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Do Not Invite These Literary Ladies to Your Cookie Swap

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Dana Staves

Staff Writer

Going through life with an apron tied on and a pen in her hand, Dana Staves writes about books and food. She also writes a little fiction. She lives in Maryland with her wife, their son, and their cat.

It’s that time of year for the traditional cookie swap, to sample each other’s cookies and chat and laugh and leave with some cookies and some new recipes. And while I love thinking of what literary ladies I’d want to invite to my cookie swap, I also have to imagine…What literary ladies would I make sure to leave off the invite list? I’m thinking gals who are dangerous, inconvenient, super not interested, or just plain awful. I’ve polled my fellow Rioters, and we’ve come up with a brief list. So read on, and do not invite these literary ladies to your cookie swap.

Francesca from Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan)

You’re hard pressed to pick just one lady from the cast of Crazy Rich Asians to bar from your home and your cookie swap. Mrs. Young? Nick’s grandmother? Good choices, to be sure. But Francesca is at the top of my list. When Rachel Chu goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, she finds herself in a snake pit of jealousy, deceit, and a big old plan to make her run. And one of the worst snakes is Francesca, who goes so far as to leave a bloodied, mutilated fish in Rachel’s purse, and a message written in blood on her mirror. Francesca’s not just catty and conniving, she’s violently awful. I’m not eating her gingerbread!

Dana Staves

Book Cover for Lady Killer in Do Not Invite These Literary Ladies to Your Cookie Swap | Book Riot

Josie Schuller from Lady Killer (Jamie S. Rich, Joelle Jones, Laura Allred)

Her cover as a 1950s housewife has everyone fooled, but she’s really the kind of lady you call if you need someone murdered. I mean she seems really cool to hang with but I’d be trying to get blood stains out of everything forever and no one would ever want to come to my cookie swap again if I invited her, so she’s not allowed. Now if there’s a people-we-need-murdered swap…

Jamie Canaves 

Merricat Blackwood from We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson)

If you’re looking to be passively framed for poisoning your entire family, Merricat’s your girl. She’s too young to enjoy the wine you’ve provided (so maybe that’s a plus), but the whole running around barefoot and talking about her self-invented brand of witchcraft thing might put a damper on the party. It would be nice to get her out of the house for more than just a weekly shopping trip, but maybe find an alternative that doesn’t involve food or an opportunity to burn your house down.

Abby Hargreaves

Marie from Bad Marie (Marcy Dermansky)

If you include Marie on your guest list, be sure to take some precautions before she arrives. Hide the china. Hide the silverware. Hide your most high-end beauty products and your most coveted pieces of jewelry and, just to be safe, hide your spouse and your children. Because Marie won’t hesitate to simply take what she wants, and it won’t occur to her to feel guilty either. And I highly doubt the wide array of cookies will keep her from looking elsewhere to feed her boundless appetite for other people’s things.

Steph Auteri 

Book Cover for The Three Musketeers from Do Not Invite These Literary Ladies to Your Cookie Swap | Book Riot

Lady de Winter from The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas)

I mean, she’d probably poison [everybody]. And then she’d steal all your stuff.

Tasha Brandstatter 

Amy from Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

Does it really need explaining? She’d probably find a way to kill someone by poisoning the cookies and make it look like the murderer was someone else attending the party.

Carina Pereira

Book Cover for Chemistry from Do Not Invite These Literary Ladies to Your Cookie Swap | Book Riot

The (unnamed) narrator from Chemistry (Weike Wang)

Look, she actually seems really nice and has some clever things to say, but I also worry that a cookie swap would just freak her out too much at this point in her life. With the boyfriend troubles, the work troubles, the parent troubles, she’s just got a lot of troubles—a cookie swap is too much pressure! Don’t make this poor girl put on pants and leave the house, but maybe make sure you swing a box of cookies by her place on your way home.

Dana Staves

Cathy Ames from East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

She murdered her own parents, she was a notorious brothel owner, and generally just a terrifying individual. With how maniacal and calculating she is, she’s definitely a literary lady who I want far, far, far away from my cookie swap. I feel certain she would poison us all. 

Dana Staves