2018 Book Superlatives, Part II

Well, it’s the second week of the new year. How’s everyone feeling? My resolutions aren’t going terribly so far: I’ve made some solid writing progress, begun work on vacation plans, finally braved the hair clippers I bought months ago, and even ate some peas! (Okay, that last one sounds less than momentous, but we’re doing a vegetable challenge this year, and we’re easing our way into it.)

Enough about all that, though. It’s time for the 2018 Book Superlatives, Part II!

OBLIGATORY MY GEEK BLASPHEMY DISCLAIMERS

1. Any novel or novella I read for the first time last year, whether it was written in 2018 or not, is eligible. (If you missed it, those books are listed here. And if you missed Part I of the Superlatives, those can be found here.)

2. While Best Novel Quote and its many, many Honorable Mentions are largely spoiler free, the rest of this post will have SPOILERS all over the place. If you haven’t read a book in question, tread carefully. I will tell you about character deaths, some depressing, some AMAZING.

Now that we’re all on the same page?

BEST USE OF KILLER ANIMALS

River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

Previously, this award was “Best Use of Sharks,” but, sadly, there just isn’t enough murderous shark related fiction out there, especially if you have absolutely no interest in Jaws. (The book, that is. The movie is obviously great.) Thus I have expanded this year to killer animals in general, and I’m glad I did because not only does River of Teeth feature man-eating hippos in early 20th-century America, those same man-eating hippos shocked the hell out of me by actually chomping down on the cute, little orphan child. Like, I was all, “Holy fuck, WHAT?”

TBH, it’s actually a super sad moment, but it’s also one of the few rare shock deaths that feels authentic to the story, rather than a cheap move wholly designed to be controversial. The kid’s demise hits you fast, and it really does help set up both what a dangerous world we’ve been dropped into and just how quickly these hippos move.

There are a lot of neat things about this alternate history novella (a fascinating premise, great queer rep, badass female characters, etc.), but the most important takeaway here is that if a hippo wants to kill you, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

BEST DEATH

Nicolas – One Dark Throne

A well-executed twist that you didn’t see coming is one of the sweetest pleasures reading can provide, especially if that twist includes the very violent demise of a character you absolutely can’t stand. In this book, that character was Nicolas.

Katherine keeps ingesting too much poison. (She can do that; it’s a whole thing.) Other characters repeatedly voice concern, which I knew would lead somewhere; I just assumed she’d get weak at a critical juncture or something. I had no idea that after having sex with Katherine, Nicolas would, like, fill with poison and actually bleed to death in bed, hemorrhaging from his mouth and nose and eyes. It is AWESOME. (And if you think I sound like a monster, well, you’re probably right, but Nicolas really is the worst, and anyway, Katherine gets over it relatively fast.)

Honorable Mentions: Travers (River of Teeth); Neville (River of Teeth); Jude (The City of Lost Children); Ollie (The Collapsing Empire)

JIMMY, NOOOOOOO

Naffa – The Collapsing Empire

Damn you, Scalzi. I wasn’t even worried about Naffa yet. I absolutely would’ve been, of course, because not only is she the emperor’s childhood BFF, she’s also just a super competent personal assistant type and my absolute fave, thus likely doomed for death. Still, I didn’t think she was in any immediate danger, like, surely I didn’t need to start getting nervous about her fate until the last 1/3 of the novel, right?

Wrong. You blew her up super early, and I am NOT OKAY.

Honorable Mentions: Neville (River of Teeth); Akeha’s Niece (Black Tides of Heaven); Tybalt the Cat (Anna Dressed in Blood); Naomi (The Good House); Ankh (Summer in Orcus)

BOOK THAT MADE ME CRY LIKE A BABY

Summer in Orcus – T. Kingfisher

Traditionally, this award is given out whenever I read something by Connie Willis; today, however, a new contender for the tear-jerker throne has emerged: T. Kingfisher. Overall, Summer in Orcus isn’t a particularly depressing novel; it’s warm and witty, charming and clever, and I specifically love that A) Summer is chosen specifically for her empathy, rather than her bravery or ability to defeat some evil monster, and B) Summer will undoubtedly return to Orcus when she’s older and doesn’t lose her memory or anything annoying like that. (Also, Weasel comes with her! I’m very happy about this.) Honestly, Summer in Orcus is easily one of the best things I read all year, and I would highly recommend it to pretty much everyone ever . . .

