Novel Approach to Partying

“It isn’t a ball, Madame Rossini, just a rather boring party,” said Lesley.

“A party is only as boring as the guests,” said Madame Rossini firmly.

from Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier


Novel Approach to Refuting an Argument

Polly looked at the building–hideous seventies concrete plonked beside ten lanes of traffic–with a critical eye. “I don’t blame you for being miserable. This place would bring anyone down.”

“Exactly. And I have to work here every day, doing something I hate so how will adding some tea bags to my desk help?”

“It’ll help. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

“You’re not going to suggest I open up and get to know everyone in the office, and learn that we’re all the same under the skin, no matter how much skin there is?”

Polly laughed. “No. Some people are just awful. And some things need to be run away from, very fast, link an exploding bomb. You should quit.”

Annie felt anger build again–who was this woman, telling her what to do? “I can’t. I need the money.”

“You can do something else,” Polly said cheerfully.

“There’s a recession on.”

“Excuses.” Polly waved a hand. “Everyone uses that one, Annie. Oh, everything was always better in the past! Things are rubbish now we’re not allowed to send our children down the mines!”

from Something Like Happy by Eva Woods




Novel Approach to Beatification

The woman working in the tiny periodicals room had two sets of glasses, one on her nose, one on top of her head, both on beaded chains around her neck and the no-nonsense expression all librarians worth their salt maintain up until the moment you ask for help finding something, at which point they turn beatific and actually seem to emit light.

from I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos


Fascism #trending #instyle

There are two kinds of Fascists: those who give orders and those who take them. A popular base gives Fascism the legs it needs to march, the lungs it uses to proclaim, and the muscle it relies on to menace-but that’s Fascism from the neck down. T create tyranny out of the fears and hopes of average people, money is required, and so, too, ambition and twisted ideas. It is the combination that kills.

from Fascism: A Warning by Madeline Albright

An Odd Couple: Those Who Measure Herring

An Odd Couple: Those Who Measure Herring

There are even various discrete units included [in Encyclopedia of Scientific Units, Weights, and Measure: Their SI Equivalences and Origins], such as the perfect ream, which is 516 sheets of paper, and the warp, which is four herrings; it is used by British fishermen and old men at kiddush.

– from The Half Life of Facts by Samuel Arbesman

Rosh Hashana: Sweet Hostess Gifts

Rosh Hashana: Sweet Hostess Gifts

My friend and I invited each other for meals over Rosh Hashana. They were bringing their family, and I insisted that they not bring anything more when they came for dinner – no food, no wine, just themselves. In return, they insisted I, too, not bring anything as a hostess gift when I came over for a meal.

As though I would listen, and show up empty-handed. Ha! I went to the store and bought a quart of apple cider. Something seasonal, a treat, and a sweet start to a – hopefully – sweet year. I showed up, gave them the apple cider. They were pleased, I was pleased, it was delicious.

The next day, the family came over – and brought a pomegranate.

A new fruit? Seasonal? A symbol that our good deeds should be plentiful?

Game, set, match: pomegranate for the win.

Next year, if you’d like to invite me over for Rosh Hashana, feel free to tell me not to bring anything. Just know, I’ll be showing up with a pomegranate. Good planning for a good year!


Tibet: Fear of Fear; Otherwise, Captive

With her dreadlocks and wide smile, Lateesha looked as if she wasn’t afraid of anything. But as she got ready to speak, her book propped open at the podium, Charles asked how anxious she was, on a scale of 1 to 10.

“At least a seven,” said Lateesha.

“Take it slow,” he said. “There are only a few people out there who can completely overcome their fears and they all live in Tibet.”

from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain