2015 Book Memories Challenge

January 3rd, 2016 1:00 pm by Kelly Garbato


So technically I think I’m supposed to jot down my favorite quotes on slips of paper and store ’em in a jar for this challenge, but. My penmanship is a horrorshow, and copying and pasting from my Notes is so much easier (ebooks yay!), so I decided to go the high-tech route instead. I think I may have gotten a little heavy-handed with the quotes (so hard to choose just one!), but I don’t mind if you don’t.

I actually had a great time with this one: after finishing a book, I’d flip through my notes in search of choice quotes for the challenge; this also gave me a chance to go over the material and gather my thoughts, which is super-helpful when writing a review. It’s a win-win!

2015 Book Memories Challenge

  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (2014)

    Wouldn’t want to botch the pretty girl’s face, right? Idiot.

  • Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire edited by Amber Dawn (2009)

    It’s a strange appropriation to finance a woman’s hatred.
    (Elizabeth Bachinsky, “Postulation on the Violent Works of the Marquis de Sade”)

  • A Murder of Crows: Seventeen Tales of Monsters and the Macabre by DeAnna Knippling (2014)

    A lie is very selfish, and it makes everyone worse, whether it is found or not. A story is generous, and keeps us from despair.

    Some people say you got to get along and you got to be good. Pa says you got to watch out for those people. Those are the ones who want you to shut up when someone hurts you.
    (“Be Good”)

    It was safer hunting zombies than being a storyteller, after all.

  • Winterspell by Claire Legrand (2014)

    A curious dichotomy, this hard and soft, this hot flesh and cold steel.

    Under Clara’s close supervision, Trifles & Trinkets had reopened with a new toymaker in residence, a Mr. Peter Hoffmann, who had so delighted in seeing Godfather’s fantastic inventory for the first time that he had had to be administered to with a fan and cool cloth, like some simpering debutante.

    “Clara,” he murmured against her ear.
    “Hmmm?” Oh, was he talking? Whatever for?

  • Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement (2014)

    I watched my mother cut the tall grasses with her machete, or kill an inguana by breaking its head with a large stone, or scrape the thorns off a maguey pad, or kill a chicken by twisting its neck in her hands, and it was if all the objects around her were my father’s body. When she cut up a tomato I knew it was his heart she was slicing into thin wheels.

    We were just two pages from the continent’s history books. You could tear us out and roll us into a ball and throw us in the trash.

    I never buried my arm, Luna said. Does one bury parts of oneself?

    That day all anyone could hear was the sound of cell phones. That was it. It was the sound of Paula stolen. That was the song.

    My body […] is the army’s damn poppy field.

  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (2014)

    What kind of girl-child cried like that? As though she had the right to be heard?

    Finding her was like unwrapping a gift he had not wanted and being surprised by how different it was from what he had expected.

  • Anansi Boys (American Gods #2) by Neil Gaiman (2005)

    Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their song instead.

    Daisy was starting to feel like the kind of cop you only ever see in movies: tough, hard-bitten, and perfectly ready to buck the system; the kind of cop who wants to know whether or not you feel lucky or if you’re interested in making his day, and particularly the kind of cop who says “I’m getting too old for this shit.” She was twenty-six years old, and she wanted to tell people she was too old for this shit. She was quite aware of how ridiculous this was, thank you very much.

    “You should have told him you were a cop too,” said Fat Charlie. “He might have taken you more seriously.” “I don’t think it would have done any good,” she said. “Anyone who calls you ‘little lady’ has already excluded you from the set of people worth listening to.”

    The beast made the noise of a cat being shampooed, a lonely wail of horror and outrage, of shame and defeat.

  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015)

    Home is where the heart is, and where the hell is, and where the hate is, and where the hopelessness is. Which made Aurora Hills pretty much like home.

    It was a comfort to her, a hurt she looked forward to because she was in control of its coming.

    Our private taste in books showed a hint of our secret selves, and sometimes I was the only one who got to see those secrets.

    When people decide there’s ugliness inside you, they’ll be looking to find it on your face.

    What do you deserve, if you don’t deserve a mother?

  • Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti (2012)

    The world always changed around Iliana, but she never changed with it.
    (K. Tempest Bradford, “The Uncertainty Principle”)

    They had looked up kiss a long time ago, and tonight the reading came in handy.
    (Ken Liu, “Pattern Recognition”)

    Nobody had ever studied me so intensely, as if she were peeling back my skin, and I relished the feel of it: her eyes scraping against my flesh.
    (Malinda Lo, “Good Girl”)

    How had we drifted so far from what it meant to be human?
    (Cindy Pon, “Blue Skies”)

  • Forbidden (Forbidden, #1) by Kimberley Griffiths Little (2014)

    “We have a power men will never possess, and that is why they revere and adore us. Inside us is the gift of life, the seed of all people. Our men forever cling to the hope of unraveling the mystery of our feminine secrets.” I hated this kind of talk – men and babies.

    Forevermore, I would mark my mother’s death and the beginning of womanhood as one event.

    I’d been warned away from the groves and temples my whole life, but I still didn’t understand exactly why.

  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (2011)

    And what is so terrible with being a little fat? Back in Russia, being fat meant you were a rich man!
    I don’t really think American boys go for girls that look like rich men.

    Dude. He’s the kind of boy you’re supposed to get a crush on in a bad teen movie.

  • Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe and Sally Klann (2014)

    The kind of power Alice craved, the right to come and go as she pleased and, most importantly, fully dominate Freda, could only be wielded by a man.

  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (2014)

    [T]he one thing they never learn about, really, is themselves.

    Knowing the date is reassuring in some way she can’t quite figure out. It’s like it gives her a secret power – like she’s in control of a little piece of the world.
    It’s not until then that she realizes she’s never had that feeling before.

    She’s always been a good girl. But she ate pieces of two men, and very probably killed them both. Killed them with her teeth.

    Home keeps meaning different things, but she has to know her way back to it.

    She’s never worn shoes before, and the loss of the stream of information her feet receive from the ground is disturbing.

  • Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979/2004)

    I lost an arm on my last trip home.

    Rufus. Ugly name to inflict on a reasonably nice-looking little kid.

    I had seen people beaten on television and in the movies. I had seen the too-red blood substitute streaked across their backs and heard their well-rehearsed screams. But I hadn’t lain nearby and smelled their sweat or heard them pleading and praying, shamed before their families and themselves. I was probably less prepared for the reality than the child crying not far from me.

    Rufus’s fear of death calls me to him, and my own fear of death sends me home.

    I was the worst possible guardian for him – a black to watch over him in a society that considered blacks subhuman, a woman to watch over him in a society that considered women perennial children.

    How amazing that Weylin had sold her children and still kept her to cook his meals. How amazing that he was still alive.

    There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one.

  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler (2003)

    T’Gatoi meant to cage my mother.

    If you work hard enough at something that doesn’t matter, you can forget for a while about the things that do.
    (“The Evening and the Morning and the Night”)

    She had heard so little coherent human speech for the past three years, she was no longer certain how well she recognized it, no longer certain of the degree of her own impairment.
    (“Speech Sounds”)

    Shyness is shit.
    It isn’t cute or feminine or appealing. It’s torment, and it’s shit.
    (“Positive Obsession”)

    Human things were for human places.

  • Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler (2014)

    As they coupled, she found herself thinking for a moment of the ancient meaning of the bite and the hand-to-throat gestures. “I hold your life and do not take it.” They had begun as gestures of trust rather than of affection, but their meaning had grown. Now, depending on the circumstances, a simple lifting of the head – as she lifted hers to receive his bite – could mean trust, affection, challenge, or contempt. It was, Tahneh thought bitterly, the perfect gesture for betrayal.
    (“A Necessary Being”)

    Beginning of battle. You drag words out of her, one by painful one. You prove to her that she can do a lot more thinking than she’s used to…if she wants to. Then you make her want to.

  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (2014)

    There is no universal women’s experience.

    Being exceptional isn’t revolutionary, it’s lonely. It separates you from your community. Who are you, really, without community?

    [T]he kids who teased us were as brown as us, but we were black.

    These people believed in me, which made me believe in me even more.

    They didn’t know me; they wanted to occupy me.

    I couldn’t stand men who said titties. It made me not want to have breasts.

  • Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies #1) by Sara Ryan (2003)

    I am a lady-in-waiting, and she is the princess. No, the empress. The empress of the world.

