Quotes from Books I Read in 2007
Submitted by cmonster on Sat, 01/06/2007 - 08:47
- Liquor - Poppy Z Brite:
Lenny sat in the bar after service at Crescent, drinking pastis with Chris, one of his waiters. He'd been cooking with the aniseed-flavored aperitif for years, but hadn't drunk it until Chris showed him how one night. You poured a measure into a tall, narrow glass, then added cold water from a pitcher on the side. As the water mixed with the spirits, it brought out the volatile oils, causing the whole thing to turn gorgeously opalescent. They always drank a brand called Mon Pastis that Chris had talked their liquor guy into ordering. To Lenny it tasted about like Herbsaint or Pernod, but Chris swore it was far superior to either.
Lenny didn't really care; what mattered to him was that the stuff acted as a balm of Gilead on his aching back. Back problems came with the job, but a few glasses of pastis created a lovely melting feeling that started at the nape of his neck and seemed to drip down his spine like warm butter. Compulsively, he poked his finger into the flame of a votive candle, then withdrew it, then put it back. The small pain helped him to more fully appreciate the relief offered by the liquor.
'I swear you can see the future in this stuff,' said Chris, who was pretty drunk.
'When you pour the water in and it starts swirling around, gets all milky--look.' Chris had just poured himself a fresh pastis. Now he held it up to the light for Lenny's inspection. 'You can see shit in there.'
'I think you're right,' said Lenny, holding up his own glass.
'Yeah. I think I see a wasted waiter.'
- Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth - Tamar Myers:
I could see at once what the problem was. Sprawled across the sleigh bed, half-draped in Mama's best dresden-plate quilt, was a corpse. A corpse, as opposed to a body. There is a difference, you know.
In my forty-three years I've seen a few dead bodies, bt this was my first corpse. The bodies had all belonged to people who knew they were going to die, or who were at peace with themselves when their time came. Seeing them was hard enough.
A corpse is different because the remains belong to someone who has died in mental as well as physical agony. This is my own definition, of course, but I'm sure you'll agree.
- Never Nosh a Matzo Ball - Sharon Kahn:
'You ratted!'screams with her back against the door. 'I'm getting us out of here.'Spoiler: Highlight to viewArdis
I'm too dumbfounded to absorb anything but the fact that her silver gun coordinates with her evening bag.
- No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk - Tamar Meyers:
Some of my women guests have openly declared their hostility toward someone so 'thin', but they forget that plumpness has its positive points. And I mean that literally. As for me, my Wonderbra is still wondering.
- Prime - Poppy Z Brite:
Before he decided to throw his hat in the DA ring, De La Cerda had often tried to convince Woofer to join him in private practice. Woofer had always refused, citing his belief that he was doing something positive for the city. 'It's not possible to do anything with Tricker Treat in office, De La Cerda was saying now. 'Guy's poison. He's poisoned the DA's office, he'll poison your career.'
'Nonsense,' said Woofer in his prissy way. 'Several of his former ADAs are successful attorneys, magistrates--one's even a federal judge.'
'Yeah, and what about the one who's in the nuthouse for setting fire to his law office?'
'Let's not get into that. You know very well that Torchy Stepanovic had emotional problems long before he went to work for Placide.'
- A Diamond Before You Die - Chris Wiltz:
What was it the old man had said, that when all else fails, they cry? It wasn't like that at all. None of it had been like he said. You don't fight with a woman like Lee Diamond. She gives you no ground. You don't raise your voice to her, or she'll leave. If she cries, she cries alone.
You don't try to save a woman like Lee Diamond, and you don't try to possess her, either. If you try to help her or protect her, you're only competing with your own survival instincts.
- After Glow - Jayne Castle:
Fuzz paid no attention. He was braced on the seat back, straining forward as if eager to leap straight through the windshield. All four of his eyes were open.
'Watch yourself, Verwood,' Emmett said. 'Remember what they say about dust-bunnies.'
'Yeah, yeah, I know. By the time you see the teeth, it's too late.'
- Nightmare Movies: A Critical Guide to Contemporary Horror Films - Kim Newman:
Q is less ambitious than God Told Me To in its sacrilege, if only because, contrary to the film, there are far fewer offence-taking Quetzalcoatl worshippers than there are Christian groups who wouldn't care for the suggestion that Jesus was a bisexual psycho from outer space.
- The Mad Hacker - Susan Brown and Anne Stephenson:
'It's Aunt Agatha. She keeps killing the butler. Over and over again. With the knife in the parlour, the rope in the kitchen, the machete in the bedroom....'
- The Big Four - Agatha Christie:
'I see,' said Poirot quietly. 'It never occurred to anybody that he might--be sane?'
The keeper permitted himself to laugh.
'If he was sane, what would he be doing in a lunatic asylum? They all say they're sane, you know.'
- Elminster's Daughter - Ed Greenwood:
Quite suddenly, she was in a many-pillared portico, on a dock that looked at the glittering lights and darkened spires of a sizable city--across mist-wreathed waters that stank. Skiffs and lantern-hung pleasure-barges bobbed against the dock, anchored to metal struts of many rings that were nothing like the great bollards of Waterdeep Harbor. This was the sea, all right--but...oh, so different from the City of Splendors.
- The Fudge Cupcake Murder - Joanne Fluke:
Despite her revulsion, Hannah looked at the area Mike indicated with his flashlight. He was right. There was a smear of something dark on Sheriff Grant's uniform shirt. She cleared her throat and forced herself to speak. 'That's not blood.'
Hannah shook her head. 'It's fudge frosting. Sheriff Grant died eating one of my cupcakes!'
- Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978-1986 - Adam Rockoff:
Originally, it was [Jack] Palance, not Erland Van Lidth, who was supposed to kill the guard on duty, but Palance maintained that he did not believe in violence, and balked at having to do the scene. When [Alone in the Dark director Jack] Sholder explained that it was necessary for the audience to understand that his character had a capacity for violence, Palance stared at him, steely-eyed, and said, 'I think they'll know.'
Despite their many disputes, Sholder looks back fondly on his time spent with Palance, who beneath his gruff exterior was not only a 'very interesting actor but a very cultured guy.' Sholder is an accomplished musician and both he and Palance shared a love for classical music and high culture, which made it all the more ironic that for his first film he found himself 'in the middle of the night telling people how to stab each other.'
- Whisper of Waves - Philip Ryan:
Her long black hair came free of the diamond diadem she wore, and it fell across her face, her perfect cheek and the corner of her big, bright eye, and Willem's heart seemed to stop in his chest. The shape of her made the Kozakuran sculpture he'd just leveraged his entire life for all the more ridiculous.
'If you tell me you love me,' she said, her voice only just above a whisper, 'I will kill you where you stand.'
- A Working Stiff's Manifesto - Iain Levison:
Instead of a map, one house has a delivery slip that says simply, 'Fill at the donkey's nose.' I pull up the driveway and notice a huge statue of a donkey in the front yard, so I go over and examine its nose. The donkey must be a heating oil tank, I decide. Its cement nostrils are large enough to accommodate an oil hose, though I don't see any threading in which to screw the gun. I jam the gun up its nostrils as far as it will go and turn on the oil full blast.
Immediately, the donkey's head explodes and I am showered with home heating oil and concrete. I grope around blindly for the hose, which is whipping around like an epileptic anaconda, spraying diesel fuel across this neatly landscaped yard. After taking a seventy-five-gallon-a-minute blast in the face at least three times, I manage to wrestle the hose to the ground and shut it off, having swallowed about a cupful of fuel. Choking and soaked, I' limp back to the truck and call them on the radio.
'Yeah, I'm at 1105 Chester Springs. Their heating tank just broke.'
'What do you mean it broke?' Charlie, the dispatcher, has been a deliveryman for fifteen years. He knows every delivery by heart.
'It just blew up all over me.'
'That's the one beside the donkey, right?'
Beside the donkey? What did that mean? 'Yes,' I say cautiously.
'I'll get someone out there.'
I put the radio back and run over to the headless, oil-soaked donkey. I scrape madly at the ground underneath the donkey's nose, and my hand hits metal under the snow. I sweep the snow aside, and there, laughing at me, is the oil fill.
'Fill is a noun and a verb,' I explain. 'Fill at the donkey's nose is ambiguous.' I am sitting in Charlie's office, but he wants to get me out of there. Everyone wants me out, because I am soaked in heating oil and making them gag.
Charlie has been around a bit. He's not going to fire me because he's seen things like this before, and also because I am not the stupidest employee he has working for him today. That honor goes to another new guy named Dave, who filled a five-hundred gallon septic tnk with oil until diesel fuel sprayed out of the toilets and all over the bathrooms of a million dollar house in Kimberton. Then, while backing out of their driveway, he slammed into a pole and knocked their electricity out. So now these mansion dwellers are living in an oil-soaked cave, and Charlie has bigger things on his plate than a headless donkey.
'Get out of here,' he tells me. 'See you tomorrow at eight.'
- The English Breakfast Murder - Laura Childs:
'Chiffon party dress?' said Haley, her eyes glazing over. 'Ruffled bodice?' This kind of clothing was a little out of Haley's league. She wasn't sure if she should feel pleased or put upon.
'That's right,' said Delaine with a winning smile. 'You're the only other person I know who can squeeze into a size four.'
Drayton chose that moment to drift by again. 'Well, don't look at me,' he joked, obviously in a better mood again. 'I certainly can't squeeze into a size four.'
- The Siege of Mt. Nevermind - Fergus Ryan:
Betrayal has always been a favorite pasttime of mine.
- The Proving Trail - Louis L'Amour:
'Mr Yant,' I interrupted him, 'you leave my pa out of this. You say one more bad thing about him an' I'll blow your guts out.'
He just stared at me. 'You? he said contemptuously. 'Don't talk like a fool, boy. I was using guns before you were born.'
'Maybe,' I replied coolly, 'but I'll be using them after you're dead.'
- Pretty Good for a Girl: The Autobiography of a Snowboarding Pioneer - Tina Basich, with Kathleen Gasperini:
At the Air & Style Big Air contest in Innsbruck, Austria in 1994 there still wasn't even a women's division, even though the event had been around for three years. My brother was entered in the contest and Shannon and I were out there at the practice session checking out the jump because we thought we might be able to do it. The officials came right over to us and said in broken English, 'No girls allowed.' Oh, sure. Now we were really going to do it. We went back to the car and grabbed our snowboards and started hiking up to the jump. We talked the officials into allowing us three practice jumps and then judging if we were 'unsafe'. I felt like I was at Boreal trying out for my blue badge. Even though we both crashed hard on our first jump and I knew I'd be paying for it the next day with a stiff neck, there was no way that I wasn't going to do it. By the third try, we passed their test and that night, under the spotlights of the event stadium, in our pink Prom outfits and hair in pigtails, we jumped the 60-foot gap jump in front of 15,000 people. The announcer kept saying over the loudspeaker, 'Those crazy American girls! Those crazy American girls!' But the only thing 'crazy' would have been if we had led the opportunity slip by. We weren't able to be 'judged' officially because there was only a guys division, so we were the 'exhibitionists'--the warm-up clowns for that night's circus. But magazine articles later reported that we'd gone bigger than some of the guys that night and probably would have placed in the top ten.
- Pontoon - Garrison Keillor:
Fred was thrilled by the sight of the Danes floundering in the water, trying to escape from the 18-foot fiberglass ducks, which seemed to be pursuing one after another of them. He was delighted. It spoke to his heart. They had slandered America and gotten drunk on champagne and fled from an old dog and now they were paying the piper.
- Secrets of Dripping Fang Book 2: Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days - Dan Greenberg:
What will hapen to poor Zombie Dad? How hard is it to have a meaningful relationship with your father when he's dead and losing body parts all over the place?
- Dangerous Games: Ice climbing, storm kayaking and other adventures from the extreme edge of sports - Andrew Todhunter:
The passage zigs and zags and zigs again, and soon I have an opportunity to enjoy another of the cave surveyor's myriad pleasures. I am standing in eight inches of sucking mud, and i cannot read the tape because it, too, is mud-covered. I streak it with a muddy thumb, back and forth, with no results. 'Lick it,' advises Fortini, and I do so. The mud is cool, grainy, and absolutely without flavor. But the tape is clean.
- Rock Jocks, Wall Rats, and Hang Dogs: Rock climbing on the edge of reality - John Long:
By mid-morning on the second day, Ron and I were well into the upper corners, more than 2,500 feet up the wall and into the really prime terrain. And loving it despite the lines getting snagged, our feet aching from standing in sling, the grime and grit and aluminum oxide from the carabiners stinging our hands, the flesh barked and torn, shoulders aching from 30-pound slings of nuts and fifty carabiners. Our throats were raw, teeth gummed, lips cracked, tongues like rawhide because you can never bring enough water, neck and arms flame red, backs crooked from hauling the bag, clothes spangled with sardine oil and sweat-soaked from sun to fry eggs by. But we didn't care because we were on El Capitan.
- Making Money - Terry Pratchett:
Moist had heard that there were maybe millions of little gods floating around in the world, living under rocks, blown about like tumbleweeds, clinging to the topmost branches of trees...They awaited the big moment, the lucky break that might end up with a temple and a priesthood and worshipers to call your own.
- A Year in the Merde - Austin Grossman:
Paris is, I was beginning to realize, a bit like an ocean. An ocean is a great place to live if you're a shark. There's loads of fresh seafood, and if anyone gives you shit, you just bite them in half. You might not be loved by everyone, but you'll be left in peace to enjoy yourself.
If you're human, though, you spend your time floating on the surface, buffeted by waves, preyed on by sharks.
- Soon I Will Be Invincible - Austin Grossman:
This morning on planet Earth, there are one thousand, six hundred, and eighty-six enhanced, gifted or otherwise superpowered persons. Of these, one hundred and twenty-six are civilians leading normal lives. Thirty-eight are kept in research facilities funded by the Department of Defense, or foreign equivalents. Two hundred and twenty-six are aquatic, confined to the oceans. Twenty-nine are strictly localized--powerful trees and genii loci, the Great Sphinx, and the Pyramid of Giza. Twenty-five are microscopic (including the Infinitesimal Seven). Three are dogs; four are cats; one is a bird. six are made of gas. One is a mobile electrical effect. more of a weather pattern than a person. Seventy-seven are alien visitors. Thirty-eight are missing. Forty-one are off-continuity, permanent emigres to Earth's alternate realities and branching timestreams.
Six hundred and seventy-eight use their powers to fight crime, while four hundred and forty-one use their powers to commit them. Forty-four are currently confined in Special Containment Facilities for enhanced criminals. Of these last, it is interesting to note that an unusually high proportion have IQ of 300 or more--eighteen to be exact. Including me.
- McNally's Dare - Lawrence Sanders:
The venue suggested that Ms. Duhane, whose mother is a Kalamazoo Battle, is a resident of the Palm Court, a unit of mobile homes on concrete blocks where Binky makes his abode and, alas, so does Sergeant Al Rogoff. Binky and Al are separated by one trailer in distance and several aeons in compatibility. Now I offered up a silent prayer, pleading with Him not to have Ms. Duhane occupy the trailer...
'She moved into the trailer between Al and me,' Binky imparted.
Thank you, God, for your consideration and a speedy rejection. It beats the dickens out of waiting on your astute decision.
- Fall of the Phantom Lord - Andrew Todhunter:
Dense spindrifts of snow whirl and dance in the light of our headlamps. When we turn off the lamps, the broad-peaked ridge above the Mayhem wall dominates the sky, a black curtain streaked with snowbound gullies of grey. Far across the lake, to the east, the lights of human settlement gleam dully. We hike into the facing wind. For the moment, I have forgotten the anchor. There is only the wind, the deep cold, and the climbing--the memory of its rhythm lingering in my limbs--and at the moment I feel nothing but the profound contentment of the living.
- High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity - Steph Davis:
For years I foolishly believed that staying away from cities and highways would keep me safe from harm. The sad truth is that any remote place that's too easy to reach isn't safe for a woman. For me, the thought of getting hit by an icefall or falling from a rock face are totally acceptable possibilities. The idea of being hurt by a person is not. It always surprises me to hear people talk about climbing being dangerous. I have always felt safest alone on the side of a hard-to-reach wall or a mountain. Although I understand that I could die in the mountains, I trust the hand of nature, and I know it will do me no harm.
- Dragonwell Dead - Laura Childs:
Theodosia and Drayton both gazed in awe at a white marble statue that seemed to rise out of the forest floor. It was the figure of a giant angel, one knee bent as if in prayer, head down, wings fully extended.
'What's that doing way out here?' asked Drayton.
'I'd say she's guarding the garden,' said Theodosia.
- Blood Orange Brewing - Laura Childs:
Drayton gazed don at the dozen or so cages that were upended and scattered about on the ground. He kicked at one with his toe. 'Lots of empty cages,' he remarked.
Lifting her eyes, Theodosia smiled serenely. 'But look how full the sky is.'
- A Day in the Night of America - Kevin Coyne:
7-Elevens, and all the similar enterprises they spawned, are the general stores of the new frontier--stocked not with the salt pork and axes of the western boom towns, but with sustenance for the inhabitants of the frontier of night. Most of America's seven thousand 7-Elevens, including this one on the southwest edge of Colorado Springs, were open twenty-four hours now, and their name was just a name, not the open-and-close schedule it was when the chain was first christened after World War II. They have altered America's shopping habits; helped settle the night; extended to the noncity populace the previously city-exclusive luxury of round-the-clock service; rendered almost obsolete the practice of borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor; and created in many consumers the impression that somewhere, everywhere, a store is always open and that therefore you can always get what you want.
