That night at dinner, I sat through Mom and Dad’s “We’re-so-proud-of-you”s and “She’s-a-smart-one”s until there was a lull.
"You know what it means," I said. "The big thing it means."
Mom and Dad frowned question marks at each other.
"You don’t remember?" I said. "You told me when I started Galer Street that if I got perfect grades the whole way through, I could have anything I wanted for a graduation present"
Opening lines of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
"I’ve been let down by this life one too many times and quite frankly, I’m tired of losing hope”
Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
"You want me alive. Okay? Without me, that girl will be gone. Gone-gone. You understand? Gone, baby, gone. He sang”
Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane
"It’s dangerous to need someone that much. You’re trying to save him, and he’s hoping you can. You two are a disaster.
I looked at the ceiling. “It doesn’t matter what or why it is. When it’s good… Kara it’s beautiful”
Beautiful disaster by Jamie McGuire
"In the middle of the twentieth century, the telephones started ringing all across America as rumors of my existence started circulating…"
Opening lines of Superman Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett
Book description: What if baby Superman had crashed on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain and grew up to become Stalin’s right-hand man? Alive with historical figures and a host of familiar superheroes, including Batman and Wonder Woman as you’ve never seen them before, this superb graphic novel takes the arms race and infuses it with the thrilling powers of Kryptonite.
The column that launched Sugar as a phenomenon was written in response to what would have been, for anyone else, a throwaway letter. Dear Sugar, wrote a presumably young man. WTF? WTF? WTF? I’m asking this question as it applies to everything every day. Cheryl’s reply began as follows:
My father’s father made me jack him off when I was three and four and five. I wasn’t good at it. My hands were too small and I couldn’t get the rhythm right and I didn’t understand what I was doing. I only knew I didn’t want to do it. Knew it made me feel miserable and anxious in a way so sickeningly particular that I can feel the same particular sickness rising this very minute in my throat.
It was an absolutely unprecedented moment. Advice columnists, after all, adhere to an unspoken code: focus on the letter writer, dispense all necessary bromides, make it all seem bearable. Disclosing your own sexual assault is not part of the code.
But Cheryl wasn’t just trying to shock some callow kid into greater compassion. She was announcing the nature of her mission as Sugar. Inexplicable sorrows await all of us. That was her essential point. Life isn’t some narcissistic game you play online. It all matters — every sin, every regret, every affliction. As proof, she offered an account of her own struggle to reckon with a cruelty she’s absorbed before she was old enough to even understand it. Ask better questions, sweet pea, she concluded. The fuck is your life. Answer it.
Excerpt from Tiny Beautiful Things from Cheryl Strayed
"Dragons,” said Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand.
“Throw the apple,” urged Alleras the Sphinx. He slipped an arrow from his quiver and nocked it to his bowstring.
“I should like to see a dragon.” Roone was the youngest of them, a chunky boy still two years shy of manhood. “I should like that very much.”
Opening lines of A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
“For others it came as a shock. No matter how exhausted we were or what slant he [Carlos] put on the situation, I was only breaking night, fending off the dark until the sun rose each day, when I’d start over, ready and able to do it again.”
Breaking Night by Liz Murray
(“breaking night”: urban slang for staying up through the night until the sun rises)