    “Cut him some slack […] His first language isn’t language.”

    Deus ex Katrina.

  • Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos (2014)

    Death was an excellent gardener until his heart was broken.

    Life ain’t ours to keep, girl. We get to hold some for a little bit, but then we got to pass it on.

  • Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2012)

    Can you smell it, sisters? Our air be putrid with musk.

    I like men, Hermes. And I’m not gonna apologize for that.
    As you shouldn’t. But on this island, you might want to keep the story to yourself.

  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs (2015)

    When no one has to see my face, and I can type and retype sentences as many times as I want, and I can punctuate all my relevant points with cat GIFs, I’m a brilliant conversationalist.

    You are a real geek if you feel it in your feels.

  • The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (2015)

    Across this meadow road be Friendly’s, which say FRIENDLY’S on one sign, and FRIENDLY’S ICE CREAM on the other. This been a store for trading food. But I ain’t like to be called Friendly’s anything. I know it ain’t myself the sleepers meant, but it just feel disgusting. Then I remember ice cream been a food I never taste. I wonder what my mama dream to name me for this food, as if she name me Something Lost.

    But truth, their Jesus only tell them answers they already like.

    Be unworth, to choose no love amour above his people. Ain’t done this for myself, ever I want. Want like no living pain. But my children eat before my heart can eat.

    “We grow up, we fall asleep, and then the horrors that scared us before – we’re doing them. We’re the monsters in the nightmare.”

    “Girl got a name? Where be your Army morals?”

    Time be fickle objects, and perverse to any wish. A glad week vanish as it born. Ya, a misery hour will stick and grow, and cannot rid.

    His face be like a moon that cannot bear to see. Is like my heart.

  • Vegan’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (2011)

    Choosing to laugh doesn’t undermine the serious work we have to do. It enables us to do it.

    Becoming vegan, I feel whole again. I feel as if a weight has been lifted, and my heart is free.

    Sanctuaries are magical places – dare I say holy?

    Why is it that the people who seem to have the most to say aren’t doing anything at all?

    There is a stereotype that vegans talk about being vegan all the time. The irony is, once people find out I’m vegan, I quickly become their confessor, counselor, and sounding board.

    Feeling anger is necessary; it’s what we do with anger that will make or break us.

    They’re not fat pigs; we’re mad scientists.

    My hope is that we learn from the animals what it is we need to become better people.

  • Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life by Me Ra Koh (2014)

    We have to be willing to miss shots to get great shots.

    The best camera is the one you have with you.

  • Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (2015)

    Toxemia. A word that starts so harsh and ends so gently.

    Etta, it could be everything, it could be nothing, what you’re making up. You shouldn’t let that bother you.

    The students whipped their heads back to look at her; a blaspheming teacher was as exciting as a fight.

    I keep your photo in the pocket on the side without the gun. For balance.

    It makes me want to do things and do things and never stop doing. If we’re doing we’re living and if we’re living we’re winning, right?
    Etta, let’s go dancing tonight.
    Okay. Yes.

    I have made you some things, for when you get back. I understand now, all the baking you sent me, stale and crumbled in brown paper and rough twine. Now you’re away and I am here. So I will make and make until you get back to remind you, and myself: there are reasons to come home.

  • The Collectors by Philip Pullman (2014)

    She came from another world.

  • The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons (2015)

    My ma taught me one thing from the beginning: My body is mine. My own. No one else’s. Just because someone thinks they have rights to it, doesn’t make it true. I thought I understood that before, but here, in this place, it’s become more clear than ever how right she was. My flesh and blood – it’s the only thing I own, and I’ll defend it until I can’t fight anymore.

    Behind us are two or three dozen country people from the outlying towns. With them are cages of chicken and goats, sheep, even cattle. That’s where we fit on market day. Between the executions and the livestock sales.

    I tell Kiran things I would never admit to anyone else because Kiran is safe to me. A trap for my feelings and words.

  • The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy (2015)

    Old words, old ways. So much about the world has reverted, so that it is not so much the future people once imagined, but a history that already happened, this time like a time long ago.

  • Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler (2015)

    HA! Don’t like it when dinner fights back, do ya?

    Poppa, when we hug, it’s like we’re completing a love circuit.

    I find myself thinking about this hue-mon all of the time. I wonder if it ever thought about us?
    Was there room in here for thoughts about beetles?
    Did it ever wonder how some glow?
    Or spray liquid fire?
    Or dance on water?
    Or drink fog?
    Maybe someday, if a hue-mon reads this journal, it will help them appreciate all of the amazing little aliens living underfoot.

  • Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard (2015)

    Signs were everywhere.
    Everywhere and anywhere, Caleb said. That was the problem. They came at any time. And they could be almost anything.
    Red leaves in the priming. Pages torn from a library book. All the fish in an aquarium facing the same way. A cracked egg with twin yolks.

    Today, he was discussing accidental mummies – the kind preserved in swamps and long-forgotten bogs. Like the Tollund Man in Denmark, and the Haraldskaer Woman, who had probably been the victim of human sacrifice. Any reasonable person would be fascinated.

    Kit’s spirit hadn’t left her. She saved it for Jory.

    “We’re both made of stars, Jory Birch. Everybody is.”

  • Capture the Moment: Inspiration and Techniques for the Modern Photographer by Sarah Wilkerson (2014)

    It’s only natural that a heightened awareness of life’s transience would lead to an overwhelming desire to begin capturing the moments that pass so quickly and the beauty often overlooked in our fast-paced world.

  • Bob’s Burgers by Chad Brewster (2015)

    Sorry. I’m made of metal.
    Oh right.
    My tongue is a little rusty.
    That’s okay I’ve had my tetanus shot.

    My room has a TOILET BED!

  • Normal: A Novel by Graeme Cameron (2015)

    Yes, I stalked Nicola in the woods because I was hungry, but I imagined her with an arrow through her neck because it tickled me.

    I know what you’re thinking, but I had nothing to do with it.

  • A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager and Kristin Blackwood

    Poppa’s awake when my day begins.
    Both of my daddies tuck me in.

  • Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate (2015)

    With money from his writing and odd jobs, George was able to pay his master for his time, so that he could live in Chapel Hill and work as a poet. It was an illegal arrangement, but his master didn’t care.
    George was now a full-time writer, but he was still not a free man.

  • The Blondes: A Novel by Emily Schultz (2015)

    I’ve always wondered why people who love you do that to you – give you photographs where they look beautiful, you not so much.

    The pregnancy test was called First Response, as if an emergency were already waiting for me inside the pink box. Little pink firefighters with little pink ladders waiting to climb up me.

    If you survive, the world you grow up in will be one that has experienced intense panic and distrust, violence and hysteria – though that’s a loaded word. I don’t think I would have used it before this past year. But now? All of us living with a disease that affects only girls and women? Hysteria is so bang on.

    Authorities are now able to track the progression of symptoms, which are indeed similar to rabies. The public is advised to be wary – and here the prompter went into a list of symptoms – of women with raised voices, acting violently…
    Lumbering, limping, exhibiting imbalance…
    Flailing or throwing any object…
    Grimacing, displaying a downturned expression…

    “We’re not allowed to have downturned expressions?” the girl beside me muttered. “I mean,” she said a bit louder but still to me, “what if we’re just worried? In a bad mood? PMS?” […]
    As I finished my sandwich, it occurred to me that the news captions on TV had all been directed at men. There was nothing about the symptoms women should look for in themselves.

    I wondered if school kids would one day attend that place, play in that gym, learn to read in room 3. I wondered whether they’d tell ghost stories to each other about the things that happened there long ago, or if they’d be a new generation, more innocent than mine, shielded somehow.

    People are kinder to the unborn than they are to the women themselves, and soon I had my ticket.

  • The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Marie LeTourneau (2012)

    Maybe this will tempt the mermaids out of hiding.

  • This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad (2015)

    Sadie likes to make boats of boxes
    and castles out of cushions.
    But more than anything she likes stories,
    because you can make them from nothing at all.

  • The Shark Curtain by Chris Scofield (2015)

    Mom loves cocktail parties. Mom loves cocktails.

    Jesus might not think so, but maybe the dead are best left that way.

  • When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord (2015)

    It’s funny how many ways there are to hurt people. As many ways to hurt as there are species of flower. Whole bouquets of hurt.

    Rather than simply being subject to them, I had wanted to know what it felt like to be one of the forces in this world.

    “Everbody can act,” he said, shrugging. “Everybody does act.”

    Sometimes you hide away a memory because it is so precious that you don’t want to dilute it with the attempt to recount it.

    It was possible, I saw now, to be a grotesque, to be huge and free, to wander the streets in utter freedom despite your atrocity, as long as you did it when everybody else was sealed inside their little lit boxes.
    Now it made sense – why monsters came out at night.

    I thought he would tell me he loved me, but I hadn’t heard that from him in a long time. When I was a little girl, he would say it routinely. He seemed compelled to say it. But the declaration had gone the way of tall tale and myth.
    As though the love between a father and daughter were only a childish thing. As though womanhood made obscene that which had previously been precious and perfect.
    And so did we all fall – and in such a way were a million Edens lost.

    Boys, too. A menagerie of different species, and yet you could love them all. There were the kind of boys, like Peter Meechum, who did not peek at you while you dressed, who were pretty and noble, who made love to abstract futures. You could follow them and build skyscrapers on horizons of goodness and truth. And there were awful boys, like Blackhat Roy, who did not fear filth, even the filth you sometimes thought you were, who seems to see darker truths and did not shrink from them. You could follow them and be on the thrilling, shivery edge of wrong until you died.

    I am empty space, and I am the light that illuminates that space.

  • Church of Marvels: A Novel by Leslie Parry (2015)

    I’ve found that here in this city, the lights burn ever brighter, but they cast the darkest shadows I know.

    Undergarments flapped wildly on the fire escapes above, soiled with sweat and blood: private stains, flying high over the city like crests on the flags of a ship.

    Why, he wondered, did he have to peddle his difference for their amusement, and yet at the same time temper it, suppress it, make it suitably benign?

    But this dagger – this was her first. Her favorite. The same one that had sliced off the boy’s toe on the beach and sent it rolling through the sand.

    “There’s nobody more dangerous than family.”

    She had a weird, fleeting thought that she wanted to eat her sister, like a sorceress in a storybook – gobble her down into her belly, keep her safe.

    She had seen it done. Wherever they glittered in the afterlife – flying among the high rafters of heaven, swimming with her mother in an undersea cave – she hoped the tigers had known it, and roared.

    It had to be the hardest thing, even if he’d never known it himself – to accept that the ones you loved would find their own way home.

  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (1999)

    It was like drowning, only from the inside out.

    The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted.

  • A Wolf at the Gate by Mark Van Steenwyk and Joel J. Hedstrom (2015)

    Humans don’t just kill to survive. Sometimes, they kill out of rage. And they don’t just eat to survive; sometimes, they eat when their belly is already full. They are violent and greedy. They aren’t like any of the other beasts in the forest; they want to own it all.

  • 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (2015)

    Although his words put me on a pedestal,
    his eyes make me
    the stool he’d use
    to ascend there himself.

    Nani’s allegiance is to her anger
    runs deeper than blood and skin.
    It’s set in bone
    and bone, once broken,
    heals the same.

    Did they name me Sudasa
    not because they wanted me to obey,
    but because they wanted to brand me
    with a permanent reminder
    of the fact that I exist
    because they had?

  • City of Savages by Lee Kelly (2015)

    Somehow this ruthless city is home to my sister. Where for me, it will never, ever be more than a cage.

    If no one’s out there, then what’s keeping us in?

    And it’s only when Rolladin drapes her newest Council member with the prized pelt of a zoo tiger that I realize Mom is crying.

  • Go Ahead & Like It by Jacqueline Suskin (2015)

    I like pie.

  • Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham (2015)

    My hair had a mind of its own, and just then it was asking for a fight.

    Only grief could carve a man out like that.

    Needing him was one thing. Needing him to protect me was another.

  • The Ice Twins: A Novel by S.K. Tremayne (2015)

    I hate the way I can still measure the date so exactly, so easily.

    “Why do you keep calling me Kirstie, Mummy? Kirstie is dead. It was Kirstie that died. I’m Lydia.”

    Sometimes I actively envy us, as we were. Like I am the jealous neighbour of my previous self.

    This place is so relentlessly fucking beautiful, it never stops. Whatever else is happening, the beauty goes on, like a terribly nightmare.

  • The Well by Catherine Chanter (2015)

    It was impossible to climb the fence carrying him, so I had to drop him over the wire. He landed as if he was worth nothing.

    The land of milk and honey vs. the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    “Maybe they thought the priest needed protecting against the molester for a change, rather than the other way around.”

    I am a cavewoman, entertained by shadows.

    I am imprisoned in a world not only of infinite loss but also of infinite beauty.

  • Alien Child by Pamela Sargent (2015)

    She had not imagined there were so many ways to kill.

    The emptiness of the world outside told her that the last story of her people had ended badly.

    Now her life was her own, and she did not know what to do with it.

  • The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) by Tana French (2014)

    She wants to leap up and do a handstand, or get someone to race her fast and far to wreck them both: anything that will turn her body back into something that’s about what it can do, not all about how it looks.

    She doesn’t look like Holly’s mom. Like anyone’s mom. For the first time ever, Holly looks at her and thinks, “Olivia.”

  • A Letter to My Mom by Lisa Erspamer (2015)

    You never went back to him again. Brave.

    At times it gives me this beautiful ability to be more present in the moment than I’ve ever been before and to see things simply for what they are, and other times I find myself desperately grasping for the ability to predict the future – to know when, where, and how.

    Every minute I spent with you, right through the very moment you crossed over, I grew – not in cells and tissues and organs, but in character and spirit and purpose. Although your body was winding down, your soul was blossoming.

    I know there are billions of mothers on earth…
    you are the best mother a will.i.am can have…

  • The Gracekeepers: A Novel by Kirsty Logan (2015)

    And in the center of it all she saw two figures: one draped in white, one furred black; both with eyes open moon-round and empty. A small girl and a small bear, hands and paws still linked.

    Spectacle is grounded in the illusion of control. The crowd think they want safety, but what they really crave is the trick gone wrong: the fall from a trapeze, the uncovering of bone.

    Callanish could always predict the weather, because the graces told her.

    People liked a gracekeeper who looked young. Innocent. Unthinkably far from her own death.

    She took the widow’s hands in her own, noticing how her wedding ring dug into her finger, making the flesh bulge out at either side. Callanish wondered whether she would wear it until it was engulfed in her own flesh, forming a secret totem.

    “I thought – I can be one better than a preacher. I can be holy. I can be a hermit, you know?”

    Alone in their coracle, they were not performers, not burdens, not dangers, not weapons, not food. They were family.

    She was not sure whether the growing list of her crimes made each one larger, or smaller still.

    [C]aring for the bereaved is a burden that few people want to carry.

    Her whole life she had been afraid of the sea, terrified that it wanted to swallow her whole. And here she was, and it held her.

    What’s the use of a clown who doesn’t subvert? What do they bring to the crowd? Everyone has sadness, and rage, and frustration – and so everyone needs a clown.

    And when the stars came out, they looked up and saw the bear in the constellations.

    “We don’t belong anywhere, because we can belong everywhere.”

  • Alive by Chandler Baker (2015)

    That’s the thing about pain: it’s invisible.

    It’s funny how the more time you have, the more nothingness there is to swallow it up.

    I don’t know about my old heart, but this one is anything but gold.

    Doesn’t high school come with enough rejection that I shouldn’t need to worry about my immune system rejecting my organs, too?

    “Slow down, Romeo. The woman offered you a juice box.”

  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (2015)

    All that summer Carolyn studied with the red deer of the valley. It was the last gentle time in her life, and perhaps the happiest as well.

    She knew every word that had ever been spoken, but she could think of nothing to say that might ease his grief.

    For a year or so Father had been murdering Margaret two or three times a week.

    “The lion wishes me to inform you that this is how you will die.”

    The only real escape from hell is to conquer it.

    “Then you are horror and death. Yes?” She looked at Carolyn seriously, waiting for an answer.
    Carolyn blinked. “I guess you could put it that way.”
    “Then I suppose that makes you my mistress.”

    “I didn’t know, Carolyn. I had faith in you.” Father’s eyes twinkled. “You should probably start getting used to that.”
    She didn’t get the joke.

  • Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (2015)

    That’s when I started to realize that friendships in odd numbers are complicated.

    I’m picturing that room and its walls, covered in torn notebook pages and ripped-up napkins, pieces of brown paper lunch sacks and fast-food wrappers, and how all that chaos and disorder gave me such a strange sort of peace.

    It feels so good to be this empty. It’s so peaceful.

  • The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler (2015)

    I was seven years old the day she walked into the water. I’ve tried to forget, but it’s become my fondest memory of her.

    How could I have known that goodbye meant goodbye?

    Churchwarry laughs, and I begin to understand some of his delight in passing books on. There’s a certain serendipity, a little light that’s settled in my sternum.

    “History is a man … Future is a woman.”

    I was left a house and a sister, with instructions on neither.

    “Some people don’t like their skin, you know? […] I picked mine.”

    If it’s possible to have a reading hangover, I have one.

  • Strays: A Novel by Jennifer Caloyeras (2015)

    I wondered if the dogs were thinking the same thing about us – that we were all a bunch of strays.

    Could it be that Roman and I had both become too tangled in our histories when all we really had was the moment before us?

    [E]tched on the inside of the collar, where no one else could see, were the words I am loved.

    [W]hat a luxury it was to get the chance to say good-bye to somebody you love.

  • The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (2014/2015)

    Collars are as much a form of slavery whether they encircle necks or wrists, whether they are as heavy as lead or as light as ropestring.

    The broken dolls cry and laugh and shout and sing, and often they sound much more alive than the White Shirts.

    “An onryuu with a conscience, kami help us.”

  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (2015)

    She pulls away – and then I see why: she’s holding out her palm as a landing place for a firefly. It’s easy to forget it’s there when it’s not glowing, until all of a sudden it comes back and surprises you; it reminds me of grief.

    I turn to Genevieve, to the girl I brought tot the stars and back, who waits for me through times dark as space.

    “Some dudes make their mind a prison. I like living outside of bars. If we’re different, that’s fine with me.”

    Birds are still flying and stars are coming out of hiding, like me.

    From the shapes cast by the green paper lantern, you would never know that there were two boys sitting closely to one another trying to find themselves. You would only see shadows hugging, indiscriminate.

    My scar is pressed against his forearm, and if I had as much hope in life back then as I do now, it would’ve never existed in the first place.

    Every mistake I’ve made, every wrong I’ve repeated, every unhealed heartache: I feel it all and more as the weight of my old world crushes me. If you looked inside me, I bet you’d find two different hearts beating for two different people, like the sun and moon up at the same time, a terrible eclipse I’m the only witness to.

    [I]f this Leteo Institute weren’t bullshit and I could get a free procedure, I would definitely have my memory of ever reading this series buried so I could relive these books again for the first time.

    “We couldn’t dishonor his existence like that.”

    If the blind can find joy in music, and the deaf can discover it with colors, I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending – it’s a series of happy beginnings.

  • Coming of Age at the End of Days by Alice LaPlante (2015)

    She understands that her world is now inexorably divided in two: before and after.

    There is a swift but fleeting epidemic of cupcake shops.

    Anna finds herself filled with an aching love for everything around her – the last gasp of a doomed civilization.

    The sight of lit computer screens as comforting as home fires.

  • The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters (2015)

    “You’re not just an old spinster anymore. You’re now the distinguished first-ever boarder at Dover’s Home for Women of Independent Means.”

    “I’ve never seen such a useful white woman in all my life.”

    We were music. We were jazz. We were alive.

    My new metamorphosed self. Ivy of the Night.

    “The melting pot does nothing but scald and blister right now.”

    As she wished, I sat with her for a spell, and I told her a war-torn love story about an American recluse and a German deserter who had never once crossed paths in life.

  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (2015)

    And when the morning light seeps into the hospital room, Elsa wakes up in Granny’s arms. But Granny is still in Miamas.

    “[N]othing scares idiots more than a smart girl.”

    People who have never been hunted always seem to think there’s a reason for it.

    [N]ot all monsters were monsters in the beginning. Some are monsters born of sorrow.

    The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people left behind want to stop living.

    “Your grandmother used to say that sometimes we have to do things that are dangerous, because otherwise we aren’t really human.”

    “[A] kingdom consists of the people who live in it.”

  • Poorly Drawn Lines: Good Ideas and Amazing Stories by Reza Farazmand (2015)

    Apocalypse Scenario #253: Everyone just sort of gives up one day.

    You piece of shit.

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (2015)

    [A] wolf who cannot howl is like a human who cannot laugh.

    “My point is that you will keep your hands off my daughter if you value their current position at the ends of your arms.”
    Rakov snorted. “That is somewhat unfeminine.”
    “Not at all. It seems profoundly feminine to me.”

    Humans, on the whole, Feo could take or leave; there was only one person she loved properly, with the sort of fierce pride that gets people into trouble, or prison, or history books.

    “Wolves are the witches of the animal world.”

    “It’s inhuman to take your books away before you know the end.”

    [T]here is no warmer blanket than a wolf.

    There will always be things that money cannot buy, things that you have to earn. It seemed right that Gray, the bravest creature Feo had known, should have her grave marked with something beyond the reach even of the tsar: a wreath of wolves.

    “Stories can start revolutions.”

    “People say we can’t do anything about the way the world is; they say it’s set in stone. I say it looks like stone, but it’s mostly paint and cardboard.”

    It wouldn’t be such a bad thing to look like Alexei did: a bit like sun encased in skin. But she had scars on her hands from when Gray was a half-wild pup, and she wouldn’t swap them for anything in the world.

    “It’s book gold,” she said. “It lasts a long time.”

    And in the ballroom of the castle there lives three wolves. One was white, one was black, and the third, much smaller than the other two, had patches of both colors; his chest, where his heart lay, was gray.

  • Those Girls by Chevy Stevens (2015)

    I preferred working with the animals. Spring was my favorite, all the babies being born, but I refused to eat the meat, which made Dad furious. I took a few beatings for that.

    “Sometimes giving in is fighting, Jess.”

    What else bad can happen?

  • Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding (2015)

    Conveying a lack of consent, however, must involve desperate hollering, a good-faith attempt at martial arts, and preferably video documentation of same.

    You’ve heard of “victimless” crimes. Rape is perhaps the only perpetratorless crime, in our collective imagination.

    Rape is a thing that happens, sure, but it’s not really something people do.

    The fact is, men are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault than of lying, vindictive women.

    If one believes women are more powerful than men because we own practically all of the vaginas, then women’s power to withhold consent to sex is the greatest power there is.
    Which means the guy who can take away a woman’s right to consent is basically a superhero. Right?

    Nebulous vagina magic isn’t quite as reliable as, say, noses that grow whenever women lie, but it’s something to help reasonable people know who’s a real victim and who’s just “crying rape.”

  • Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade (2015)

    The question sounded strange in the present tense. I used to think that orphaned was something I’d been as a child and since outgrown. It occurred to me, though, that was exactly how I’d been feeling all summer.
    “I guess anyone alone in the world’s an orphan,” I said.

    Wading through the crowded yard, dust gathered in her eyes. She had no lashes to blink it away.

    Sometimes it seemed to Rachel that the Home was like a big library, with children being checked in by relatives unable to care for them, then checked out when fortunes changed.

    I imagined my scars after the surgery, bandoliers of stitches crossing my chest. I’d look like Frankenstein’s monster. Then Naomi’s voiced popped into my head, as if she were standing behind me and speaking over my shoulder, saying no, not a monster – an Amazonian warrior.

  • Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson (2015)

    Millie liked sleeping with the air on her skin, even though it was dangerous out of doors. It felt more dangerous indoors, what with everyone growing up.
    (“The Easthound”)

    “Who knows what a sea cucumber thinks of the conditions of its particular stretch of ocean floor?”
    (“Message in a Bottle”)

    “You want hair that lies down and plays dead, and you want to pay a lot of money for it, and you want to do it every six weeks.”
    (“The Smile on the Face”)

    Anyway, in a world gone strange, why make a fuss about a missing pair of eyes and a nose with no holes?
    (“Left Foot, Right”)

    My name is Tammy Griggs. You can probably see that I’m fat. But maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you. Me, I think it’s pretty cool. Lots of surface for my tattoos.
    (“A Raggy Dog, A Shaggy Dog”)

  • The Heart Goes Last: A Novel (Positron) by Margaret Atwood (2015)

    Stan has never heard so much bullshit in his life. On the other hand, he sort of wants to believe it.

