Friday, August 28, 2020

Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Kopp Sisters #2)

Lady Cop Makes Trouble  (Kopp Sisters #2)Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Kopp Sisters infatuation continues. What women! I usually take a break of several months between books in a series, but this one was just so much fun.

I thought about the day, when I was about ten years of age, when I copied down a list printed in the newspaper under the title “What a Woman Can Do.” I wrote down each item in a neat and careful hand, and then crossed most of them out after considered them. The Profession of Music was thus eliminated, as was Coloring Photographs and Women as Wood Engravers. Housekeeper was blotted out so thoroughly that the paper tore. Dressmaking met the same fate, as did Gardening. In fact, the paper was nearly in tatters under the force of my emphatic little hand. Only The Profession of Law remained, along with A Lady Government Official, Women of Journalism, and Nursing. Each of those wore faint checks beside them. I hid that list inside a white glove that needed mending and never showed it to anyone. On it were all the possibilities in the world. No one, back in 1887, had dared to suggest Woman Deputy. (5%)

Norma was theatrical in her own way, a master of props, equipped with an impressive vocabulary of snorts, grumbles, and hisses, and always ready to bang a pot or slam a book shut to get her point across. In any disagreement, she could be counted upon to have a pencil and paper at the ready and to write down whatever outlandish and overheated claim the other party might be making, so that it could be entered into evidence and read back at a later date when it might favor her side. (6%)

Although Mr. LaMotte and I had only known each other a short while, we sat together as comfortably as old friends. He was a short, bald man who wore a preposterous wig that was always slightly askew, and he carried an expression of endless bemusement. He spoke with a faint French accent that betrayed his European roots, but when I addressed him in French he insisted that we speak the language of New Yorkers. “Go to Paris if you want to hear French,” he would say airily, with a wave of his hand, as if that were a last resort that one shouldn’t even consider. (27%)

It was the dim, quiet hour just before dinner, when the older women were rousing themselves slowly from their naps. This was when I preferred to sit down with one or the other of them and try to win their confidence. The understanding that they were in jail—and therefore not obligated to cook dinner—dawned on them with a kind of muted relief. They were philosophical at that time and more willing to talk, unlike the younger girls, who preferred to come to me at midnight, when their fears and secrets kept them awake and aflame. The older women didn’t let their lies and treachery deprive them of sleep. They took their secrets to bed like hot-water bottles and snored on top of them all night long. (52%)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention EconomyHow to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked some of the author's examples, but overall, this didn't grab me. One way I can tell is that I stopped highlighting the e-book at about 2/3 of the way through. That means I was skimming from that point on.

And that's too bad because this is a subject near to my heart. To her credit, she did work Bartleby, the Scrivener, into the discussion, which warrants at least a few choice passages, though the other one is a quote from a different work Odell referenced in her opening. 

"Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves; what a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and ever rarer, thing that might be worth saying. —Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations" (7%)

"Herman Melville’s short story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Bartleby, the clerk famous for repeating the phrase, “I would prefer not to,” uses a linguistic strategy to invalidate the requests of his boss. Not only does he not comply; he refuses the terms of the question itself." (35%)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Girl Waits With Gun (Kopp Sisters #1)

Girl Waits With Gun (Kopp Sisters, #1)Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this detective novel, based on historical events. Constance Kopp became the first woman sheriff in early-20th century New Jersey. In the first novel of Amy Stewart's series, we learn how she was forced to protect her family from a wealthy bully. Quirky and engaging characters and an interesting and not-so-well known (for me) time period of American history kept me reading chapter after chapter when I intended to just read for a short time. I went a bit crazy with the highlights, since it was an e-book.

Being the tallest girl in the class, I was once dressed as Uncle Sam and placed in the center of the stage while forty-five girls, each portraying a different state, danced around me. Norma refused to choose a state. Wyoming was forced upon her. She wore a linen dress the color of sand and spread her arms wide to convey the vastness and futility of a place she could not imagine and did not wish to. (18%)

He shook his head. “There were all kinds of Bolsheviks living over there during the strikes. You used to be able to hear them arguing from a block away. The police could stand right out on the sidewalk and learn every one of their plans. But they’ve all moved on now.” (30%)

We looked forward to A Day at the Farm more than the children did because we never had to cook. Bessie always insisted that a picnic would be more fun in the countryside anyway, but we all knew the real reason: she didn’t want to eat our cooking any more than we did. The chief object of the day was to make it through Bessie’s wicker hampers: first the stuffed eggs and cucumber sandwiches, then the potato salad, the baked chicken, and aspic, and finally the glorious fruit tarts and peach preserves. This year they’d brought ice cream, and Fleurette made a ginger ale punch that the children drank from Mother’s gilded Sèvres teacups. We pulled every rug out of the house and spread them on the lawn, then piled on all the pillows and cushions we could find, and from that perch we dedicated ourselves to depleting Bessie’s hampers. Francis was in better spirits than we’d seen him in some time. He’d shaved his beard for the summer and it gave him an air of youthfulness and lightheartedness that was not entirely in keeping with his character. (88%)

And then what? Where the years ahead had once seemed vague and unknowable, amorphous in shape and indeterminate in size, after my mother died I began to see a set of decades stacked neatly in front of me like bricks. First came my thirties, already half gone, and beyond that my forties and my fifties, solid and certain. But after that, the bricks started to crumble. My grandmother died at the age of sixty-two, and my grandfather at seventy-one. Then my mother was gone, having succumbed to pneumonia after only just turning sixty herself. (89%)


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