Calling all writers and readers!
Showcase your favorite book—or at least page 69 of it—here!
Turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book.
That was Marshall McLuhan’s advice anyway. Over the next few Wednesdays, I invite readers to submit their own or other works (pg. 69 only of course!) via the Contact Form here.
Cry of the Sea by D. G. Driver
Genre: YA Urban FantasyJuniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”
Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.
Page 69 Excerpt Melange Books (February 23, 2014):
I had to take extra time around her face and jawline, because the oil was thicker there. As I dabbed the cloth around her neck, the strange bumps that circled her neck began to loosen. It frightened me at first, but as the oil wiped away I realized that the bumps weren’t part of her. They were shells, strung together as a necklace. Once free, she put up her webbed fingers and rubbed her neck and smiled at me with an expression that made me feel that she was both gad that the necklace wasn’t strangling her any longer and pleased that it hadn’t broken. I wondered where she had gotten a necklace like that, and how she managed to put it on.
Time was running out for our oxygen tanks, so we threw our last cloths over the tank and moved to the ladder to climb out. The mermaid followed right behind me and actually held onto the bars of the ladder as if she would climb up behind me. When I got to the top, she let go and popped her head out of the water or a second to watch me straddle the tank and get completely free of the water. Needing to breathe, she dove back under. I joined Carter on the floor, and we removed our masks. As he gathered up the cloths lying on the floor, I took one last look at the mermaid by slipping between the tarp and the glass.
She was right there, waiting for me, fondly touching the glass of the aquarium in front of me. She already seemed to be missing our presence in the tank with her.
“Carter, look,” I said.
I moved over and let him slip behind the tarp to stand next to me. The joy in his eyes was unmistakable.
“Amazing,” he said.
It was warm and cozy together under that canvas tarp. It reminded me of the forts Haley and I used to build under our kitchen table, except I never felt tingles all over my skin when I got under there with her. Carter’s arm pressed against mine. My heart raced.
“Wow,” I agreed with him. “That was so incredible. Have you ever felt anything like that before?”
There was a fraction of a second when he turned his face to me, but then he corrected himself to look in the tank again. He shifted his weight to his other foot, and broke the connection between our arms. “I had to get in a tank with a dolphin once. That was really cool, but this tops it by a mile.”
Sounds good? Get your copy of Cry of the Sea from:
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L SayersGenre: Early feminist detective fiction Harriet Vane returns reluctantly to Shrewsbury College, Oxford to attend the Gaudy dinner. Expecting hostility because of her notoriety, she is surprised to be welcomed warmly by the dons, and rediscovers her old love of the academic life.Some time later the Dean of Shrewsbury writes to ask for help. There has been an outbreak of anonymous letters, vandalism and threats, apparently from someone within the college, and a scandal is feared. Harriet, herself a victim of poison-pen letters ever since her trial, reluctantly agrees to help, and spends much of the next few months resident at the college, ostensibly to do research on Sheridan Le Fanu and assist a don with her book.As she wrestles with the case, trying to narrow down the list of suspects and avert a major scandal, Harriet is forced to examine her ambivalent feelings about love and marriage, along with her attraction to academia as an intellectual (and emotional) refuge. Her personal dilemma becomes entangled with darkly hinted suspicions and prejudices raised by the crimes at the college, which appear to have been committed by a sexually frustrated female don. Harriet is forced to re-examine her relationship with Wimsey in the light of what she has discovered about herself. Wimsey eventually arrives in Oxford to help her, and she gains a new perspective on him from those who know him, including his nephew, a current undergraduate at the university.
The attacks build to a crisis, and the college community of students, dons and servants is almost torn apart by suspicion and fear. There is an attempt to drive a vulnerable student to suicide, and a physical assault on Harriet that almost kills her. (Wikipedia)
Page 69 First published in Great Britain in 1935 by Victor Gollancz Ltd
‘Well,’ said Miss Hillyard, ‘how is the investigation progressing? But I ought not to ask that. You have contrived to cast the Apple of Discord among us with a vengeance. However, as you are so well accustomed to the receipt of anonymous communications, you are no doubt the fittest person to handle the situation.’
‘In my case,’ said Harriet, ‘I only got what was to some extent deserved. But this is a very different matter. It’s not the same problemat all. Miss Lydgate’s book could offend nobody.’
‘Except some of the men whose theories she has attacked,’ replied Miss Hillyard. ‘However, circumstances seemto exclude the male sexfromthe scope of the inquiry. Otherwise, this massattack on a woman’s college would suggest to me the usual masculine spite against educated women. But you, of course, would consider that ridiculous.’
‘Not in the least. Plenty of men are very spiteful. But surely there are no men running about the college at night.’
‘I wouldn’t be too sure of that,’ said Miss Hillyard, smiling sarcastically. ‘It is quite ridiculous for the Bursar to talk about locked gates. What is to prevent a man from concealing himself about the grounds before the gates are locked and escaping again when they are opened in the morning? Or climbing the walls, if it comes to that?’
Harriet thought the theory far-fetched; but it interested her, as evidence of the speaker’s prejudice, which amounted almost to obsession.
‘The thing that in my opinion points to a man,’ went on Miss Hillyard, ‘is the destruction of Miss Barton’s book, which is strongly pro-feminist. I don’t suppose you have read it; probably it would not interest you. But why else should that book be picked out?’
Harriet parted from Miss Hillyard at the corner of the quad and went over to Tudor Building. She had not very much doubt who it was that was likely to offer opposition to her inquiries. If one was looking for a twisted mind, Miss Hillyard’s was certainly a little warped. And, when one came to think of it, there was no evidence whatever that Miss Lydgate’s proofs had ever been taken to the Library or ever left Miss Hillyard’s hands at all. Also, she had undoubtedly been seen on the threshold of the S.C.R. before Chapel on the Monday morning. If Miss Hillyard was sufficiently demented to inflict a blow of this kind on Miss Lydgate, then she was fit for a lunatic asylum. But, indeed, this would apply to whoever it was.
She went into Tudor and tapped on Miss Barton’s door, asking, when she was admitted, whether she might borrow a copy of Woman’s Place in the Modern State.
‘The sleuth at work?’ said Miss Barton. ‘Well, Miss Vane, here it is. By the way, I should like to apologise to you for some of the things I said when you were here last. I shall be very glad to see you handle this most unpleasant business, which can scarcely be an agreeable thing for you. I admire exceedingly anyone who can subordinate her own feelings to the common advantage. The case is obviously pathological–as all anti-social behaviour is, in my opinion. But here there is no question of legal proceedings, I imagine. At least, I hope not. I feel extremely anxious that it should not be brought into court; and on that account I am against hiring detectives of any kind. If you are able to get to the bottom of it, I am ready to give you any help I can.’
Harriet thanked the Fellow for her good opinion and for the book.
‘You are probably the best psychologist here,’ said Harriet. ‘What do you think of it?’
Sounds good? Get your copy of Gaudy Night with forward by Elizabeth George here.
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