    How dare she show herself to be everything he was so annoyed with her for not being?

    Would Doris Day’s life have been different if she’d called herself Doris Night?

    “Never mind which wife is whose,” says Jocelyn. “We can’t waste time on the sexual spaghetti.”

  • In Wilderness: A Novel by Diane Thomas (2015)

    If she believes in anything, she believes in Sartre: Death is nothingness, silence under a bleak sky.

    The wilderness beyond the trail appears to separate itself into an endless string of rooms that beckon like a fever dream, rooms for gnomes and forest nymphs who live in them with their own mysteries.

    That’s why God gave us reefer. Long as you’ve got reefer, you’re never alone. Reefer and books, the Dynamic Duo.

    It’s how she has to think about his leaving, make art of it so she can bear it.

  • Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep edited by Peter Öberg (2015)

    Right now, I feel more connected with the rats than with my own species.
    (“The Rats,” Boel Bermann)

    The body, a Siamese twin from another genre, is digging itself out of me.
    (“Getting to the End,” Erik Odeldahl)

    “Young Klallapar! How cute you are! Let us hug you and take a few cell samples!”
    (“Quadrillennium,” AR Yngve)

    “Armageddon isn’t far. Mankind survives, of course. We’re worse than roaches that way.”
    (“Messiah,” Anna Jakobsson Lund)

  • A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager and Mike Blanc (2013)

    If you have a momma and a mommy, who fixes things when they break?
    Oh, Mommy has all the tools. There’s nothing she can’t fix or make.

  • Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann (2015)

    The story of Moletown began many years ago.

  • Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense by Julia Heaberlin (2015)

    The very best thing about landing in that grave? Perspective.

    When it came to Lydia, boys just wanted a cheap thrill: to meet a beautiful, crazy girl in the dark and hope she didn’t bring an axe.

  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015)

    Flowers for Algernon again?” she asks. “Doesn’t that book always make you cry?”
    “One day it won’t,” I say. “I want to be sure to be reading it on that day.”

    I gasp. Did the cake just commit suicide?

    One thing I’m certain of: wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.

    His body is his escape from the world, whereas I’m trapped in mine.

  • The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2) by Rin Chupeco (2015)

    Heroism isn’t a trait commonly found in teenage boys. Stupidity, though? We’ve got that in spades.

    I’m no hero, but I do have a superpower. Except my superpower tends to wander off when she’s bored.

    There’s nothing sadder than a book that hasn’t been cared form a book too broken to read.

    Okiku was the first person in my life who was completely mine, in the same way that I was the only person that had ever been completely hers. She taught me to face my inner demons, that their presence did not mean I was broken. She loved my darkness, and I loved her light.

  • Weird Girl and What’s His Name by Meagan Brothers (2015)

    Jay was tall and dark-haired and really pretty, but she never wore makeup because she said she hated all that beauty regime bullshit the media forces down our throats.
    Well, sometimes she wore eyeliner. And mascara.

    Sometimes you can’t see how the stuff you do spirals out, like octopus arms, destroying everything in its path and…okay, that’s a crappy metaphor. Octopuses don’t really destroy anything. I had to do a report on octopuses once. Octopi. Anyway, they’re actually really smart, loving animals, even if they do look like blobs. I’m no octopus.

    “You’ve seen one unrequited white hetero love story, you’ve seen ’em all.”

    “Hey, Seth? When you said you and Rory were on the same team, did you mean -”
    “Football.” Seth said. “What’d you think I meant? Ice hockey?”

    “Like, why do any of us become obsessed with the stuff we become obsessed with? The stuff that kind of defines who we are.”

    I could’ve made Mr. Badfinger’s head spin with everything I knew about clouds and the atmosphere and the tilt of the earth from the sun. But no equation on a page ever made me feel like I did in that hushed clearing, watching the sun turn the sky the colors of fire, the fields beneath us glowing like the glassy underneath of the sea.

    While I’d been off looking for my mother, Rory had somehow managed to find an entire family.

  • A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (2015)

    “Dear child, do you even know all the rage that is inside you?”

    “These are your friends now, Grace Mae. A madman who eats cancer in the dark and another who searches for a different kind of killer, the kind who smiles at you in the light of day. This is your new life. I hope you can stand it.”

    One more word, if I may. The original meaning of the word asylum is, in fact, protection. I hope you have found it to be so in your bright surroundings, as I have found my own niche here in the dark.

  • The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace) by Erin Bow (2015)

    I’m not a cruel man, Talis is recorded as saying. Only rarely is the next bit quoted: I mean, technically I’m not a man at all.

    My mother would not approve if I died with a scene.

    I wondered if Elián realized that he’d been chosen – and not just by Talis. He was here because Wilma Armenteros loved him. But apparently not enough to avoid nominating a hostage. Not enough to turn her position down.

    In the dispatches, later, I read that Talis had demanded blood from the trommellers for interfering, and that the family had elected to surrender not Hannah but the old woman.
    It is only royalty who would turn over their children.

    I was born to a crown. This was my crown – a cage for the head.

    “There is no need for you to torture yourself.”
    I laughed, then choked on the laugh. “It does seem redundant.”

    It’s a strange word, “twilight.” It makes me think of endings, of things done or left undone, of things over, of evening. But there are two twilights in every day, and one of them does not foretell darkness, but dawn. In this twilight, something new was opening up before me.

    In the midst of life we are in death. It struck me, thinking later, that this was a reversible statement: in the midst of death we are in life. […] I wanted to be alive before I died, and I wanted death to terrify me, not slip in like a long-expected guest.

    It was never going to be a fairy tale for us. There are no fairy tales about two princesses.

    To hold love in one’s hands, and then let it go – that was the cruelest thing anyone had ever done to me, and I had done it to myself.

  • Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson (2015)

    Captains of ships need to become very familiar with their maps as they navigate the world, making certain to keep their ships pointed in the right direction. In much the same way, your lenses are the maps that can lead you to new and enchanting lands.

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler (2014)

    You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.

    However, if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, “I’m just crying because of how wrong you are.”

    Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.

    Anger and embarrassment are often neighbors.

    Apologies have nothing to do with you. They are balloons in the sky. They may never land. They may even choke a bird.

    I swear, if I could eat my children, I would. I’d consume them like some beast in a Hieronymus Bosch painting, but in a friendlier, more momlike way. Their little bodies make me salivate. It takes everything I have not to swallow them whole.

    Too often we women try to tackle chaos that is not ours to fix.

    That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.

    If you don’t eat pussy, keep walking.

  • nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles (2015)

    I drank alone and thought of those who’d vanished from my life. Or those who’d never appeared in it at all, who’d left me alone and unfulfilled, whose names I didn’t know but who I missed with terrible longing.
    (“Finding Ulalume” by Lisa Morton)

    It’s fun to play in Poe’s world: dreams whose edges fray and dance like dark wings.
    (“The Ravens of Consequence” by Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly)

    She had an appointment with Casio, a mad musical genius who recorded the creaks and gasps of Venice in its death throes.
    (“The Drowning City” by Loren Rhoads)

    In the event, it’s curious to look back through time and catch myself in the act of becoming a writer.
    (“The Eye of Heaven” by Margaret Atwood)

  • The Wanderers by Kate Ormand (2015)

    Jett takes a step toward me and carefully reaches out to me. He runs his hand down my long nose and I tilt my head to let him, nuzzling his side. He laughs. “You’re so beautiful,” he says. The girl in me loves to hear him say that.

  • One by Sarah Crossan (2015)

    When Tippi wants something
    she takes it with
    two hands
    with a body that belongs to us both.

    “No one is whole,” I tell him.
    “We’re all missing pieces.”

    “Maybe you’re an experiment,” she says.
    “But then again, what relationship isn’t.”

    When conjoined twins are separated,
    it’s deemed a success so
    long as one of them lives.
    For a while.
    And that,
    to me,
    is the saddest thing
    I know about how
    people see us.

  • Menagerie (The Menagerie Series Book 1) by Rachel Vincent (2015)

    I stared at the pamphlet. I wanted to see the draco breathe fire and the harpies swoon and dive, but wanting something didn’t give one the right to have it.

    What was I, if I had no name, no friends, no family, no job, no home, no belongings, and no authority over my own body? What could I be?

    “She won’t serve her dish cold,” the oracle mumbled, almost giddy with joy as chill bumps rose all over her skin. “And two graves won’t be near enough…”

    Break me? Like a stick for kindling or like a pony for riding? Break me like a date, or like a heart, or like a promise?

    Eryx had long ago realized that the only true difference between the hybrids and most of their handlers was that the handlers hid their beasts on the inside. A wolf will growl to warn that it’s angry and a bull will paw the ground before charging. Rattlesnakes rattle, cats moan and hiss, and hyenas grunt and cackle. But a man will smile right in your face as he drives a knife into your heart.

    One word began to play over and over in my head. It was the most powerful word I’d ever known, yet the most worthless syllable ever to be uttered by someone wearing more chains than actual clothing. No. No. No. No. No…

    “My boss bought her. Yours sold her. We failed her in equal parts.”

    “She used her manners.” He seemed pleased by that, and the rare glimpse of a normal parenting moment under such barbaric circumstances made my eyes water.

    In a sudden surreal moment of epiphany, I realized I was incubating not a child, but a cause.

    She was pleased not just by the fact that someone had acted on her behalf, but by the knowledge that she’d been found worthy of the action.
    The fact that she’d had reason to doubt that broke my heart.

  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (2015)

    Most of the headstones are illegible, sentiment that even stone wasn’t strong enough to hold.

    Could I pretend to be a regular girl who sleeps, who dreams, who has a life ahead of her instead of an existence in which she’s dragged around like an appendage by the one she loves most?

  • Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (2012)

    Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.

    I’ve heard that when citizens are unruly, there’s usually a good reason for it.

    I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.

    But if there was one thing she knew from years as a mechanic, it was that some stains never came out.

  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (2015)

    He thought Kraft singles contained, within a few square inches, all American evils.

    She had taught Lace […] to love dry lightning as much as candles in glass jars. “Because for one second, all that light, you see everything. Maybe you don’t know what you’ve seen, but you’ve seen it, and it goes with you.”

    Now she knew why Justin said so little about the show. He didn’t want to admit how beautiful their enemies looked as they danced.

    But taking his hand was less of a betrayal to her family than touching any other Corbeau. These people, Cluck’s own family, hated him. They didn’t say it but she felt it, like heat under the earth. His hand looked like it had gotten broken all at once, maybe slammed in a door, or crushed under a costume trunk. If these people loved him, they would’ve gotten him to a doctor in time to save his fingers.
    If she hated him, she’d be like them, their scorn of Cluck Corbeau the same as a shared eye color. It would make her one of them.
    But she could defy this family by touching him.

    The difference was gravity. There was no falling to the lake bed. If she stopped swimming, she drifted toward the light.

    It hurt, his hands on her burns. It stung like a hot shower, pins of water and steam stabbing in. She was ready for it. The sting reminded her she was a body knitting itself back together. It was why she liked his hands on her. His wrecked fingers knew how to handle something ruined.

    The rain on her dress and his shirt would stick them to each other, dissolve the skin between them, until their veins tangled like roots, and they breathed together, one scaled and dark-feathered thing.

    The scar on her forearm meant she could never be loyal to her family. Her name meant she could never be loyal to the Corbeaus. The only one left to be loyal to was him.

    This was a bond they shared that they’d never know. They had both been beaten by men who decided that the only things worth less than their souls were their bodies.

  • The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson (2015)

    The irony of maiming his face to save face probably hadn’t occurred to him.

  • Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark (2015)

    I know she means well but if I wasn’t on a lead – I would pretend I didn’t know her.

    I love going to the bookshop, partly because I love the smells of books, but also because I have noticed that people who like books are often very fond of dogs.

    “Haha! Love the nosebag!”

  • The Merman: A Novel by Carl-Johan Vallgren (2015)

    There is no beginning, and no ending. I know that now. For others, perhaps, there are stories that lead somewhere, but not for me. It’s like they go round in circles, and sometimes not even that: they just stand still in one place. And I wonder: what are you supposed to do with a story that repeats itself?

    Or did he know? Did he know more than we realised? Maybe we existed in his stories just like we had mermaids in ours?

    “There’s not much that’s been written about mermaids, you see. Mainly fairy tales with tragic endings.”

  • A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir by Daisy Hernandez (2015)

    Journalism: A fancy word to say that I spent days with my hands in other people’s stories, asking and telling, because nothing happens in isolation, especially when it has to do with language. Nothing is more vulnerable than the words in our mouths, because nothing has more power.

    [T]o be the first in a family to leave for another language hurts.

    “You betray your parents if you don’t become like them…and you betray them if you do.”

    Revolutions take time.
    In history books, they unfurl over the course of three sentences, but in real life, they span decades of chaos and corruption, negotiations and false starts. They arrive late, if at all. In Cuba, the revolution does not reach my father in time.

    In the basement, he finishes a six-pack of Coors and listens to Radio Wado. He’s found a store on Bergenline Avenue where the price of beer seems to drop every time unemployment rises.

    It’s hard to explain how someone translates a word and your understanding of your family and your history and everything that’s come before you turns around, opens to interpretation.

    It will take years to understand that writing makes everything else possible. Writing is how I learn to love my father and where I come from. Writing is how I leave him and also how I take him with me.

  • The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (2015)

    How do you climb back into the sky when you have already fallen from it?

    So far I have done my best not to count time, but it has run out on me anyway.

    We are the worst versions of them.

    Sometimes I forget that there is bad in this world. I mean, I know there is, but when I think of bad things, I think of us.

    Jack tells me that the secret of living isn’t feeling light, but to be able to carry that weight and to understand that it was worth it and why.

    Right now, in this moment, I decide to let Jack become one of my mistakes. No matter what happens I won’t run away, I won’t ignore him, not ever again. I will be here until the day he dies, and when that happens, I will even let him break a heart I’m not sure I truly have.

    “Let me be weak and know my flaws. Let me love and be afraid. Let me be foolish and sad, so that I can say I was strong. I was beautiful. I was a fighter. I was fearless.”

    But we are only part of a cycle. I know that now.
    Why do we ever think we can be infinite?

  • Wolf By Wolf (Wolf By Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin (2015)

    Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them – made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same.
    Her story begins on a train.

    “One win isn’t enough. I can’t be as good as the men. I have to be better than them.”

    She hadn’t just been born to do it. She’d been created to.

    Her face was a two-way ghost: seeing one and being one.

    Not an angel, then. Something fiercer. Like a Valkyrie.

  • Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer (2013)

    The captivity of Carswell Thorne had gotten off to a rocky start, what with the catastrophic soap rebellion and all.

    “Cinder,” Iko said after a few silent minutes of explorations. “I’m enormous.”

    “Wolf, are you asking me to be…your alpha female?”

  • Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Meyer (2011)

    “I have a glitch, too. Sometimes I forget that I’m not human. I don’t think that happens to most androids.”
    Cinder gaped down at Iko’s smooth body, beat-up treads, three-fingered prongs, and wondered what it would be like to be stuck in such a body and not know if you were human or robot.

  • The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer (2012)

    With that one kill, he had ensured that she would never turn him into a monster.

  • Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (2016)

    And that is when I learn the secret: that you don’t have to be anyone.

    I see it from my head and I see it from your head. Seeing it from both heads can’t be right, but my brain uses them both as though both of them are part of me, as though both stories are mine.

    A frozen version of an unfinished self.

    “Reality wasn’t colourful enough for him. He should have been in a story, but instead someone’s imagination got cracked and he ended up in the real world.”

    You stroke his smooth skin. Its softness makes you want to climb inside him, put on what he is, and begin the world again.

  • Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace (2016)

    Mom and Dad would be so disappointed. They had always told us there was no such thing as ghosts.

    Every astronaut, every cosmonaut, all the women and men who have gone into space, they all say the same thing: they went up expecting to be awed by the moon and the sun and the stars, but what astonished them most was the earth.

    “You can call me Rain.”
    “Great. Together we can be the weather report.”

    “You don’t smell appetizing,” he said. “You’re not that dead.”

    “The first rule of cannibal mermaid fight club is don’t talk about cannibal mermaid fight club.”

    I was so fucking tired of men deciding whether or not I got to go on existing for another day.

    There’s something Karen Garrow once said about the fate of the universe. It was on one of her television shows, an episode I watched a dozen times on the basement TV. All of us, she said, all of us and all of everything that had ever existed and ever would exist, it was all made up of matter that formed in the very first moments of the universe, and it would all last until the very end. The atoms would decay, the particles would break apart, everything would disintegrate and shatter until it was unrecognizable – too degraded – but that would take so many billions and billions of years we didn’t even have words for time scales that large. Everything had come from the same hot explosion and everything would end in the same empty darkness. It had nothing to do with what we believed or what we wanted or how desperately we needed to reassure ourselves that the brief moment in which we lived meant anything at all. None of it would matter in the end.
    And Karen smiled her playful smile, and she said, “But it isn’t the end yet. It matters now, everything we have, for as long as we can hold onto it.”

  • Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto (2016)

    “I’d give anything to have a vampire in love with me.”

    “I don’t think we need all the sordid details with the ladies around,” the sheriff said, cutting her off. He glanced at Westie. “And I use that word loosely.”

    Her cannibal friends might mistake her for a sweet cake and eat her alive, wearing a dress like that.

    “You see, Westie. A girl homeschooled by the most brilliant man of our time couldn’t possibly keep up with Cain’s fifth-grade education.”

  • Because I Am a Girl: I Can Change the World by Rosemary McCarney, Plan International, Jen Albaugh (2015)

    I will never forget the day my father took me out of school. How could I forget it? It was one of the worst days of my life.

  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (2014)

    So many men murder their partners and former partners that we have well over a thousand homicides of that kind a year – meaning that every three years the death toll tops 9/11’s casualties, though no one declares a war on this particular kind of terror.
    (“The Longest War”)

    “An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the Internet. Having one and flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male keyboard-bashers to tell you how they’d like to rape, kill, and urinate on you.”
    (Laurie Penny, quoted in “The Longest War”)

    We have far more than eighty-seven thousand rapes in this country every year, but each of them is invariably portrayed as an isolated incident. We have dots so close they’re splatters melting into a stain, but hardly anyone connects them, or names that stain. In India they did. They said that this is a civil rights issues, it’s a human rights issue, it’s everyone’s problem, it’s not isolated, and it’s never going to be acceptable again. It has to change. It’s your job to change it, and mine, and ours.
    (“The Longest War”)

    Marriage equality is a threat: to inequality.
    (“In Praise of the Threat: What Marriage Equality Really Means”)

    The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt.
    (“Grandmother Spider”)

    Language is power. When you turn “torture” into “enhanced interrogation,” or murdered children into “collateral damage,” you break the power of language to convey meaning, to make us see, feel, and care. But it works both ways. You can use the power of words to bury meaning or to excavate it. If you lack words for a phenomenon, and emotion, a situation, you can’t talk about it, which means that you can’t come together to address it, let alone change it.
    (“#YesAllWomen: Feminists Rewrite the Story”)

    Six years ago, when I sat down and wrote the essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” here’s what surprised me: though I began with a ridiculous example of being patronized by a man, I ended with rapes and murders. We tend to treat violence and the abuse of power as though they fit into airtight categories: harassment, intimidation, threat, battery, rape, murder. But I realize now that what I was saying is: it’s a slippery slope. That’s why we need to address that slope, rather than compartmentalizing the varieties of misogyny and dealing with each separately. Doing so has meant fragmenting the picture, seeing the parts, not the whole.
    (“#YesAllWomen: Feminists Rewrite the Story”)

    What doesn’t go back in the jar or the box are ideas. And revolutions are, most of all, made up of ideas.
    (“Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force”)

    Liberation is a contagious project [.]
    (“Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force”)

    Here’s the box Pandora held and the bottles the genies were released from; they look like prisons and coffins now.
    (“Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force”)

  • Bird Box: A Novel by Josh Malerman (2014)

    How can she expect her children to dream as big as the stars if they can’t lift their heads to gaze upon them?

  • Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn (2013)

    If a basement of nonperishable items can’t keep your child safe, then what could?

    I had been poor little Annaliese, the victim of a bloody and gruesome attack. But with the addition of s-e-x, I’d become something else – a girl who’d done the nasty in the woods with a boy. A boy who’d been dating someone else. And in the vicious high school world, that was a girl who got what she deserved.
    Just like that, Annaliese had gone from victim to vixen.

    I had become something too complicated for them to sum up with one word painted in red nail polish.

    My heart fluttered, as if that hummingbird kiss had become trapped inside me.

    Are teenage daughters that interchangeable, or simply so foreign that one can easily be swapped out for another?

  • Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet #1-5) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (2015)

    We’re basically able to take readings of various electrical impulses in your body and, through a complicated series of algriffins –
    Algorithms, Frank.

    One sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free muffin and three plates, please.

    Shame them, maim them, try to contain them.

    Agreenex ™: Because he’s sick of your shit!

  • Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1) by Kim Liggett (2015)

    “When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it in the deepest ocean. You will be all in – blood and salt.”

    They say the first step is the hardest.
    But it’s really the third – when you’re too far in to turn back and no far enough to completely commit. Either way, you’re kind of screwed.

    I didn’t even like changing clothes for gym. Being bathed by a creepy cult was not on my favorite-things-to-do list.

    “The corn is a monster…and it’s eating them.”

  • Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke (2015)

    Because, could a girl be so terrible? Could a girl tear a man’s face out and could a girl litter his body with holes from the sharpest parts of her red mouth? Could a girl do something so perfect, and then vanish into the clouds?
    Could a girl come at the exact moment we needed her? Could she come only to protect other girls?
    (Nova Ren Suma, “The Birds of Azalea Street”)

    “No one loves words like you do, Marnie. I’ve seen it in class. You name-drop authors like other girls drop boy bands.”
    (Danielle Page, “The Dark, Scary Parts and All”)

    “It’s the story of a sad girl and a sad boy who accidentally stumble through a magical door into a wonderful paallel world. They fall in love. But when one of them goes too far, and tried to take their love back into the real world…it dies.”
    (“April Genevieve Tucholke, “The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh”)

    Dad liked to hunt. Every once in a while he’d take off so he could kill something. Over the last five years he’s killed five deer, all of them females. Dahlia tried not to read anything into that.
    (Jonathan Maberry, “Fat Girl With a Knife”)

    It was strange, what words could do. No one had spoken to her like that since she was a child, like she was a real person, a real girl, and not just a walking list of ailments and deficits.
    (Stefan Bachman, “M”)

    The first time the wrens sang at night was three years ago, when I used a rusty saw to cut off Pa’s left foot. The birds drowned out his screams.
    (A.G. Howard, “Stitches”)

  • Mad Max: Fury Road (Mad Max: Fury Road – Prequels #1-4) by George Miller, et al. (2015)

    Once, the citizenry slept peacefully in their beds because rough men such as these did violence on their behalf.
    Now, because of these same men…no one slept at night.
    (“Nux and Immortan Joe”)

  • Shutter (Shutter #1) by Courtney Alameda (2015)

    The minute I hit eighteen, I’d be put on a platter for the highest bidder – if a man could bid with his old-blood genes, reaping record, and loyalty to my father, that is. It was so medieval it made me sick.

    An enlargement of my first National Geographic Magazine cover hung over my desk, a shot of a ghost dripping through a ceiling, hands reaching for my lens. The image made me famous for more than my last name.

    Too bad the Catholic church refused to let women hold the priesthood – a combination tetro-priest could make for a very powerful reaper.

    As for Bianca, Jude still saw her die every time he touched her – but somehow, he still managed to smile.

  • Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (2015)

    Some of my friends tell me my life before I met them sounds like I made it up. Like it’s something from a bad fairy tale where a princess is held kidnapped in a tower until she’s rescued. Like Rapunzel.
    Only, no knight in shining armor saved me. I saved myself.

    No matter how much love may have been behind this bracelet, I know I can’t wear it anymore.

    I smile to myself and thank God again for Lauren.

  • Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedeon et al. (2010)

    Have a friend who excels in math and science? Report him!
    (“Captain Hammer: Be Like Me!”)

