The Forest Of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Cover is black and white sketch of two girls' profiles inside a sea of flowers.

~In general, the most difficult thing to comprehend under heaven is a man’s mind, and the most difficult task is to uncover hidden truths.~

~Those that call themselves a ‘nobody’ are always people of significance. Or a person hiding a secret.~

~Fathers weren’t supposed to disappear. Fathers were supposed to stay forever.~

~You know, you can lose family, Min Hwani. Family whom you loved more than life. But you can also find family – those who come into your life a stranger yet make you feel as though you’ve known them for all your life.~

~Your life isn’t meant to be used up to fulfill another person’s dream.~

~Dying is what each person must endure once.~

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Cover of Rachel's Holiday is white and shows a woman's legs in black heals passed out with an empty glass and party balloons on the wooden floor.

~”But I have a cat,” I lied.
“You can get another one,” he said.
“But I have a boyfriend,” I protested.
“You can get another one of those too,” said Dad.~

~I couldn’t keep it up for long because I didn’t like upsetting Margaret. Even though she was weird and saved money and hadn’t had sex until she got married, I was still very fond of her.~

~”I believe on one could make head nor tail of that book she wrote.”
“It won an award, didn’t it?” I asked.
“My point exactly,” said Mike.~

~”Wh…what exactly is a root canal?”
“We take the inside of the tooth out. Nerve, tissue, lock, stock, and barrel!” And with that he started drilling with the gusto of a man putting up shelves.~

~Once upon a time people used to recommend hairdressers to each other. Or plumbers. Or even personal trainers. Now it’s dealers.~

The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman

Cover of The Untold story is purple with gold edgings and a swirling staircase like shading with a spider in the middle.

~Don’t contradict an autocrat on his own territory unless you have either a very good reason or a very secure escape route.~

~Disasters, my dear Winters, are like public omnibuses,” Vale said sententiously. “They come in multiples rather than singly, are inevitably overloaded when they arrive, and stay far too long in one spot.”~

~Nobody kills a storyteller. Who’d tell their stories if they did?~

~Nobody is ever interested in the storyteller’s own story.~

~It’s not exactly one of those stories which has a happy beginning in the first place.~

Artemis by Andy Weir

Dark cover showing earth as a moon.

~If my neighborhood were wine, connoisseurs would describe it as “shitty, with overtones of failure and poor life decisions.”~

~People will trust a reliable criminal more readily than a shady businessman.~

~Five a.m. was a largely theoretical concept to me. I knew it existed, but I rarely observed it. Nor did I want to.~

~Yeah, she was grumpy and thought I was a bimbo. But you know what? I wish everyone was like her. No chitchat, no bullshit, no pretense of friendship. Just goods and services exchanged for money. The perfect business partner.~

~There was something weird about being on the moon fighting for your life with a stick and some fire.~

High Tower Gods by C.L. Corona

A steam punk gear in the background with a black silhouette tower rising upwards.

~I cancelled your sub to the Chronicle last year, after you called it a festering pile of unresearched shit written by journalists who wouldn’t know the pointy end of a pen if you stabbed them with it.~

~Politeness was for liars.~

~Please, do sit down, we shall discuss murder once I’ve eaten. I’ve always found death before breakfast somewhat unpalatable.~

~”…my heart is broken at the loss of such a fine and beloved friend.”
“You never met him.”
“It was a modern friendship.”~

~They’d wanted humanity to rise above its shackles of poverty and hard labour to become a race of unparalleled power. To turn their focus from forty-eight-hour work weeks and drudgery to magic and stars. And instead-this.~

An Island by Karen Jennings

Red hen looking into camera

~The body he saw only once he arrived. He side-stepped it, walking a tight circle around the drum. It was fat as a president, without any visible crack or punctures.~

~A prison can’t be your home.~

~One morning he called to the couple across the road, waved his flag at them, said, ‘I’m sorry that your story isn’t as happy as the one we have in this country, but I’m glad we’re able to give you a new and better life here.’
The woman smiled, but the man said, ‘It was like this for us too, uncle. I’m sorry to tell you that. We were exactly like you.’

~Who didn’t want to be more than they were, who didn’t want to rise up out of the dirt and be something?~

~Samuel had learnt over the years what an ungrateful place the island was. How difficult to discipline and nurture. The vegetation was unkind, hard in places, soft as ash in others. It spread where it would, taking over as it wished – yet there were stretches of bleakness where the land was bald and unyielding, a thing of sand and rock.~

Click to read an excerpt.

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey

Cover is black with summer blooms of yellow, oranges and spots of lavender create a frame for the title.

~I have run from that summer, tried to forget its hazy pleasures and its tragedies, how it ended, how things fell apart. I have trusted the years to fade my memories and destroyed those photographs, never to be looked at again. But now, twenty-four years later, back in my childhood home in that same hamlet above the woods, and now a mother myself, the memories keep returning, like driftwood washed ashore.~

~The piles of boxes, the sheer weight of my father’s belongings crowding out the room, makes me angry. Why should I be the one to have to clear it out, why couldn’t he have done it?~

~Lately, she has started to feel a curdle of dislike for her father, noticing for the first time what he is like as a man, a husband, and the friction between her mother and him, the gendered expectations upon her.~

~As I adjusted the lens, I felt the weight of trying to record her as she was, beautiful, sad aching; of trying to capture what she was trying to say, words that could not be spoken or heard or understood.~

~What does the camera see, what will it record?~

~What makes a photograph good is a question that some of the best theorists have tried, but mostly failed, to answer.~

Chronicles From The Land Of The Happiest People On Earth by Wole Soyinka

The cover is plain cream with surgical scissors and scalpels drawn in like wall paper in a darker beige in the background.

~Aspiring nations needed to be rescued from their state of envious aspiration, a malaise that induced doomed efforts to snatch the crown from their heads.~

~He marvelled-not for the first time-how Nature could have been so cynical as to unleash on humanity such disparate creations as donkey and peacock in any associative vocal register, surprised that no one appeared to have considered inventing a modulator.~

~”The more you recall,” he sighed, “the deeper this darkness that envelops you.”~

~America is a product of slave culture, prosperity as the reward for racist cruelty.~

~It was difficult to believe, but The Family did not consider the wishes of the young window of any importance. The Family, it became apparent, did not extend to his widow; neither did it, at that stage, include even the children.~

~We have encountered nothing but obstruction, hostility, manipulations! Every inch of the way, sabotage! To what end? In fidelity to what custom, what usage, what tradition?~

Wayfarers’ Hymns by Zakes Mda

Cover shows a man on a cliff wrapped in a blanket with a wooden staff looking at mountains away from the reader. In the forefront are arum lilies, cattle, and an accordion in the center.

~Yes, I am in search of new deaths, new ways of dying and new ways of mourning.~

~We came to mourn here because these are different deaths from those we have been used to. Death by music.~

~No, you don’t rehearse mourning, he said. It will never work. Just like you don’t rehearse death.~

~Every self-respecting Mosotho man carried a stick both as accouterment and weapon. I carried music.~

~Never allow any man to put you on a pedestal, she said. A pedestal is a prison.~

~The end is always a journey.~