"Mutual understanding in the world being nearly always, as now, at low ebb, it is comforting to remember that it is through art that one country can nearly always speak reliably to another, if the other can hear at all."

The Eye of the Story by Eudora Welty

"Because I would rather wonder than know, my interests and talents lie in the arts rather than the sciences, although, like the monk who discovered champagne -- an accidental event that unexpectedly happened to his wine -- I have on occasion come running toward another with the news, 'Look! I am drinking the stars!'"

Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle

"I'm just telling you, human to human, that life is complicated and fat people are trying to live."

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

"...only 18.2 percent resulted in a live birth. Regardless the age of the patient, regardless the exact variant of treatment, most cycles failed...It's an industry predicated on failure."

Avalanche by Julia Leigh

"My love for Agnes had changed, and was different now from anything I'd experienced before...For the first time in my life, I had the sensation that something outside me, something strange and incomprehensible, was entering me."

Agnes by Peter Stamm

"Nothing was normal here and that I liked. Here, in this ravaged landscape, I didn't have to shrink from everyday details that were no longer ours. The shop we bought hot bread from, a blue car, a basketball. My surroundings were as deformed as I was. I belonged here."

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala



"The philosopher Julian Baggini wrote that 'I is a verb masquerading as a noun.'"

The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

"Siblings are the first people we love irrationally. Their faces and behaviors are like funhouse-mirror versions of our own, formed into different configurations of the same genetic material, but eerily similar..."

All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey

"It was, and is, above all about the attempt to make space for new pleasure in one's life...as a gesture of faith in the possibility..."

Eaten Back to Life by Jonah Campbell

"She told us to keep our sentences simple, and I didn't quite obey. But why write 'I went to the store with a friend' when, without relying on the dictionary, I can say 'I visited the slaughterhouse with my godfather and a small monkey'?"

Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris