Read in 2013
27 8 01. Solaris - Stanislaw Lem
“We head into space, ready for anything, which is to say, for solitude, arduous work, self-sacrifice, and death. Out of modesty we don't say it aloud, but from time to time we think about how magnificent we are. In the meantime--in the meantime, we're not trying to conquer the universe; all we want is to expand Earth to its limits. Some planets are said to be as hot and dry as the Sahara, others as icy as the poles or tropical as the Brazilian jungle. We're humanitarian and noble, we've no intention of subjugating other races, we only want to impart our values to them and in return, to appropriate their heritage. We see ourselves as Knights of the Holy Contact. That's another falsity. We're not searching for anything except people. We don't need other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. One world is enough, even there we feel stifled. We desire to find our own idealized image..."
"...the opposition of instinct and reason is mainly illusory. Instinct, intuition, or insight is what first leads to the beliefs which subsequent reason confirms or confutes; but the confirmation, where it is possible, consists, in the last analysis, of agreement with other beliefs no less instinctive. Reason is a harmonising, controlling force rather than a creative one. Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new."
18 7.2 03. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
"The men standing around in front of the Shpilman house have been muttering and commenting and critiquing the performance, but they shut up. Life wheezes in and out of their lungs, rattles in the snot of their noses. The heat of the lantern vaporizes the snow. The air seems to shatter like a world of tiny windows with a tinkling sound. And Landsman feels something that makes him want to put a hand to the back of his neck. He is a dealer in entropy and a disbeliever by trade and inclination. To Landsman, heaven is kitsch, God a word, and the soul, at most, the charge on your battery. But in the three-second lull that follows Zimbalist's crying out the name of the rebbe's lost son, Landsman has the feeling that something comes fluttering among them. Dipping down over the crowd of men, brushing them with its wing. Maybe it's just the knowledge, leaping from man to man, of why these two homicide detectives must have come at this hour. Or maybe it's the old power to conjure of a name in which their fondest hope once resided. Or maybe Landsman just needs a good night's sleep in a hotel with no dead Jews in it."
4 9.5 04. Claw of the Conciliator (Book of the New Sun... - Gene Wolfe
"Their song was not of battle or women as most soldiers' songs are, but a true slingers' song. Insofar as I heard it that day, it ran thus:
'When I was a lad, my mother said,
"You dry your tears and go to bed;
I know my son will travel far,
Born beneath a shooting star."
'In after years, my father said,
As he pulled my hair and knocked my head,
"They mustn't whimper at a scar,
Who're born beneath a shooting star."
'A mage I met, and the mage he said,
"I see for you a future red,
Fire and riot, raid and war,
O born beneath a shooting star."
'A shepherd I met, and the shepherd said,
"We sheep must go where we are led,
To Dawn-Gate where the angels are,
Following the shooting star."'
"And so on, verse after verse, some cryptic (as it seemed to me), some merely comic, some clearly assembled purely for the sake of the rhymes, which were repeated again and again."
9 6 05. Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn... - Tad Williams
"'Not everyone can stand up and be a hero, Princess. Some prefer to surrender to the inevitable and salve their consciences with the gift of survival.'"
21 8.3 06. Possession - A.S. Byatt
"And his grey brains wandered the heavens as clouds."
"He had persuaded the Vicar, whom he had met at an episcopal tea party, that biography was just as much a spiritual hunger of modern man as sex or political activity. Look at the sales, he had urged, look at the column space in the Sundays, people need to know how other people lived, it helps them to live, it's human. A form of religion, said the Vicar. A form of ancestor worship, said Cropper. Or more. What are the Gospels but a series of varying attempts at the art of biography?"
90 8.1 07. Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
"Ares always reemerges from the chaos. It will never go away. Athenian civilization defends itself from the forces of Ares with metis, or technology. Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists' uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn't work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish."
"Show some fucking adaptability."
