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2018 Book Memories Challenge


I don’t think this challenge is still technically a thing, but I enjoy it, so here we go! Caution: thar may be spoilers ahead.

P.S. Wasn’t Mags something? I sure am gonna miss photographing you with appropriately-named books, old gal. BFFs 5EVER.

  1. Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake Crouch (2013)

    “I think he’s trying to preserve our way of life.”
    “For who? Us or him?”

    A millennium without air or light pollution made for pitch-black skies. The stars didn’t just appear anymore. They exploded. Diamonds on black velvet. You couldn’t tear your eyes away.

  2. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (2012)
  3. The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch (2014)

    “It’s strange,” Ethan said. “The world belongs to them now, but we still possess something they don’t have.”
    “Kindness. Decency. That’s what it is to be human. At our best at least.”
    Ben looked confused.
    “I think this abby is different,” Ethan said.
    “What do you mean?”
    “She has an intelligence, a gentleness I haven’t seen in any of the others. Maybe she has a family she wants to see again.”
    “We should shoot her and burn her with all the rest.”
    “And what would that accomplish? Feed our anger for a few minutes? What if we did the opposite? What if we sent her out into her world with a message about the species that once lived in this valley? I know it’s crazy, but I’m holding tight to the idea that a small act of kindness can have real resonance.”

    “The funny thing is, as bad as I am, I don’t have it in me to murder her husband. Is there a fate worse than being halfway evil?”

  4. Kim Reaper, Volume 1: Grim Beginnings (Kim Reaper #1-4) by Sarah Graley (2018)
  5. The New Hunger (Warm Bodies #1.5) by Isaac Marion (2015)

    Hours pass. Then his eyes remember how to focus, and the world sharpens. He thinks that he liked the world better before he could see it.

    It’s a strange feeling, being judged by a child. He’s seven years old; where the hell did he get a moral compass? Certainly not from his parents. Not even from her. She supposes there must be people in the world who stick to their principles, who always do the right thing, but they are few and far between, especially now. Where does a child get an idea as unnatural as goodness?

    Everyone living in these times knows the most important rule of conservation: if you have to kill someone, make sure they stay dead. It may be a losing battle, the math may be against the Living, but diligence in this one area will at least slow down the spread of the plague. Responsible murder is the new recycling.

    He finds a riot helmet and crams it down over his springy hair. “Halt!” he orders in cop-voice, and Nora smiles through a sudden rush of bittersweet sadness that takes her a moment to understand. She feels ashamed when she realizes it’s nostalgia. She has already begun missing him.

    Thirty-four miles north of the police station, a young girl who recently killed a young boy is watching beige houses flicker through the headlights of her family’s SUV. Her father’s eyes are tight on the road, her mother’s on everything around the road, pistol at the ready should anything incongruous emerge from this idyllic suburban scene. They are traveling later than they usually do, later than is safe, and the girl is glad. She hates sleeping. Not just because of the nightmares, but because everything is urgent. Because life is short. Because she feels a thousand fractures running through her, and she knows they run through the world. She is racing to find the glue.
    Thirty-four miles south of this girl, a man who recently learned he is a monster is following two other monsters up a steep hill in an empty city, because he can smell life in the distance and his purpose now is to take it. A brutish thing inside him is giggling and slavering and clutching its many hands in anticipation, overjoyed to finally be obeyed, but the man himself feels none of this. Only a coldness deep in his chest, in the organ that once pumped blood and feeling and now pumps nothing. A dull ache like a severed stump numbed in ice – what was there is gone, but it hurts. It still hurts.
    And three hundred feet north of these monsters are a girl and boy who are looking for new parents. Or perhaps becoming them. Both are strong, both are super smart and super cool, and both are tiny and alone in a vast, merciless, endlessly hungry world.
    All six are moving toward each other, some by accident, some by intent, and though their goals differ considerably, on this particular summer night, under this particular set of cold stars, all of them are sharing the same thought:
    Find people.

  6. Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks by Jim Mahfood (2017)
  7. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (2018)
  8. Black Genealogy: Poems (The Mineral Point Poetry Series, Volume 6) by Kiki Petrosino and Lauren Haldeman (2017)

    You want to know who owned us & where.
    But when you type, your searches return no results.
    Slavery was grown folks’ business, then old folks’.
    We saw no reason to hum Old Master’s name
    to our grandchildren, or point out his overgrown gates
    but you want to know who owned us & where
    we got free. You keep typing our names into oblongs
    of digital white. You plant a unicode tree & climb up
    into grown folks’ business. You know old folks
    don’t want you rummaging here, so you pile sweet jam
    in your prettiest dish. You light candles & pray:
    Tell me who owned you & where
    I might find your graves.
    Little child, we’re at rest
    in the acres we purchased. Those days of
    slavery were old folks’ business. The grown folks
    buried us deep. Only a few of our names survive.
    We left you that much, sudden glints in the grass.
    The rest is grown folks’ business we say. Yet
    you still want to know. Who owned us? Where?

    Your waiter hands you a single oyster fork, the better to pierce through your skull at any time. No one shall say a word.

  9. Black Comix Returns edited by John Jennings and Damian Duffy (2018)

    It was the Christmas season of 1999.
    I was an editor for the Batman line of titles at DC Comics in the second phase of my career in the comic book industry.
    An artist walked into my office, one whom I had given work to earlier that year.
    He gave me a Christmas gift.
    I was surprised, thankful, and appreciative. I told the artist he didn’t have to get me anything.
    He told me, “You were one of the only two editors who gave me work in this company this year.”
    Both of us looked at each other, both of us in our black skin, and we knew what that meant in its unspoken implication and disgusting truth.
    Had I not been in “The Room,” a black artist of competitive skills would have been marginalized and left out of the halls of a publisher of heroes and teams
    with words like “justice” in their names, simply because he was considered lesserthan due to his complexion and the style of his hair.
    – Joseph Illidge, “The Room”

  10. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One (Women are some kind of magic #2) by Amanda Lovelace (2018)

    very being
    is considered
    an inconvenience,
    our bodies
    vacant homes
    wrapped in layers
    of yellow tape,
    our legs
    double doors
    for one man
    (& one man only)
    to pry open so
    he can invade us
    & set down his
    never once
    asking us
    how we feel
    about the curtains.
    – they love us empty, empty, empty.

    in this novel
    the woman protagonist
    claims she’s not like
    those other girls,
    not because she finds
    their femininity
    to be an insult or
    a weakness, no—
    she knows
    all women have
    their own unique
    that cannot be
    replicated by her
    or any other
    – the plot twist we’ve all been waiting for.

    /m ‘säj ne/
    1: the power-driven hatred of women.
    2: just the way things are.

    /mi ‘ sandre/
    1: the reactionary, self-preserving hatred of men.
    2: somehow this is going too far.

    & a woman’s
    is nothing
    if not immortal.

    when it
    was all over,
    we gathered
    & raised
    our faces—
    eyes closed—
    the sky.
    a cry/a plead/
    a thanks
    to the woman
    who fought to
    keep our fire
    but got
    pushed into
    the pit
    thank you
    for believing
    we could be
    more than
    fading embers.
    – for hillary.

    next time:
    shine so brightly
    the men think you’re
    guiding them into
    the afterlife.

  11. We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly (2016)

    She was sick, but she was also an asshole, and I was tired of using one to excuse the other.

  12. Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery (Incognegro Graphic Novels #1) by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece (2018)
  13. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (2014)
  14. Pestilence, Volume 1 by Frank Tieri, Mike Marts, and Oleg Okunev (2018)
  15. Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major and Kelly Bastow (2018)

    We’re trying to get volunteers to take part in the annual man count so we can keep track of all the stray men in the neighborhood.

    If he’s only been missing a day he’s probably just holed up somewhere nearby. Men like to find small spaces and hide out.
    Not all men though. Some men like the open space.
    No not all men, obviously.

  16. Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz (2018)
  17. The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics (2017)

    She slid the glasses on her face and studied her reflection with those of her sisters, the lot of them like one long, fucked up rainbow.

  18. Sci-Fu by Yehudi Mercado (2018)
  19. All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell (2018)

    We lived. We survived to whisper our names to each other even if we could not yet confess them to anyone else.
    (“Roja” by Anna-Marie McLemore)

    “All my life, people have told me what to do or taken what’s mine. The same is true for you! We’ve been raised among pirates who call themselves gentlemen. And I’m ready to turn the tables. I’m ready to take what’s mine and maybe a few things that aren’t.”
    (“The Sweet Trade” by Natalie C. Parker)

    Clara had started this day evading a kiss she didn’t want, but she would end it with one she did.
    (“The Sweet Trade” by Natalie C. Parker)

    Ezgi Olmez does not always roll off the tongue in the outer suburbs of Boston, but my Turkish parents obviously didn’t give much thought to that. I do love that about them though. They are unapologetically foreign.
    (“The End of the World As We Know It” by Sara Farizan)

    Rosa was a summer girl, and I was a winter girl, but that fall we made magic.
    (“Healing Rosa” by Tehlor Kay Mejia)

  20. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and Jenn St-Onge (2018)
  21. War Mother by Fred Van Lente, Stephen Segovia, and Tomás Giorello (2018)
  22. Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons of Ares by Pierce Brown (2018)
  23. 30 Days of Night, Vol. 1 by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (2007)
  24. 30 Days of Night, Vol. 2: Dark Days by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (2007)
  25. My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris (2018)
  26. 30 Days of Night, Vol. 3: Return to Barrow by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (2004)
  27. 30 Days of Night, Vol. 7: Eben and Stella by Steve Niles, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Justin Randall (2007)
  28. Spectacle, Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (2018)
  29. Petra by Marianna Coppo (2018)

    I’m an egg. A smooth and shiny egg.
    I’m not any ordinary egg.
    I am an egg of the world,
    in a world of possibility.
    Will I breathe fire?
    Will I wear a tuxedo?
    Whatever I become, I’m bound to be amazing!

  30. 30 Days of Night, Vol. 9: Beyond Barrow by Steve Niles and Bill Sienkiewicz (2008)
  31. Firebug by Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillain (2018)
  32. Jessica Jones: Alias Omnibus by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos (2006)
  33. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish (2017)

    Once I could read, man, it was like I had a superpower! I wasn’t stupid! All them words made sense!

    The only downside to the Bar Mitzvahs was that I killed a man once. I’m not even kidding.

    So I ended up getting out of pimping, because I didn’t make much money. It’s just not a lucrative business, selling dick. Dick ain’t really all that hard to come by.

    I know other people had problems leaving Scientology, but they let me the fuck out pretty quick.

  34. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (2014)

    Ove just wants to die in peace. Is that really too much to ask?

    Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.

    Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.

    “God took a child from me, darling Ove. But he gave me a thousand others.”

    “The great thing about scrutinizing bureaucracy when you’re a journalist, you see, is that the first people to break the laws of bureaucracy are always the bureaucrats themselves.”

  35. Jessica Jones: The Pulse: The Complete Collection (The Pulse #1-3) by Brian Michael Bendis (2014)
  36. Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan (2018)

    tell them when we discovered life on another planet
    it was a woman
    & she built a bridge, not a border
    (Denice Frohman, “A Woman’s Place”)

    I want to believe
    I’m a better woman now
    that I’m writing poems.
    that when I say, poems
    I mean another way
    to say, revenge.
    (Denice Frohman, “Hunger”)

    Tell me more, how you care about
    “this largest genocide of black people”
    when I’ve never seen you and your signs
    at a Black Lives Matter protest.
    Tell me, did you mourn Tamir & Aiyana & Jordan,
    as hard as you celebrated the shooting of a clinic in Colorado?
    (Elizabeth Acevdeo, “An Open Letter to the Protestors Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job”)

    My god understands how slave women plucked pearls
    from between their legs rather than see them strung up by the neck.
    (Elizabeth Acevdeo, “An Open Letter to the Protestors Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job”)

    This little grandmother
    was ordered to pull down her paintings
    because the Rabbi was offended
    by her version of Eve: 9 months pregnant,
    unbroken & reaching for another apple.
    (Ruth Irupe Sanabria, “On Mate & the Work”)

  37. Bald Knobber by Robert Sergel (2018)

    The book is kind of boring after that.

  38. The Ghost, The Owl by Franco and Sara Richard (2018)
  39. Flocks by L. Nichols (2018)
  40. Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye (2018)
  41. Box of Bones #1 by Ayize Jama-Everett and John Jennings (2018)
  42. Atar Gull by Fabien Nury and Brüno (2016)
  43. Jessica Jones: Avenger by Brian Michael Bendis, et al. (2016)
  44. Under Dogs by Andrius Burba (2018)
  45. Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome. edited by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner (2018)

    Sure, this sadness still came out in strange ways. I wept on the subway when I found out Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia had died because, as I later tearfully explained to a friend, “Who will go to the opera with Ruth Bader Ginsburg now?”
    (“There Won’t Be Blood,” Ruby Dutcher)

    I was seven months pregnant when he died at home, held by his friends and family. His wife, Laura, had her arms around him. I stood beside him, with my husband’s arms wrapped around me, my hugely pregnant belly swelling into Anthony’s back, pressing my womb as close as possible to an imaginary spot where I’d decided his soul resided, trying to herd his soul into the soul of my unborn baby like a clueless parking director in a random grassy field on baseball day: no idea where the cars go, they don’t really go anywhere, they just have to park somewhere. A little to the left, back it up, whatever, a little to the right, stop.
    I don’t even really believe in a soul.
    (“A Little to the Left,” Amanda Palmer)

    If you weren’t the one who died, then you eventually have to figure out how to keep living.
    (“The Dead-Brother Code Switch,” Rachel Sklar)

  46. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (2016)

    “Because when everything is said and done, Charlotte, the world runs on kindness. It simply has to, or we’d never be able to bear ourselves. It might not seem so to you now, but it will when you’re older.”