- The Element of Fire - Martha Wells:
As the sorcerer strode off Thomas looked after him, a little nonplussed. Disasters agree with you.
- The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders - Nancy Pickard:
You could probably beat somebody nearly to death with sweet fennel in its whole root form.
- Flora Segunda - Ysabeau S Wilce:
Rangers act with cunning and with clarity of Will, and absolute focus--and magick. Nyana Keegan, the greatest ranger ever lived, could turn her thoughts outside in, and when she turned her thoughts inside out again, she was someone else entirely. Nini Mo, as everyone called her, could read sign on the air, smell someone's else's thoughts, and twist broken glass into fire.
- Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford:
They dragged themselves out of the room as slowly as they dared and went upstairs, stamping out 'Man's long agony' on the bare boards of the nursery passage so that nobody in the whole house could fail to hear them.
"Those children read too much," said Aunt Sadie.
- The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford:
There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph, hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us children.
- The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen - MT Anderson:
'Mrs. Mulligan, was your accident with the band saw just a jolly prank to "put one over one me"? Because if it was, may I--ma'am--may I say that I did not entirely appreciate the humor.'
- The Devil You Know - Poppy Z Brite:
One thing he'd learned about running a restaurant was that shit would either hit the fan or it wouldn't, and if you worried about it all the time, you'd quickly drive yourself insane. You prevented what you could, did triage when you had to, and commended the rest to the whims of the universe. Everybody thought he was such a control freak, and to a certain degree, everybody was right. But only G-man had any idea how much he forced himself to rein it in and simply let things be.
- D*U*C*K: a tale of men, birds, and one's purpose in life - Poppy Z Brite:
Shake knew his family was coming in for dinner, but he hadn't expected their arrival to be heralded by his father's loud and unmelodious voice singing the jingle that had advertised the family's pest control business since 1953. 'Don't let termites cave your WALL IN! Dial five two two six thousand, DAWLIN!'
A few minutes later the hostess ducked into the kitchen, a haunted look in her eye. 'My God, Shake, your dad--I just asked him where I'd heard your family name before, because it's so unusual, and he started,like, bellowing at me--'
- The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge - Brad Strickland:
The Hawaii House stood a few streets away in New Zebedee. The man who had built it back in the 1800's had been a representative of the United States government to the Sandwich Islands, which was what the Hawaiian Islands were called back then. After spending years there, the man had retired to New Zebedee and had built a spectacular house in the style of a tropical mansion. Among its features was a sleeping verandah on the roof. In Hawaii the heat at night would have made that a comfortable bedroom, though in Michigan's climate it couldn't be used more than a few months a year. In fact, local people said that the original builder of the Hawaii House died one January night when he decided to sleep there and froze solid.
- Murder a la Carte - Prudy Taylor Board:
A brisk breeze riffed the edges of the blanket and she reached for her blouse. 'I don't know you well enough yet,' she said, pulling the blouse around her shoulders so that she could put it on.
'You are a pain in the ass,' he said. 'And just for that I'm not cooking your dinner.'
But he did.
- Wonder When You'll Miss Me - Amanda Davis:
I liked to hear Starling talk because she had a way of telling stories that made you want to hold your breath. It was something in the way she stacked her words, and it was the stories themselves, but most of all it was Starling's eyes and the way they squinted and got darker when she needed you to believe her.
'Do you think you're really crazy?' I asked her. I knew that what I really meant was, Am I? She pushed the chickens off her lap and scooted over and stretched across her bed so her hair dragged on the floor.
'Somewhat,' she said. 'But all worthwhile people are. I'm not worried about that. I believe that everything happens for a reason. You were put in this room for a reason. You were saved from all your pills for a reason.' She paused for a moment and then sat up and faced me. 'I know that God speaks to me for a reason.'
'God? You think it's God telling you to kill yourself?'
She nodded. 'How can I not listen?' she said. There were tears in her eyes. 'Since I know who it is, how can I not do whatever he asks?'
- Spook Country - William Gibson:
And it hadn't hurt that Bobby was himself a musician, though not in the old plays-a-guitar-instrument-and/or-sings modality. He took things apart, sampled them, mashed them up. This was fine with her, though like General Bosquet watching the charge of the Light Brigade, she was inclined to think it wasn't war. Inchmale understood it, though, and indeed had championed it, as soon as it was digitally possible pulling guitar lines out of obscure garage chestnuts and stretching them, like a mad jeweler elongating sturdy Victorian tableware into something insectile, post-functionally fragile, and neurologically dangerous.
- Soul Kitchen - Poppy Z Brite:
Milford Goodman sat at the bar with a plate of food in front of him. The maitre d' had offered him a table, but he thought he would feel more comfortable in the bar. He wasn't sure that had been a good decision. The bartender was very pretty, her dark auburn hair rolled at her neck, a dash of red lipstick on her no-bullshit mouth, her white shirt and black pants snug in a way that made him want to look at her for hours and run out of the restaurant all at the same time.
- Still Life With Crows - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child:
Pendergast knelt on the ground among his maps and documents, gathering them carefully together. 'Have you ever heard of a memory palace?'
'It is a mental exercise, a kind of memory training, that goes back at least as far as the ancient Greek poet Simonides. It was refined by Matteo Ricci in the late fifteenth century, when he taught the technique to Chinese scholars. I perform a similar form of mental concentration, one of my own devising, which combines the memory palace with elements of Chongg Rann, an ancient Bhutanese form of meditation. I call my technique a memory crossing.'
'You've totally lost me.'
'Here's a simplified explanation: through intense research, followed by intense concentration, I attempt to re-create, in my mind, a particular place at a particular place at a particular time in the past.'
'In the past? You mean, like time travel?'
'I do not actually travel in time, of course. Instead, I attempt to reconstruct a finite location in time and space within my mind; to place myself within that location; and to then proceed to make observations that could not otherwise be made. It gives me a perspective obtainable in no other way. It fills in gap, missing bits of data, that otherwise would not even be perceived as gaps. And it is frequently in these very gaps that the crucial information lies.' He began removing his suit coat. 'It's especially relevant in this particular case, where I have made absolutely no progress through the usual methods, the office of the good Mrs. Tealander not excepting.'
Pendergast carefully folded his suit coat and laid it across the gathered maps, charts, and journal. Corrie was startled to see a large weapon strapped beneath one arm.
- Dead Man's Folly - Agatha Christie:
Her voice was calm and matter of fact. Poirot looked at her with closer attention. He saw a very small and compact little person, dressed in shabby tweeds. The most noticeable feature about her was her clear china-blue eyes. Her grey hair was closely confined by a hairnet. Though obviously careless of her appearance, she had that indefinable air of being someone which is so hard to explain.
As they walked together towards the house, Poirot said diffidently, 'It must be hard for you to have strangers living here.'
There was a moment's pause before Mrs. Folliat answered. Her voice was clear and precise and curiously devoid of emotion.
'So many things are hard, M. Poirot,' she said.
- Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer - Lynne Cox:
For the most part, though, I really enjoyed being in the ocean before the dawn, immersed in the water and bathed in the light of sunrise. It was great and beautiful adventure.
- Whales on Stilts! - M T Anderson:
Lily believed that the world was a wonderful and magical place. She believed that if you watched carefully enough, you could find miracles anywhere. The town's baseball team had a secret handshake that went back to the time of the settlers. A professor down the street had a skeleton hanging in his vestibule. Behind the dry cleaner, some ladies held newt races. There were interesting things like this everywhere, waiting to be noticed.
- Iris, Messenger - Sarah Deming:
'Maybe you think Ariadne is silly for not noticing all this irony. but you must remember that love blurs the mind, worse than wine. That is why we have to be very careful when we drink wine, and very, very careful when we fall in love. There is a warning label on whiskey bottles that says DRINK RESPONSIBLY. But there is no warning label on people that says WARNING: SHE WILL THROW MILK SHAKES WHEN PROVOKED. Or DANGER: HE IS JUST USING YOU FOR YOUR ALGEBRA NOTES. In love, Iris, we are on our own.'
- Ida B. - Katherine Hannigan:
'There are too many things to think about in this world besides what I'm going to have for lunch, Daddy,' I say, and he looks at me like I am a true mystery.
- Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space - Philip Reeve:
I'm afraid I started to blub. It seemed so unfair to have one's father eaten by a spider and one's sister devoured by a caterpillar on the same day (though I suppose flies must put up with that sort of thing all the time and you do not hear them moaning about it). I thought how sad it was to be all alone, and felt terribly sorry that the last time I had spoken to Myrtle was to tell her off for being impolite to fungi.
- Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush - Lael Morgan:
Livengood, the last of the gold-mining stampedes, was too small to support a restricted district, but lives in legend thanks to several of its unique citizens. Dan McCarty, who had helped E T Barnette found Fairbanks and eventually struck pay dirt there, married a prostitute in Livengood whom he later angered to the point that she shot him fatally. Known as 'Gentleman Dan,' he battled the wounds for some time, which gave him a chance to think over the assault. Knowing well his wife's notorious temper, Dan came to the conclusion that he'd simply committed suicide by angering her, so he made sure all charges against her were dropped before he breathed his last.
- Sitka - Louis Lamour:
Jean gestured at the third man. 'Take your hand off that gun. I never like to kill more than one man while I'm eating.'
- Sons of the Profits, or, There's No Busines Like Grow Business: The Story of Seattle, 1851-1901 - William C Speidel:
The next guy to take a run at solving the problem of the imbalance between the sexes was one Benjamin Sprague, captain of a boat called the 'Gin Palace Polly', which sought to deliver wine, women and song to the logging camps around the Sound. He operated on a franchise granted by the Legislature for a price of $1200 a year.
On a rotation basis, he delivered sin to the logging camps seven days a week, and while it was highly popular with the men who took the day off whenever Sprague's jolly crew put in an appearance, it was less than enthusiastically received by the operators of the camps. Any day he showed up the men deserted their jobs and joined the fun. So two days were lost--the one when he arrived...and the next while the men were nursing their hangovers.
However, it didn't take long before Sprague found himself in residence at the state penitentiary for two years for selling liquor to Indians and on Sunday. His ship was confiscated and the 'floating palace' business died fast.
- Obsession - Jackie Collins
Inga regarded him for a long, silent moment. 'Inga does what Inga wants,' she said at last.
- Perfect Dark: Second Front - Greg Rucka:
The room was pitch-dark, the window opaque, and he suspected it was early evening outside in the world, but he didn't know, and he didn't want to. If it was still early evening, that meant he'd been asleep for all of an hour, and if he'd been asleep for all of an hour and someone was calling to get him out of bed, clearly they had forgotten that he was a man who knew how to kill people in a variety of interesting and creative ways.
- Dean Koontz' Frankenstein: Book Two: City of Night - Dean Koontz and Ed Gorman:
'How wrong can a first date go that it ends in a beheading?'
- The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl - Tim Pratt:
Ray looked her up and down with obvious appreciation, and Marzi thought about how long he must have been here, if he'd been trapped since the day of the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, when he'd disappeared. So many years, with no other people--or were there other people?--living in a ghost town. Marzi suspected that, under those circumstances, her own sex drive would have simply withered and dried and disappeared, but from the way Ray looked at Lindsay, his was definitely still functional.
