Collected from my Currently Reading section on the blog sidebar:
“Dessert consists mainly of a gargantuan tiered cake shaped to resemble circus tents and frosted in stripes, the filling within a bright shock of raspberry cream. There are also miniature chocolate leopards, and strawberries coated in looping patterns of dark and white chocolates.”
~ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“I’ve never seen anything,” she said. “But there are stories. Not stories that I know. I just know there are stories. If you believe that sort of thing.”
~ Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link (“Stone Animals”)
This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.
~ Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. It was the early summer of 1945, and we walked through the streets of a Barcelona trapped beneath ashen skies as dawn poured over Rambla de Santa Mónica in a wreath of liquid copper.
~ The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, trans. by Lucia Graves
They heard through falling rain the running of the horse and bear, the stroke of the leopard, the dragon’s crusty slither, and the glimmer and the trumpet of the swan.
~ “The Wanderers” by Eudora Welty
In two weeks Tess will be nine. And after nearly nine years in this world, she knows that some things need to be worried about. Mrs. Stuart had a dog that got struck by lightning. A girl at Tess’s school drowned in a swimming pool. Cars crashed. Knives slipped. Sometimes, women got into strange cars with strange men and didn’t ever come back.
~ Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle (“Nine”)
I was a precocious dreamer. At the age of one I lay in my crib and saw forest paths winding among fat trees full of cupboards and stairways. At five I imagined detailed houses with manypaned windows and precise fireplaces, all of which mocked the conventional squares with rectangle roofs that alone my childish fingers could manage.
~ The Barnum Museum by Steven Millhauser (“The Invention of Robert Herendeen”)
My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there—and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses. ~ St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell (“Ava Wrestles the Alligator”)
I dreamed that there was a scraping noise by the door. Someone was looking in through the little side window. It was human-shaped, but it sort of had no detail. It was waving at me with a fingerless paw. The door handle was jerking up and down. ~ Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck (“Brita’s Holiday Village”)
Since my arrival here, my own fantasies have grown as dark as the room. In them I snip a new girl’s thread midair, or yank all the silk out of her at once, so that she falls lifelessly forward like a Bunraku puppet. I haven’t been able to cry since my first night here—but often I feel a water pushing at my skull. ~ Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories by Karen Russell (“Reeling for the Empire”)
An animal. Maybe a moose had stumbled through. But the scarf and mittens? A raven or a whiskey jack, maybe. Wild birds had been known to snatch things. As he turned away, he caught sight of the tracks. Moonlight fell in the hollows. The prints ran through the snow, away from the cabin and into the trees. He bent over them. The silvery blue light was weak, so at first he didn’t trust his eyes. Coyote, or maybe lynx. Something other than this. He bent closer and touched the track with the tips of his bare fingers. Human footprints. Small. The size of a child’s. ~ The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion—whether they’re triggered by anger or envy, humiliation or resentment—if the next thing you’re going to say makes you feel better, then it’s probably the wrong thing to say. This is one of the finer maxims that I’ve discovered in life. And you can have it, since it’s been of no use to me. ~ Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Every wolf in the world now howled a prothalamion outside the window as she freely gave him the kiss she owed him.
What big teeth you have!
She saw how his jaw began to slaver and the room was full of the clamour of the forest’s Liebestod but the wise child never flinched, even as he answered: All the better to eat you with.
The girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody’s meat.
~ Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter (“The Company of Wolves”)