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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Category / Literature

Our Gay Apparel: Gerri Hill’s “Chasing A Brighter Blue”

The book had been sitting, unremarkable, on the coffee table in their living room when Gwen finally took the moment necessary to question the cover image.

“Is that a deer in a Santa hat?”

Picking up the book, the clearly photoshopped cover for Chasing A Brighter Blue had a quaint, algorithm-designed draw to it. Gwen could tell at a glance that this book would contain not a trace of deer wearing Santa hats – perhaps it would contain no deer at all.

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Joy Of The Chase: E.L. Konigsburg’s “From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”

The cover image, with the two photographed children standing at the steps of a pen drawing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was too iconic to be mistaken for any other. Dania’s heart skipped to see it in Gwen’s hands.

“The Mixed-Up Files” had been a formative book for Dania –– a testament to the power of art and history, the need to let facts affect you rather than simply accumulate in your mind. Since first reading Konigsburg’s book as a child, Dania had returned to it periodically. Each pass through Claudia and Jamie’s tale provided more details, including humor at the comparatively cheap prices in the New York of the 1960s.

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And Everything Nice: Dana Simpson’s “Phoebe And Her Unicorn in The Magic Storm”

Normally, Gwen’s parents would hire a babysitter to take care of Hazel when they wanted to go out. But things had come up suddenly, and they knew that Gwen would be home at her apartment that evening. Besides, Eleanor and Dania had always expressed a fondness for Gwen’s younger sister –– “more than Gwen, sometimes,” her mother had joked.

It was for this reason that Hazel found herself standing in the living room of Gwen’s apartment, wrapped up in her thermal coat and scarf, with a backpack full of activities.

“Hey Hazel!” Dania said, jumping up from the couch. “How have you been!”

“Doin’ good,” Hazel said. She shuffled into the room, with Gwen close behind her.

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Leave It Unsaid: Keri Hulme’s “The Bone People”

“I thought it was sort of hard to follow,” Dania said, sitting down into the couch with her dogeared copy of The Bone People.

“What, because she doesn’t use quotation marks for spoken dialogue?” Eleanor asked.

“Well, that’s part of it, obviously,” Dania said. “But it’s also, like, she changes who’s talking mid-sentence half the time. The book is super atmospheric –– Gwen, I bet you just loved it, right?”

Gwen smiled, shielding her grin with a contemplative hand. “We’ll get to my thoughts.”

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