3 7 08. Beasts - John Crowley
"Bree surrendered altogether to the mosaic of word and image, as she could surrender, at times, in prayer: in fact the Birthday Show was most like prayer. Some of it frightened her, as when over flaming and degraded industrial landscapes a black manna seemed endlessly to fall, and dogs and pale children seemed to seek, amid blackened streets, exits that were not there, and the sky itself seemed to have turned to stone, stained and eternally filthy, and Emma said in a voice without reproach or hope: 'The streams of Edom will be turned into pitch, and her soil into brimstone; her land shall become burning pitch. Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. They shall name it No Kingdom There; and its princes shall be nothing.' For ever and ever! No, it could not be borne; Bree covered her mouth with her hands, hands ready to cover her eyes if she couldn't bear the scenes of war that followed: blackened, despairing faces, refugees, detention centers, the hopeless round of despair for ever and ever.... Only by stages was it redeemed; amaryllis in flower, cocoon opening, a butterfly's panting wings taking shape. Genesis Preserve: a thousand square miles stolen from Edom. Day rose over it, passed from it. She saw its fastnesses. Rapt, she let her hands slowly come to rest again. Emma spoke the words of an ancient treaty the Federal had made with the Indians, giving them the forests and plains and rivers in perpetuity, fine rolling promises; governments had made the same promises to the people of Candy's Mountain, and so there was warning as well as security in Emma's words. Then far off, seen from the unpeopled fastnesses of the Preserve, blue and shadowy as a mountain, remote, as though watched by deer and foxes, their home. Emma said again: 'None shall pass through it for ever and ever; they shall name it No Kingdom There, and its princes shall be nothing,' and Bree didn't know whether the change of meaning, which she understood in ways she couldn't express, made her want to laugh or cry. Withdraw: that was what Candy had preached (only not preached, he was incapable of preaching, but he made himself understood, even as Meric's show did). You have done enough damage to the earth and to yourselves. Your immense, battling ingenuity: turn it inward, make yourselves scarce, you can do that. Leave the earth alone: all its miracles happen when you're not looking. Build a mountain and you can all be troll-kings. The earth will blossom in thanks for it. A half century and more had passed since Candy's death, but there was as yet only one of the thousand mountains, or badger setts, or coral reefs that Candy had imagined men withdrawing into for the earth's sake and for their own salvation. The building of that one had been the greatest labor since the cathedrals; was a cathedral; was its own god, though every year Jesus grew stronger there. All the world's miracles: Meric had combed the patronizing nature-vaudevilles of the last century and culled from them the images of undiluted wonder. There was never a time that Bree didn't weep when from the laboring womb of an antelope, standing with legs apart, trembling, there appeared the struggling, fragile foreleg of its child, then its defenseless head, eyes huge and wide with exhaustion and sentience, and the voice, as though carried on a steady wind of compassion and wisdom, whispered only: 'Pity, like a naked newborn babe,' and Bree renewed her vows, as they all silently did, that she would never, never consciously hurt any living thing the earth had made."
"When in the old schoolhouse, Reynard had given him this house and this safety, even, probably, his life, in exchange for his silence, he had told him: be neither predator nor prey."
1 8 09. Children of the Night - Edwin Arlington Robinson
Excerpt from "Luke Havergal"
"No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies
To rift the fiery night that's in your eyes;
But there, where western glooms are gathering,
The dark will end the dark, if anything:
God slays Himself with every leaf that flies,
And hell is more than half of paradise."
1 4 010. The Three Taverns - Edwin Arlington Robinson
Excerpt from "Discovery"
"Our pleasure was to wait; and our surprise
Was hard when we confessed the dry return
Of his regret. For we were still to learn
That earth has not a school where we may go
For wisdom, or for more than we may know."
2 5.5 011. A Shropshire Lad - A.E. Housman
"When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
'Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.'
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
'The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.'
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true."
