George Eliot’s Middlemarch by Tim Gunn

Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty that seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress, and she could easily fix that by asking herself just a few questions before hunting through the sales rack at H&M. Before pouncing on the nearest bargain, however bare of style, she should think, “Is my profile, as well as my stature and bearing, gaining more dignity from this cold-shoulder blouse, or is it not appropriate for the season?” “Does this frippery murmur ‘confidently insouciant,’ or does it scream ‘huckster’s daughter?’” “While this dress may indeed bear artificial protrusions of drapery, can I make it work?”

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Neil Gaiman

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune (in faerie gold, worked into the form of a filigreed castle occupied by a single French-speaking mouse), must be in want of a naif (ideally a wide-eyed girl in a patchwork coat embroidered with moonlight and the dreams of a small child). However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a grimy London neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the strangely unseen families living beneath the cobblestone streets, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their murderous progeny.

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca by James Patterson

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Good thing I have sixteen years of experience from the Violent Crimes Division of the FBI. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a hot minute I thought about how to enter past a stainless-steel padlock and chain that would bar the way for an average woman. I’m not an average woman. I unholstered my always-loaded .357 Ruger revolver and used my toned biceps and abs to vault the fence. I called for the lodge-keeper and heard no answer, because his body was impaled on the rusted spokes of the gate, his slit throat soaking blood into his dirty University of Cornwall sweatshirt, and the lodge was uninhabited.

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own by Stieg Larsson

But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women who don’t take any shit and the stories they tell—what has that got to do with a darkened room in Stockholm of approximately five square meters where a furious woman can contemplate the next fucker who has it coming? I will try to explain. When you asked me to speak about women who don’t take any shit and the stories they tell, I sat down on the banks of Lake Mälaren and began to wonder what the fuck you wanted me to say.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by George R.R. Martin

“Winter won’t be Winter without any Gifts,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug of dire wolf pelts.

“It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress with its spatter of viscera from her favorite pet goat, slaughtered just that morning by a starving dragon.

“I don’t think it’s fair for Lannisters to have plenty of pretty things, and Starks nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff from her half-nose.

“We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth, deliriously, from the corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly, “We haven’t got Father, and shall not have him for a long time, since his head was chopped off at King’s Landing.” She didn’t say “perhaps never,” but each silently added it, thinking of Father not so far away in the Crypts, where the fighting was, and where the Night King may yet transform him into a Wight.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, “You know the reason Mother proposed not having any Gifts this Winter was because it is going to be a hard Winter for everyone, with six generations born in darkness, and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure when our men are suffering so in the army, and also because she’s some kind of terrifying vengeful zombie now, though not a Wight. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don’t.”

And Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted. She resolved to make a list of pretty things and the people who owned them, and to stab each and every one of those people repeatedly through their eyeballs.

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