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Week 5/24/21

PUBLISHED: June 7, 2021

In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do. 


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For the first time since its creation in 1783 in the wake of the French Revolution, the Musée du Louvre will be headed by a woman, Laurence des Cars, the current head of the Musée d’Orsay and the much smaller Musée de l’Orangerie.

Art Director Jenn Boggs
“Louvre Gets Its First Female Leader in 228 Years,” by Elaine Sciolino and Alex Marshall, in the New York Times



It is 2007 and I’m twenty-four years old. I am not small, although not really large either. About five foot seven, with a crooked nose, boobs that give me a backache and feet that flap. I am a bit lost, for no reason I understand, I’ve been single most of my life. I eat and smoke when I’m nervous, and I’m nervous a lot. My parents are psychologists. I have a sister and two brothers, all very successful. I’m from England and I’m an art history graduate who doesn’t know that monkeys can make jokes or be depressed. I don’t know what a puma looks like.

“Gringa. iAquí!”

We’ve been rumbling along in a rickety bus for I don’t know how long, five hours perhaps.

I rub my sleeve against the cracked window and peer through a streak in the condensation. I see only jungle.

“¿En serio?”

“¡Sí! El parque.”

The woman next to me hauls her child off my lap, and a man—already climbing over the rows of seats, over other squashed passengers, chickens, babies, some kind of exotic bird and sacks of rice—lays claim to my precious inches of space. Then I’m standing by myself on an empty, straight road in the middle of the Bolivian Amazon, watching the bus lights fade.

Business Manager Diane John
Excerpt from The Puma Years by Laura Coleman


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