    It seems the city has descended into chaos.
    The E.L.E. is running wild, tearing the city – if you’ll excuse my French – tearing the city a new @#$hole.
    I’m glad you said it because I was thinking it. This city does have a brand-new, freshly torn @#$hole.
    Jesus, Steve, that’s disgusting.
    I’m following your lead here, kitten.
    (“The Evil League of Evil”)

  • Among The Shadows: 13 Stories of Darkness & Light, edited by Kate Karyus Quinn (2015)

    If she were a verb, it would be “bloom.”
    (“Heroin(e)” by Kelly Fiore)

    Evan had changed everything. He made her see that animals were the same as people. And that meant people were the same as animals.
    Just like her uncle with his favorite dog. Just like that canary in the mine.
    He now belonged to her.
    (Demitria Lunetta, “Canary”)

    She looks like the kind of person who holds the best kind of secrets, and would share them if you were special enough.
    (Lydia Kang, “Blarach Bridge”)

    My ribcage rattles and I lower my rifle. It’s the one Daddy gave me for my sweet sixteenth, all wrapped up in a satiny pink bow. I can’t pinpoint exactly when Daddy’s motto went from Though Shalt Not Kill to the survivalist Kill or Be Killed, but it might have been then.
    This is not my first kill.
    (Lenore Applehans, “Panic Room”)

  • Horns by Joe Hill (2010)

    “Fucking patients,” the doctor said. “All any of you care about is yourselves.”

    Because, of course, it wouldn’t do to just talk to her. She had spoken to him in flashes of daylight, and he felt he ought to reply in kind.

    Some things you didn’t give away, no matter how much you owed.

    “Christ himself forewarned his apostles to beware him who would destroy their souls in Hell. I advise you now that such a fate is a mathematical impossibility. The soul may not be destroyed. The soul goes on forever. Like the number pi, it is without cessation or conclusion. Like pi it is a constant. Pi is an irrational number, incapable of being made into a fraction, impossible to divide from itself. So, too, the soul is an irrational, indivisible equation that perfectly expresses one thing: you. The soul would be no good to the devil if it could be destroyed. And it is not lost when placed in Satan’s care, as is so often said. He always knows exactly how to put his finger on it.”

    “Satan has long been known as the Adversary, but God fears women even more than He fears the devil – and is right to. She, with her power to bring life into the world, was truly made in the image of the Creator, not man, and in all ways has proved Herself a more deserving object of man’s worship than Christ, that unshaven fanatic who lusted for the end of the world.”

    “I see God now as an unimaginative writer of popular fictions, someone who builds stories around sadistic and graceless plots, narratives that exist only to express His terror of a woman’s power to choose who and how to love, to redefine love as she sees fit, not as God thinks it ought to be.”

    “Only the devil wants man to have a wide range of lightweight and comfortable styles to choose from,” he murmured at least, trying out a new proverb. “Although there may be no forgiveness for polyester. On this one matter, Satan and the Lord are in agreement.”

    You know how I want to die? On the Evel Knievel trail, roaring down it on a cart of my own.

    Maybe all the schemes of the devil were nothing compared to what men could think up.

    The world was full of other fires waiting to be lit.

    “There’s only room for one hero in this story – and everyone knows the devil doesn’t get to be the good guy.”

  • Those Left Behind (Serenity #1) by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, and Will Conrad (2006)

    If we live our lives as we should, we give of ourselves with each entrance and exit. If we don’t — we take.

  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (2015)

    We didn’t play house anymore. We played “Kidnapping.”

    We live in a tolerant community, so long as there’s nothing to tolerate.

    That’s when I learned about true frustration, that wrenching ache when the thing that matters most to you barely makes a ripple in other people’s lives.

    He put his arm around me, like a hug, like a wing, like a home.

    The world continues to spin even when we want it to stop, though. Especially then.

  • Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure by Mike MacDonald & Jilly Gagnon (2016)

    The tear sliding down your cheek is 100% genuine. The End.

  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (2014)

    Ghost Bomb,” Trinity said. “It’s the name of our show. Because it’s about ghosts, and we’re the bomb.”

    “I’ve been trained in retail crisis management,” Basil said. “Let me handle this.”

    Someone had died in Bedrooms and there was no way they could leave a dead body for morning shift.

  • Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner (2016)

    Warning: Very few people in this story die of natural causes.

    And there is nothing in the world as dangerous as a man bristling with weapons and insecurities.

    News of severed heads travels fast.

    In those days the Japanese elite cultivated a sense that is now called mono no aware: the poignant awareness of beauty that cannot last.

  • The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig (2016)

    We were sailing toward the edge of the map of Calcutta under a sky so starry it looked sugared; the night would never be as beautiful after the Industrial Revolution.

    No matter the era, cops never liked Kashmir.

    Kashmir flung his arms wide. “Happy theft day!”
    “Glad we stole you,” Rotgut added, raising a bottle of Brooklyn Lager in his bony fist.

    The moment stretched like a rack and I writhed upon it.

    “Nix and Xin. Happiness and nothingness.”

    And in that moment, I saw the horizon unbounded and I reeled with the vastness of it. What new shores would I discover if I could only travel those few inches?

    “It scandalized the foreigners, who only saw what they were looking for. The hula tells a story, but they weren’t listening.”

    Hapai Hale. The very first hint of my existence was marked on the page. I was written into that map as a landmark.

    Why did the stories I knew best never end well? But why too did I feel at home among them?

    I was a closed book, a rolled map, a dark territory, uncharted; I was surprised by my urgency, but after all, to be known was to exist.

    In every myth, paradise is meant to be lost.

    “Paradise is a promise no god bothers to keep. There’s only now, and tomorrow nothing will be the same, whether we like it or not.”

  • Version Control: A Novel by Dexter Palmer (2016)

    “I miss Sean,” Rebecca said from the bed, trying not to think that the truth of the feeling she had at that moment (and it was true, it was: how could it not be?) was somehow diminished by the compulsion she felt to perform it.

    “I look at these profiles, and I see so many people do so many terrible things to English.”

    But it was so well written: it was amazing to her that she’d come so quickly to find proper grammar and spelling to be a turn-on, but here she was. Look at that properly nested series of punctuation marks after “don’t hate me.” That’s hot. Look at that semicolon! Bradley might have been the first guy to message her who’d used a semicolon.

    “Your life: it is very interesting to me. Do you like food?” “All of it. I eat all of the food.”

    The thing about memories wasn’t that many of them inevitably faded, but that repeated recall of the ones you remembered burnished them into shining, gorgeous lies.

    The last lesson his father had taught him in the car was that beneath the things of the world lay ideas, and those ideas lived not in the world, but in the mind. Everything was made of numbers and formulas; formulas and numbers were ideas. And his father had done so much thinking about math that he was basically made out of it. And if his father had been made of math, and math was an idea that lived in the mind, then there was no reason that his father could not live on in Sean’s mind, after the accident.

    His father’s last word, which Sean had never told anyone, not even his mother, hadn’t been goodbye: it had been hello.

    “Because all that a grave will do is remind you that he’s dead. But that machine he made is your reminder that in a way, in the most important way, he’s still alive. And as long as people are working with that machine and thinking of how to build on the ideas that brought that machine into existence, he always will be.”

    Woody had, in fact, gotten a tattoo in Philip’s memory, at what he himself admitted was “well past the age when a man should think about getting inked up.” It was on his forearm, and read, in a font that looked lifted from a twentieth-century schoolbook, “Leviticus 19:22.” It got him dirty looks sometimes: the sight of it would inspire occasional atheistic hisses and comments about why he’d want to memorialize a book of the Bible so strongly opposed to basic human rights and the consumption of shellfish, but then he’d point on that that particular verse, in the KJV, read, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

    “She said she was sorry if she’d forgotten how to, you know, chat: she sometimes goes for days without talking to anyone but her dogs, and they’re not good at small talk.”

  • Join by Steve Toutonghi (2016)

    And Join actually did break the government. Things like Social Security numbers and biometric security all assumed a person had only one body. […] The government needed the money Vitalcorp was making in order to address the issues Join caused. In the end, the government froze the stock and seized the company. The joke was they merged.

    “In the beginning,” Rope Three says, “when Join was first introduced, and for a long time after, I assumed we’d all join. That we’d all become one single individual. Can you imagine that? No more other.”

    That kind of intimacy among drives is mocked by solos. Before most solo resentment hardened into religious resistance, there was a famous sketch comedy show, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, and Howard, that parodied the closeness. The seven Howards would stand in a circle, five men and two women, picking one another’s noses.

    How do you know if two bodies are joined? Put one in mortal danger. If the other tries to save him, they’re not joined.

    [Y]ou cannot be the sum total of all of the actions of both the transgressor and victim and not find yourself transfixed by the paradox.

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