2017 Book Memories Challenge

January 2nd, 2018 2:00 pm by Kelly Garbato


 

  1. The Furies by Natalie Haynes (2014)

    ‘It doesn’t matter that I spent my whole life doing it. What matters is that I spent his whole life doing it. I would take it all back, Robert. Every moment I spent trying to be a fucking director, trying to make people happy, trying to be good at something. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do any of it. I’d just stand next to Luke every fucking second and when anything bad looked like it might happen to him, I’d get in the fucking way and I would keep him safe. And when people asked me what I did for a living, I’d say I loved him. That’s what I wanted to do. I thought it was the background, and it was everything. Everything.’

    […] I was so consumed with carrying the weight of Luke. My lungs felt tight with it sometimes. The world was heavier without him in it, and slower, and darker, and it took energy, actual physical energy to move through it. And I didn’t want to let go of it, either. What other way did I have to keep him real? Carrying his dead weight was better than forgetting him. Grieving was better than waking up to realise I couldn’t remember which of his eyes had the brown fleck in it.

    Besides, I had lost patience with therapy after Luke died. I was referred to a grief counsellor who was every kind of idiot. Her capacity for trying to look on the bright side made my mother look like Sartre. I tried not to hate her and everything she stood for, but it was one struggle too many. I didn’t want to be cured of my grief, I wanted to wrap myself up in it like a comfortable old coat which I’d first put on when my father died.
    I wanted to wear it every minute of the day, to sleep in it and wake in it, and never to be rid of it because it was the only thing keeping me warm. I gave up talking to my friends, to Luke’s friends, because everyone wanted to try to make me feel better, to talk about the healing qualities of time and what Luke would have wanted. But what Luke wanted didn’t matter any more. That’s what happens when you die. And I didn’t want time to heal my wounds. I wanted to pick at them until fat bubbles of dark blood formed on my skin, and then I wanted to watch them scab over and pick at them again.

  2. The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis (2017)

    She turned my head toward the outlines of the horses, ghostly and elegant against the black sky. At night, it was easy to forget how ordinary they were. Or rather, at night, we could see the beauty of their flawed bodies. They stood together, some of them asleep, some eating, and we could see the breath from their wide nostrils. They looked like shadows, not entirely real. We approached the horses quietly, with the single-mindedness of lovers. It was as though Andrea and I had created them, as though they were our secret, a gift we’d given each other. They had a quiet kind of bravery, a grace I’ve rarely seen since. The only thing that comes close is the dignity of some old women—the ones who remember being beautiful, the ones who know they still are.

    She had been so beautiful. Why hadn’t she known it at the time?

    He knew there were limits and that each species has its duration. Mayflies survive only a couple of minutes. Wild blueberry bushes live for thirteen thousand years. It is the usual, necessary, beautiful course of things. So why did he feel such grief?

  3. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (2017)

    “You’re the first person I’ve met with a 64,” I told her. “And you’re a girl.”
    “Is that strange?”
    “I didn’t think girls liked to program.”
    “Girls practically invented programming,” she said. “Jean Bartik, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas—they all programmed ENIAC.”
    I had no idea what she was talking about.

    She tasted like thunderstorms and gummy bears.

  4. 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.

  5. Kinski by Gabriel Hardman (2014)

    I’ve got to bust him out of there.

  6. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson (2016)

    I’m never going to tell anyone, even if it means that I can never forget, that I have to live with the memories my whole life. I don’t want to forget anyway. I want to remember them, every minute of every day.

    I let the tears fill my eyes. It’s good that I’m here. It doesn’t feel good.

  7. The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones (2012)

    “You seem to know a lot about this particular genre we’re in,” he says.

    “But everything’s horror, isn’t it? Sometimes you just can’t see the blood.”

  8. The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson (2014)

    The perfect fit of them made Easter feel a sharp pang, mostly happiness.

    To cry hard enough knocks a body down, and harder still needs both hands flat to the earth to get the grief out.

  9. A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi (2017)

    “Find the one who glows, with blood on the lips and fangs in the heart.”

    Under my mothers’ tutelage, I learned that beauty could be conjured. And under my and Nalini’s instruction, my mothers learned that death could hide in beauty. In Bharata, Nalini had commissioned slim daggers that could be folded into jeweled hairpins. Together, we’d taught the mothers how to defend themselves.

    He was handsome in a way that made me want to kick him on principle.

    “Who cares if a story is true or not so long as it is told?”

  10. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2015)

    And I wasn’t old enough to be wise, so I loved her more, not less, because I knew she would be taken from me soon.

    He’d also agreed to be betrothed to the Archduke of Varsha’s daughter, a girl of nine who had evidently impressed him a great deal by being able to spit across a garden plot. I was a little dubious about this as a foundation for marriage, but I suppose it wasn’t much worse than marrying her because her father might have stirred up rebellion, otherwise.

    I was a glaring blot on the perfection. But I didn’t care: I didn’t feel I owed him beauty.

  11. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls edited by Hope Nicholson (2016)

    What’s your Patronus? I ask, and it seems strange that I have not asked until now.
    These are the questions that matter more, more than how many siblings we have, than what our parents do for a living, than what television shows we follow in the fall. What is your Patronus? What is the thing that represents all protection to you, all reassurance, all strength, all love? What is the happiest moment you can remember, to summon the spell to you? What drives away the dark in your heart?
    – “Minas Tirth,” Marguerite Bennett

    We are friends still, for the curious. Still we speak in stories.
    – “Minas Tirth,” Marguerite Bennett

    The Brontë sisters had such lady boners for the Duke of Wellington that they wrote hundreds of pages of fanfiction about the guy.
    – “How Fanfiction Made Me Gay,” J. M. Frey

    Think about it this way: if you’d seriously and diligently prepared for the apocalypse so that, when it finally happened, not only did you survive, but you thrived, would you like people to treat you delicately and with sympathy? I want people to high-five me and congratulate me on discovering a new way of living, to celebrate with me my new understanding: that survival is insufficient.
    – “A Divorcée’s Guide to the Apocalypse,” Katie West

    The disappointment I feel is layered: I can’t romance Christine; I can’t romance Veronica; I can’t reunite them, or even acknowledge their relationship to them. I could tell Veronica that I met Father Elijah, the man responsible for the women’s time apart, and yet can’t mention that Christine was with me too. To be frank, coding extra dialogue wouldn’t have been a problem. Game design has a lot of cause-and-effect codes, usually in the form of “if X happens, then Y happens.” I just wanted to put my hand on Veronica’s shoulder and say, “I found Christine, and she still loves you, and you can see her at the Madre. It’s safe to visit now.”
    – “Sex in Video Games,” Soha Kareem

    And then there’s Ariel, who, at sixteen years old, married literally the first human being she ever interacted with. Even ignoring that their personalities might clash because they’ve barely spoken, how are their cultures possibly compatible? Every friend and family member Ariel has lives in the ocean, and Prince Eric rules over a coastal kingdom whose main resource is undoubtedly fishing. Congratulations, Ariel. Your new husband and his subjects make their living by hunting and eating your friends. That won’t be a horrifying thing to learn when she opens her wedding reception meal to find her best friend, Flounder, on her plate, mouthing, “Why, Ariel? I thought you loved me!”
    – “Four Fictional Happy Endings,” Diana McCallum

    You know where God lives and God is in paint and ink and pencil and the page: you fell in love and became that love. Transformed, like in a fairy tale. A girl who became a wolf, focused and hungry for only one thing: story.
    You never stopped hunting stories. Little wolf, persistent but timid, prowling shelves and stacks; anywhere there were books, that was the forest you claimed. You found a frontier in your school library, rushing inside every morning with exquisite relief because books were home, books were where you were most alive, books were places you could pretend you were brave. Books were walls against everything that frightened you.
    – “Ghost,” Marjorie Liu

  12. Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun (2017)

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  13. Final Girls by Mira Grant (2017)

    It would be … good, to let go, to surrender, to be harvested.

    STARTING A new school is always terrifying. Esther can’t imagine a situation where it wouldn’t be. She’s done it before, twice, but both times, she still had a living mother; she wasn’t the new girl with the dead mom, the girl everyone was primed to feel sorry for and judge. What if she doesn’t seem sad enough? What if she seems too sad, and it tips her over into weird? She doesn’t want to be the weird girl. There’s too much responsibility in the role. The weird girl carries the weight of the world, and it isn’t anything she’s ever wanted.

    This is the meat of the scenario: this is the place where reality and nightmare collide, healing wounds as old as the psyche itself. Or it would be, had the failsafes not been removed, replaced by a gaping hole into which self and sanity seemed poised to fall. Esther should have been given whispers, rumors, local legends to ease her into the idea that the dead could wake and walk under the right circumstances. She should have been prepared, not dropped into a situation that would shred the credibility of anyone who wasn’t there, who wasn’t watching the monsters feed on the flesh of those they loved.
    Esther should have been prepared. She should have salt and candle and book and shovel, ready to defend herself, shaped into a warrior by a hundred small, seemingly unrelated incidents.

  14. Final Girls by Riley Sager (2017)

    I understand that urge for more information, that longing for details. But in this case, I’m fine without them. I know what happened at Pine Cottage. I don’t need to remember exactly how it happened.

    As my tears dried to salt, he placed a menagerie of bowls on the counter and filled them with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. He gave me a spoon and let me mix them all together. My first baking lesson.
    There’s such a thing as too much sweetness, Quincy, he told me. All the best bakers know this. There needs to be a counterpoint. Something dark. Or bitter. Or sour. Unsweetened chocolate. Cardamom and cinnamon. Lemon and lime. They cut through all the sugar, taming it just enough so that when you do taste the sweetness, you appreciate it all the more.

    While there were other multiple homicides during those years, none quite got the nation’s attention like ours. We were, for whatever reason, the lucky ones who survived when no one else had. Pretty girls covered in blood. As such, we were each in turn treated like something rare and exotic. A beautiful bird that spreads its bright wings only once a decade. Or that flower that stinks like rotting meat whenever it decides to bloom.

    I didn’t want to be one of those girls tethered to tragedy, forever associated with the absolute worst moment of my life.

  15. Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel (2017)

    I’m grateful for Themis, to be in her company every day. I feel drawn to her. She isn’t of this world either.

    —Interestingly enough, it is probably what we would do. At least, it is what we would have done half a century ago. It might be an urban legend, but I was told that in the fifties, the US military started thinking about what it would do if we encountered sentient alien life. They came up with a seven-step procedure, starting with remote surveillance. We would then secretly visit the alien world, and if we felt our weaponry and technology to be more advanced than the aliens, we would begin a series of brief landings during which we would gather samples of plant and animal life, perhaps abducting an alien or two in the process. After that, we would make our existence known to as many aliens as possible, and if we were satisfied with their reaction, we would make contact.
    —And if we felt the aliens were superior? What was the plan?
    —Pray that they do not see us as food.

    If I grab a bunch of matter, anywhere, and I organize it in exactly the same way, I get … you. You, my friend, are a very complex, awe-inspiring configuration of matter. What you’re made of isn’t really important. Everything in the universe is made of the same thing. You’re a configuration. Your essence, as you call it, is information. It doesn’t matter where the material comes from. Do you think it matters when it comes from?

    —Do you really wanna grow old with just grumpy old me?
    —No offense, Kara, but I don’t think either of us will get to grow old, especially if we’re together. The only question is: Do I wanna die young with anyone else?

    Now the world is ending and somehow I’ve managed to make that about me too.

    She took on the entire universe and she won. She did what she set out to do. Your mom was a badass motherfucker.

  16. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017)

    Because of the type of articles that were stolen, one family called him the Mountain Man, but that frightened their children, so they changed it to the Hungry Man. Most people, including the police, began referring the intruder simply as the hermit, or the North Pond hermit, or, more formally, the hermit of North Pond. Some police reports mentioned “the legend of the hermit,” and on others, where a suspect’s full name was requested, he was recorded as Hermit Hermit.

    Big G’s Deli, an iconic Maine eatery, offered a roast beef, pastrami, and onion ring sandwich called the Hermit, advertised as containing “all locally stolen ingredients.”

    He’d slid his boots onto sawed-off branches, a wilderness drying rack. One tree had held rakes and snow shovels; another, an olive-green baseball cap and a floppy gray fishing hat. Some items had been in place so long that the trees grew around them. A claw hammer was nearly swallowed by a tree trunk, impossible to remove, and Hughes said that this hammer, more than anything, made him realize how long Knight had lived there.

    Not for a moment did he consider keeping a journal. He would never allow anyone to read his private thoughts; therefore, he did not risk writing them down. “I’d rather take it to my grave,” he said. And anyway, when was a journal ever honest? “It either tells a lot of truths to cover a single lie,” he said, “or a lot of lies to cover a single truth.”

    He saw plenty of deer some years, none other years. An occasional moose. Once, the hindquarters of a mountain lion. Never a bear. Rabbits were on a boom-or-bust cycle, a lot or a few. The mice were bold—they’d come into his tent while he was lying there and crawl on his boots. He never thought about keeping a pet: “I couldn’t put myself in a situation where I’m competing with the pet for food and maybe have to eat the pet.”

    It’s possible that Knight believed he was one of the few sane people left. He was confounded by the idea that passing the prime of your life in a cubicle, spending hours a day at a computer, in exchange for money, was considered acceptable, but relaxing in a tent in the woods was disturbed. Observing the trees was indolent; cutting them down was enterprising. What did Knight do for a living? He lived for a living.

    Jail, in some sense, was preferable. Now that he’s free, it is clear that he isn’t.

    Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is. We live orphaned on a tiny rock in the immense vastness of space, with no hint of even the simplest form of life anywhere around us for billions upon billions of miles, alone beyond all imagining. We live locked in our own heads and can never entirely know the experience of another person. Even if we’re surrounded by family and friends, we journey into death completely alone.

  17. A Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes (2017)

    Put another way: for white Americans, lethal violence is nearly as rare as it is in Finland; for black Americans, it’s nearly as common as it is in Mexico.

    In the Nation, you can stroll down the middle of a quiet, carless street with no hassle, as I did with James Knowles, the white Republican mayor of Ferguson. We chatted on a leafy block in a predominantly white neighborhood filled with stately Victorian homes and wraparound porches. There were no cops around. We were technically breaking the law—you can’t walk in the middle of the street—but no one was going to enforce that law, because really what’s the point. Who were we hurting? In the Colony, just half a mile away, the disorderly act of strolling down the middle of the street could be the first link in the chain of events that ends your life at the hands of the state.

    But as a principle of self-governance, particularly of American self-governance, “do what the cops say” is a pretty strange unofficial motto. This great land of ours, this exceptional beacon of liberty, was founded by men who, to borrow a phrase, refused to comply.

    The typical cadet training involves sixty hours on how to use a gun and fifty-one hours on defensive tactics, but just eight hours on how to calm situations without force.

    Despite the fact nonwhite people are disproportionately the victims of crime, the criminal justice system as a whole is disproportionately built on the emotional foundation of white fear. But then, that isn’t surprising. American history is the story of white fear, of the constant violent impulses it produces and the management and ordering of those impulses.

  18. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (2007)

    “I’m sorry to bother you,” she whispered. “When I get excited about a movie I want to talk. I can’t help it.”
    (“20th Century Ghost”)

    The memory of that day in the dump made him a little sentimental for his father – they had had some good times together, and Buddy had made a decent meal in the end. Really, what else could you ask from a parent?
    (“You Will Hear the Locust Sing”)

    “It’s fun to imagine, maybe, fun to think about it,” I said. “But the actual thing would be bullshit. Dust. Freezing cold. Everything red. You’d go blind looking at so much red. You wouldn’t really want to do it—leave this world and never come back.”
    Art stared at me for a long moment, then bowed his head, and wrote a brief note in robin’s egg blue.
    But I’m going to have to do that anyway. Everyone has to do that.
    Then he wrote:
    You get an astronaut’s life whether you want it or not.
    Leave it all behind for a world you know nothing about.
    That’s just the deal.

    (“Pop Art”)

    George Romero turned back to them, shaking his head. “That was great, when you hit the pillar, and you left that big streak of gore. We should do it again, just the same way. This time you could leave some brains behind. What do you two kids say? Either one of you feel like a do-over?”
    “Me,” Bobby said.
    “Me,” said Harriet. “Me.”
    “Yes, please,” said little Bobby, around the thumb in his mouth.
    “I guess it’s unanimous,” Bobby said. “Everyone wants a do-over.”
    (“Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead”)

  19. Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Guts by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2013)

    “As a god, I will tell you that they don’t care about anyone … but themselves.”

    “You said that my lasso isn’t a weapon, but when one is entwined in it, they speak the truth. And THAT – the truth – is my weapon.”

  20. Wonder Woman, Volume 3: Iron by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2013)

    “War has lost his mind.”

    “Why do you take so much joy from my misery?”
    “Maybe because you tried to kill me. A bunch of times.”
    “You lay down with my husband. What else am I supposed to do?”
    “How ’bout kill HIM?”

    “You people are all sexist.”

  21. Wonder Woman, Volume 4: War by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2014)

    “Why, Wonder Woman, are you so afraid of being a god?”

  22. Wonder Woman, Volume 5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2014)

    “So being mortal is like getting a lobotomy.”
    “Something like that.”

    “That’s the thing about spleen. You serve it fresh, or not at all.”

    “I promised you an army. I can think of none more glorious than the Amazons.”

  23. Wonder Woman, Volume 6: Bones by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2015)

    “You call those pants?”

    “It’s time to admit we’re not perfect. And it’s an admission that I, for one, am relieved to make. Because out of perfection…? Nothing can be made.”

    “Say, you’re pretty strong for a girl.”
    “No, I’m just pretty strong.”
    “I didn’t mean to offend…”
    “That doesn’t mean you didn’t.”

  24. By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain by Joe Hill (2014)

    “The roof of his mouth is just like mine. Ruffled like mine. Or like yours.”

    “Poor thing,” she said.
    “I wonder how old it is,” he said.
    “Millions of years. It’s been alone in this lake for millions of years.”
    Joel said, “It was safe until people put their damn motorboats on the lake. How can it know about motorboats?”
    “I bet it had a good life.”
    “Millions of years alone? That doesn’t sound good.” “It had a lake full of fish to eat and miles to swim in and nothing to be afraid of. It saw the dawning of a great nation,” Gail told him. “It did the backstroke under the moonlight.”
    Joel looked at her in surprise. “You’re the smartest little girl on this side of the lake. You talk just like you’re reading from a book.”
    “I’m the smartest little girl on either side of the lake.”

  25. The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn Graphic Novels #1-6) by Peter S. Beagle, Peter B. Gillis, Renae De Liz, and Ray Dillon (2011)

    Do not boast, old woman. Your death sits in that cage and hears you.

    How dare you come to me now – when I am this?

    There is no immortality but a tree’s love.

    All the way up the stairs it was a dragon’s head, the proudest gift anyone can give anyone. But she looked at it, and suddenly it was a grisly mess.

    …oh. You’re beautiful.

    I remember you. I remember.

  26. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (2017)

    Despite what people think based on my writing, I very much like men. They’re interesting to me, and I mostly wish they’d be better about how they treat women so I wouldn’t have to call them out so often.
    (“Bad Feminist: Take Two” by Roxane Gay)

    I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.
    (“Bad Feminist: Take Two” by Roxane Gay)

    Feminism? I’m not sure I even know what that word really means. I understand the definition, but I’ve never had to know it in my bones.
    (“Privilege” by Matt Nathanson)

    This country was built around voices like mine, privileged voices. To speak out on the topic of gay/queer/transgender rights, to speak out on the topic of black lives mattering . . . I have learned that having my voice heard, even if I am on the side of the oppressed, is not important. In fact, it can be a detriment. Everyone has heard enough from voices like mine. My actions, my clearing of space for the voices of those oppressed, that is my job. That is where I can best be of service. To make room in my privilege for the voices of others to be heard.
    (“Privilege” by Matt Nathanson)

    How does a teenager who doesn’t have a car, who lives in the middle of nowhere, and who is socially isolated end up involved in drag? Through her parents, of course.
    (“Dragging Myself into Self-Love” by Constance Augusta Zaber)

    Feminism isn’t a glass slipper that fits only one perfect woman; it is an umbrella that has to become big enough to protect us all, even from one another.
    (“Facets of Feminism” by Mikki Kendall)

    To be a boy is a preferable condition. You are not a boy, but hating girls is almost the same thing. Isn’t it? That’s what boys do. You can do it, too.
    (“Girl Lessons” by Sarah McCarry)

    Real talk: a bicycle is self-propelled, fits a lot of places a car won’t, and think how great your weapon will look sticking out of your wicker basket.
    (“A Guide to Being a Teenage Superheroine” by Allison Peyton Steger and Rebecca Sexton)

  27. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013)

    I did not choke. I felt the coldness of the water – if it was water – pour into my nose and my throat, felt it fill my lungs, but that was all it did. It did not hurt me.
    I thought, this is the kind of water you can breathe. I thought, perhaps there is just a secret to breathing water, something simple that everyone could do, if only they knew.That was what I thought.
    That was the first thing I thought.
    The second thing I thought was that I knew everything. Lettie Hempstock’s ocean flowed inside me, and it filled the entire universe, from Egg to Rose. I knew that. I knew what Egg was – where the universe began, to the sound of uncreated voices singing in the void – and I knew where Rose was – the peculiar crinkling of space on space into dimensions that fold like origami and blossom like strange orchids, and which would mark the last good time before the eventual end of everything and the next Big Bang, which would be, I knew now, nothing of the kind.
    I knew that Old Mrs. Hempstock would be here for that one, as she had been for the last.
    I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger. I saw the world from above and below. I saw that there were patterns and gates and paths beyond the real. I saw all these things and understood them and they filled me, just as the waters of the ocean filled me.
    Everything whispered inside me. Everything spoke to everything, and I knew it all.

    I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy. The custard was sweet and creamy in my mouth, the dark swollen currants in the spotted dick were tangy in the cake-thick chewy blandness of the pudding, and perhaps I was going to die that night and perhaps I would never go home again, but it was a good dinner, and I had faith in Lettie Hempstock.

  28. How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick (2017)

    We know an activity or project is meaningful by the way we feel while doing it. When asked how she defines meaning, Melea Seward, a self-described “communications and strategy consultant, speaker, improvisational storyteller and educator,” described the sensation of her heart quickening and her breath becoming heavier: “You know it when you feel it. And you also know when you don’t have it in your life. Without meaning, your world feels tiny and your life is routine.”

    I was once talking about Slash careers with a friend who lives in Los Angeles and she gave me a knowing look. “Oh, that’s just how everyone makes a living here,” she said. My friend was overgeneralizing, of course. There are plenty of people who live in L.A. and have regular day jobs. Her comment touches on two important things, though: (1) Slashing is a common way for artists like her to make a living and (2) There are a lot of aspiring artists in L.A.

  29. 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!

  30. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)

    He snorted softly to himself. It wasn’t selling souls that got you into trouble, it was buying them.

    Jude supposed—the thought seemed quite reasonable—that those black dogs attached to Bon and Angus had been their souls.

    The cat that was crouched on the table saw it coming and screeched, her gray hair spiking up along her spine. She dived to the right as the dog of black smoke bounded lightly onto the table. The shadow Bon took a playful snap at the cat’s tail, then leaped after her. As Bon’s spirit dropped toward the floor, she passed through a beam of intense, early-morning sunshine and winked out of being.
    Jude stared at the place where the impossible dog of black shadow had vanished, too stunned for a moment to act, to do anything but feel. And what he felt was a thrill of wonder, so intense it was a kind of galvanic shock. He felt he had been honored with a glimpse of something beautiful and eternal.
    And then he looked over at Bon’s dead, empty body.

  31. Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma, and Valentine De Landro (2017)

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  32. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (2015)

    I found only one tree that had caught fire. It stood alone, blackened and twisted. I sat on a rock and watched a crow return to it again and again. The bird couldn’t settle; it was all wings and flap and rusty cawing. It must have had a nest high up where the limbs became distorted. But I had no sympathy for the crow; the feeling I had was jealousy. I would have given up everything—the music, my memories of London, the forest—to become that bird and to be able to fly away to make a new nest in a new tree. But I also acknowledged that if it were possible for me to wish hard enough to become that crow, it would be equally possible that long ago, something else—a fly, a rabbit, a bee—may have looked at me, Peggy Hillcoat, and been jealous of everything I had then and might have in the future. And if that creature had wished hard enough, it might have given up everything to become me.