    Move forward. Keep on truckin’. I’m getting tired of everyone thinking it’s so easy to live. Because it’s not. At all.

    “This heartbreak,” he says, sitting at the table, placing a napkin on his lap. “And I don’t mean what happened with that young man, because those things, they come and go, it’s one of the painful lessons we learn. I think you are having a different sort of heartbreak. Maybe a kind of heartbreak of being in the world when you don’t know how to be. If that makes any sense?”
    He takes another sip of wine. “Everyone has that moment, I think, the moment when something so … momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.”

    Blue leans close to my ear. “What is the cereal doing, Charlie?”

    Years ago, I didn’t want to write the story of my scars, or the story of being a girl with scars, because it is hard enough being a girl in the world, but try being a girl with scars on your skin in the world. [From the Author’s Note.]

  47. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996)

    And Mary said, You are a woman now, which made me cry again. But she put her arms around me, and comforted me, better than my own mother could have done, for she was always too busy or tired or ill. Then she lent me her red flannel petticoat until I should get one of my own, and showed me how to fold and pin the cloths, and said that some called it Eve’s curse but she thought that was stupid, and the real curse of Eve was having to put up with the nonsense of Adam, who as soon as there was any trouble, blamed it all on her.

    “For if the world treats you well, Sir, you come to believe you are deserving of it.”

    I am afraid of falling into hopeless despair, over my wasted life, and I am still not sure how it happened.

    He doesn’t understand yet that guilt comes to you not from the things you’ve done, but from the things that others have done to you.

    This puts him in an instructive mood, and I can see he is going to teach me something, which gentlemen are fond of doing.

    It is shocking how many crimes the Bible contains. The Governor’s wife should cut them all out and paste them into her scrapbook.

    “And then she began to cry, and when I asked her why she was doing that, she said it was because I was to have a happy ending, and it was just like a book; and I wondered what books she’d been reading.”

  48. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015)

    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. The way you can feel so exposed anyway.

    And Leah’s also into slash fanfiction, which got me curious enough to poke around the internet and find some last summer. I couldn’t believe how much there was to choose from: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hooking up in thousands of ways in every broom closet at Hogwarts. I found the ones with decent grammar and stayed up reading all night. It was a weird couple of weeks. That was the summer I taught myself how to do laundry.

    It feels like we’re the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Wonder Woman and a gay dementor. It doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.

    It’s weird, because Blue’s emails used to be this extra thing that was separate from my actual life. But now I think maybe the emails are my life. Everything else sort of feels like I’m slogging through a dream.


    If she thinks me drinking coffee is big news, it’s going to be quite a fucking morning.

    I don’t even know. I’m just so sick of straight people who can’t get their shit together.

  49. Puerto Rico Strong edited by Hazel Newlevant, Desiree Rodriguez, and Marco Lopez (2018)
  50. Coyotes, Volume 1 by Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky (2018)
  51. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (2017)

    I’ve heard about places upstate. No trains, no buses, no cabs, no corner stores. Just a deserted jungle.

  52. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia (2017)

    Most folks around here threw open the screen door at the first dust trail over the horizon, but Winifred took her notions. Sometimes she’d go weeks without showing her face in town, and I’d been sent more than once to see if she’d fallen over dead in her kitchen. She never answered the door until I was ready to bust it down and then it was with curlers tying up the leftover strands of gray on her scalp and Lars’s old pipe jutting out of her mouth, asking me if I knew how much doors cost and was I damn ready to buy her a new one. A few days later she’d appear on Main Street again, as friendly as you please. She’d been odd like that ever since she killed her husband.

    Dad sat up watching the bedroom TV and Mom would be reading whatever the library just got in, since she’d gone through everything else on their shelves. She never wanted to talk about her books though. She just swallowed those pages up and kept them tucked inside. Maybe that’s what made her so hard to read sometimes, all those books floating around in her.

    Nothing suicidal, the principal had said, sitting jovially in front of his glass cabinet full of model tractors, each green body carefully polished to catch the light. I don’t like putting suicide out in front of teenagers. Don’t want to give the misguided ones any ideas. He didn’t want to disturb teenagers who were learning to behead chickens on their fathers’ farms, who were guiding cows and pigs into trailers and driving them to their deaths.

    “You’ll love it. There’s witches and sword fights and severed heads. Blood everywhere.” I was being totally honest. Tommy seriously loved horror movies.
    “Are you the innocent, screaming girl?” He laughed, completely forgetting he’d run lines with me only a few weeks ago.
    “No.” I patted his hand and moved it off my waist. “I make the blood run.”

    I floated down the trail as the moonlight bounced off the water, guiding my way. The stars were out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I’d miss this. You probably couldn’t see the stars in New York City, not even from Central Park, but here—where the only interference was the tiny glow from the parking lot behind me—I felt like I was standing on the edge of the solar system. There were thousands of lights, winking and shining, pulsing in the night. I could see satellites and planets and the only thing breaking the horizon was the barn in front of me. It was spectacular, a feast of light, the whole universe laid open, and I felt the way I’d always felt looking up at it, like I was huge and tiny at the same time. Yes, I would miss the stars.

  53. All Good Children by Dayna Ingram (2016)

    When did I become so frail and yet so dangerous?

    “I watch these soulless monsters take children from my hospital every day, every day, like it’s just another job, like picking out the best sow for the slaughter.”

    Anyone else I’d probably say something like, There is no hope, but for Taylor, four weeks ago hope was a razor blade smuggled inside her vagina, and now it’s me, so instead I said, “There’s a good chance you won’t be picked for any of the programs. One of the lucky thirty-three percent who get to go home.” She shook her head. “No, not me. I’m probably one of the few girls here who still has a fully functioning uterus.” I hadn’t thought about it before, but she was probably right. To avoid being chosen for Breeding, a lot of girls’ parents would elect to have them undergo illegal and not altogether safe hysterectomies, supposing they could find a trusted surgeon who didn’t charge too much.

    She’s lost weight but she’s gained muscle; she’s barely a girl anymore and something more than a woman. A survivor; my baby is a survivor.

    “Because they are truly monsters, the Over. They have the bodies of animals but the minds of…of us.”

  54. I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales from My So-Called Adult Life by Beth Evans (2018)
  55. Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book One by Jeff Lemire, José Villarrubia, Michael Sheen, and Carlos M. Mangual (2015)
  56. Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book Two by Jeff Lemire, José Villarrubia, and Carlos M. Mangual (2016)
  57. Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book Three by Jeff Lemire, José Villarrubia, Carlos M. Mangual, and Matt Kindt (2016)
  58. Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel (2018)

    I miss you so much, Kara. And I want to believe in God right now. I’ve never wanted anything so badly. I’ll be dead soon, and I want to believe you’ll be there waiting on the other side with something snarky to say. My whole life, I thought that just being a part of the universe was grand enough. I thought it was much better than my little self sticking around for eternity. I suppose I still do. I don’t care what happens to my “soul.” I don’t care if there’s still a me, but I really want for there to be a you. The world makes more sense if there’s a you.

    It’s the will to live that will kill these people.

    If you see something wrong with the world, fix it. But what if it’s the whole world that needs fixing?

    You think the world ch … changed while you were gone? It hasn’t. This is who we are.

    What does a man’s life amount to? What does the life of a thousand, a billion? What is an ant’s life worth? I see now that the answer is irrelevant. It’s the question that matters. Should the ant let itself die, crushed under the weight of its own insignificance? Or should it live, fight giants, and build magnificent cities underground? What do I choose?

    I said we’re not ready now. Not yet. That’s not pessimism. I can’t make the forest grow faster because I want it to. I can’t will it to grow. It takes time. I hoped it could happen during my lifetime, but I don’t think it can. All I can do is plant some seeds, take care of the seedlings, and hope someone else does it after I’m gone.

  59. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (2017)

    Only an hour in, and already the first temptation: the warmth of my blankets and bed, my pillows and the fake-fur throw Hannah’s mom left here after a weekend visit. They’re all saying, Climb in. No one will know if you stay in bed all day. No one will know if you wear the same sweatpants for the entire month, if you eat every meal in front of television shows and use T-shirts as napkins. Go ahead and listen to that same song on repeat until its sound turns to nothing and you sleep the winter away.
    I only have Mabel’s visit to get through, and then all this could be mine.

    It takes me a while, usually, to be able to listen. But when I do, I discover the secrets of pollination, that honeybees’ wings beat two hundred times per second. That trees shed their leaves not according to season, but according to rainfall. That before all of us there was something else. Eventually, something will take our place.
    I learn that I am a tiny piece of a miraculous world.

    I wonder if there’s a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn’t yours anymore.

    I have only just learned how to be here. Life is paper-thin and fragile. Any sudden change could rip it wide-open.

    I can’t fathom boarding a plane to San Francisco. It would be flying into ruins. But how could I begin to explain this to her? Even the good places are haunted.

    When I think of all of us then, I see how we were in danger. Not because of the drinking or the sex or the hour of the night. But because we were so innocent and we didn’t even know it. There’s no way of getting it back. The confidence. The easy laughter. The sensation of having left home only for a little while. Of having a home to return to.

    Maybe she thinks I’m being dramatic. Maybe I am. But I know that there’s a difference between how I used to understand things and how I do now. I used to cry over a story and then close the book, and it all would be over. Now everything resonates, sticks like a splinter, festers.

    I listened to the same heartbroken song the entire bus ride home, because it was still a summer when sadness was beautiful.

    She steps toward me and hugs me tight. I close my eyes. There will come a time soon—any second—when she’ll pull away and this will be over. In my mind, we keep ending, ending. I try to stay here, now, for as long as we can.

    I close my eyes. Here we are on Ocean Beach. Here’s the whiskey bottle in the sand and the sound of waves crashing and the cold wind and the darkness and Mabel’s smile against my collarbone. Here we are in that spectacular summer. We are different people now, yes, but those girls were magic.

  60. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering (2018)

    We did too much coke at that school, don’t you think?

  61. Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy #1) by Stephen King (2014)

    That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.

    Rich people can be generous, even the ones with bloodcurdling political views can be generous, but most believe in generosity on their own terms, and underneath (not so deep, either), they’re always afraid someone is going to steal their presents and eat their birthday cake.

    When you gaze into the abyss, Nietzsche wrote, the abyss also gazes into you.

    Hodges has read there are wells in Iceland so deep you can drop a stone down them and never hear the splash. He thinks some human souls are like that.

  62. Whose Bum? by Chris Tougas (2018)

    hamster’s bum

  63. The Secret Loves of Geeks edited by Hope Nicholson (2018)

    But what is more feminine than fighting for your humanity? Men have their humanity handed to them. It’s preordained. Women are the ones who fight to make our way and work to have our partners respect us. People praise the sweet girl but they never acknowledge the bitch who gets shit done. So here’s to Buffy, a complex and powerful woman in a world of paper-thin girls. You’re my inspiration.
    – Gwen Benaway, “Being the Slayer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Burden of Trans Girlhood”

  64. Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2) by Stephen King (2015)

    For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers—not just capable of doing it (which Morris already knew), but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a fresh revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL!

    The things of the world fell by the wayside … but literature was eternal.

  65. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters (2014)

    Where do atheists spend the afterlife? I want her to be… somewhere. I want to meet her there.

    I had fun today, she texts. I always have fun with you
    Me too
    Que tengas dulces sueños. That means sleep well
    U 2. That means you too

    The drag show starts and people whoop and cheer. Tonight is retro: Madonna and Cher.

  66. Down from the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer (2015)

    “Where are those necklaces I saw here last week?” a middle-aged blond woman asks. “I’m looking for the one with lapis and crystal, but I don’t see it.”
    I recognize her. She’s back with her darling little girl and tiny dog. The dog has bows on her ears and wears a jeweled collar. She is so white that she looks like she has a bath every single day. I’ve never seen anything like it. Even when the woman studies a piece of jewelry, she continues to hold the dog or hands her over to her daughter to hold. I wonder if either of them knows that dogs can walk.

    Trevor smiles. It’s an easy, confident smile, like someone who never has to worry about going to hell.

    When I get discouraged or feel trapped in my situation, I move my leg, just so, and can feel the little spot on my thigh where I have wedged my most precious possession between my long underwear and skin. My own library card. With my real name on it.

  67. Rockabilly/Psychobilly: An Art Anthology by Jamie Kendall (2018)

    I like to think of psychobilly as what happens to the rockabilly crowd once midnight strikes.

  68. Please Don’t Grab My P#$$y by Julia Young and Matt Harkins (2018)

    This is a list of things you can grab
    And yes, I’m gonna sound pushy
    For once in your life, listen up

  69. Scout’s Heaven by Bibi Dumon Tak (2018)

    There were dark clouds in the sky when Scout left.

