"I wondered then: are trans boys opting for the more liberating, albeit challenging, paths as human beings? Was it treasonous for me, as his mother, to wonder if this were true?"

The Unfinished Dollhouse: A Memoir of Gender and Identity by Michelle Alfano

"'He called himself a 'thug Buddha'...It was always Now o'clock.'"

Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality by Sarah Barmak

"At this very moment, the town was full of people lying in bed thinking with an intense, an inexhaustible, an almost raging passion of becoming famous if they weren't already famous, and even more famous if they were; or of becoming wealthy if they weren't already wealthy, or wealthier if they were; or powerful if they weren't powerful now, and more powerful if they already were. There were times when the intensity with which they wanted these things impressed me. There was even, at times, a certain legitimacy to their desires."

My Face for the World to See by Alfred Hayes


"'Basically,' he began, 'the tourist can be divided into two categories. The Organized -- the Disorganized; Under Organized you find two distinct types: the Eager-Beaver-Culture-Vulture with the list ten yards long, who just manages to get it all crossed off before she collapses of aesthetic indigestion each night and has to be carried back to her hotel; and second, the cool, suave Sophisticate, who comes gliding over gracefully, calmly, and indifferently. But don't be fooled by her indifference. This babe is determined to maintain her incorruptible standards of cleanliness and efficiency if the entire staff of her hotel dies trying. She belongs to the take-your-own-toilet-paper set.'"

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

"'You make a more interesting class of mistake,' said Sonia, and laughed."

Seven Years by Peter Stamm

"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