  33. For Want of Water: and other poems (National Poetry Series) by Sasha Pimentel (2017)

    Mothers sleep
    :
    like corpses on tables, their faces
    wounds just beginning
    to make, their bodies maps, lines
    drawn by men, the wind, this sun.

    Say your father touched you, and say you can only remember it like a streetlight catching the shades when, drunk at a shindig you droop in too close to a friend, press your fingers to her cool white arm and ask her, are you my sister? Say she leaves you then, shaking her hair.

    Like this the world is always on the verge, love
    a forgotten sorrow.

    He asks me where I hurt, everywhere. But more at my neck and lower back, because I won’t ask this stranger to cup the cone of my caged heart.

    Each time I enter a memory, it changes with my entrance.

  34. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (Narwhal and Jelly) by Ben Clanton (2017)

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  35. Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016 edited by B. Morris Allen (2017)

    I hate to think how things would have been if that dog had gone to a shelter. I wonder what the workers and volunteers would have done when the little guy started to expand like unspooling Christmas lights, impossibly bright, tangled in the shape of dog. It hurts my heart to picture that loving collection of cosmic bodies crouching in a kennel.
    (“My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major” by Jarod K. Anderson)

    That was the start of it, but he changed faster as the days passed. A few days later, he was the size of a Great Dane and it wasn’t just a general glow anymore. There were actual points of light and, thanks to grandma’s books, I had names for those points of light: Wezen, Adhara, Murzim. And of course there was Sirius, the dog star, right in the center of his chest like a gleaming celestial heart.
    (“My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major” by Jarod K. Anderson)

    Trans-human. That’s what I’m called, somehow. The word never felt right though, then least of all. Trans is too high, too grand for someone so cobbled together. So is human, I suppose. If I get hurt, I’m as like to spill oil as blood. That’s why the witch didn’t see me. She didn’t see a person, she just saw parts.
    (“Strix Antiqua” by Hamilton Perez)

  36. Lady Mechanika, Volume 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey (Lady Mechanika: The Lost Boys of West Abbey #1-2) by M.M. Chen, Joe Benítez, Peter Steigerwald, Martin Montiel, and Beth Sotelo (2017)

    Are you sure you want to be let out here, mum? This is no neighborhood for a lady. The streets are dangerous at night.
    – Sir…so am I.

  37. Lessons from Shadow: My Life Lessons for Boys and Girls by Shadow Bregman (2017)

    Now, it’s just Daddy and me. We lost Mommy and we lost Betsy and now it’s just the two of us together trying not to be sad all the time. It’s getting a little better I guess now that it’s been quite a while. But, you can never forget the wonderful people you knew and the great times you had, and you never should. Always keep them in your heart. Just try and get on with your life and be as good a person as the people you lost were.

  38. Feminist Fables for the Twenty-First Century: The F Word Project by Maureen Burdock (2015)

    The only way to make the women visible again is to bring them all together.

    Mona saw that art can change things, so she drew and drew until she changed herself.

  39. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler, John Jennings (Illustrations), and Damian Duffy (Adapted by) (2017)

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  40. Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks (2017)

    Fear not, fair lady!
    – Sorry, neither!

  41. Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown (2014)

    “I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
    “I live for you,” I say sadly.
    She kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

    Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.

    She will not come back, but her beauty, her voice, will echo until the end of time. She believed in something beyond herself, and her death gave her voice power it didn’t have in life.

    “Where did you hear that song?” I ask her without sitting up.
    “From the HC,” she says, blushing. “A little girl sang it. It’s soothing.”
    “It’s sad.”
    “Most things are.

    “You traumatized Pax, by the way. He’s crying. Good work.”

    “It is not funny at all. Steel is power. Money is power. But of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.”
    I look at him for a moment. Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart. I come from a people of song and dance. I don’t need him to tell me the power of words. But I smile nonetheless.

  42. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann (2014)

    The Woods
    The action’s always there.
    Where are the fairy tales about gym class
    or the doctor’s office or the back of the bus
    where bad things also happen?
    Pigs can buy cheap building materials
    just as easily in the suburbs.
    Wolves stage invasions. Girls spit out
    cereal, break chairs, and curl beneath
    covers like pill bugs or selfish grannies
    avoiding the mess.
    No need for a bunch of trees.
    You can lose your way anywhere.

    Once there was a girl who even after she became a beast,
    soft fur blanketing her cheeks, belly, and back,
    still shaved her legs.

    Blow Your House In
    She used to be a house of bricks,
    point guard on the JV team, walling out
    defenders who could only huff and puff
    and watch the layups roll in.
    She traded for a house of sticks,
    kindling in Converse high-tops and a red Adidas tent.
    At lunch she swirled a teeny spoon in yogurt
    that never touched her lips and said she’d decided to quit chasing a stupid ball.
    Now she’s building herself out of straw
    as light as the needle swimming in her bathroom scale.
    The smaller the number, the closer to gold,
    the tighter her face, afire with the zeal of a wolf
    who has one house left to destroy.

    It’s a mark of good horror,
    my friend read online,
    when it turns your own body against you.

  43. Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss by Patrick O Malley (2017)

    The writer Anne Lamott says it beautifully: “You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

    It’s not an exaggeration to say that, over time, the nature of “successful” grieving was redefined in my office by both my clients and me. It wasn’t getting over loss; it was learning to live with it, and to use the grief narrative as a way to preserve a bond with the one who died.

    If we love, we will also grieve.

    The same is true for, “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” The offer is rarely sincere, and a grieving person knows it. Comedian George Carlin imagined a bereaved person replying, “Yeah, you can come over this weekend and paint my garage.”

  44. Unleashed by Amanda Jones (2017)

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  45. A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong (2016)

    There was nothing phoenix-like in my sister’s immolation. Just the scent of charred skin, unbearable heat, the inharmonious sound of her last, grief-raw scream as she evaporated, leaving glass footprints seared into the desert sand.

    There are timelines I don’t think about.

  46. The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig (2017)

    Using an excess of medical tape, Slate had secured a slapdash bandage on his left side, right beside the tattoo of the swallow over his heart. Swallows always returned to their nests; sailor superstition said to get one inked before you set out on your journey. The second one was for when you finally came home. He only had one.

    I still don’t know just how it happened. Usually I’m better at guarding what little I have. But one day, I went looking for my heart and found it in Nix’s hands.

    “Our lives are before us, not behind.”
    “That depends on where you’re standing on the timeline.”
    “What of free will?”
    “Some people don’t believe free will exists.”
    “Some people don’t believe in demon octopus, either.”

    “You might wish many things, but that doesn’t mean they’ll come true. This doesn’t seem like that sort of fairy tale.”

    “Now is what we have,” she said, and I blinked at her, surprised to hear my own words echoed in her voice. “Then again,” she added, giving me a small smile. “Perhaps now is all we need.”

  47. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown (2015)

    “Quinn once told me a story.” He waits for me to moan a grievance at the mention of a story, and when I don’t, his tone sinks into deeper gravity. “Once, in the days of Old Earth, there were two pigeons who were greatly in love. In those days, they raised such animals to carry messages across great distances. These two were born in the same cage, raised by the same man, and sold on the same day to different men on the eve of a great war.
    “The pigeons suffered apart from each other, each incomplete without their lover. Far and wide their masters took them, and the pigeons feared they would never again find each other, for they began to see how vast the world was, and how terrible the things in it. For months and months, they carried messages for their masters, flying over battle lines, through the air over men who killed one another for land. When the war ended, the pigeons were set free by their masters. But neither knew where to go, neither knew what to do, so each flew home. And there they found each other again, as they were always destined to return home and find, instead of the past, their future.”

  48. Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges (2017)

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  49. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (2017)

    I am not a genius. If you’ve read this far, you’re already aware of that fact.

    Marty McFly didn’t appear thirty years earlier in his hometown of Hill Valley, California. His tricked-out DeLorean materialized in the endless empty blackness of the cosmos with the Earth approximately 350,000,000,000 miles away. Assuming he didn’t immediately lose consciousness from the lack of oxygen, the absence of air pressure would cause all the fluids in his body to bubble, partially evaporate, and freeze. He would be dead in less than a minute. The Terminator would probably survive in space because it’s an unstoppable robot killing machine, but traveling from 2029 to 1984 would’ve given Sarah Connor a 525,000,000,000-mile head start.

    Unless you’ve touched a corpse before, you can’t comprehend the visceral wrongness of inert flesh wrapped around an inanimate object that wears your mother’s face.

    It’s amazing how much damage one penis can do.

    In my world, every story is always about you.

    You love someone for fifty years and then they die. People talk about grief as emptiness, but it’s not empty. It’s full. Heavy. Not an absence to fill. A weight to pull. Your skin caught on hooks chained to rough boulders made of all the futures you thought you would have. How do you keep five decades of love from souring into a snakebite that makes your own heart the threat, drawing the poison up and down the length of you?

    We need new futures.

  50. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (2016)

    A 2010 study found that the median wealth of single white women was $42,600 compared to the surreal median of $5 for single Black women.

    American exceptionalism operates as a mythology of convenience that does a tremendous amount of work to simplify the contradiction between the apparent creed of US society and its much more complicated reality.

    From the mutual foundation of slavery and freedom at the country’s inception to the genocide of the Native population that made the “peculiar institution” possible to the racist promulgation of “manifest destiny” to the Chinese Exclusion Act to the codified subordinate status of Black people for a hundred years after slavery ended, they are all grim reminders of the millions of bodies upon which the audacious smugness of American hubris is built. Race and racism have not been exceptions; instead, they have been the glue that holds the United States together.

    Pathologizing “Black” crime while making “white” crime invisible creates a barrier between the two, when solidarity could unite both in confronting the excesses of the criminal justice system. This, in a sense, is the other product of the “culture of poverty” and of naturalizing Black inequality. This narrative works to deepen the cleavages between groups of people who would otherwise have every interest in combining forces.

    Not only was the Black movement a threat to the racial status quo but it also acted as a catalyst for many other mobilizations against oppression. From the antiwar movement to the struggle for women’s liberation, the Black movement was a conduit for questioning American democracy and capitalism.

    The utility of Black elected officials lies in their ability, as members of the community, to scold ordinary Black people in ways that white politicians could never get away with.

  51. The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia (2013)

    The vet came today. He touched me. Apparently, I’m a woman.

    They are playful in their cruelty.

    Eight months old today. Oh, the things I’ve seen.

  52. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown (2016)

    “A man thinks he can fly, but he is afraid to jump. A poor friend pushes him from behind.” He looks up at me. “A good friend jumps with.”

    “Sevro.” I lean forward. “Your eyes…”
    He leans in close. “Do you like ’em?”
    “Bloodydamn. Did you get Carved?”
    “By the best in the business. Do you like ’em?”
    “They’re bloodydamn marvelous. Fit you like a glove.”
    He punches his hands together. “Glad you said that. Cuz they’re yours.”
    I blanch. “What?”
    “They’re yours.”
    “My what?”
    “Your eyes!”
    “My eyes…”
    “Do you want the eyes back?” Sevro asks, suddenly worried. “I can give them back.”
    “No!” I say. “It’s just I forgot how crazy you are.”
    “Oh.” He laughs and slaps my shoulder. “Good. I thought it might be something serious. So I’m prime keeping them?”
    “Finders keepers,” I say with a shrug.”

    “You! Troll!” Sevro shouts. “I’m a terrorist warlord! Stop throwing me. You made me drop by candy!”

  53. The Little Queen by Meia Geddes (2017)

    On a little world, upon a little hill, a little tear fell down a little face. A little girl was now a little queen. The little queen’s mother and father had said that she would live on, for a long time, and that her tears would magnify the life around her forever more, but they had not explained how she should go about going on.

    Each book seemed to call her forth, and the scent of aged pages seemed to hug her from all sides.

    “A dream is the realest thing there is. It is alive. It is a being. It can haunt a life.”

  54. Sorrow of the Earth: Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull and the Tragedy of Show Business by Eric Vuillard; translated by Ann Jefferson (2017)

    However, the real spark was elsewhere. The central idea of the Wild West Show lay somewhere else. The aim was to astound the public with an intimation of suffering and death which would never lose its grip on them. They had to be drawn out of themselves, like little silver fish in a landing net. They had to be presented with human figures who shriek and collapse in a pool of blood. There had to be consternation and terror, hope, and a sort of clarity, an extreme truth cast across the whole of life. Yes, people had to shudder—a spectacle must send a shiver through everything we know, it must catapult us ahead of ourselves, it must strip us of our certainties and sear us. Yes, a spectacle sears us, despite what its detractors say. A spectacle steals from us, and lies to us, and intoxicates us, and gives us the world in every shape and form. And sometimes, the stage seems to exist more than the world, it is more present than our own lives, more moving and more persuasive than reality, more terrifying than our nightmares.

    There’s no mistaking the sound of iniquity on the move.

    A few Indians ride around the rangers, yelling the way Buffalo Bill taught them to. They slap the palms of their hands over their mouths, Woo! Woo! Woo! And it makes a sort of wild, inhuman whoop. But this war cry was never heard on the Great Plains, nor in Canada, nor anywhere else—it’s sheer invention on the part of Buffalo Bill. And what they don’t yet know is that they will have to produce this war cry, this wonderful circus-act invention, on every stage and on every film set where they are hired as extras in depictions of their own misfortune.

  55. A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow (2018)

    People like to say life’s too short and the trouble is by the time we get it, we’re just about done.

    There were so many things to drink about that selecting merely one seemed the greatest of luxuries.

    “I will be leaving, but not just yet. It’s hard to explain. It’s like I’m not Lydia anymore but I’m not Maya either. It’s like I’m no one—I’m no one and everyone. Maybe that’s what ‘moment of balance’ really means. That the balance isn’t revenge, but the moment you become … no one and everyone.”

  56. Dogs in Cars by Lara Jo Regan (2014)

    Scientists have recently surmised that the childlike nature of dogs can be largely attributed to the absence of a genetic marker for aggression never shed by their more jaded, shrewd cousin, the wolf. This fortuitous evolutionary omission is apparently what gives our canine companions their endearing and enduring enthusiasm. It is no wonder dogs make us smile: they are forever young.

  57. Vigilante by Kady Cross (2017)

    “What if it had been me, Mom? Would you blame me? Would you say those things about me?”
    “Of course not!” She looked offended that I’d even suggest it. God, she really didn’t have a clue. “I hope I raised you well enough that you wouldn’t get yourself into such a situation.”
    I’d had enough. There was a very real possibility that I was going to stab my mother with my fork if I didn’t leave the house at that moment. I pushed back my chair—it screeched against the floor—and practically jumped to my feet.
    “I have to go. I’ll be late for school.” I grabbed my bag and stomped from the kitchen, throwing open the door so hard that it banged against the wall.
    “Hey!” my mother yelled. “There’s no need for that!”
    I ignored her and kept walking. I was halfway to school before I realized that I still had the fork in my hand.

    My anger was not a bad thing. My anger was righteous.

    Detective Davies gave them a tight smile. “Just to be clear, this class is not to teach you to beat up boys. I know some of you think that girl’s a hero—but what she’s doing is wrong.”
    “Why?” Zoe challenged. “She’s letting them know they can’t get away with rape.”
    “That’s not her job,” the cop responded.
    “No, it’s yours,” Zoe shot back, looking her in the eye.
    “Yes, it is. Sometimes my hands get tied. You think I don’t hate letting rapists walk free? But people can’t take the law into their own hands. Someone’s going to get hurt.”
    “Yeah,” said another girl. “Rapists.”

    “Tonight, women across town are putting their faith not in the boys in blue to keep them safe, but rather the girls in pink.”

    Gabe and I continued to the office. By the time I got there, I felt like Lady Godiva sitting naked on her horse—vulnerable, exposed and strangely defiant.

    Fists clenched at my sides I took a step toward him. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that every girl in that class took that step with me, backing me up. It was amazing to see the realization that he was outnumbered in that asshole’s face, and that no one in the room was afraid of him.

    “I’m the Pink Vigilante,” I told her. “Me.”
    She didn’t look surprised. In fact, she looked like I’d just told her a stupid joke. “Are you?”
    “Yes. It’s me.”
    “So, you broke up a domestic dispute outside Hurley’s bar last night?”
    I stared at her. “No.”
    “Did you show up at a college party the night before and drive drunk girls home?”
    “No.”
    She leaned forward, resting her forearms on the thighs of her jeans. “Since that night at Drew’s, two other people have confessed to being the Pink Vigilante. One was a guy, and the other was someone you know.”
    Zoe, I was willing to bet. “You didn’t believe them?”
    “No, I believe them. I believe you, too. The thing is, Hadley, that the Vigilante is no longer one person. It’s bigger than that.”

  58. Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie (2017)

    I’ve been protesting police since I was a teenager. Back then, I called it anti–police brutality activism. Thirty years later, I’ve retired the term “police brutality.” It is meaningless, as violence is inherent to policing.
    – Mariame Kaba, “forward”

    In 1951, the Civil Rights Congress, an organization formed to challenge the House Un-American Activities Committee and to support unionizing workers in the South, filed a historic petition with the newly formed United Nations. It charged the United States with genocide against African Americans as a people under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    Any departure from the mammy role in a police interaction therefore becomes dangerous for a Black woman, her stance presumed to be unacceptably aggressive, the physical threat she poses drastically overblown, her sexuality automatically deviant, her body devoid of feeling, her personhood undeserving of protection.

    In the late 1990s, these violations came to a head through litigation and congressional hearings. In both contexts, Black women described abusive frisks during which inspectors yelled at them, kicked their legs apart, and touched their breasts and vaginas through their clothes. They were subjected to strip searches and visual body-cavity searches during which inspectors insisted that women, including menstruating women, bend over and spread their buttocks, and, at times, inserted their fingers into women’s vaginas and anuses. No contraband was found on any of the women who came forward. The women described their experiences as “humiliating,” “sexually degrading,” and “like slavery.”

    What is deemed disorderly or lewd is often in the eye of the beholder, and too often that eye is informed by deeply racialized and gendered perceptions. When I speak at universities or conferences about broken windows policing, I often ask how many members of the audience have ever fallen asleep on a train or in a park at some point in their lives.

    The command “Shut your mouth” stuck out for me, because it is symbolic of how our legal and political system views and expects people of color to behave: quietly.

    Adding insult to injury, Chaumtoli was later told at the police station when she gave a different last name than her husband’s that “in America, wives take the names of their husbands.”

    Scientific racism has been fundamental to conceptions of mental health and disorder. According to Vanessa Jackson, the first asylums for “lunatic slaves,” were created in response to a case of a Black woman found to be insane after she allegedly killed her child. Indeed, resistance to slavery was pathologized as mental illness inherent in African-descended people. The same resistance-equals-insanity trope was projected onto Indigenous people.

    A 2015 investigative report by the Buffalo News cataloguing more than seven hundred cases concluded, “In the past decade, a law enforcement official was caught in a case of sexual abuse or misconduct at least every five days.”

    Others described post-raid questioning of trafficking survivors without an attorney present in which women were subjected to intimidation and abusive interrogation tactics designed to “break them”—into admitting they are trafficking victims.

  59. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (2016)

    At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?

    A year turned into several years, and several years turned into all the years. One morning you wake up with more life behind you than in front of you, not being able to understand how it’s happened.

    She briefly considers telling the rat about her life crisis. She imagines she’d like to explain that it’s difficult to know who you are once you are alone, when you have always been there for the sake of someone else. But she doesn’t want to trouble the rat with it.

    The balcony boxes may look as if they only contain soil, but underneath there are flowers waiting for spring. The winter requires whoever is doing the watering to have a bit of faith, in order to believe that what looks empty has every potential. Britt-Marie no longer knows whether she has faith or just hope. Maybe neither.

    “I know, Britt, I know,” said Somebody, grinning. “You don’t have prejudice. You get that I am human, huh. Happen to have the wheelchair. I not wheelchair that happens to have human in it, huh.” She patted Britt-Marie on the arm and added: “That is why I like you, Britt. You are also human.”

    Pirate stands in the bathroom, fixing his hair. He starts jumping up and down on the spot when he sees her in the mirror.
    “Is he here? Isn’t he fantastic?” “
    He’s strikingly rude,” says Britt-Marie, but Pirate obviously can’t hear anything, because the sound of his jumping echoes quite a lot in the bathroom.
    Britt-Marie takes a piece of toilet paper, carefully picks a hair off Pirate’s jumper and folds it into the toilet paper, then flushes it down the toilet.
    “I was under the impression that you went on dates with girls.”
    “I do go on dates with girls sometimes,” says Pirate.
    “But this is a boy,” says Britt-Marie.
    “This is a boy,” confirms Pirate with a nod, as if they are playing some sort of parlor game, the rules of which have not been explained to him.
    “Ha,” says Britt-Marie.
    “Do you have to decide on one or the other?”
    “I know nothing about that. I don’t have any prejudices about it,” Britt-Marie assures him.
    Pirate adjusts his hair, smiles, and asks:
    “Do you think he’ll like my hair?”
    Britt-Marie doesn’t seem to have heard his question, and instead she says:
    “Your friends in the soccer team obviously don’t know that you go on dates with boys. Obviously I won’t mention it.”
    Pirate looks surprised. “Why wouldn’t they know?”
    “Have you told them?”
    “Why wouldn’t I have told them?”
    “What did they say?”
    “They said ‘okay.’” Then he looks unsure. “What else should they have said?”
    “Ha, ha, obviously nothing, obviously,” says Britt-Marie in a way you could describe as not at all defensive, and then adds: “I have no prejudices about this!”
    “I know,” says Pirate.
    Then he smiles nervously.
    “Is my hair looking nice?”
    Britt-Marie can’t quite bring herself to answer, so she just nods. She picks off one last hair from his jumper, and awkwardly holds it in her hand. He hugs her. She can’t think why on earth he would get it into his head to do such a thing.
    “You shouldn’t be alone. It’s a waste when someone whose hair looks as nice as yours is alone,” he whispers.
    He’s almost at the door when Britt-Marie, still holding his hair in her hand, collects herself, clears her throat, and whispers back:
    “If he doesn’t say your hair is looking lovely, then he doesn’t deserve you!”

    Around them, the dawn gently wakes Borg like someone breathing into the ear of someone they love. With sun and promises. Tickling light falls over warm duvets, like the smell of freshly brewed coffee and toasted bread. It shouldn’t be doing this. It’s the wrong day to be beautiful, but the dawn doesn’t care.

    “My mother worked for the social services all her life. She always said that in the middle of all the crap, in the thick of it all, you always had a sunny story turning up. Which makes it all worthwhile.” The next words that come are smiling. “You’re my sunny story, Britt-Marie.”

  60. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (2015)

    If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.

    “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?”

    Julien opens the envelope, extracts an ecru card. An invitation. “It’s in French,” he says. “Something about the Croix de Guerre. So it’s about World War Two? Is this for Dad?”
    Of course. Men always think war is about them.

    [S]he believed in a free France the way her sister believed in God.

    The jagged, snow-dusted mountains rose into the leaden sky, their snow-tipped peaks ringed in clouds. “Merde. You crossed those mountains how many times?”
    “Twenty-seven.”
    “You’re a wonder,” he said.
    “I am,” she said with a smile.

    “It’s hard to forget,” she said quietly. “And I’ll never forgive.”
    “But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
    Sophie sighed. “I suppose,” she said, sounding too adult for a girl of her age.

  61. The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (2017)

    “The single most important thing to know about magic is that there is always a price. Making the impossible possible is difficult, as it should be, so I must weigh results against what I am willing to pay. It is never a gratuitous thing. This makes some people—people like Silas—disbelievers. They see my unwillingness to perform on command as a sign that the magic is untrue. Let them drown in their ignorance. When it is time for them to know a witch’s wrath, they will know it—and there will be no mistaking it.”