4 9 012. Engine Summer - John Crowley
"In those ancient rooms near the center of Belaire all our wisdom originates, born in the gossip's mind as she sits to watch the Filing System or think on the saints. Things come together, and the saint or the System reveals a new thing not thought before to be there, but which once born spirals out like Path along the cords, being changed by them as it goes. As I got older, the stories of the saints which Painted Red told absorbed me more and more; when one day I stayed after everyone else had gone, hoping to hear more, Painted Red said to me: 'Remember, Rush, there's no one who would not rather be happy than be a saint.' I nodded, but I didn't know what she meant. It seemed to me that anyone who was a saint would have to be happy. I wanted to be a saint, though I told no one, and the thought gave me nothing but joy."
"There's a time in some years, after the first frosts, when the sun gets hot again, and summer returns for a time. Winter is coming; you know that from the way the mornings smell, the way the leaves, half-turned to color, are dry and poised to drop. But summer goes on, a small false summer, all the more precious for being small and false. In Little Belaire, we called this time--for some reason nobody knows--engine summer."
138 7.3 013. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
"Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision."
116 7.8 014. A Christmas Carol (Bantam Classic) - Charles Dickens
"'But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?'
'It is required of every man,' the Ghost returned, 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world--oh, woe is me!--and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!'"
2 6 015. The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and ... - William James_III
"We must know the truth; and we must avoid error,--these are our first and great commandments as would-be knowers; but they are not two ways of stating an identical commandment, they are two separable laws. Although it may indeed happen that when we believe the truth A, we escape as an incidental consequence from believing the falsehood B, it hardly ever happens that by merely disbelieving B we necessarily believe A. We may in escaping B fall into believing other falsehoods, C or D, just as bad as B; or we may escape B by not believing anything at all, not even A."
3 8 016. Christian Science - Mark Twain
"'You should never allow yourself to speak of how you feel, nor permit others to ask you how you are feeling; you should never concede that you are ill, nor permit others to talk about disease or pain or death or similar nonexistences in your presence. Such talk only encourages the mind to continue its empty imaginings.' Just at that point the Stubenmadchen trod on her cat's tail, and the cat let fly a frenzy of cat-profanity. I asked, with caution: 'Is a cat's opinion about pain valuable?' 'A cat has no opinion; opinions proceed from mind only; the lower animals, being eternally perishable, have not been granted mind; without mind, opinion is impossible.' 'She merely imagined she felt a pain--the cat?' 'She cannot imagine a pain, for imagining is an effect of mind; without mind, there is no imagination. A cat has no imagination.' 'Then she had a real pain?' 'I have already told you there is no such thing as real pain.' 'It is strange and interesting. I do wonder what was the matter with the cat. Because, there being no such thing as a real pain, and she not being able to imagine an imaginary one, it would seem that God in His pity has compensated the cat with some kind of a mysterious emotion usable when her tail is trodden on which, for the moment, joins cat and Christian in one common brotherhood of--' She broke in with an irritated--'Peace! The cat feels nothing, the Christian feels nothing. Your empty and foolish imaginings are profanation and blasphemy, and can do you an injury. It is wiser and better and holier to recognize and confess that there is no such thing as disease or pain or death.' 'I am full of imaginary tortures,' I said, 'but I do not think I could be any more uncomfortable if they were real ones. What must I do to get rid of them?' 'There is no occasion to get rid of them since they do not exist. They are illusions propagated by matter, and matter has no existence; there is no such thing as matter.' 'It sounds right and clear, but yet it seems in a degree elusive; it seems to slip through, just when you think you are getting a grip on it.' 'Explain.' 'Well, for instance: if there is no such thing as matter, how can matter propagate things?' In her compassion she almost smiled. She would have smiled if there were any such thing as a smile. 'It is quite simple,' she said; 'the fundamental propositions of Christian Science explain it, and they are summarized in the four following self-evident propositions: 1. God is All in all. 2. God is good. Good is Mind. 3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. 4. Life, God, omnipotent Good, deny death, evil, sin, disease. There--now you see.' It seemed nebulous; it did not seem to say anything about the difficulty in hand--how non-existent matter can propagate illusions. I said, with some hesitancy: 'Does--does it explain?'"