Or maybe this place was full of nymphs or succubi or something, and Ray had sex daily with jackal-headed women. What did she know? She didn't even understand precisely where they were: the backstage area for the material world? Under the floorboards of rational space? In Faerie, or the medicine lands, or the Dreamtime? Or was that all the same place?
- Crimson Rogue - Liz Maverick:
Once inside the door of the cafeteria, Jill could tell Marius was already in the room, at a table with his entourage. Her heart beating madly, she moved quickly down the lunchline, randomly piling food on her plate, and then headed to sit down. She pulled a book from her purse and opened it, and then without tasting--without even noticing what she was eating; with every fiber of her being focused on the presence of a single man in the room--Jill ate her lunch.
- Peril at End House - Agatha Christie:
We were sitting on one of the terraces of the Majestic Hotel. It is the biggest hotel in St. Loo and stands in its own grounds on a headland overlooking the sea. The gardens of the hotel lay below us freely interspersed with palm trees. The sea was of a deep and lovely blue, the sky clear and the sun shining with all the single-hearted fervour an August sun should (but in England so often does not) have. There was a vigorous humming of bees, a pleasant sound--and altogether nothing could have been more ideal.
- Practical Demonkeeping - Christopher Moore:
Around midnight on the night the The Breeze disappeared, every dog in Pine Cove began barking. During the following fifteen minutes, shoes were thrown, threats were made, and the sheriff was called again and again. Wives were beaten, pistols were loaded, pillows were pounded, and Mrs Feldstein's thirty-two cats simultaneously coughed up hairballs on her porch. Blood pressure went up, aspirin was opened, and Milo Tobin, the town's evil developer, looked out the front window to see his young neighbor, Rosa Cruz, in the nude, chasing twin Pomeranians around her front yard. The strain was too much for his chain-smoker's heart, and he flopped on the floor like a fish and died.
- Hollywood Kids - Jackie Collins:
Jordanna cruised into the club late Saturday night. She knew everyone, and everyone knew her. After all, she was a Hollywood kid, one of the chosen few. She had a famous father--alive. And a famous mother--deceased. She was Hollywood royalty.
- Backstab - Elaine Viets:
Sometime during the night, about twelve inches of snow had been dumped on the city. Twelve inches was enough to leave St Louis semiparalyszed, with only the main snow routes open. It looked like I'd have to write my column from home, rather than fight the unplowed side streets. St Louis' attitude toward snow is 'God put it there and God can take it away.'
- Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son - Dean Koontz and Kevin J Anderson:
In a mansion as large as this, a severed hand had to do a lot of crawling to get where it wanted to go.
- Shadowrun: The Burning Time - Stephen Kenson:
Aracos grappled with the reptilian spirit in astral form. The two seemed evenly matched, but Aracos had the advantage of greater intelligence and more experience. Though servitor elementals were often quite intelligent, they tended to be rather limited, and fire spirits were particularly dominated by their passions.
- Too Many Cooks - Joanne Pence:
The city glistened as lamplights cast their glow on streets washed clean and slick by the winter rain. Winter in San Francisco was mild. The rain actually warmed up the weather a bit and washed away the fog so that the streets were clear. Having rain but no snow was one of the benefits of life in this town. There weren't many others anymore.
- I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Ally Carter:
Then, as if to prove my point, a loud blast and the smell of burning hair came floating up the main stairs from the second floor Hall of History, followed by Professor Buckingham's distinguished voice crying, 'Girls! I told you not to touch that!' The smell got worse, and one of the seventh graders was probably on fire, because Professor Buckingham yelled, 'Stand still! Stand still I say!'
- Chamomile Mourning - Laura Childs:
'My fighting days are over,' declared Brook as she helped herself to a dollop of Devonshire cream. 'My philosophy is to just stay active and enjoy life. There are enough hurdles and travails in the world without worrying about an extra pound here or there.'
- CSI: Miami: Cult Following - Donn Cortez:
Horatio Caine knew Miami. He knew her the way a sailor knows the sea, the way a man knows a temperamental lover; he couldn't tell you what she was going to do, but he could tell you what she was capable of.
- Sheep in a Jeep - Nancy E Shaw, illustrations by Margot Apple:
Eep! Beep! Sheep in a jeep on a hill that's steep.
- Nothing but the truth (and a few white lies) - Justina Chen Headley:
The Mama Lecture Series
Lecture 1: You Have It So Easy
Greetings and welcome to The Mama Lecture Series, brought to you by the first-generation Mamas who left the Old Country for Brand-New America. But first, a message from our proud sponsors. While audience participation, such as talking back, is forbidden, tears of guilt and effusive apologies are more than welcome. Please be advised that there is no need for copious note-taking. These lectures are freely given at every possible opportunity. And we do mean, Every. Possible. Opportunity. Thank you so much and enjoy the show.
- Tropical Heat - John Lutz:
The cottage was mostly glass on the sea side and afforded a wide view of the Atlantic, an airy scene broken only by potted plants dangling on chains from the window frame. When seas were high, the ocean appeared to be above the level of the cottage's flat roof. Sometimes Carver had the feeling that any second he and the beach and the cottage would be engulfed and washed away, torn from the land and lost forever in the sea.
- Hawk & Fisher - Simon Green:
Haven is a dark city.
The narrow streets huddled together, the plain stone and timber buildings leaning on each other for support. Out-leaning upper storeys bowed to each other like tired old men, shutting out the light, but even in the shadows there was little relief from the midsummer heat.
- Mainline - Deborah Christian:
It was a fine voyage until the sea-monsters appeared.
- Fire Ice - Clive Cussler:
Following in the wake of the original Argo, the NUMA ship steamed across the Black Sea toward the Bosporus, the narrow strait that separated the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. Unlike Jason, who brought home the Golden Fleece, all that Austin had to show for his labors was a head laceration, a bedraggled television crew and a pile of unanswered questions.
- Perfect Dark: Initial Vector - Greg Rucka:
Jo bit into the orange, using her teeth to break the skin, tasted the sour bite of the rind. Quickly, she exposed the flesh hidden within, the whole car filling with the rich scent of overripe citrus. She let the skin fall in pieces, until finally enough of the actual fruit was exposed for her to tear it in two, revealing the acorn-sized metal sphere concealed within the hollowed-out center, the darkened lens of the drugspy visible on one side. She freed the sphere, letting the destroyed fruit fall to the floor, then used a fingernail to lift the thin sheet of plastic protecting the 'eye'. She slipped the drugspy into her pocket.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott:
When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid you should have your own opinions or perceptions--better to have head lice. If you asked innocently, 'Why is Mom in the bathroom crying?,' you might be told, 'Mom isn't crying; Mom has allergies.' Or if you said, 'Why didn't Dad come home last night?' you might be told brightly, 'Dad did come home last night, but then he left again very early.' and you nodded, even though you knew that these were lies, because it was important to stay on the adults' good side. There was no one else to take care of you, and if you questioned them too adamantly, you'd probably get sent to your room without dinner, or they'd drive a stake through your ankles and leave you on the hillside above the Mobil station. So you may have gotten into the habit of doubting the voice that was telling you quite clearly what was really going on. It is essential that you get it back.
- The Rabbit on the Face of the Moon: Mythology in the Mesoamerican Tradition - Alfredo Lopez Austin:
There is an interesting relationship between another saying and a cosmological image that comes from ancient times. The complementary images of the sun and the moon, of the deer and the rabbit, were reproduced in an old Nahuatl saying recorded in Sahagun's documents. According to the source, when young people left home and would not obey their fathers or mothers, when they had no fixed residence and would not listen to advice and counsel, they were reprimanded as follows:
'You have made yourself into a rabbit, you have made yourself into a deer. You have made yourself into a fugitive, you have become hardened. You have taken the rabbit's path, the deer's path.'In ancient times, the [metaphorical] names of the eternal astral travelers designated vagabonds, people without home or repose, people who traveled the roads night and day.
- Aztec and Maya Myths - Karl Taube:
Compared with the Old World mythologies of Mesopotamia, Egypt or Greece, far less is known of the ancient myths of Mesoamerica. It is clear that we now understand only a fraction of the mythology present at the time of the conquest, and much less of myths of the Classic period. As has been noted, the dismemberment of Tezcatlipoca by Xiuhtecuhtli on page one of the Fejervary-Mayer is not recorded in the myths of ancient central Mexico, and this is also true of many episodes illustrated in the middle pages of the Codex Borgia. For the Classic Maya, many vessel scenes illustrate obvious mythical episodes that bear no direct relationship to the Popol Vuh or other mythologies of the Post-classic, colonial or contemporary Maya. An excellent example, appearing on a number of polychrome vessels, is the theft by a rabbit of an old god's broad hat and other regalia. Not even the Maya name for the aged deity is known, and currently he is simply referred to as God L.
- Forever Knight: A Stirring of Dust - Susan Sizemore:
'What? Do you think I disrupted the universe just to annoy you?'
'You've done it before.'
'True,' LaCroix admitted. He stepped back, moved to put the desk between himself and Nick. 'But not this time.'
- How Can You Hijack a Cave? - P J Petersen:
The passageway was never the same size for long.
- Daughter of Hounds - Caitlin R Kiernan:
'It might be your dream, Emma Jean Silvey, but it might be someone else's, too. Did you never stop to consider that?'
- Low Red Moon - Caitlin R Kiernan:
'So you're Deacon Silvey,' she said and smiled, a triumphant, pleased-with-herself sort of smile. 'The psychic criminologist,' and Deacon shook his head. 'Not exactly,' he replied. 'I'm just a drunk who sees things sometimes.'
'That's not so unusual,' Sadie said.
'That's what I keep telling people, but no one ever seems to listen.'
- Action TV: Tough Guys, Smooth Operators and Foxy Chicks -- edited by Bill Osgerby and Anna Gough-Yates:
According to Jeffords then, Hollywood's representations of masculinity in the 1980s can be seen as redolent of Reaganite political initiatives geared to the radical supplanting of the attitudes, public policies and national concerns that characterized the Carter administration (Jeffords, 1993: 15).
--Nickianne Moody, "A Lone Crusader in a Dangerous World: Heroics of science and technology in Knight Rider
- To Charles Fort, With Love - Caitlin R Kiernan:
Everything about the waves on borrowed time, her father had said again and again, waiting for the day when the sea rose once more and drowned the land beneath its smothering, salty bosom, and the highest mountains and deepest valleys will become a playground for sea serpents and octopi and schools of herring. Forests to become Poseidon's orchards, her father said, though she knew Poseidon wasn't the true name of the god-thing at the bottom of the ocean, just a name some man gave it thousands of years ago.
'Should I read you a story tonight, Merry?' her dead mother asked, sitting right there in the chair beside the bed.
("Andromeda Among the Stones")
- Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith - Anne Lamott:
"To be honest, I am never going to get anywhere with this president. But Jesus kept harping on forgiveness and loving one's enemies, so I decided to try. Why couldn't Jesus command us to obsess about everything, to try to control and manipulate people, to try not to breathe at all, or to pay attention, stomp away to brood when people annoy us, and then eat a big bag of Hershey's Kisses in bed?
Maybe in some translations, he does.
The sermon ended; people were crying. Veronica asked if anyone wanted to come forward for special prayer. Apparently no one did. I struggled to keep in my seat, but I found myself standing, then lurching forward stiffly. Veronica asked me quietly what I needed, and I whispered that I was so angry with and afraid of the right wing in this country that it was making me mentally ill. She put her arm around me, and the church prayed for me, although they did not know what was wrong."
("Loving your president: Day 2")
- Virus - S D Perry:
It was alive, but it was only part human. The rest was metal and wire, cords and circuits set into flesh that was starting to decay. It was a man, half his skull cleanly removed, the exposed brain glistening. Wires extended out from the gelatinous mass and twisted behind the creature. One hand held an acetylene torch, the other ended in a semiautomatic pistol, the grip of the Russian nine-millimeter melded some how to bone and metal. Cracked, dripping flesh hung from the skeletal fingers.
- The Dry Salvages - Caitlin R Kiernan:
'We're inside a ghost story now, aren't we?' he asked.
- Neuromancer - William Gibson:
The low, vaulted hallway was lined with dozens of museum cases, archaic-looking glass-fronted boxes made of brown wood. They looked awkward there, against the organic curves of the hallway's walls, as though they'd been brought in and set up in a line for some forgotten purpose. Dull brass fixtures held globes of white light at ten-meter intervals. The floor was uneven, and as she set off along the corridor, Case realized that hundreds of small rugs and carpets had been put down at random. In some places, they were six deep, the floor a soft patchwork of handwoven wool.
- Winterheim: Volume 3 of the Icewall Trilogy - Douglas Niles:
Four hundred and twelve humans, one elf, and one gully dwarf gathered in the courtyard of Brackenrock. Gray clouds hung low over the fortress, and by the time they were ready to march a steady drizzle had begun to fall. It was hardly the greatest omen for the start of a perilous expedition, and the weather--combined with about four hundred ripping hangovers--cast a pall of gloom over the war party's departure.
- The Ruby in the Smoke - Philip Pullman:
On a cold, fretful afternoon in early October 1872, a hansom cab drew up outside the offices of Lockhart and Selby, Shipping Agents, in the financial heart of London, and a young girl got out and paid the driver.
She was a person of sixteen or so--alone, and uncommonly pretty. She was slender and pale, and dressed in mourning, with a black bonnet under which she tucked back a straying twist of blond hair that the wind had teased loose. She had unusually dark brown eyes for one so fair. Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man.
- Hell to Pay - Simon R Green:
There are some things man is just not meant to know, let alone do with a moose.
- Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett:
She'd seen pictures of lots of different cheeses and had always wondered what the others tasted like. They were faraway cheeses with strange sounding names, cheeses like Treble Wibbley, Waney Tastey, Old Argg, Red Runny and the legendary Lancre Blue, which had to be nailed to the table to stop it from attacking other cheeses.
- Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake:
This ceremony was always held in the afternoon of the twelfth day, in a pleasant open room on the ground level, which, with its bay windows, gave upon the cedar trees and shaven lawns that sloped away to the Gormenghast terraces where the Countess walked at dawn with her snow-white cats.
- Crooked House - Agatha Christie:
It is always a shock to meet again someone whom you have not seen for a long time but who has been very much present in your mind during that period.
- Apex Hides the Hurt - Colson Whitehead:
He came up with the names. They were good times. He came up with the names and like any good parent he knocked them around to teach them life lessons. He bent them to see if they'd break, he dragged them behind cars by heavy metal chains, he exposed them to high temperatures for extended periods of time. Sometimes consonants broke off and left angry vowels on the laboratory tables. How else was he to know if they were ready for what the world had in store for them?
- Charm City - Laura Lippman:
There was a perverse fairness to hitting someone who hit on you. Wink Wynkowski, reared on the playgrounds of Southwest Baltimore, would understand a good solid thump to the jaw.
But hitting him was just a fantasy, and a stupid one at that. Tess opted to hide behind her book, rereading the scene in which the muleteers beat Sancho Panza.
'You'd rather read a book than talk to me?'
'I'd rather be set on fire than talk to you.'
- the e before christmas - Matt Beaumont:
So, once again, the basement car park it is. Ken, you have been there countless times before. You know what to do. Just remember to clear away the recycling skip this year--the despatch boy who fell asleep in it last time wasn't found for thirty-six hours. His mother was worried unnecessarily.
- e - Matt Beaumont:
I think we need some of your maintenance guys to help us out here. There's been a bit of an incident between Zoe Clarke and one of the other girls. Zoe'll need a new desk lamp and PC, unless you can get the potting compost out of her floppy drive. Also, there's a bit of blood on one of the carpet tiles.
- The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan:
Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment were stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out. The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades's underwear?
- Unnatural Exposure - Patricia Cornwell:
'As for the crab, honey, listen up. One egg slightly beaten, one-half teaspoon dry mustard, a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, four unsalted soda crackers, crushed. Chop up an onion, a Vidalia if you're still hoarding any from summer. One green pepper, chop that. A teaspoon or two of parsley, salt and pepper to taste.'
'Sounds fabulous,' I gratefully said. 'Bev, what would I do without you?'
'Now you gently mix all that together and shape it into patties.' She made the motion with her hands. 'Saute in oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Maybe fix him a salad or get some of my slaw,' she said. And that's as much as I would fuss over any man.'
- The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters - Gordon Dahlquist:
Despite these absolutely rational thoughts, Miss Temple paused upon reaching the center of the square, and instead of continuing on to the buildings where Roger was undoubtedly even now at work, she sat on a wrought-metal bench and looked up at the enormous statue of St. Isobel at the square's center. Knowing nothing of the sainted martyr and in no way devout, Miss Temple was merely disquieted by its vulgar extravagance: a woman clinging to a barrel in surging surf, clothes torn, hair wild, ringed by the flotsam of shipwreck, with the water about her churned to froth by a roiling tangle of serpents that wrapped around her flailing limbs, coiled under her garments and wound across her throat even as she opened her mouth to cry to heaven--a cry one saw to be heard by a pair of angels, winged, robed and impassively gazing down from above Isobel's head. Miss Temple appreciated enough the size of the thing and the technical achievements involved, but it nevertheless struck her as coarse and unlikely. Shipwreck, as an island girl, she could accept, as she could martyrdom by snakes, but the angels seemed fatiguingly presumptuous.