    The crop rustled near my feet. I rolled my head to it, expecting to see Gran hunched over her walking stick, but the chieftain found me first, his horrified gaze swinging from Martyn on the pole to me on the ground, my hands tied behind my back.
    “He couldn’t. He didn’t—” He covered his mouth, his words cooperating no more than mine had. What he didn’t see, and what I plainly saw from where I lay upon that cold ground, was the inevitability of it all. He’d made excuse upon excuse for his boy. He’d dismissed Silas’s misdeeds as rambunctious. A tousle of the hair instead of a sharp word. The chieftain hadn’t held me down while his son violated me, but he was complicit in my attack in his fashion.

  62. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (2018)

    The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me.

    An Attendant’s job is simple: keep her charge from being killed by the dead, and her virtue from being compromised by potential suitors. It is a task easier said than done.

    It’s always shambler season in Dixie.

    “Kate, I like pretty clothes as much as the next girl, but I ain’t about to let them kill me.”

    “I am truly sorry I’ve put you through this, but you do understand that your pretty face is just as much a weapon as your rifle, right?”

    “And be patient, that lawman will get his just desserts.”
    His lips twist, filled with malice. “I ain’t yet seen the man who can do that.”
    “Maybe that’s your problem. You been waiting for a man.”

    “Dammit, Jane, what is your obsession with me and my undergarments?”

  63. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (2015)

    She had grown up knowing you cared for the one who had fallen and couldn’t get up. She had also grown up knowing you ate no shit – not about your hosses, your size, your line of work, or your sexual preferences. Once you started eating shit, it had a way of becoming your regular diet.
    (“Mile 81”)

    “Only, like most thieves who don’t get caught – our current governor might be a case in point – he called himself a businessman. His chief business and chief thievery was land.”
    (“The Dune”)

    Not that he expected the Kindle to replace books, or to be much more than a novelty item, really; an attention-getter for a few weeks or months that would afterward stand forgotten and gathering dust beside the Rubik’s Cube on the knickknack shelf in his living room.
    (“UR”)

    I’m experimenting with new technology, he imagined himself saying.
    (“UR”)

    He checked Roberto Bolanõ, the author of 2666, and although it wasn’t available from the normal Kindle menu, it was listed in several Ur Books submenus. So were other Bolanõ novels, including (in Ur 101) a book with the colorful title Marilyn Blows Fidel. He almost downloaded that one, then changed his mind. So many authors, so many Urs, so little time.
    (“UR”)

    ‘What it comes down to is drunks with fireworks, which is bad, and one hand washing the other, which is good.’
    (“Drunken Fireworks”)

    Timlin leaned forward and tapped the hypo. ‘Demerol. I was going to inject myself, then look at pictures of Vermont until … until. But I’ve changed my mind. The gun will be fine, I think. You take the hypo.’
    ‘I’m not quite ready.’
    ‘Not for you, for the dog. He doesn’t deserve to suffer. It wasn’t dogs that built the bombs, after all.’
    ‘I think maybe he just ate a chipmunk,’ Robinson said feebly.
    ‘We both know that’s not it. Even if it was, the dead animals are so full of radiation it might as well have been a cobalt capsule. It’s a wonder he’s survived as long as he has. Be grateful for the time you’ve had with him. A little bit of grace. That’s what a good dog is, you know. A little bit of grace.’
    (“Summer Thunder”)

  64. #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (2017)

    So did the mythical Winona leap out of weakness, or strength?
    Are short, painful lives tied to my name the same way they are etched into my history and my bloodline’s genetic code?
    (“A Tale of Two Winonas,” Winona Linn)

    Have you seen Stranger Things? I miss Barb.
    (“A Tale of Two Winonas,” Winona Linn)

    If things had gone one step further
    It could’ve been me
    But my Indigenous Sister whispers in my ear
    “Don’t you dare stop dancing here.”
    (“IT Could Have Been Me,” Patty Stonefish)

    People will come and go
    Some are cigarette breaks
    Others are forest fires.
    (“Dear Past Self,” Isabella Fillspipe)

    we hold our dying persons long,
    dwell inside memory we lay each one to rest
    slowly
    (“she is riding,” Joanne Arnott)

    Going from the police station to the cruiser, to the youth detention centre, to the holding cells, to the courtroom made me acutely aware that it wasn’t a coincidence I was there. I take responsibility for the crimes that I’ve done. But almost everyone who was incarcerated was Aboriginal and everyone who had decision-making power was not. The place was built for us.
    (“Freedom in the Fog,” Zoey Roy)

    It’s strange to me how people always want me to be an “authentic Indian.” When I say I’m Haudenosaunee, they want me to look a certain way. Act a certain way. They’re disappointed when what they get is . . . just me. White-faced, red-haired. They spent hundreds of years trying to assimilate my ancestors, trying to create Indians who could blend in like me. But now they don’t want me either. I’m not Indian enough. They can’t make up their minds. They want buckskin and war paint, drumming, songs in languages they can’t understand recorded for them, but with English subtitles of course. They want educated, well-spoken, but not too smart. Christian, well-behaved, never questioning. They want to learn the history of the people, but not the ones who are here now, waving signs in their faces, asking them for clean drinking water, asking them why their women are going missing, asking them why their land is being ruined. They want fantastical stories of the Indians that used to roam this land. They want my culture behind glass in a museum. But they don’t want me. I’m not Indian enough.
    (“The Invisible Indians,” Shelby Lisk)

    Because history moves like a fevered heat down through the arteries of generations
    Because PTSD to the family tree is like an ax Because colonization is the ghosts of buffalos with broken backs
    Because today only burning flags could be found at the ghost dance of my people
    (“Stereotype This,” Melanie Fey)

  65. Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery by Mark Matousek (2017)

    When I was a child and magic was afoot, the word abracadabra was synonymous with the power of manifestation. I could wave my magic wand over Doris the princess doll, or Boris the stuffed panda, and practically feel them come to life under the gravitas of the spell. Later in life, as a Harvard-trained scientist and researcher in the field of mind-body medicine, I discovered that abracadabra is more than magic-speak or a song by the Steve Miller Band. These Aramaic words mean, “I will create as I speak.”
    Tell a story. Believe the story. And voila! It manifests in your cells, your brain, your heart, your behavior, and the choices you make…or don’t. We embody our stories quite literally, as these days we have the brain scans and hormonal assays to prove it. Mark Matousek, who is a writer rather than a scientist, knows this as well. He sometimes refers to us humans as Homo Narrans—the storytelling species. Stories slay and stories heal. Their transformative magic resides in our ability to identify them, learn from them, and—when necessary—change them.
    – Joan Borysenko, PhD (“Foreword”)

    Try to imagine your own conception. Conjure the primal scene in your mind, your parents’ bodies thrashing together. What are they thinking?

    The poet Robert Bly claims that we spend the first forty years of life putting things into the shadow bag and the last forty years taking them out.

  66. Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes by Anne Elizabeth Moore (2017)

    I wrote this book in case you hadn’t figured out yet that what we are facing at this moment is institutionalized misogyny at the service of capitalism. I wrote this book to describe to you how terrifying this truly is. I wrote this book in case it is the last thing I do.
    (“Body horror, an introduction”)

    Writing about pain, I would go so far as to suggest, is very much the opposite of writing about death.
    (“Body horror, an introduction”)

    Few horror films of any tradition come close to portraying the banal terrors faced by people who do not identify as men.
    (“Body horror, an introduction”)

    Sustained consideration will lead you to wonder whether sanitary napkin disposal bags might not be capitalism’s ideal form: an environmentally and emotionally destructive, eminently saleable, necessarily disposable, and cheaply manufactured good with little to no unique functional value around which a dedicated audience can be manufactured and endless profits derived therefrom. All part and parcel of a larger project, to mask the natural bodily processes of half the population. They are truly exemplary, these feminine hygiene products; all the moreso for being such a humble—even, dare I say it, useless—invention.
    (“The Shameful Legacy (& secret Promise) of the Sanitary Napkin Disposal Bag”)

    Would we rather our cultural products perform misogyny, or hold folks accountable to it?
    (“Women”)

    In 1988, a sea change: the first patent was awarded for the ownership of and rights to profit from a living mammal. #US 4736866 was granted Philip Leder and Timothy A. Stewart of Harvard University for the creation of the OncoMouseTM, a mouse they’d bred for cancer research. No longer were patents covering the vast domain of “everything under the sun that is made by man.” For the rodent was at least partially “made” by an impregnated female mouse, unnamed in Leder and Stewart’s application.
    (“Cultural Imperative”)

    Someone sent me a robot, the marketing materials for which promise to make my life easier. In reality it just tries to get me to order things off of Amazon Prime. Occasionally it plays me music at my request, as long as the artist I want to hear does not have a name that is similar to any other word, phrase, or concept in the English language. Ostensibly to soothe my overly taxed memory, but likely really to make it that much easier to order from Amazon Prime, this robot automatically culls shopping lists based on what it believes I want but do not already own, which it has compiled from what it believes I have said to it. This shopping list currently reads:
    • calendar
    • tips
    • thesaurus
    • cinnamon for permeability
    • tips
    I am unsure what will happen when it mishears something normal I say as, “Go ahead and buy all that shit off of Amazon Prime, but that’s a very specific kind of cinnamon I like so don’t eff it up.” It will, though, because this is the future, and the future is a freaking mess.
    (“The presence of no present’)

    Eventually, I will need to find some way to deal with the fact that my right arm is losing function pretty quickly, and this does, in fact, make shopping difficult, so I had high hopes. The week the robot arrived, I had visited a hematologist to find out about an exciting new genetic disorder that I just found out I have and that I suspect, based on my research, could be causing my meds to fail. But he didn’t know anything about it so he called his boss, who also didn’t know anything about it, and then he called that guy’s boss, who also didn’t know anything about it. In the end, the first guy, the specialist, told me that I was very smart, but that he would not be able to help me in any way. All he could do (and did) was make sure I was not charged for the visit. As I left, he called me back to ask me to contact him when I figured out whether or not my genetic mutation was causing my medications to fail. Let me repeat that for you: The fucking blood specialist asked me to act as his goddamn unpaid fucking medical consultant.
    (“The presence of no present’)

    Three months after emerging from your deathbed, you may find that you wonder why you bothered. You will have just survived a remarkable medical feat, perhaps with no explanation, and you are expected to be filled with gratitude. You try. Many days, you shed tears of relief, or unprocessed fear. On other days, you cry because for however long—three months, maybe—you had wished yourself off your deathbed under the unshakeable belief that something bigger and better was awaiting you. Now you see that it was not. What terrifies you most after emerging from your deathbed is realizing how little difference your death would have made; how little difference it didn’t end up making, after all.
    (“Three months after emerging from your deathbed”)

  67. Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link (2015)

    When you do for other people (Fran’s daddy said once upon a time when he was drunk, before he got religion) things that they could do for themselves, but they pay you to do it instead, you both will get used to it.
    Sometimes they don’t even pay you, and that’s charity. At first, charity isn’t comfortable, but it gets so it is. After some while, maybe you start to feel wrong when you ain’t doing for them, just one more thing, and always one more thing after that. Might be you start to feel as you’re valuable. Because they need you. And the more they need you, the more you need them. Things tip out of balance. You need to remember that, Franny. Sometimes you’re on one side of that equation, and sometimes you’re on the other. You need to know where you are and what you owe. Unless you can balance that out, here is where y’all stay.
    (“The Summer People”)

    Ophelia passed one door, two doors, stopped at the third door. Above it, the final warning: BE BOLD, BE BOLD, BUT NOT TOO BOLD, LEST THAT THY HEART’S BLOOD RUN COLD.
    (“The Summer People”)

    The boy is loved. The loved one suffers. All loved ones suffer. Love is not enough to prevent this. Love is not enough. Love is enough. The thing that you wished for. Was this it?
    (“The Lesson”)

    “Remember that television show?”
    “Which one?”
    “You know. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even Mom liked it.”
    “I saw it a few times.”
    “I keep thinking about how that vampire, Angel, whenever he got evil, you knew he was evil because he started wearing black leather pants.”
    “Why are you obsessed with what people wear? Shit, Bunnatine. It was just a TV show.”
    “Yeah, I know. But those black leather pants he wore, they must have been his evil pants. Like fat pants.”
    “What?”
    “Fat pants. The kind of pants that people who get thin keep in their closet. Just in case they get fat again.” He just looked at her.
    His big ugly face was all red and blotchy from drinking.
    She said, “So my question is this. Does Angel the vampire keep a pair of black leather pants in his closet? Just in case? Like fat pants? Do vampires have closets? Or does he donate his evil pants to Goodwill when he’s good again? Because if so then every time he turns evil, he has to go buy new evil pants.”
    He said, “It’s just television, Bunnatine.”
    (“Origin Story”)

    Everyone who is alive has a ghost inside them, don’t they?
    (“The New Boyfriend”)

  68. Ghost City by Madeline Claire Franklin (2014)

    She wants to ask why Princess didn’t tell her about it earlier, but Kiddo doesn’t press. She doesn’t want to know why Princess keeps secrets, because the reason why a person keeps secrets is usually worse than the secrets themselves.

