“One winter morning several years ago, I got an email with some ridiculously exciting news.” A.J. Jacobs, The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life.
“The police decided to enter the flat, but rather than break down the door they called a locksmith, figuring that a few minutes either way were unlikely to make a difference.” The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason (translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb).
“At a recent lecture on the Piltdown disclosures a member of the audience remarked, ‘When I read in the paper that Piltdown man was bogus, I felt as if something had gone out of my life; I had been brought up on Piltdown man!’” J.S. Weiner, The Piltdown Forgery.
“In my dream I was reaching right through the glass of the window on a hockshop.” Fredric Brown, The Fabulous Clipjoint.
“Magic matters.” David Copperfield, Richard Wiseman, David Britland, David Copperfield’s History of Magic.
“It is never easy to move to a new country, but in truth I was happy to be away from New York.” Katie Kitamura, Intimacies.
“A little before eight on the morning of March 21, 1829, the Duke of Wellington, England’s prime minister, arrived on horseback at a crossroads south of the Thames, about a half mile beyond Battersea Bridge.” Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.
“It’s hard to know, ever, where a story begins.” Jennifer Haigh, Mercy Street.
“We forget that love is revolutionary.” Tiya Miles, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake.
“His cousin Freddie brought him on the heist one hot night in early June.” Colson Whitehead, Harlem Shuffle.
“The politics of inevitability is the idea that there are no ideas.” Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America.
“It wasn’t far off midnight, but it was still light.” Ragnar Jónasson, Snowblind. (translated by Quentin Bates).
“’We need every one of you,’ proclaimed an anonymous 1985 article in a major white power newspaper.” Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.
“The dust hovers in a cloud behind the Reykjavik coach, the road is a ridged washboard and we rattle on; bend after bend, soon it becomes impossible to see through the muddy windows and, before long, the Laxdoela Saga trail will vanish into the dirt.” Auour Ava Olafsdóttir, Miss Iceland.
“Somewhere in the vast northern ocean, between Iceland and Norway, Thorsteinn Olafsson got himself involved in the biggest mystery of the middle ages by making an honest mistake: he turned his ship a few too many degrees west.” Egill Bjarnason, How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island.