. . . but it must be said that I choked up hard when Ankh died, particularly when Ounk realized her sister would never be able to finish her sentences again.

Ugh. MY HEART, people.

BOOK I’D MOST LIKE TO SEE AS A VIDEO GAME

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

This CYOA-inspired novel is strange and fascinating, allowing the reader to really experience how one story (or one life) can spin into multiple different genres and come to wildly different conclusions. The book itself isn’t actually a choose-your-own-adventure story, but I could easily see it being adapted into one as a video game. It’d be artsy and slow-paced at first, gorgeous and melancholic, and then–depending on your choices–could become literally anything. A crazy, parallel-reality space adventure. A crime story about the mafia or art thieves. And the most important choice, of course?

What kind of umbrella do you make?

Honorable Mention: The Westing Game

BOOK I WISH I COULD VISIT FOR AT LEAST ONE DAY

Beneath the Sugar SkySeanan McGuire

Look, I know the whole premise of this series is that only being allowed to visit these fantastic worlds before being ripped away is the absolute worst, but . . . but . . . Confection! I can’t tell you how much I’d love to visit Confection; for being a fairly literal, logical person myself, the rules of Nonsense make a lot of intuitive sense to me. I honestly feel like I could adjust quite well there. Especially if I gained the ability to bake whole worlds into being and/or bake people into resurrection. Quite obviously that’s winning my SUPER ABILITY OR GADGET I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE. Though perhaps it’d be for the best if I actually learned to do some real baking first.

Also, if it wasn’t abundantly clear how much I enjoyed this story, Beneath the Sugar Sky wins for FAVORITE NOVELLA, too.

Honorable Mentions for Book I Wish I Could Visit For At Least One Day: Summer in Orcus; The Westing Game; When the Moon Was Ours; In Other Lands; The City of Lost Fortunes

Honorable Mentions for Super Ability or Gadget I’d Most Like to Have: Hosting Ghosts (A Skinful of Shadows); Gateway to Parallel Worlds (Jane, Unlimited); Wield Jade (Jade City); Harpy Wings (In Other Lands)

Honorable Mentions for Favorite Novella: The Black Tides of Heaven; Binti; Envy of Angels

FAVORITE MYSTERY

Strong Poison – Dorothy Sayers

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve been working my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey books for a while now, and I thoroughly enjoyed this sixth entry in the series, where Harriet Vane (mystery novelist and Wimsey’s love interest) is introduced. The immediacy of his insta-love still feels a bit silly to me, but I can look past it because a) Harriet is pretty great, b) they are otherwise adorable together, and c) I think it’s fantastic that she chooses to leave at the end of the novel, that after being framed for murdering her lover–who wasn’t exactly a terrific guy–Harriet’s not terribly interested in leaping into another relationship, much less a marriage. Believable character decisions FTW!

I like the premise of the mystery more than the resolution, which is often a problem for me. In this case, I’m generally of the belief that building up a resistance to iocane powder–fine, arsenic–really only works in The Princess Bride. Still, like all Sayers novels, this is an extremely easy read and witty as hell. I aspire to Dorothy Sayer’s levels of wit.

Also, as an aside: could this possibly be the very first story where a mystery writer is framed for killing a real person just like she did in her novel? This type of mystery pops up all the time on TV procedurals, but this is the earliest version of it I’ve come across myself.

Honorable Mentions: The Moonstone; Thirteen Guests; The Five Red Herrings; An Unsuitable Job For a Woman; Have His Carcase

FAVORITE NOVEL QUOTE

“The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth. After being acquitted of murdering her lover, and, indeed, in consequence of that acquittal, Harriet Vane found all three specifics abundantly at her disposal; and although Lord Peter Wimsey, with a touching faith in tradition, persisted day in and day out in presenting the bosom for her approval, she showed no inclination to recline upon it.”

