Nutshell (2016) by Ian McEwan & Dreams had in a Mother’s Womb

“But lately, don’t ask why, I’ve no taste for comedy, no inclination to exercise, even if I had the space, no delight in fire or earth, in words that once revealed a golden world of majestical stars, the beauty of poetic apprehension, the infinite joy of reason. These admirable radio talks and bulletins, the excellent podcasts that moved me, seem at best hot air, at worst a vaporous stench. The brave polity I’m soon to join, the noble congregation of humanity, its customs, gods and angels, its fiery ideas and brilliant ferment, no longer thrill me. A weight bears down heavily on the canopy that wraps my little frame. There’s hardly enough of me to form one small animal, still less to express a man. My dispositions is to stillborn sterility, then to dust” (p 91).

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The Spy (2016) by Paulo Coelho & the Artist’s Mission in Life

“When I got to the sixth veil, I went over to the Shiva statue, simulated an orgasm, and cast myself to the ground while removing the seventh and final veil.

“For a few moments I did not hear a single sound from the audience—from where I was lying, I could not see anyone, and they seemed petrified or horrified. Then came the first ‘Bravo,’ spoken by a female voice, and soon the whole room rose for a standing ovation. I got up with one arm covering my breasts and the other extended to cover my sex” (pgs 59-60).

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I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around (2016) by Ann Garvin & the Woman who Didn’t Want to Grow Up

“Tig tried a smile, but her lips trembled and she returned her gaze to Clementine. She traced her finger from Clementine’s forehead to the tip of her nose, finishing at her tiny, tented lip. ‘The big question in my mind is not if your mom is coming back. It’s if Pete is, and if I’ll get a chance at having someone like you’” (p 170).

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013) by Haruki Murakami & The Imaginary Reality

“Maybe I am fated to always be alone, Tsukuru found himself thinking. People came to him, but in the end they always left. They came, seeking something, but either they couldn’t find it, or were unhappy with what they found (or else they were disappointed or angry), and then they left. One day, without warning, they vanished, with no explanation, no word of farewell. Like a silent hatchet had sliced the ties between them, ties through which warm blood still flowed, along with a quiet pulse… ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki,’ he said aloud. I basically have nothing to offer to others. If you think about it, I don’t even have anything to offer myself” (pgs 100-101).

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The Three-Body Problem (2006/2014) by Cixin Liu & the Remembrance of Earth’s Past

“The new girl clearly thought she’d be just as lucky. She waved the battle banner as though brandishing her burning youth, trusting that the enemy would be burnt to ashes in the revolutionary flames, imagining that an ideal world would be born tomorrow from the ardor and zeal coursing through her blood…She was intoxicated by her brilliant, crimson dream until a bullet pierced her chest” (p 10).

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Author Interview: Darren R Leo & His Novel: THE TREES BENEATH US

“I write to create. I like to build things…birdhouses, Adirondack chairs, good meals. I write for the same reasons. I want to put something out into the world that people will enjoy or find provocative. The conveyance part is the tougher question. There are common themes that run throughout my writing, even when I don’t want them to. I write about struggles and pain and grief. Even my theoretically happy stories have these themes. I like a good “hero wins the day and gets the girl” story, but there are lots of those. I write stories for those who struggle. We’re not alone in our challenges even if our social narrative suggests otherwise.”

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Author Interview: Pratima Cranse & her novel: All the Major Constellations

Pratima: “When I first started writing the novel, like twenty years ago, Laura had thrown caution to the winds and accepted a part in a local production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. The play has this crazy effect on her, and she begins exploring aspects of herself that she had never considered before because of the limitations that her strict church puts on her and on women in general. It was a cool storyline, but it just didn’t quite work. Also, the novel used to have multiple narrators: Andrew, Marcia, and Sara. Ultimately, the novel was Andrews. It’s his story. I just had to commit to him and go for it.”

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