Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders

Pg. 36: “He sucked in smoke, holding the cigarette cupped in his hand, like a soldier in an old film.”

Pg. 38: “There was a shelf of reference books: the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (two volumes), Roget’s Thesaurus, the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Brewer’s Book of Phrase and Fable . . . .”

Pg. 68: “I had devoted my whole life to books, to bookshops, to booksellers, to bookish people like Charles and Alan. And in doing so, I had ended up like a book: on the shelf.”

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The Human Line by Ellen Bass

The Human Line

After I had carried her those nine months,
those two hundred and eighty-four day, each
with its sheaf of hours, each hour fanned out
into minutes, into seconds, as though time had been
sliced thin as onionskin

After I’d hauled this cache of cells as it swept
through a kind of rough evolution, devising
arm buds and sex buds
and the buds for twenty milk teeth —

And then birthed her, my cervix cranked open,
a rusty hinge. And the pain —
what a tree might feel when lightning splits it
and the two halves fall away —

Then I realized — I’m not proud
to admit this is what it took — that everyone
was lugged in the sack of a woman’s body,
a woman stretched past reason
or slit with a steel scalpel.

Even if she left that baby right there
without counting the pearly toes, thumbing
the miniature knuckles, even if she didn’t
look into the face, neutral as Buddha,
before thirst even. If she was drugged
or relieved and the baby whisked away, still
She gave this child every intricate bone in both feet,
the hollow vertebrae, tiny liver,
lungs that fill with air for the first time
and begin, without a lesson,
bringing this world in and releasing it.

Did Mary feel this way when the angel came to her
holding his useless lily? Not in the surfeit
of gilt frames where she’s poised,
serene, but those few where the artist knew,
had seen women already crushed, bowed.
I was standing in the long hospital corridor
when the knowledge entered me.
I didn’t want it. It was grief —
extending back through time
and reaching into the future, all these babies,
all these mothers with their hearts
beating outside their bodies. And now
I was one of them, lashed to the human line.

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Welcome Morning by Anne Sexton

Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

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The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

From Collected Poems (North Point Press), © 1985.

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Frances Brody’s Death of An Avid Reader

Death of an Avid Reader: A Kate Shackleton Mystery

ISBN: 9781250067500

pg 31: “… a waitress whose apron was so well starched it could have walked out of the building and lived a long life on its own terms.”

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