Have His Carcase – Dorothy Sayers

I know. I posted this in Part I, it’s true. Still, the opening paragraph of this novel really is my favorite thing from 2018 . . . even if it was written back in 1930. Harriet Vane owns my heart and soul.

As far as Honorable Mentions go, well. I have, for brevity’s sake, forced myself–weeping–to only pick three quotes or less per novel. This is down from five, so I want you to appreciate just how hard this is. The most difficult book, and thus MOST QUOTABLE BOOK, probably goes to In Other Lands, with The Hate U Give, The Moonstone, Summer in Orcus, and every Dorothy Sayers book I read all being very strong runner-ups.)

These quotes are reproduced here because I’m a quote junkie, and I think they’re a great way to entice readers into picking up your book–as a reader, I have absolutely done this, myself–but as always, if you are the author of any of these quotes and are not happy with them being posted here, please contact me and I’ll remove them immediately.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

It was all due, of course, to the radium. Sarah’s own life may have been cut short, but the radium inside her head had a half-life of 1,600 years. It would be shooting out its rays from Sarah’s bones for centuries, long after she was gone. Even though it had killed her, it kept on bombarding her body “every day, every week, month after month, year after year.”
It is bombarding her body to this day. – The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

Yet when the papers printed the pictures of Tom and Catherine the next day, they pulled no punches. Above a photograph of the stricken couple was the headline: DEATH IS THE THIRD PERSON HERE. – The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

He could have been a hero, had he been properly motivated, but there were more pressing matters at hand. There were fortunes to be snatched from the hands of fate. There were hors d’oeuvres like the fine-boned young man in front of him, ripe for the plucking. There was swift vengeance to be inflicted on those who would interfere with his ambitions. There was Ruby. – River of Teeth

“There is no father,” Adelia said. “There is a man who gave me the child I wanted from him.” – River of Teeth

His colleague scrambled up the ladder to safety, not looking back even as the screams died with a wet crunch. – River of Teeth

“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison. – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

“Sounds like the sounds of . . .” I give up halfway through that sentence—too many versions of the same word and not enough of a preliminary idea where I was going with it—and instead put my forehead against his shoulder.
Percy laughs. “How much have you had to drink?”
“Mmm. Some.”
“Some?”
“Some of the drink.” – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

I don’t answer, because I don’t believe a prisoner owes his captors any sort of report on his health. That, and if I’m going to be sick, I’d prefer to do it all over her, and I’m prefer it to be a stealth attack. – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

“Let’s do a pajama party like the old times. We’ll build a pillow fort and ask the Magic Eight-Ball who will we marry.”
“We never did that,” Andy complained, undoing her boots. “You wouldn’t do it; it’s too unscientific. Instead, you tried to explain genetics to me to determine who we should marry to spawn superdetectives.” – Meddling Kids

The radio played “Groove Is in the Heart,” which is a radio’s way of saying it couldn’t care less about the mood of a scene. –Meddling Kids

Remember that secure session you suggested before? Let’s use it now, and call it session 566785. You are Daisy. I am Bug. Here comes my data. What the fuck?Autonomous

“Arsinoe!” her sister screams. “Where did you go? Where are you hiding?”
“She doesn’t really expect me to tell her, does she?” Arsinoe whispers, and she and the bear sink low and silent, hoping that Mirabella will not be able to find them. – One Dark Throne

“At every festival there is a feast,” Natalia explains. “And every feast is for the poisoners.” – One Dark Throne

“Oh, Evadne. Where’s your sense of adventure?”
“I had no room to pack it after you demanded you give me some of the space in my trunk for your absolutely essential collection of scarves, and eighth pair of boots.” – Creatures of Will & Temper

“I’ve been with quite a lot of girls, but I’ve never kissed—or been kissed—like a waterfall, whatever that means, nor have I spent a hot night with a friend before a mirror, caressing the ripe fruits of my womanhood.” Henry was looking at her, clearly torn between amusement and something else, Dorina couldn’t quite say. “I suppose I’m just too English for such a thing. It seems very French, for all it’s supposed to be about Greeks.” – Creatures of Will & Temper