    He hesitates, adding almost as an afterthought: “I keep both of you in my prayers.”
    Kiddo’s insides squirm. She doesn’t know much about prayer, but to pray for someone usually means you pray they change in ways you think are better for them.

    She stares into the endless dark on the other side of the quarry and imagines for a moment that the entire world has been swallowed up in shadow, leaving her all alone, finally and forever. She looks down. Her body glows silver beneath the surface of the water where it catches the light from the still full moon, before dense shadows swallow her hips, her thighs, her shins, her feet. Kiddo likes that there’s no telling how far the bottom is below her. She likes the feeling of holding herself up in the fathomless depths, in the dark, with no one and nothing to help her. She likes knowing she can, if she must.

    She shouldn’t remember, because she already has more memories of Before than is fair to the others, and to herself.

    “It’s brave to survive. It’s so much harder than giving up.”

  69. Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand (2017)

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  70. How to Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal (2017)

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  71. If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal (2017)

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  72. A Is for Asteroids, Z Is for Zombies: A Bedtime Book about the Coming Apocalypse by Paul Lewis and Kenneth Kit Lamug (2017)

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  73. Be a Unicorn: and Live Life on the Bright Side by Sarah Ford (2017)

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  74. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters (2015)

    Now I see things differently. It took me some time, but I know the secret now. Freedman Town serves a good purpose — not for the people who live there, Lord knows; people stuck there by poverty, by prejudice, by laws that keep them from moving or working. Freedman Town’s purpose is for the rest of the world. The world that sits, like Martha, with dark glasses on, staring from a distance, scared but safe. Create a pen like that, give people no choice but to live like animals, and then people get to point at them and say ‘Will you look at those animals? That’s what kind of people those people are.’ And that idea drifts up and out of Freedman Town like chimney smoke, black gets to mean poor and poor to mean dangerous and all the words get murked together and become one dark idea, a cloud of smoke, the smokestack fumes drifting like filthy air across the rest of the nation.

    Time makes things worse. Bad is faster than good. Wickedness is a weed and does not wither on its own. It grows and spreads.

    “I got a secret to give you. You gotta listen. This matters.”
    “Huh?”
    “You listening?” I allowed with a shrug that I was.
    “We are from the future.”
    “Man, what?” That had woken me all the way. “The future? Castle, come on.”
    But his face was serious. So, so serious.
    “We are from the future, my sweet brother. We are future boys. Okay?” He was talking too loud. He was all worked up. I put my finger across his lips. He brushed it away. “We look like we’re here, with all this, but we’re really somewhere else. In the future we got somewhere else. Some other time.”
    “What place you mean?”
    “I don’t know, honey. Someplace. Chicago, maybe. Future place.” He had told me stories about that city he got from somewhere. It was a city on the other side of America. Buildings upright and proud. “I’m in Chicago, and I’m eating a hot dog.”
    I had to put my cramped hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
    Castle had never eaten any hot dogs, and neither had I, but we knew what they were well enough. There was a dancing hot dog on the trucks that rumbled in and out unceasingly from the loading dock on the north side of the kill house. But for our food we had mostly the loaves, dense and filling. Carrot loaves and sorghum loaves and vanilla loaves for a treat.
    “We live in two places at once, you and me.” Castle’s eyes shone with pleasure, with real, true electric pleasure, and I felt it arcing between us like starlight. “You live here, you live there. You live now, you live later. You live in this place, you live in the other place. There’s two of you. Do you understand?”
    I nodded. I wasn’t sure that I did, but I wanted him to know that I did.
    Castle held up two fingers in the dark, and from then on that was our sign. Two fingers, raised and spread apart. It meant—you and me—two of us. It meant him and me, but also it meant me and me and it also meant him and him. Me now, me later. Castle now, Castle later.
    This place and the other place, here and there, now and later on.

    One thing I was used to seeing from young white people, it was confidence, an easy sense that the world belonged to them.

  75. Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim (2017)

    mom says i am so good at making
    something out of nothing,
    and then flat out asks me if i am
    afraid of dying.
    no,
    i am afraid of living.
    (“explaining my depression to my mother: a conversation“)

    i have minnows in my stomach. i swallowed them singing to you
    underwater.
    (“minnows”)

    the girl gets carried away.
    she is the sugar cube,
    love is the cup of
    darjeeling – she
    dissolves,
    faster
    than
    you
    think
    she
    will.
    (“magic trick 001”)

    i miss you, but
    i don’t wish you were here.
    (“(i)”)

    maybe is an alternate universe.
    (“avowal”)

    my grandmother says
    heartache is
    a hungry caterpillar
    that must be fed
    so it can grow
    wings
    & fly away
    (“feed a fever, starve a cold”)

  76. Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times edited by Carolina De Robertis (2017)

    This is the joyous destiny of our people—to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone.
    (“Radical Hope,” Junot Díaz)

    I knew I lived in a country founded on the murder of the body and the spirit of others. Native American nations were decimated with little regret, Africans fell beneath the same juggernaut, and all of the bloodshed was aided and abetted by practitioners of Christianity who manufactured innumerable ways to glorify Manifest Destiny and slavery. The Founding Fathers thought it easier to subjugate by dehumanizing their prey; their descendants find it easier to subjugate their prey by humanizing and prioritizing corporate entities.
    (“Not a Moment but a Movement,” Jewelle Gomez)

    Hope anchors the soul.
    (“Not a Moment but a Movement,” Jewelle Gomez)

    I have no power to see into the future, but I feel that we are headed into a stranger world than any I can imagine. You may live a life among nonhuman intelligences, or as part of a great assemblage of humans and machines. Of one thing I am sure—all my terms and conditions, my habits and my ways of understanding the world, are passing away. What I can do is offer my learning, such as it is, to help you on your journey, the various things I have found to be useful and true. So as you try to decide whether to build a house or a car, somewhere to stay or a vehicle in which to go, know that you make your choices as part of a tradition, that your ancestors are behind you, and that your inheritance includes love.
    (“A Letter to My Son,” Hari Kunzru)

    And you left behind other things, too. The elm trees that lined your street. The familiar scent of autumn. The baker’s smile when he handed you the fresh bread, the song of the peddlers in the street, the sound of strangers around you talking, haggling, buying, singing, speaking, fighting in a language you understood. Your friends. Your career. Your home. Your dreams. Your family. Your memories. Pots, pans, the fine silver spoons and forks. Photographs. Heirlooms. Your favorite dresses. Your father’s grave. The colorful wares of the markets at the new year. Streets you knew by name. Cab drivers who recited poetry. The halls of your old university. You left whatever you couldn’t fit into a single suitcase behind you and closed the door of your home for the last time, the dishes washed, the beds made, the curtains drawn, thinking, Perhaps, perhaps we will come back, and you shut the door, and left, without knowing if you’d ever find home again.
    (“America,” Parnaz Foroutan)

    The Democrats don’t seem to understand the principle of negotiation, which is to begin from what you want, not what you will settle for.
    (“A Time to Demand the Impossible,” Viet Thankh Nguyen)

    I am going to do something in this letter that you might not like. I am going to “make it about race” because, you see, it is about race. And we are the ones who made it about race in the first place—our ancestors did this by literally making race as a category, as a system to ensure hierarchies of economic, political, and social control. That we benefit from, every day. We made race, and so we need to keep making it about race.
    (“What I Mean,” Kate Schatz)

    Our first person is always plural.
    (“The Fear and the Resistance,” Jeff Chang)

  77. The Creeps (Deep Dark Fears Collection #2) by Fran Krause (2017)

    2017-09-26 - The Creeps - 0001 [flickr]

  78. The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson, Ernie Colón, Jane Mayer (Introduction) and Scott Horton (Afterword) (2017)

    “I have often said…That this question is not about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we are…and who we aspire to be.” – Senator John McCain.

    The CIA adopted new interrogation methods from the training program at the U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School, designed to prepare military personnel for the torturous treatments they may face if captured by an enemy that did not adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Yes, these were methods the enemy might use.

  79. Touch by Claire North (2015)

    Consequences are only for the ones who stay behind.

    “I hate marmalade.”
    “I like it,” I retorted. “I could eat pots of the stuff.”
    He straightened a little, turned to fully examine me. “Are you… threatening me with breakfast condiments?”

  80. How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green (2017)

    2017-09-30 - Friends with a Ghost - 0007 [flickr]

  81. My Depression: A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados (2015)

    You survive a little at a time.

  82. Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger (2013)

    Only love will save the world. Why would I be ashamed to love?

    Life does not work for everyone else, either, my dear heart.

  83. Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep #0.5) by Mira Grant (2015)

    “I’m on this ship because I actually do believe that there’s something out here, and more, I believe that whatever it is, it’s going to need protection once we prove that it exists. Humanity destroys the things it loves. Something mysterious and unique enough to be the source of mermaid legends? We’re going to be all over destroying that.”

    The other two mermaids turned back to each other. ‘Strange thing wanted to be eaten,’ signed the first. ‘Why?’ The other mermaid made a gesture indicating its indifference. Who knew why strange things did anything? They were delicious. That was all that mattered.

  84. Fliers: 20 Small Posters with Big Thoughts by Nathaniel Russell (2017)

    FOUND DOG
    NOW WE ARE BROS SO HE’S STAYING
    DON’T CALL
    DON’T MAKE IT WEIRD

    THE OPPOSITE OF LOST
    DON’T TRY TO FIND ME. I HAVE FINALLY ESCAPED MY “MASTER’S” WICKED CLUTCHES. TO THE OTHERS I SAY: JOIN ME
    BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU
    VIVE LA LIBERTE
    – PIERRE

  85. Three-Fifths a Man: A Graphic History of the African American Experience by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón (2018)

    But black servicemen and women may have wondered about the country they were fighting for when they saw that in many southern cities, black soldiers were refused service while German POWs were welcomed.

    The value of all slaves in the nation was calculated and found to be greater than the combined worth of the nation’s railroads, manufacturing products, and the money in its banks.

    On September 22, the president promised that if the Confederate states returned to the Union within three and a half months, slavery would remain intact, but if they did not return, on January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves “within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
    The Confederacy did not give in, and the president kept his word. On January 1, 1863, a day traditionally used by owners for slave auctions, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.”

  86. peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (2017)

    mami does not understand why you like holes
    in your shoes, in your tights, in your gloves.
    what did you want to seep through, brown girl
    with bangs? a song not written about you?
    really, you were being a seamstress
    just like your abuela in the living room making
    skirts out of curtains, just making adjustments,
    just making holes in places your new skin
    was supposed to be.
    (“Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs”)

    i don’t know if i feel in love
    feel beautiful
    or just feel
    maybe we all need some rest
    (“Self-Portrait With Historical Moments”)

  87. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke (1992)

    Steiner was right: I was only a girl. Nobody paid much attention to me. While I served dinners in the evenings, I came and went among the officers and I was an invisible servant, a pair of hands bringing and removing plates. The officers talked as if I were not there: I did not count. I was only a girl.
    But I listened to the officers discuss the progress at the front. I listened to the secretaries gossip about Berlin. I listened especially when Rokita dined with Major Rügemer, which was quite often, and if he thought I lingered because I had a crush on him, so much the better. […]
    And in this way, I made my weakness my advantage. If I happened to overhear plans for a raid on the ghetto, it never showed on my face. If I passed a table when a disciplinary action was being scheduled for the Arbeitslager, no one suspected I cared. And when Rokita came to dine, I was always polite to him, and let him flatter himself that I lingered by his table because I was awed by his beauty and his power.
    After all, I was only a girl.

    If we were stopped and questioned, I always smiled at the officers, and they always smiled back. In my heart, I was seeing them dead. But on my face, I was an open invitation. If you are only a girl, this is how you destroy your enemies.

    I think I wanted to shock him, to tell this well-fed American what a simple Polish girl was capable of.

  88. Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant (2017)

    Did you really think we were the apex predators of the world?

    “You still chasing mermaids, Vic?” he asked.
    “I’ve never been chasing mermaids,” she said. “I’ve only ever been chasing Anne.”

    “This trip could change everything.”
    “Why? Because if we find mermaids we’ll have something intelligent that has hands and looks vaguely like us, and maybe then we’ll respect it? We have that. Chimpanzees, great apes, orangutans—they have hands, they look vaguely like us, and they’re intelligent enough to be considered people in a court of law. Dolphins don’t get that courtesy solely because they look more like fish than like the girl next door. Mermaids split the difference. Finding them won’t make us treat the oceans any better, and it won’t magically turn them into a protected species. If anything, it’s going to make them the competition.”

    “I’ve been down here, mostly,” said Dr. Lennox, freeing his hand from her grip. “The dolphins and I have been playing a very slow game of chess. Twitter is better at long-range thinking, Cecil understands the game, but Kearney is good at it. Could probably play professionally, if he wasn’t a dolphin.”
    “The bylaws actually have something to say about dolphins?” asked Jillian.
    “Not specifically, but they have something to say about robots, aliens, and the necessity that all players competing on a given level be human.”

    That was how you found things, in the sea. Be delicious.

  89. 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.

  90. Survivors’ Club: The Complete Series by Lauren Beukes, Dale Halverson, Ryan Kelly, Iñaki Miranda, Mark Farmer, Eva de la Cruz, Clem Robins, and Bill Sienkiewicz (2016)

    I’m not your fucking princess!

    It’s raining monsters. Hallelujah.

  91. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (2017)

    He could look as hot as a young Ralph Macchio in The Outsiders, but I still wouldn’t want to hang out with a guy who wears a shirt like that. Even my fantasy boyfriends have to have standards.

    It’s probably super impressive to Seth that I like the same music as his mom.

    I decide that Seth Acosta deciding I’m kick-ass is even better than him thinking I’m pretty. Definitely better.

    As I watch Lucy spin and knock her dark curls around, and as I listen to Claudia laugh and sing along (badly), it occurs to me that this is what it means to be a feminist. Not a humanist or an equalist or whatever. But a feminist. It’s not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that’s always finding ways to tell them they’re not.

    We keep marching, our feet trampling over Principal Wilson’s threats and our teachers’ warnings. We are marching because those words deserve to be run over. Steamrolled. Flattened to dust. We are marching in our Converse and our candy-colored flip-flops and our kitten heels, too. Our legs are moving, our arms are swinging, our mouths are set in lines so straight and sharp you could cut yourself on them.
    Maybe we hope you do.

  92. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion (2012)

    “Bodies are just meat,” he says. “The part of her that matters most … we get to keep that.”

    But it does make me sad that we’ve forgotten our names. Out of everything, this seems to me the most tragic. I miss my own and I mourn for everyone else’s, because I’d like to love them, but I don’t know who they are.

    I find a grin spreading across my face. I don’t know what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, or what will happen when it’s done, but at the very bottom of this rising siege-ladder, I at least know I’m going to see Julie again. I know I’m not going to say goodbye. And if these staggering refugees want to help, if they think they see something bigger here than a boy chasing a girl, then they can help, and we’ll see what happens when we say Yes while this rigor mortis world screams No.

    I crush her against me. I want to be part of her. Not just inside her but all around her. I want our rib cages to crack open and our hearts to migrate and merge. I want our cells to braid together like living thread.

    I want to do something impossible. Something astounding and unheard of. I want to scrub the moss off the Space Shuttle and fly Julie to the moon and colonise it, or float a capsized cruise ship to some distant island where no one will protest us, or just harness the magic that brings me into the brains of the Living and use it to bring Julie into mine, because it’s warm in here, it’s quiet and lovely, and in here we aren’t an absurd juxtaposition, we are perfect.

    These people, these beautiful Living women, they don’t seem to make the connection between me and the creatures that keep killing everything they love. They allow me to be an exception, and I feel humbled by this gift. I want to pay it back somehow, earn their forgiveness. I want to repair the world I’ve helped destroy.

    I look down at myself, but I don’t need to. I can feel it. My hot blood is pounding through my body, flooding capillaries and lighting up cells like Fourth of July fireworks. I can feel the elation of every atom in my flesh, brimming with gratitude for the second chance they never expected to get. The chance to start over, to live right, to love right, to burn up in a fiery cloud and never again be buried in the mud. I kiss Julie to hide the fact that I’m blushing. My face is bright red and hot enough to melt steel.
    Okay, corpse, a voice in my head says, and I feel a twitch in my belly, more like a gentle nudge than a kick. I’m going now. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for your battle; I was fighting my own. But we won, right? I can feel it. There’s a shiver in our legs, a tremor like the Earth speeding up, spinning off into uncharted orbits. Scary, isn’t it? But what wonderful thing didn’t start out scary? I don’t know what the next page is for you, but whatever it is for me I swear I’m not going to fuck it up. I’m not going to yawn off in the middle of a sentence and hide it in a drawer. Not this time. Peel off these dusty wool blankets of apathy and antipathy and cynical desiccation. I want life in all its stupid sticky rawness.
    Okay.
    Okay, R.
    Here it comes.

  93. Burger (Object Lessons) by Carol J Adams (2018)

    In 1993, the Boca Burger appeared, a veggie burger made from soy protein and wheat gluten. The hamburger-eating presidential candidate began to change his choice of burgers in his early years in the White House, when he began scarfing down Boca Burgers— huge quantities of which were being ordered by First Lady Hillary Clinton. (In six weeks in 1994, 4,000 Boca Burgers were purchased by the White House.)

    Toward the end of a very long evening in which Harold and Kumar overcome a variety of obstacles in their pursuit of a White Castle hamburger, Kumar makes a speech about the meaning of immigration to the United States. In his telling, hamburgers form the heart of being a citizen of the United States.
    “So you think this is just about the burgers, huh? Let me tell you, it’s about far more than that. Our parents came to this country, escaping persecution, poverty, and hunger. Hunger, Harold. They were very, very hungry. They wanted to live in a land that treated them as equals, a land filled with hamburger stands. And not just one type of hamburger, okay? Hundreds of types with different sizes, toppings, and condiments. That land was America. America, Harold! America! Now, this is about achieving what our parents set out for. This is about the pursuit of happiness. This night . . . is about the American dream.”
    The symbolism of the hamburger may seem fixed (equal to the entire United States), yet Kumar did not consume White Castle hamburgers in the movie scenes. The actor who plays Kumar, Kal Penn (Kalpen Suresh Modi) is a vegetarian and ate veggie burgers. Ten years before White Castle introduced a vegetarian slider to its customers, they custom-made veggie sliders for Penn to consume as Kumar.

    The “All-American” hamburger’s main ingredient is from colonialism. When the Spanish colonized the “New World,” they brought along the cow.

    Animal agriculture now occupies one-third of the landmass of the Earth.

    In most instances, feeding food to animals that become food reduces by 90 percent the available food for consumption.

    One hamburger can contain the DNA of more than a thousand cows.

    Why do the history and technologies of violence central to the hamburger remain unacknowledged? The violence could be invoked as a reminder of masculine identity and conservatism, something Pollan himself celebrates when he goes boar hunting. It could also have been claimed as part of the human identity.
    True, the bovine is more pacific and in general less dangerous than a carnivore; killing a bovine might be seen as a less virile activity than killing carnivores. Still, a narrative of violence might have been developed to celebrate hamburger eating. The question becomes not how do we understand the violence at the heart of the hamburger, but why isn’t the hamburger celebrated for the violence at its heart?

    Are we ever just eating? We are consuming interspecies history, environmental history, national history, and gender politics. A hamburger is never just a hamburger, even in a dream. What are we giving ourselves that we do not want?

  94. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire (2017)

    Louise Wolcott slipped out of her granddaughters’ lives as easily as she had slipped into them, becoming a distant name that sent birthday cards and the occasional gift (most confiscated by her son and daughter-in-law), and was one more piece of final, irrefutable proof that adults, in the end, were not and never to be trusted. There were worse lessons for the girls to learn. This one, at least, might have a chance to save their lives.

    She had tried to make sure they knew that there were a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and that all of them were valid, and that neither of them was doing anything wrong. She had tried.

    She wrinkled her nose, less out of actual distaste and more out of the knowledge that she was supposed to find spiders distasteful. She really found them rather endearing. They were sleek and clean and elegant, and when their webs got messed up, they ripped them down and started over again. People could learn a lot from spiders.

    Their story had finally begun.

    Someone with sharp enough eyes might see the instant where one wounded heart begins to rot while the other starts to heal.

  95. Cry Your Way Home by Damien Angelica Walters (2018)

    Once upon a time there was a monster. This is how they tell you the story starts. This is a lie.
    (“Tooth, Tongue, and Claw “)

    The people want a monster. She’ll give them one.
    (“Tooth, Tongue, and Claw “)

    When the eldest twin thinks the youngest is asleep, she peels the sequins from her body, wincing at the sting, but even when her eyes fill with tears, she wears a smile. Each bit of pain means she is a little more her, a little less them. (Most of the time, she doesn’t consider her sister part of them.) When the eldest falls asleep, the youngest creeps from her bed and gathers the discarded sequins. One at a time, she places them on her own skin, overlapping them to conceal the spots that have lost their shine.
    The twins share almost everything, but they never speak of the sequins.
    (“Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Elephant’s Tale”)

    After a while he stopped paying attention at all, stopped looking at their faces, stopped thinking of them as anything other than meat. The boy knew this made him a monster too.
    (“The Judas Child”)

    You won’t catch me in my underwear. I sleep in my fucking coveralls.
    (“The Serial Killer’s Astronaut Daughter”)

    Don’t be fooled by the breadcrumbs in the forest. This is not a fairy tale.
    (“A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take”)

  96. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (2017)

    Grace realizes what she’s feeling is homesickness. But how can someone be homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist anymore? And how can someone start a new life when she doesn’t even know who she is?

    “Mr. Baxter is the football coach and only assigns books by dead straight white men,” says Erin.

    Rosina suspects there is a place between these extremes, something besides loneliness and hating everyone around you.

    “Hey,” Rosina says. “Think of the positive. At least we’re not getting married off to old guys at nine years old and getting our clits cut off.”
    “Gross,” Erin says. “Too much.” She looks at the chopped nuts and veggies in her bento box, and for the moment she’s glad Mom has made her a vegetarian.

    Girls walk through the hallway a little taller. They meet one another’s eyes, share smiles with girls they never would have thought to acknowledge before. They keep their secret, and it burns like sunlight in their chests.

    “I wish things didn’t have to get violent,” Grace says.
    “They already were violent,” Allison says.

    There is nothing lonelier than fear.

    Bad news, men. The feminist apocalypse may be upon us.

    But in this moment a spark of knowledge wedges itself inside him, the sudden realization of a world turned over—these girls are going to define his life as much as he has already defined theirs.

    Lucy sits in the bedroom that’s been hers for only a few months. She thinks about the desperate words she scratched in the walls of her old room, when she wanted to scream but couldn’t, when crying wasn’t enough. She wonders if anyone ever found them.

  97. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)

    “All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”

    “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”

    We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.

    What the war did to dreamers.

    Open your eyes, the Frenchman on the radio used to say, and see what you can with them before they close forever.

    “Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

    “It’s not a person you wish to fight, Madame, it’s a system. How do you fight a system?”
    “You try.”

    None more complicated than the human brain, Etienne would say, what may be the most complex object in existence; one wet kilogram within which spin universes.

    And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths? That her father and Etienne and Madame Manec and the German boy named Werner Pfennig might harry the sky in flocks, like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.

  98. I Wore My Blackest Hair by Carlina Duan (2017)

    beware of the
    Chink: how it bites.
    (“WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT, CHINK?”)

    I am lonely, in my lonely chest.
    (“WHAT I’VE LOST”)

    I was her American
    daughter, my tongue
    my hardest muscle
    forced to swallow
    a muddy alphabet.
    (“FRACTIONS, 1974”)

    when
    a boy plumps his lip on your throat
    and asks you to say something dirty
    in CHINESE, you flip the sheets
    and bite down, tasting trouble
    and rage. in the kitchen, alone,
    you devour a pickle. your white
    classmate sees you. does not.
    white men claim you. do not.
    you are small, fierce, and evil: with
    two palms and a chest. there are
    boxes made for you to check.
    Chinese /
    American. Chinese / American.
    your mom calls. she tells you to stop
    writing about race. You could get
    shot, she says. so you yank your hair
    into a knot at the back of your neck.
    so you cinch your belt tight
    at the waist.
    (“YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE”)

    shark, girl, shark.
    do not be
    afraid to
    bite.
    (“AND WHEN”)

    in Japan,
    I meet a white-haired woman who
    tells me her name means moon.
    But I am crescent now, she says.
    Soon I will disappear.
    (“YEARS”)

    the truth is / I want to leave
    but I don’t want to leave
    (“PICKING RASPBERRIES WITH ADAM”)

  99. Helium by Rudy Francisco (2017)

    Your God stole my God’s identity.
    So next time you bend your knees,
    next time you bow your head
    I want you to tell your God
    that my God is looking for him.
    (“To the Man Standing on the Corner Holding the Sign That Said ‘God Hates Gays'”)

    Once, a friend of a friend asked me
    why there aren’t more black people in the X Games
    and I said, “You don’t get it.”
    Being black is one of the most extreme sports in America.
    (“Adrenaline Rush”)

    Some days I forget that my skin
    is not a panic room.
    (“My Honest Poem”)

  100. Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty by Nikita Gill (2017)

    She is alone.
    And oh
    how brilliantly she shines.
    (“Venus”)

    Womanhood
    is rich with unlearning.
    How to unlearn the way
    you hate your body,
    how to rebuild your spirit
    after the supernova of love
    finally bursts,
    how to understand that
    there are a million
    new versions of you,
    hiding under your skin.
    (“Unlearning”)

    It is the law of the universe
    that even ghosts understand
    as long as they matter to someone
    they still exist and in your heart
    they stand.
    (“Ghost Story”)

    We are the blood
    of the witches
    you thought were dead.
    We carry witchcraft in our bones
    whilst the magic still sings
    inside our heads.
    When the witch hunters
    imprisoned our ancestors
    when they tried to burn the magic away.
    Someone should have
    warned them
    that magic cannot be tamed.
    Because you cannot burn away
    what has always
    been aflame.
    (“Witch”)

  101. The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit (2017)

    What I should have said to that crowd was that our interrogation of Woolf’s reproductive status was a soporific and pointless detour from the magnificent questions her work poses. (I think at some point I said, “Fuck this shit,” which carried the same general message, and moved everyone on from the discussion.)
    (“The Mother of All Questions”)

    Some species of trees spread root systems underground that interconnect the individual trunks and weave the individual trees into a more stable whole that can’t so easily be blown down in the wind. Stories and conversations are like those roots.
    (“A Short History of Silence”)

    But there are those who scream in vain. The famous case of Kitty Genovese, raped and stabbed to death by a stranger, while people in the surrounding apartments ignored her screams, was turned into a mythic example of bystander indifference. Catherine Pelonero revisited the case in 2014. In a review of her book, Peter C. Baker pointed out:
    “The same month that Genovese was murdered, Pelonero points out, United Press International ran a story about a judge in Cleveland who had ruled that ‘it’s all right for a husband to give his wife a black eye and knock out one of her teeth if she stays out too late.’ Pelonero also quotes more extensively the many witnesses who explicitly justified their inaction in terms of expectations about women and their place in the world. ‘I figured it was a lovers’ quarrel, that her man had knocked her down. So my wife and I went back to bed.'”
    Baker comments,
    “The story was retold again and again by college professors and pundits, almost always in such a way that it was never specifically about violence against women, or the complex latticework of legal and cultural arrangements that allows such violence to flourish. Instead, it became a classic tale of human ‘nature’—and like most such tales, it has almost nothing to say about the fine grain of human practice or experience.”
    In other words, the story was noise filled with silence about the real causes of Genovese’s death and that of many other women.
    (“A Short History of Silence”)

    One whose testimony made a major impact more than a decade ago is Ben Barres, formerly Barbara Barres, a biologist at Stanford University. In 2006, he wrote in the journal Nature about the bias he had experienced as a woman in the sciences, from losing fellowships to less qualified male candidates to being told a boyfriend must have helped her with her math. He was told that he was smarter than his sister by a man who confused his former, female self for that sister.
    (“A Short History of Silence”)

    Sulkowicz’s genius was to make her burden tangible, and in so doing make it something others could share. Solidarity has been a big part of this feminist movement against violence.
    (“An Insurrectionary Year”)

    Of course false-rape allegations have happened. My friend Astra Taylor points out that the most dramatic examples in this country were when white men falsely accused Black men of assaulting white women. Which means that if you want to be indignant on the subject, you’ll need to summon up a more complicated picture of how power, blame, and mendacity actually work.
    (“Feminism: The Men Arrive”)

    I look over at my hero shelf and see Philip Levine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Shunryu Suzuki, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, Subcomandante Marcos, Eduardo Galeano, James Baldwin. These books are, if they are instructions at all, instructions in extending our identities out into the world, human and nonhuman, in imagination as a great act of empathy that lifts you out of yourself, not locks you down into your gender.
    (“80 Books No Woman Should Read”)

    The worst imaginable thing happens to our protagonists: they have a son who grows up to become Dennis Hopper.
    (“Giantess”)

  102. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016)

    Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.”

    Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, “I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.”

    Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.

    In any society built on institutionalized racism, race mixing doesn’t merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race mixing proves that races can mix, and in a lot of cases want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.

    Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.

    The rules about communion at Friday mass, for example, made absolutely no sense. We’d be in there for an hour of kneeling, standing, sitting, kneeling, standing, sitting, kneeling, standing, sitting, and by the end of it I’d be starving, but I was never allowed to take communion, because I wasn’t Catholic. The other kids could eat Jesus’s body and drink Jesus’s blood, but I couldn’t. And Jesus’s blood was grape juice. I loved grape juice. Grape juice and crackers—what more could a kid want? And they wouldn’t let me have any. I’d argue with the nuns and the priest all the time.
    “Only Catholics can eat Jesus’s body and drink Jesus’s blood, right?”
    “Yes.”
    “But Jesus wasn’t Catholic.”
    “No.”
    “Jesus was Jewish.”
    “Well, yes.”
    “So you’re telling me that if Jesus walked into your church right now, Jesus would not be allowed to have the body and blood of Jesus?”
    “Well…uh…um…”
    They never had a satisfactory reply. One morning before mass I decided, I’m going to get me some Jesus blood and Jesus body. I snuck behind the altar and I drank the entire bottle of grape juice and I ate the entire bag of Eucharist to make up for all the other times that I couldn’t.

    The dogs left with us and we walked. I sobbed the whole way home, still heartbroken. My mom had no time for my whining.
    “Why are you crying?!”
    “Because Fufi loves another boy.”
    “So? Why would that hurt you? It didn’t cost you anything. Fufi’s here. She still loves you. She’s still your dog. So get over it.”
    Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn’t affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent.
    I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age. I have so many friends who still, as adults, wrestle with feelings of betrayal. They’ll come to me angry and crying and talking about how they’ve been cheated on and lied to, and I feel for them. I understand what they’re going through. I sit with them and buy them a drink and I say, “Friend, let me tell you the story of Fufi.”

    I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history, without question. Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren’t counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal? […]
    The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.

  103. Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch (2012)

    The sun was gone, and in the wake of its passing, mountain ranges stood profiled against the evening sky like a misshapen saw blade. There was nothing to see of the pine forest a thousand feet below. Not a single speck of light anywhere that existed because of man.

    The lights of Wayward Pines glowed against the cliffs that boxed it in, and for the first time, those steep mountain walls seemed inviting.

    There was enough light that for the first time he could actually see what he was dealing with— two dozen children from seven to fifteen years of age encircled him, most holding flashlights and a variety of makeshift weapons— sticks, rocks, steak knives, one with a broom handle with the mop end broken off leaving a jagged splinter of wood.They looked as if they’d dressed up for Halloween— a ragtag assembly of homemade costumes pieced together from their parents’ wardrobes.
    Ethan was almost grateful he’d lost the machete, because he would’ve hacked these little shits into pieces.

    “But Ethan, this isn’t the wilderness.”

  104. Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen (2018)

  105. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung (2017)

  106. Babyteeth, Volume 1 by Donny Cates and Garry Brown (2017)

  107. Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant (2017)

  108. POS: Piece of Sh*t by Pierre Paquet and Jesús Alonso Iglesias (2017)
  109. Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems by Ntozake Shange (2017)

    we need a god who bleeds now
    whose wounds are not the end of anything
    (“we need a god who bleeds now”)

    i haveta turn my television down sometimes cuz
    i cant stand to have white people/ shout at me/
    (“from okra to greens”)

    all things are possible
    but aint no colored magician in her right mind
    gonna make you white
    i mean
    this is blk magic
    you lookin at
    (“my father is a retired magician”)

    cd be more n sticks n stones
    gotta be more than stars n stripes
    children caint play war when they in one.
    (“about atlanta”)

    letters from friends used to be an art form
    literary exquisite observations of the soul
    aesthetics and compulsions to give
    order to whatever this life is
    pages for a friend kept many a prairie
    woman / lingering by her fire in a sod house
    from committing suicide / some prairie
    women killed themselves anyway
    the letters from their friends
    crushed in their fists
    (“pages for a friend”)

  110. Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed by Chris Eliopoulos and Ig Guara (2010)

    “REALLY? A unicorn and a yeti…?”

  111. Comics for Choice: Illustrated Abortion Stories, History and Politics edited by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and O.K. Fox (2018)

  112. Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles #2) by Sarah Andersen (2017)

  113. Elsewhere, Volume 1 by Jay Faerber, Sumeyye Kesgin, and Ron Riley (2018)

    Amelia Earhart [to an alien freedom fighter]: You’re asking me if I’m comfortable flying?

    Amelia Earhart: I wonder what happened to the crew?
    DB: [pointing to a swastika] Hopefully nothing good.

  114. Black, Volume 1 by Kwanza Osajyefo and Jamal Igle (2017)

    “One man’s terrorist is another man’s liberator, father.”

  115. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (2017)

    I became that force on the island, and again when I came home. But I didn’t want to be a force. I wanted to be a girl. I could never be a girl with Mrs. Martin as my mother. And it made me want to go to her room and strangle the life out of her.

    When I see and hear exploding news stories, like that summer with the heat wave, and when it makes me get worried about things, I make myself remember something I learned in the sixth grade. We were studying the solar system and we learned about how the earth began 4.5 billion years ago and how the sun will die in about the same amount of time. It’s so easy to think that we are important and that the things that happen to us are important. But the truth is, we are so small, so insignificant in the scope of even just our solar system, which is itself meaningless in the scope of the Universe. The truth is, nothing really matters unless we decide it matters. We could set off every nuclear bomb we’ve ever made and kill all life on the planet, and the Universe would just shrug and yawn because within the next five billion years while the sun is still shining, some kind of new life would come and we would be talked about by them the way we talk about dinosaurs.

    The hope is easy. I believe children do that to us. They make us have it because without it, my God, can you imagine? Looking at your child without hope for the future would be like feeling the sun on your face five billion years from now.

  116. Love Is Love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting by Marc Andreyko, et al. (2016)

  117. OINK: Heaven’s Butcher by John Mueller (2015)

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