So That’s What They Teach at Finishing School

So That’s What They Teach at Finishing School

Mrs. McKinnon’s classes were supposed to cover such essential topics as ridding your surfaces properly of bacteria and devising delicious dinner-party menus for a Muslin, a vegan, a lactose-intolerant, and a pregnant woman; however, with a bit of prompting, she usually diverted into more arcane waters, such as how to eat lobsters without licking your fingers, or how best to decline a marriage proposal on a pheasant shoot.

from The Little Lady Agency by Hester Brown


Novel Approach to Money in Politics

“Are you sorry you bet on me?” you ask. “I did warn you.”

“Never! I bet on people, and I particularly bet on smart women. This was your starter election – get your scandal out of the way. Now they know what happened, and they’re used to you. If we lose this one, we’ll run again. We’ll run for something bigger.”

“You’re crazy,” you say.

“Maybe I am. But I’ve got a bigger checkbook than anyone in this town. And the biggest checkbook wins.”

“This isn’t always true,” you say.

“Fine, but the biggest checkbook can always go the most rounds.”

from Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Beware the Conquering Hero

Beware the Conquering Hero

“You’re going to end up participating. You just wait,” Ally says. “You’re secretly dying to show our classmates your music, and I have a long-term plan for wearing you down. Bye!” She scurries off to class or to conquer a small nation.

And I am not participating.

from This Song is Not for You* by Laura Nowlin

This is the way I ran my high school newspaper. Some called it One of America’s Great Newspapers. Others called it a rag. Either way, everyone read it.


*I can’t recommend the book. But this line is worth reading.

Even the Best Investigators Miss Things

Even the Best Investigators Miss Things

Detective Sergeant Hayes reached Fleet Street at half past eleven and decided to ask at the offices of The Times. The young receptionist was reading a paperback Christie and biting her nails.

“Detective Sergeant Hayes. Metropolitan Police. I do’t know if you remember – I was here earlier with James Wingate.”

“Different shift I’m afraid, sir. I would have been older and more of a man, probably.”

from Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson


Novel Approach to Getting What You Want

Like most Russian women she is full of practical relationship advice that only works if you are dealing with another Russian: “Of course, when I want something, like new refrigerator, I tell my husband, ‘I think your idea is good and we should get new refrigerator,’ and he say ‘Eh?’ and I say, ‘Yes, yes, at first I think you were wrong and we not need this thing, but now I see you were right and so maybe yes,’ and even though he never say these things about refrigerator now he say, ‘I told you this and was right thing,’ and ‘You should listen to me, Iri,’ and I say, ‘Yes, yes, you were right,’ and he go to store and bring me refrigerator next day.”

 from The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey