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The Twelfth Enchantment

image“…Lucy was tired of being manipulated and moved about like a game piece.  It was time to make her own decisions.  With hardly a thought of what it would mean, Lucy leapt up, hurled open the door of the coach, and threw herself onto the grass.”

  • The Twelfth Enchantment, by David Liss

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Goldenhand

image“Many Dead rose toward that sea of stars above.  Dead everywhere, but they were no threat.  They came through the Eighth Gate and waded for a little way, or hardly at all, but soon enough all were caught by the stars above, and were lifted up, to go beyond to the final death from which there was no return.”

  • from Goldenhand, by Garth Nix

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The Paper Menagerie

image“For me, all fiction is about prizing the logic of metaphors—which is the logic of narratives in general—over reality, which is irreducibly random and senseless.”

– Preface to The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu

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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly

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“She fantasized about sitting in a nest, on an egg, about venturing into the fields with the rooster, and about following the ducks around.  She sighed.  It was pointless to dream.  It would never happen to her.”

– from The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, by Sun-mi Hwang, translated by Chi-Young Kim

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The Story of the Lost Child

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“Naples was the great European metropolis where faith in technology, in science, in economic development, in the kindness of nature, in history that leads of necessity to improvement, in democracy, was revealed, most clearly and far in advance, to be completely without foundation.  To be born in that city–I went so far as to write once, thinking not of myself but of Lila’s pessimism– is useful for only one thing: to have always known, almost instinctively, what today, with endless fine distinctions, everyone is beginning to claim: that the dream of unlimited progress is in reality a nightmare of savagery and death.”

  • The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante, translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

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The Story of a New Name

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“…I had made the whole journey mainly to show her what she had lost and what I had won.  But she had known from the moment I appeared, and now, risking tensions with her workmates, and fines, she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there is nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without any meaning, and it was good just to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other.”

The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante

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Swimming Studies

“The one thing I am formally trained at is swimming.  I’m aware I rely on this training when I’m working, that I know when to push through and when to rest, that I’ve figured out the equivalent of drills, interval training, and performance when I’m on a deadline or trying to realize a project.  But I don’t know where to put the old skill, if I can, or even want to, incorporate it into my adult life.”

– Swimming Studies, Leanne Shapton

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My Brilliant Friend

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“She wrote, in the last pages, of feeling all the evil of the neighborhood all around her.  Rather, she wrote obscurely, good and evil are mixed together and reinforce each other in turn.  Marcello, if you thought about it, was really a good arrangement, but the good tasted of the bad and the bad tasted of the good, it was a mixture that took your breath away… ‘And I feel that I have to find a solution, otherwise, everything, one thing after another, will break, everything, everything.'”

-Lena reads a letter from Lila, My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante, trans. Ann Goldstein

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A Passage to Shambala: the Explorer’s Guild, Volume 1

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“Yes, it is inevitable now that we must ask.  And we may yet learn much.  Though we may find, when we have our answers, that we were better off as we are now, with only our questions.  Our ideas of the world are about to change, Mr. Pensette, and not by a little.  You should not think this will be an agreeable experience.”

– Subadar Priddish, A Passage to Shambala: The Explorer’s Guild Vol. I, by John Baird and Kevin Costner, illustrated by Rick Ross

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