Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Words like Gold Nuggets


I was reading “Fortune’s Rocks” by Anita Shreve and had a mixture of reactions throughout the experience.

First, I was dismayed at the use of such stuffy language, but I soon realized that it suited the 1899 New England setting perfectly. This was the way people in the wealthier class spoke and thought in those days.

In a short time I stopped noticing the stuffiness of the language, and felt immersed in that time and lifestyle.

So it was, that I scoffed only mildly when the mother who was hosting guests at her summer home did not want her photo taken. One of the guests had taken up photography and the hostess was not a fan of these new contraptions called cameras. The reaction of the hostess was not out of character, but had me chuckling about her overly sensitive personality.

When I read on, I was absolutely thrilled with Anita Shreve’s description of the photography session that followed.

This quote from the book tells how it played out as the other guests, one by one, sat to have their photos taken.

Even Olympia’s mother, in the end, relents and allows herself to be photographed, albeit behind a veil with eyes lowered, flinching each time she hears the shutter click, as though she might be shot.

This description had me laughing out loud, as I imagined the scene. It was then that I realized that much of the writing was so precisely worded that I was able to picture it clearly in my mind. Reading this book became like watching a movie.

I kept chuckling over the above quote for some time and finally decided I would write a short note to the author to tell her how much I was enjoying her book. I Googled her name to get a webpage contact, but immediately the search told me that Anita Shreve had died on March 29, 2018 at the young age of 71.  My happy mood was dashed and I felt shocked and saddened to find out this bad news.

Still, Anita has left a legacy of many fine books for us to enjoy.

Now I am wondering if you readers out there have had similar discoveries of passages that are nuggets of entertainment.

If you have, why not share them in your comments. Book title, author, and quote. We’d love to see what you’ve found.

I’m posting this on my anneli’s place blog as well, so you can comment on either one (or both).

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

14 thoughts on “Words like Gold Nuggets

  1. I’m not good at remembering quotes like that, although there are writers who give me rather precise visuals when I read their work. Thomas Hardy and Margaret Atwood are two. Good post idea – sorry I’m not of more help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t think of one offhand, but will ponder it. The reluctance of the mother to have her picture taken. I wonder what was the reason. Probably not that of primitive cultures who feared it stole their essence. A worry about vanity? I have a friend who was a Nun (in the Catholic church) and can’t stand to see herself in a mirror. Maybe something like that? Hmm…

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  3. I was saddened when I heard about her death. Thankfully, Anita has an extensive backlist of wonderful books. I’ve read many, but not all of them. She was an excellent writer. I love it when I’m reading a book and a line or paragraph makes me laugh out loud.

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  4. An apt title to describe some lines of writing that makes you feel a certain way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was a teenager around 1960, My friend Rainer and I were taking turns reading from the novel: Drei Mann in einem Boot by Jerome K. Jerome, translated from Three Men in a Boat. It was considered crude and unacceptable writing when it was published around the 1890s. We found it so funny that we often had to stop reading to catch our breath from all the hard laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, you also wanted a quote, Anneli. Here it is: “We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach. Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgment. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own; and you will be a good citizen, a loving husband, and a tender father, a noble, pious man.”

    Liked by 1 person

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