“Most years at the Washington County Fair, Stacey Haney set up an animal salon outside her blue and white Coachman trailer.” Eliza Griswold, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.

“Each time he raised his eyes from the paperwork, and even more each time he leaned his head against the top of the high, unyielding chair back, he saw every detail, every outline in all its clarity, as though his gaze had newly acquired a subtlety and a sharpness, as though the print were being reborn before his eyes with the same meticulous precision with which, in the year 1513, Albrecht Dürer had first engraved it.” Leonardo Sciascia, Death and the Knight (translated from the Italian by Joseph Farrell.)

“Just after eight-thirty in the morning on August 2, 1978, a small fire broke out on the mezzanine level of a busy Waldbaum’s supermarket in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of southern Brooklyn.” Joe Flood, The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City—and Determined the Future of Cities.

“By 1870, not even four full years after the clerk of Chesterfield County, Virginia, officially recorded Emily Reid Levallois’s death, rumors of her survival and true whereabouts abounded.” Kevin Powers, A Shout in the Ruins.

“In 1929, three decades into what were the great years for the blue-collar town of Portsmouth, on the Ohio River, a private swimming pool opened and they called it Dreamland.” Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

“Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions.” Muriel Spark, The Girls of Slender Means.

“Two years into a twenty-three-year prison sentence, on a day pushing 100 degrees, Ronnie Jones had his first visitor.” Beth Macy, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America.

“My friend, Nicholas Brady, who in his own mind helped save the world, was born in Chicago in 1928 but then moved right to California.” Philip K. Dick, Radio Free Albemuth.

“In 2008 everyone was talking about a momentous historic possibility: the Democratic Party nominating a woman, Hillary Clinton, for president, and an African-American man, Barack Obama, for vice president.” Myra MacPherson, The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age.

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