“Take your dinner to the den,” Momma says, getting up from the table. “And sit on the floor. Bullets don’t know where they’re supposed to go.” – The Hate U Give

Daddy claims the Hogwarts houses are really gangs. They have their own colors, their own hideouts, and they are always riding for each other, like gangs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione never snitch on one another, just like gangbangers. Death Eaters even have matching tattoos. And look at Voldemort. They’re scared to say his name. Really, that “He Who Must Not Be Named” stuff is like giving him a street name. That’s some gangbanging shit right there. – The Hate U Give

“What is Tumblr anyway? Is it like Facebook?”
“No, and you’re forbidden to get one. No parents allowed. You guys already took over Facebook.”
“You haven’t responded to my friend request yet.”
“I know.”
“I need Candy Crush lives.”
“That’s why I’ll never respond.”
She gives me “the look.” I don’t care. There are some things I absolutely refuse to do. – The Hate U Give

I guess we’re almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you’re not one hundred percent sure the other person isn’t framing you for murder. – One of Us Is Lying

The worst of it was, he’d probably thought he was just taking care of me. That he was a nice guy. I hoped bad things were going to happen to him, and soon. – The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

Daniel and Danielle. Half the graves in Freedom bore a version of my name. What a fun coincidence. What a great evening I was having. – The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

“I’ve always wanted to stitch someone up,” he said. “I’ll do a before and after for Instagram.” – The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

Like the way you can memorize someone’s gestures but never know their thoughts. And the feeling that people are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. – Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Wednesday is Gender Bender Day, which basically amounts to southern straight people cross-dressing. It’s definitely not my favorite. We’re watching Twelfth Night in first period, because every English teacher is a comedian. – Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

I take a sip of my beer, and it’s—I mean, it’s just astonishingly disgusting. I don’t think I was expecting it to taste like ice cream, but holy fucking hell. People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin. Anyway, it really makes you worry about all the hype surrounding sex. – Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

“People make mistakes, they can’t be mistakes.” – The Black Tides of Heaven

“The saying goes ‘The black tides of heaven direct the courses of human lives.’ To which a wise teacher said, ‘But as with all waters, one can swim against the tide.” His gaze was unshakeable as it fixed on Akeha. “I chose to swim. So can you.” – The Black Tides of Heaven

I have paused to show you, Mary, staring into the mirror because this is a story about monsters. All stories about monsters contain a scene in which the monster sees himself in a mirror. – The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Mary tried to imagine the respectable Mrs. Poole as Titania, queen of the fairies, but to this imagination would not stretch. – The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

“Come with me. You were created for me, to be my companion and mate. We shall go off to some desolate corner of the Earth, where we shall live out our miserable existence together.”
“I am not a you,” I said. “I am Justine, and I am a rational creature, capable of determining my own actions. I have no desire to go to some desolate place, nor yet to be miserable.” – The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

No matter how many gingerbread houses I made, it only increased my fury. – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Terror is tiring, and difficult to keep up indefinitely, so sooner or later it must be replaced by something more practical. – A Skinful of Shadows

It was as if History were walking at his heels like a vast, invisible hound. It followed him, but he did not command it. Perhaps he would tame it. Or perhaps it would it eat him. – A Skinful of Shadows

Afterwards both spoke highly of his bravery. But then again, the dead are often easier to praise than the living. – A Skinful of Shadows

Sex, Alice had decided, was like jogging. All the people in the world could say it’s so amazing and great for you, but if you don’t care about jogging, you’d rather spend your time with a Netflix queue and a box of doughnuts.
Orgasms, Alice had decided, were like stretching after exercising. It felt amazing in the moment, but who really thought about that perfect stretch two hours later? She certainly didn’t. – Let’s Talk About Love

“You might want to strap in for this ride I like to call Not Black Enough to Be the Black Sheep of Black Excellence.” – Let’s Talk About Love

“This is fun for you, correcting people like an asshole instead of answering their questions?” – The City of Lost Fortune

For all her culture and jazz and cuisine, New Orleans also had poverty, addiction, and desperation in equal measure. She was a great place to find yourself, and a terrible place to get lost. – The City of Lost Fortune

Regardless, option one boiled down to give up and die.
Option one sucked. – The City of Lost Fortune

The boy who is sitting with Cricket is handsome but smiles too much. Boys who have dimples overuse them. – Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword

“The effectiveness of our institution’s curriculum is directly proportional to the misery of the student.” – Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword

“Do not think yourselves skilled for your performances at the first Motivation. Your skills are trash.” – Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword

“But you wouldn’t want a wife who wrote books, would you?”
“But I should; it would be great fun. So much more interesting than the ordinary kind that is only keen on clothes and people. Though of course, clothes and people are all right too, in moderation. I don’t mean to say I object to clothes.” – Strong Poison

“But, by the way, you’re bearing in mind, aren’t you, that I’ve had a lover?”
“Oh, yes. So have I, if it comes to that. In fact, several. It’s the sort of thing that might happen to anybody.” – Strong Poison

“I say—I’ve thought of a good plot for a detective story.”
“Really?”
“Top-hole. You know, the sort people bring out and say, ‘I’ve often thought of doing it myself, if I could only find the time to sit down and write it.’ I gather that sitting down is all that is necessary for producing masterpieces.” – Strong Poison

Jane suddenly feels like a character in a novel by Edith Wharton or the Brontes. I’m a young woman of reduced circumstances, with no family and no prospects, invited by a wealthy family to their glamorous estate. Could this be my heroic journey? – Jane, Unlimited

Jane has only just woken; she doesn’t have the fortitude yet to cope with the fact that she’s being snuggled by a velociraptor. – Jane, Unlimited

When she opens her eyes sometime later, she’s still in Zorsted with a strayhound in her lap, but now she’s come to a conclusion: Either this is real, or she’s having hallucinations. And if she’s having hallucinations, she might as well collect more information to bring back to her doctor, Doctor Gordon, who always asks for details.  – Jane, Unlimited

“Everybody’s a skeleton someday. You die, and the soft parts drop away, and what’s left behind is all beautiful bone. I just want to go back to a place where I don’t have to die to be beautiful.” – Beneath the Sugar Sky

“The First Baker would be ashamed of you. The First Oven would refuse to bake your heart.” – Beneath the Sugar Sky

“I like existing. I’m not ready to unexist just because of stupid causality. I didn’t invite stupid causality to my birthday, it doesn’t get to give me any presents.” – Beneath the Sugar Sky

Like most of the well-intentioned plans in her life, the party had grown into something to dread. – The Good House

In Africa, she told me, our direct ancestors could take wing and fly. It was our birthright, she said, to create miracles. – The Good House

“I don’t know, but I’m not ready to start cutting off chicken heads. She has a lot in there about blood—the meaning of the sacrifice, how blood is the life force of the world. It’s deep. I can see the point, for real, but I’d rather not go that route. I might want to be a vet, you know? How am I supposed to go around killing animals?” – The Good House

“That must be from the Bible.”
“Shakespeare,” Turtle replied. All quotations were either from the Bible or Shakespeare. – The Westing Game

They gave her the same inconsistency they might give a lover: adoration at night, disavowal in the morning. How indebted they were to her meant they offered her either scorn or respect, depending on the time of day and how many people were watching. – When The Moon Was Ours

Aracely was all the magic and skill. Miel was just a body so restless petals burst from her skin. – When The Moon Was Ours

The difference between baptism and drowning is a few faithless breaths. – When The Moon Was Ours

We had our breakfasts—whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn’t matter, you must have your breakfast. – The Moonstone

“Speaking as a servant, I am deeply indebted to you. Speaking as a man, I consider you to be a person whose head is full of maggots, and I take up my testimony against your experiment as a delusion and a snare.” – The Moonstone

“Sir,” he said gravely, “there are great allowances to be made for a man who has not read ROBINSON CRUSOE since he was a child.” – The Moonstone

“What happened then?” I asked, because there’s nothing better than the memories of others when you’re little and have no stories of your own. – Dread Nation

“You here to keep an eye on us? It would be difficult to steal the silver when everyone’s using it.” – Dread Nation

There’s nothing white folks hate more than realizing they accidentally treated a Negro like a person. – Dread Nation

“Beastly man, that Mr. Taverly,” she observed. “He’s so hatefully nice!”
“I like him, too,” replied John. “Is niceness a vice?”
“Yes—like water. You must have something with it.” – Thirteen Guests

He laughed loudly at his joke. He always did, in case others did not. – Thirteen Guests

He wished Nadine had been plain, so he could have enjoyed her companionship with a free mind and conscience. Yet had she been plain, would that companionship have been so keenly desired? He refused to face the question. – Thirteen Guests

“Geneva, people like to buy old shit off the highway. Makes them feel good about how well they living now. They call it antiques.”
“I call it rust,” Geneva said. “And the answer is no.” – Bluebird, Bluebird

She was a nice girl, but she had small-town problems that didn’t interest him while he was cleaning blood out of his truck in the middle of the night. – Bluebird, Bluebird

“It’s not personal, Captain.”
“Getting murdered for money feels personal, Ollie.” – The Collapsing Empire

“What if I had been injured? What if I hadn’t been able to walk? What if there had been more than two of them?”
“I would have figured something out.”
“I have notes on this rescue.”
“I can put you back if you like.” – The Collapsing Empire

It was nice when you could look up to your parent, even as an adult, and think, ‘This is who I fucking want to be when I grow up.’ – The Collapsing Empire

“If you must know, she is the one soul destined for my own, and we are going to be together forever,” he declared loftily.
“That’s weird,” Luke told him. “We’re thirteen.” – In Other Lands

Rachel might like him, but she loved Luke. Nobody had ever loved Elliot, but he was really smart. He was smart enough to know the difference. – In Other Lands

“Tell me about computers.”
“Well . . .” Luke said, and looked shifty about the eyes. “They’re boxes . . . but you can write things in them. And read things in them. And there are cats in them who are funny for some reason. They’re like—boxes of infinity. And! You keep the Wikipedia in them.” – In Other Lands

Summer had never had a father and wasn’t entirely sure what you did with one, and certainly her mother never had anything good to say about the one Summer didn’t have. But she sometimes thought that it would be nice to have a brother or a sister, not because she particularly liked other children but because it would have been nice to have somebody to share the burden of her mother’s love. – Summer in Orcus

Poets and even ordinary people make much of dew. They point to it on grass and sing its praises on spiderwebs. Words like “silver” and “gossamer” and “a thousand glittering diamonds” are thrown about whenever dew comes up, often by people who should know better. Occasionally, they will even go so far as to speak of “nymph tears sparkling on the grass” or some such. When it has gotten to this stage, they generally need to be sat down and given a stern talking-to, and perhaps a settling cup of tea. – Summer in Orcus

The thought of her own bed nearly brought tears to her eyes. I could sleep there. I could sleep and wake up and I’d be in a world where no one has tried to kill me.
They never told you, in the stories, what a weight that was. – Summer in Orcus

“Hard day?”
He snorted. “When I showed up at the writers’ room, someone had taped a sign above the door that said ‘Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.”
“That’s . . . pointed.” – Impostor Syndrome

“We meet again,” Winterglass said to Caryl, because God forbid anyone from the Unseelie Court should sound like anything other than a Bond villain. – Imposter Syndrome

Waters was an Englishman of good yeoman stock, and, like all Englishman, was ready enough to admire and praise all foreigners, but, like all Englishman, he did not like to hear them praise themselves. – The Five Red Herrings

“Last Tuesday morning they found Campbell lying dead in the Minnoch with a nasty crack in his head, made with a blunt instrument. And as you had last been seen with your ten fingers on his throat, threatening to do him in, we rather wondered, you know, what had become of you and all that.” – The Five Red Herrings

“Then why couldn’t my husband believe it?”
“Because he was in love with you.”
“That is not the kind of love I recognize as love. If he loved me he should have trusted me.” – The Five Red Herrings

Mostly, asexual people would like to foster an experience of coming out that doesn’t require a subsequent thirty-to-forty-minute education session during which they must defend and explain the existence of their orientation. – The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality

This isn’t about putting yourself in an asexual person’s shoes; it’s about recognizing that people wear different shoes because they have different feet. – The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality

We haven’t made a decision. We’ve made an observation, and we’re living our lives based on the assumption that what we’ve observed about ourselves is true. – The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality

“No. I am headed to the Philosophers Club and I should warn you, despite the name, there are no philosophers there. It’s a drinking den.”
“Where?”
“Up there,” he said, pointing at a faded building, four stories high, its windows impenetrable behind burgundy velvet.
“Why do they call it the Philosophers Club?”
“After a few drinks, all men become philosophers.” – The Beautiful Ones

“He’s not a bad man,” Hector said.
“And underwhelming endorsement,” she said. – The Beautiful Ones

I could tell by the inflection that each dude had a different meaning, but it was a language I didn’t know or care to learn. – Hollywood Homicide

No one had actually dared say his name to me in weeks. He was like Voldermort, except with a nose. – Hollywood Homicide

I didn’t want Omari to think I wanted something from him just because he was famous. That was not the case. I wanted something from him because I was broke. – Hollywood Homicide

August 20. Almost home. Well, for some definition of almost and homeA Study in Honor

She said a brief convent-taught prayer to the God she wasn’t sure existed for the soul which Bernie had never believed he possessed and waited quietly for the police. – An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

All her foster parents, kindly and well-meaning in their different ways, had demanded one thing of her – that she should be happy. She had quickly learned that to show unhappiness was to risk the loss of love. – An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

It was just as well that he had left Rome before his lovemaking had become too pleasurable and he too important to her. It was intolerable to think that those strange gymnastics might one day become necessary. Lovemaking, she had decided, was over-rated, not painful but surprising. The alienation between thought and action was so complete. – An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

Thankfully, they knew not to touch my hair again. I don’t like war, either. – Binti

She doesn’t smile, because none of the original artists could render a realistic chicken smiling without it looking horrifying, especially to children. – Envy of Angels

When she clucks, and she frequently does, it sounds like the funeral horn of some Viking god. – Envy of Angels

“Everyone else sees a legion of undead clowns worshipping a giant chicken, right?” – Envy of Angels

“I know you’re reading the menu,” Caroline said into the table. “You should be emphathizing with my pain.”
“I am,” Simone said. “But I’m also looking at the menu. I’m a multitasker.” – Depth

In its purest form, done right, watching an experimental film is the closest you can come to dreaming another person’s dream. Which is why to watch one is, essentially, to invite another person into your head, hoping you emerge haunted. – Experimental Film

The maiden suffers politely, beautifully, deferentially, so King Frost—impressed by her polite lies—gives her a reward. Her shrewish stepsister complains, like any normal human being, and is frozen alive. – Experimental Film

But reading Safie’s thesis was the kind of wonderful gobsmack that happens all too rarely: the instant realization that somebody else just gets it; that you’re not alone in your dislocation. That you’ve finally, finally found somebody else you can talk to without having to explain to. – Experimental Film

Nobody could say he would to be dull to live with. But the trouble was that you never knew what anybody was like to live with except by living with them. It wasn’t worth it. Not even to know all about steam-yachts. A novelist couldn’t possibly marry all the people from who she wanted specialized information. – Have His Carcase

Peter: I just wanted to ask whether you’d given any further thought to that suggestion about marrying me.
Harriet (sarcastically): I suppose you were thinking about how delightful it would be to go through life like this together?
Peter: Well, not quite like this. Hand in hand was more my idea.
Harriet: What is that in your hand?
Peter: A dead starfish.
Harriet: Poor fish! – Have His Carcase

“And yet, that mare went along that bit of beach not so very long ago, or I’ll eat my hat. Eh? Oh, thanks, Bunter.”
He took the hat which Bunter gravely proffered him. – Have His Carcase

I remember the first time I saw the Wall. I had expected something dull and featureless. A fifty-foot high mountain of gray concrete, barbed wire lining the top like in some apocalyptic movie. But I had forgot that the Diné had already suffered their apocalypse over a century before. This wasn’t our end. This was our rebirth. – Trail of Lightning

“Thirsty Boys? What are they thirsty for?” He blinks slowly, like he’s bracing himself. “Please don’t say blood.” – Trail of Lightning

“You know people who love you don’t hurt you like that,” he says, eyes steady on me. “Love’s not supposed to try to kill you.” – Trail of Lightning

Sunny and secluded, remote and rich, Harrows was a very desirable place to live.
But that didn’t preclude its citizens dying.
John Bowie found this out the bad way. – Unbury Carol

“Why didn’t you stop him?”
“On what grounds, Sheriff?”
Opal searched for an answer.
“I don’t know, Cole! Mystery!” – Unbury Carol

“But do you mind telling me exactly where you come into it? From what I can see, Miss Dean does not seem to welcome your championship with any great enthusiasm.” – Murder Must Advertise

“I’ve no objection to being frank with you,” replied Major Milligan.
“How nice it is to hear anybody say that. It always prepares one for a lie to follow. Forewarned is forearmed, isn’t it?” – Murder Must Advertise

Having given voice to this atrocious outburst of sentiment, he became extremely red in the face, and hastened to cover up his lapse of good taste. – Murder Must Advertise

Dreaming was easier than screaming, and screaming was easier than worrying, and worrying was easier than crying, which was what she knew she would be reduced to if she didn’t keep a hard eye on herself.  – The Brief History of the Dead

It’s like your sunlight and water—the wrong kind of love is just as likely to stifle hope as it is to nourish it. – The Brief History of the Dead

“I could still kill him for you.”
“Screw you, Hilo,” she snapped. “I can kill my ex-boyfriends myself.” – Jade City

Of course his family still considered him an unspeakable embarrassment, but being filthy rich was the best sort of revenge. – Jade City

In fact, although the train had come to an unofficial halt that appeared to be permanent, he pooh-poohed the whole thing as insignificant with the irritating superiority of a world-traveler.
“If you want to know what snow’s really like,” he remarked to the young lady next to him, “you ought to try the Yukon.”
“Ought I?” murmured the young lady obediently. – Mystery in White

“I have more important things to think about than pneumonia,” answered the old man.
“Pneumonia can be quite important.”  – Mystery in White

“Shall I revert to desperate remedies and try to be funny?”
“The situation isn’t quite as desperate as that.”  – Mystery in White

To top the fact that Alexander Platt is not even here, the dress Sim purchased in town was made with a waistline that can only be described as aspirational. – The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy

It is not as much blood as I anticipated—though if there’s anything I’ve learned from being a woman, it’s how not very much blood can manage to smear itself around and masquerade as a great deal more than it truly is. – The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy

I do not need reasons to exist. I do not need to justify the space I take up in this world. – The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy

If you don’t feel it cracking your knees, your spine, was it really praying? Was it worth God’s time to listen?
If you didn’t feel it on your body long after he’d left, was it really worth laying for him? I wanted to feel it. – Queenpin

She’d track me down and string me up by the hair and slice me up the middle, and make Tommy and Debbie watch. She knew how to end things. She knew how to make it so you’d never forget. Never shake the sight of her in full dark bloom.
She was an artist. – Queenpin

But the booze both jazzed up the panic and gave me some nerve. Wasn’t that what booze was for? – Queenpin

“Are you mocking my work?”
“On the contrary,” Long Chau said. Her face was set in a peculiar expression, one The Shadow’s Child couldn’t read. “Merely appreciating the value of localised miracles.” – The Tea Master and the Detective

And I could speculate, but it’s an unhealthy pastime. – The Tea Master & The Detective

Well, I guess that’s it for another year! What were your favorites in 2018? What are you looking forward to checking out in 2019?

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