Do we have to be religious to be moral? Do we have to believe in God to be good? These questions may sound impertinent to people without a religion or clear belief in God who are trying to lead a good life.

Godless Morality

Richard Holloway

Was it the bourbon or the dye fumes that made the pink walls quiver like vaginal lips?

Suicide Blonde

Darcey Steinke

A dark extravagant shape slowly detached itself from the grey overall of sea and sky . . .

Island on the Edge of the World

Charles MacLean

‘You said the War ended decades ago.’ The angel darkens to a silhouette. Ice crystals form in the vapour rising from his shoulders, hardening into wings. ‘Oh Hagar.’ His voice shrinks to a whisper. ‘War doesn’t end. It sleeps.'

The Ice House

Tim Clare

I do not know how she has survived until now. I do not know how I have survived either, come to think of it. I have just kept going. I have paid the right price. I have continued to live. Now, we will survive together. I will be her Mother, and she will be my Monster.

My Name Is Monster

Katie Hale

The sea, as the Baron saw from the geographer's charts, was far away. But above all – he saw in his dreams – it was terrible, exaggeratedly beautiful, terribly powerful, inhuman and inmical: marvellous.

Ocean Sea

Alessandro Baricco

The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, th privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another.

Consolations

David Whyte

Even when you are hanging from a tree gasping for dear life, you'll find Human Resources saying something like 'Come on. He was just joking when he strung you up. Adolf is a cool guy.'

Think Like a White Man

Dr Boulé Whytelaw III & Nels Abbey

When Aada started her new school, the pixie came too. But this school was a place, where it was hard to be true.

The Truth Pixie Goes to School

Matt Haig

He can feel the river's presence on his right. It never leaves him; it is there, always, on the edge of his consciousness. Even in sleep, it flows through his dreams, watching, waiting, coaxing his attention to something he cannot fathom.

Canongate

I'm going to get to places that you've never been. All kinds of places. I'm going to see things you couldn't even dream of.

Godsend

John Wray

Pity the small backs of children, he heard her saying. They carry death for us the second they are born.

Canongate

We are all swimmers before the dawn of oxygen and earth.We all carry the memory of that breathable blue past.

The Chronology of Water

Lidia Yuknavitch

Maybe food really is the simplest way for people anywhere to share with each other. Eating is the one universal, daily activity that underpins human life. However much or little we think about it, food is a force – and shared its power may be amplified.

Canongate

Here is everything I know about almost everything, that i think applies to almost everyone, that might help you someday.

Canongate

Amsterdam – the dangerous city; I watched, I listened, I breathed. The sun bounces off the canals; the smell of herrings, of whatever people throw into them, and of rats.

Rembrandt's Whore

Sylvie Matton

Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end p with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.

Canongate

The beach is gray at dawn. He points to the barrel of his G3 when he says this, steel gray, he says. He smiles.

The Boat

Nam Le

The reason Evie was special is that she had an Ability. The Ability had a capital A because it was a very important ability. She could communicate with animals.

Evie and the Animals

Matt Haig

I have wonderful news for you, darling.A little brother or sister is coming – what fun! As for me, my life's pretty much fucked now Because two's a million more kids than one.

Canongate

Just when we think all the ladders between heaven and earth have fallen down we discover that our own heart, after all, has been the source of our greatest insights. That’s where all ladders start.

Doubts and Loves

Richard Holloway