  70. Zenobia by Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman (2018)
  71. Sheets by Brenna Thummler (2018)
  72. Open Earth by Sarah Mirk, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre (2018)
  73. All the Rage by Courtney Summers (2015)

    “It’s your last year, Grey,” she says. “Make a difference for your school.”
    I’d burn this place to the ground before I’d ever willingly make a difference for it, but I’m smarter than saying that out loud and she should be smarter than tempting me.

    At the checkout, it’s just boys at the registers and I can’t stand the idea of them knowing what I wear underneath my shirt. I tell Mom I have a headache, give her my wallet, and wait in the car while she pays for it all. I wish I didn’t have a body, sometimes.

    He reaches over and squeezes my hand, startling me with his sweetness. But just because something starts out sweet doesn’t mean it won’t push itself so far past anything you could call sweet anymore. And if it all starts like this, how do you see what’s coming?

    Helen Turner hates me and the way Helen Turner hates me feels like the worst kind of betrayal. A woman who doesn’t think about daughters she doesn’t have.

    i need leon to know I’m sorry. I don’t need his forgiveness. I don’t believe in forgiveness. I think if you hurt someone, it becomes a part of you both. Each of you just has to live with it and the person you hurt gets to decide if they want to give you the chance to do it again. If they do and you’re a good person, you won’t make the same mistakes. Just whole new ones.

    I get back to work instead. I send out another order and by then, the guy is finished with his. I get him his check. He palms it off the table and says, “Hey, you know you can be professional and friendly.” Then he grabs a napkin and scribbles down some numbers on it, slides it over to me. “Give me a call, you want some advice.”
    I don’t know why I take the napkin. It’s something my body does without checking with my head first, like the obligation to be nice to him is greater than myself.

    The knives rest in a box, propped up by a plastic display stand. One knife is open across the top and I can see myself, a distorted mess, in the blade. I scan the colors and patterns laid out below. The knives on the left side are different from the ones on the right. They are steely grays, forest greens, browns, and solid reds. On the right, the colors seem softer. You wouldn’t call them for what they are, but give them names like blush, rose … there’s a pink camo pattern. I’m sure it’s the perfect knife for some girl out there, but I wonder what, if any, kind of sincerity the manufacturer made it with. If they were thinking of that girl, or if they just thought it was a joke.
    Maybe they don’t know how easily a girl could make this knife serious.

    I don’t know why he still cares. What a stupid thing it is, to care about a girl.

    My heart is heavy with the weight of my body and my body is so heavy with the weight of my heart.

  74. End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy #3) by Stephen King (2016)

    Being needed is a great thing. Maybe the great thing.

  75. Spectacle (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent (2017)

    Rommily only spoke in the grip of a vision, since that night in the rain, and without a human mouth, the bull couldn’t speak at all. Their connection had developed without the luxury of unnecessary words.

    Through it all, Ignis swooped and glided through the air in and around the acrobats’ limbs, dodging spinning rings and spitting small jets of fire. The music soared and the crowd stood on collapsible risers, stomping and clapping for a show they would credit to a huge staff of human handlers and trainers.

    “This one isn’t like the others,” the woman—his wife?—said, and the sharp edge in her voice could have cut glass.
    “I’m like them in every way that matters,” I insisted.

    In the menagerie, the handlers had sometimes muzzled cryptids, but that could only stop them from biting and speaking. Muzzles can’t prevent you from making sound. From hearing your own voice, as a reassurance that you do, in fact, still exist, even if only as property to be bought, sold or rented out.

    “But you really are human?”
    “I really, really am. Not that it matters.”
    Not that it should matter. Deciding who should be free and who should be locked up based on chromosomal features made no more sense than basing that decision on eye color.

  76. Chimera: Book One – The Righteous and the Lost by Tyler Ellis (2018)
  77. The Burning World (Warm Bodies #2) by Isaac Marion (2017)

    Have I missed something? What I just saw was gruesome and tragic, yes, but also beautiful. I saw a woman pull herself out of her grave and climb up to whatever’s next. I saw a woman save her own soul. What did they see?

    He thinks goodness must be more than just kindness. It must have a hard frame to hold it together. How can you stitch a wound if you faint at the sight of blood? How can you do good in a world you refuse to see?

    Embarrassment is just one of the many perils I accepted when I made the choice to live. Living is awkward. Living hurts. Did I ever expect otherwise?

    I drag my kids toward the safety of the terminal door, determined to save at least these two, and just as I’m reaching out to open it, I hear a cry. A raw, plaintive noise almost like the howl of a dog, inarticulate but trembling with emotion. I look up.
    My wife is on the control tower balcony, directly above the helicopter, leaning against the railing. Her eyes are on me, and I realize the noise I heard was her calling to me, the sound of a person trying to reach another person without words or a name. But she doesn’t need words now. She cries out again, and the anguish in it makes the meaning clear.
    She jumps off the tower. She falls facedown, arms spread wide, hair fluttering up toward the clear summer sky, and when she hits the blurring disc of the rotors, she vanishes. Lukewarm liquid sprays across my face. I hear the wet slap of heavier bits raining down all over the tarmac, but the sound is mercifully muffled by the screech of the helicopter tearing itself apart.

    The magic that confounds them is humanity. The naturally occurring, slow acting, unpredictably potent product of conscious minds connecting. These madmen want to synthesize love. They want to manufacture it, weaponize it, and use it to control people.

    The Dead are a larger army than any ever assembled, and they follow no leader, fear no threat, and accept no bribe or compromise. The Dead are the silent majority, and should they ever decide to say something, it will be the new law of the land.

    Things were so easy then. So simple and sweet. Just me and my kidnapped crush and her boyfriend’s brain in my pocket.

    I’d like to thank the 108 billion people who lived and died throughout history to make this book—and other things—possible, and the even larger number of nonhuman creatures who helped.

  78. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014)

    What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.

    She understands. There is nowhere to go but on. Still, part of her longs to go back.

    He pushed her in. And then he pulled her out. All her life, Lydia would remember one thing. All his life, Nath would remember another.

    I could have done that, Marilyn thought. And the words clicked into place like puzzle pieces, shocking her in their rightness. The hypothetical past-perfect. The tense of missed chances. Tears dripped down her chin. No! She though suddenly. I could do that.

    Over the past two weeks she’s worked her way through it [the book], a little each night, savoring the words like a cherry Life Saver tucked inside her cheek.

    At last something important had occurred, something that she ought to write down. But she did not know how to explain what had happened, how everything had changed in just one day, how someone she loved so dearly could be there one minute, and the next minute: gone.

    And tomorrow, next month, next year? It will take a long time. Year from now, they will still be arranging the pieces they know, puzzling over her features, redrawing her outlines in their minds. Sure that they’ve got her right this time, positive in this moment they understand her completely, at last. They will think of her often: when Marilyn opens the curtains in Lydia’s room, opens the closet, and begins to take the clothing from the shelves. When their father, one day, enters a party for the first time does not glance, quickly, at all the blond heads in the room. When Hannah begins to stand a little straighter, when she begins to speak a bit clearer, when one day she flicks her hair behind her ear in a familiar gesture and wonders, for a moment, where she got it. And Nath. When at school people ask if he has siblings: two sisters, but one died; when one day, he looks at the small bump that will always mar the bridge of Jack’s nose and wants to trace it, gently, with his finger. When a long, long time later, he stares down at the silent blue marble of the earth and thinks of his sister, as he will at every important moment of his life. He doesn’t know this yet, but he senses it deep down in his core. So much will happen, he thinks, that I would want to tell you.

  79. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (2013)

    My Holocaust class teacher, Herr Silverman, never rolls up his sleeves like the other male teachers at my high school, who all arrive each morning with their freshly ironed shirts rolled to the elbow. Nor does Herr Silverman ever wear the faculty polo shirt on Fridays. Even in the warmer months he keeps his arms covered, and I’ve been wondering why for a long time now.
    I think about it constantly.
    It’s maybe the greatest mystery of my life.
    Perhaps he has really hairy arms, I’ve often thought. Or prison tattoos. Or a birthmark. Or he was obscenely burned in a fire. Or maybe someone spilled acid on him during a high school science experiment. Or he was once a heroin addict and his wrists are therefore scarred with a gazillion needle-track marks. Maybe he has a blood-circulation disorder that keeps him perpetually cold.
    But I suspect the truth is more serious than that—like maybe he tried to kill himself once and there are razor-blade scars.
    It’s hard for me to believe that Herr Silverman once attempted suicide, because he’s so together now; he’s really the most admirable adult I know.
    Sometimes I actually hope that he did once feel empty and hopeless and helpless enough to slash his wrists to the bone, because if he felt that horrible and survived to be such a fantas

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2018 Book Memories Challenge


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