“If one did not have at least a little luck, one would never survive childhood. But luck can be spent, like money; and lost, like a memory; and wasted, like a life.”—Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
“Was this what the human reproductive urge was like, a pointless and powerful desire to replicate wonderful, irreplaceable me, even when the me in question was a monster who truly had no right to live among humans? That would certainly explain how a great many of the monumentally unpleasant cretins I encountered every day came to be.”—Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter
“Dating is probably the most fraught human interaction there is. You’re sizing people up to see if they’re worth your time and attention, and they’re doing the same to you. It’s meritocracy applied to personal life, but there’s no accountability. We submit ourselves to these intimate inspections and simultaneously inflict them on others and try to keep our psyches intact - to keep from becoming cold and callous - and we hope that at the end of it we wind up happier than our grandparents, who didn’t spend this vast period of their lives, these prime years, so thoroughly alone, coldly and explicitly anatomized again and again.”—Adelle Waldman, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
“Claire is smarter than I am. I’m not saying that out of some half-baked feminist sentiment or in order to endear women to me. You’ll never hear me claim that ‘women in general’ are smarter than men. Or more sensitive, more intuitive, or that they are more ‘in touch with life’, or any of the other horseshit that, when all is said and done, so-called ‘sensitive’ men try to peddle more often than women themselves.”—Herman Koch, The Dinner
“Earlier that day I had found a sheet of paper on which Min’s grandmother had written her definition of the “superior woman.” At the top of the page it said, “Formula for Woman, According to Dignity.” The formula was “Has excellent posture, which is two-thirds contentment and one-third desire.”
At first I thought this a bit arbitrary. But all day the idea had been passing through my mind like a mantra. I began to think, in this strange place—half kingdom, half city—that the grandmother’s formula caught the entire world in its tiny palm. Two-thirds contentment, one-third desire. Of course, I thought, as I spiraled my way through the trees to Asia Foodstore, that is the composition of the world.”—Rebecca Lee, Bobcat & Other Stories