Fault Assumed and Stories Told

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A person who lacked a family was assumed to be at fault, and so most vagabonds made some effort to counteract this social disapproval by concocting ornate tales of family tragedy or betrayal that made them look like victims or heroes. However, Garland did not know enough about Shaftali families to be able to conduct such an elaborate pretense, so he always declared that his past was too painful to talk about. For nearly five years, that approach had kept people from prying, but it also had kept them from even considering offering Garland a permanent home. He was lucky to have this temporary position…

Earth Logic (Elemental Logic) by Laurie J. Marks

Good Conversation, Interesting Food

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Aunt Zelda’s suppers usually took people’s minds off their problems. She was a hospitable cook who liked to have as many people around her table as she could, and although her guests always enjoyed the conversation, the food could be more of a challenge. The most frequent description was “interesting,” as in, “That bread and cabbage bake was very…interesting, Zelda. I never would have thought of that myself,” or, “Well, I must say that strawberry jam is such an…interesting sauce for sliced eel.”

Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage