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Outlander Series #1: Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon

p.-1 People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and-butter to journalists.
     Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never heard from again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars.
     Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.

p.4-5 "Where are you going?" I asked, as Frank swung his feet out of bed.
     "I'd hate the dear old thing to be disappointed in us," he answered. Sitting up on the side of the ancient bed, he bounced gently up and down, creating a piercing rhythmic squeak. The Hoovering in the hall stopped abruptly. After a minute or two of bouncing, he gave a loud, theatrical groan and collapsed backward with a twang of protesting springs. I giggled helplessly into a pillow, so as not to disturb the breathless silence outside.
     Frank waggled his eyebrows at me. "You're supposed to moan ecstatically, not giggle," he admonished in a whisper. "She'll think I'm not a good lover."
     "You'll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans," I answered. "Two minutes doesn't deserve any more than a giggle."
     "Inconsiderate little wench. I came here for a rest, remember?"
     "Lazybones. You'll never manage the next branch on your family tree unless you show a bit more industry than that."

p.6 "exegesis"

p.12 "The story goes that by order of the house's owner, one wall was built up first, then a stone block was dropped down from the top of it onto one of the workmen--presumably a dislikable fellow was chosen for the sacrifice--and he was buried then in the cellar and the rest of the house built up over him. He haunts the cellar where he was killed, except on the anniversary of his death and the four Old Days."
     "Old Days?"
     "The ancient feasts," he explained, still lost in his mental notes. "Hogmanay, that's New Year's, Midsummer Day, Beltane, and All Hallows'. Druids, Beaker Folk, early Picts, everybody kept the sun feasts and the fire feasts, so far as we know. Anyway, ghosts are freed on the holy days, and can wander about as will, to do harm or good as they please." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "It's getting on for Beltane--close to the spring equinox. Best keep an eye out, next time you pass the kirkyard."

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The Crimson Petal and the White
by Michael Faber

p.6 Few know what year it is, or even that eighteen and a half centuries have passed since a Jewish troublemaker was hauled away to the gallows for disturbing the peace.

p.53 One afternoon wasted on it ought to be enough, surely? Granted, he once opined in a Cambridge undergraduate magazine that 'a single day spent doing things which fail to nourish the soul is a day stolen, mutilated, and discarded in the gutter of destiny."

p.63 The bald facts are these: Rackham Senior is getting tired of running Rackham Perfumeries, damn tired. His first-born, Henry, is no use whatsoever as an heir, having devoted himself to God from a young age. A decent enough fellow and, as a frugal bachelor, not much of a bother to support--although, if he really means to make his career in the Church, he's taking a powerful long time deliberating over it. But never mind: the younger boy, William, will have to do. Like Henry, he's slow to show a talent for anything, but he has expensive tastes, a stylish wife and a fair-sized household--all of which suck hard at the nipple of paternal generosity.

p.73 And so the passing strollers in St James's Park are transformed unwittingly into sirens, and each glowing boy becomes suggestive of its social shadow, the prostitute. And to a blind little penis, swaddled in trousers, there is no difference between a whore and a lady, except that the whore is available, with no angry champions to deal with, no law on her side, no witnesses, no complaints. Therefore, when William Rackham finds himself possessed of an erection, his immediate impulse is to take it directly to the nearest whore.

p.100 William had no desire to smoke, but vapour issues from his person nonetheless: his damp clothing is beginning to steam.

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Rebel Angels
by Libba Bray

p.374-375 "You trained dog to English?" He points at me with the dagger. He makes a barking sound that tumbles into more laughter and then a terrible coughing fit that leaves blood on his hand.
     "The English." He spits. "They give us this life. We are their dogs, you and I. Dogs. What they promise you cannot trust. But Chin-Chin's opium makes the whole world sweet. Smoke, my friend, and you forget what they do. Forget that you are a dog. That you will always be a dog."

     He points the tip of his dagger into the sticky black ball of opium, ready to smoke his troubles away and float into an oblivion where he is no one's inferior. Kartik and I move on through the smoky haze. The Chinaman leads us to a tiny room and bids us wait a moment while he disappears behind the rags over the door. Kartik's jaw remains clenched.
     "What that man said..." I stop, unsure of how to continue. "What I mean is, I hope you know that I do not feel that way."
     Kartik's face hardens. "I am not like those men. I am Rakshana. A higher caste."
     "But you are also Indian. They are your countrymen, are they not?"
     Kartik shakes his head. "Fate determines your caste. You must accept it and live according to the rules."
     "You can't really believe that!"
     "I do believe it. That man's misfortune is that he cannot accept his caste, his fate."
     "I know that the Indians wear their caste as a mark upon their foreheads for all to see. I know that in England, we have our own unacknowledged caste system. A laborer will never hold a seat in Parliament. Neither will a woman. I don't think I've ever questioned such things until this moment.

p.443 "No use crying over spilled blood."
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North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railorad
by Katherine Ayers

p.163 "Aw, Lucy, tell us," Tim put in. "Will says you got that boy all harnessed and bridled. You don't have to take the whip to him. Just give him a lump of sugar."
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Earth’s Children #5:
The Shelters of Stone

by Jean M. Auel

p.21 Suddenly Ayla was reminded of Iza, the woman of the Clan who had been like a mother to her. Iza also knew many secrets, yet, like the rest of the clan, she didn’t lie. With a language of gestures, and nuances conveyed by postures and expressions, they couldn’t lie. It would be known immediately. But they could refrain from mentioning. Though it might be understood that something was being held back, it was allowed, for the sake of privacy.

p.76-77 Ayla had grown up among the Clan thinking of herself as big and ugly because, although she was thinner-boned than the women of the Clan, she was taller than the men, and she looked different, both in their eyes and her own. She was more accustomed to judging beauty in terms of the stronger features of the Clan, with their long broad faces and sloped-back foreheads, heavy overhanging brow ridges, sharp, prominent noses, and large, richly colored brown eyes. Her own blue-gray eyes seemed faded in comparison.
     After she had lived among the Others for a while, she didn’t feel that she looked so strange anymore, but she still could not see herself as beautiful, though Jondalar had told her often enough that she was. She knew what was considered attractive to the Clan, she didn’t quite know how to define beauty in terms of the Others. To her, Jondalar, with his masculine and therefore stronger features and vivid blue eyes was far more beautiful than she.

p.139 She had met so many people, it was hard to remember them all, but Jondalar was right: most people were not bad. I shouldn’t let the few who are unpleasant--Marona, and Brukeval when he behaved like Broud--spoil good feelings toward the rest. I wonder why it’s easier to remember the bad ones. Maybe because there aren’t many.

p.257 “When a child is born, it is filled with élan, the Vital force of life,” the One Who Was First said. “When a child is named, a Zelandoni creates a mark that is a symbol for that spirit, that new person, and paints it or carves it on some object--a rock, a bone, a piece of wood. That mark is called an abelan. Each ablean is different and is used to designate a particular individual. It might be a design made of lines or shapes or dots, or a simplified form of an animal. Whatever comes to mind when the Zelandoni meditates about the infant.”

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March 2010

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