reverse of baka, stupid.

John Hersey, Hiroshima (1946)

I’m learnding!

(This really is, as you may have heard, a remarkable piece of journalism.)


My dad has been substitute teaching at my old high school and today he emailed me photos of graffiti on this door.


Two things from JK Rowling’s History of the Quidditch World Cup essay

In 1971 the ICWQC appointed a new International Director, Australian wizard Royston Idlewind. An ex-player who had been part of his country’s World Cup-winning team of 1966, he was nevertheless a contentious choice for International Director due to his hard-line views on crowd control – a stance undoubtedly influenced by the many jinxes he had endured as Australia’s star Chaser. Idlewind’s statement that he considered the crowd ‘the only thing I don’t like about Quidditch’ did not endear him to fans. Their feelings turned to outright hostility when he proceeded to bring in a number of draconian regulations, the worst being a total ban on all wands from the stadium except those carried by ICWQC officials. Many fans threatened to boycott the 1974 World Cup in protest but as empty stands were Idlewind’s secret ambition, their strategy never stood a chance. The tournament duly commenced and while crowd turnout was reduced, the appearance of ‘Dissimulators’, an innovative new style of musical instrument, enlivened every match. These multi-colored tube-like objects emitted loud cries of support and puffs of smoke in national colors. As the tournament progressed, the Dissimulator craze grew, as did the crowds. By the time the Syria-Madagascar final arrived, the stands were packed with a record crowd of wizards, each carrying his or her own Dissimulator. Upon the appearance of Royston Idlewind in the box for dignitaries and high-ranking officials, a hundred thousand Dissimulators emitted loud raspberries and were transformed instantly into the wands they had been disguising all along. Humiliated by the mass flouting of his pet law, Royston Idlewind resigned instantly. Even the supporters of the losers, Madagascar, had something to celebrate during the rest of the long, raucous night.

  • Guys! Australia won the Qudditch World Cup in 1966! Aussie Aussie Aussie etc.

Possibly the most infamous World Cup Final of the last few centuries was the Ireland-Bulgaria match of 1994, which took place on Dartmoor, England. During the post-match celebrations of Ireland’s triumph there was an outbreak of unprecedented violence as supporters of Lord Voldemort attacked fellow wizards and captured and tortured local Muggles. For the first time in fourteen years, the Dark Mark appeared in the sky, which caused widespread alarm and resulted in many injuries among the crowd. The ICWQC censured the Ministry of Magic heavily after the event, judging that security arrangements had been inadequate given the known existence of a violent Pure-blood tendency in the United Kingdom. Royston Idlewind emerged briefly from retirement to give the following statement to the Daily Prophet: ‘a wand ban doesn’t look so stupid now, does it?’

  • This fits nicely in with my theory that in the Wizarding World, Britain is a rather backwards basket case of a country where open prejudice against muggle-borns is at least tacitly tolerated and the government is a mess of over-regulation and cronyism. Little wonder that it had two civil wars in the space of two decades. It might not quite be the Wizarding answer to North Korea, but something like the Wizarding answer to China. There was probably distinct concern in other countries about giving the 1994 World Cup to such a precariously run government, but Britain-boosters likely responded that this would encourage Britain to take its place amongst the world’s more responsible Wizarding nations. Obviously, the naysayers felt pretty smug when their predictions of disaster were fulfilled.


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