"How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give information to this infinite Mind; and plead for unmerited pardon, and a liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech. If we are ungrateful for Life, Truth, and Love, and yet return thanks to God for all blessings, we are insincere; and incur the sharp censure our Master pronounces on hypocrites. In such a case the only acceptable prayer is to put the finger on the lips and remember our blessings. While the heart is far from divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the ingratitude of barren lives, for God knoweth all things."
18 8.4 017. The Jungle Books (Penguin Popular Classics) - Rudyard Kipling
"The Python dropped his head lightly for a minute on Mowgli's shoulder. 'A brave heart and a courteous tongue,' said he. 'They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling. But now go hence quickly with thy friends. Go and sleep, for the moon sets, and what follows it is not well that thou shouldst see.'"
3 9.5 018. The Sword of the Lictor (Book of the New Sun... - Gene Wolfe
"The tale I read to little Severian said that the universe was but a long word of the Increate's. We, then, are the syllables of that word. But the speaking of any word is futile unless there are other words, words that are not spoken. If a beast has but one cry, the cry tells nothing; and even the wind has a multitude of voices, so that those who sit indoors may hear it and know if the weather is tumultuous or mild. The powers we call dark seem to me to be the words the Increate did not speak, if the Increate exists at all; and these words must be maintained in a quasi-existence, if the other word, the word spoken, is to be distinguished. What is not said can be important--but what is said is more important."
"Time itself is a thing, so it seems to me, that stands solidly like a fence of iron palings with its endless row of years; and we flow past like Gyoll, on our way to a sea from which we shall return only as rain."
32 7.7 019. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ... - Mark Twain
"I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sunday-schools the first thing; as a result, I now had an admirable system of graded schools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of Protestant congregations all in a prosperous and growing condition. Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was a perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teaching to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it in my other educational buildings. I could have given my own sect the preference and made everybody a Presbyterian without any trouble, but that would have been to affront a law of human nature: spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it; and, besides, I was afraid of a united Church; it makes a mighty power, the mightiest conceivable, and then when it by and by gets into selfish hands, as it is always bound to do, it means death to human liberty and paralysis to human thought."
"Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition. That wasn't law; it wasn't gospel: it was only an opinion--my opinion, and I was only a man, one man: so it wasn't worth any more than the pope's--or any less, for that matter."
308 8.2 020. Dracula - Bram Stoker
"I fear I am myself the only living soul within the place."
"'Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!' Seeing, I suppose, some expression in my face strange to him, he added, 'Ah, sir, you dwellers in the city cannot enter into the feelings of the hunter.'"
1 4 021. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: A Play - August Wilson
"'Some mens got it worse than others...this foolishness I'm talking about. Some mens is excited to be fools. That excitement is something else. I know about it. I done experienced it. It makes you feel good to be a fool. But it don't last long. It's over in a minute. Then you got to tend with the consequences. You got to tend with what comes after. That's when you wish you had learned something about it.'"
10 7.5 022. The First Men In The Moon (S.F. Masterworks) - H.G. Wells
"Most men want--well, various things, but very few want knowledge for its own sake. I don't, I know perfectly well. Now, these Selenites seem to be a driving, busy sort of being, but how do you know that even the most intelligent will take an interest in us or our world? I don't believe they'll even know we have a world. They never come out at night--they'd freeze if they did. They've probably never seen any heavenly body at all except the blazing sun. How are they to know there is another world? What does it matter to them if they do? Well, even if they have had a glimpse of a few stars, or even of the earth crescent, what of that? Why should people living inside a planet trouble to observe that sort of thing? Men wouldn't have done it except for the seasons and sailing; why should the moon people?"
783 8.1 023. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
"...particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils."
28 7.3 024. Count Zero (The Sprawl Trilogy) - William Gibson_II
"As I luxuriate in the discovery that I am no special sponge for sorrow, but merely another fallible animal in this stone maze of a city, I come simultaneously to see that I am the focus of some vast device fueled by an obscure desire."
9 9 025. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault - Charles Perrault
The moral of Bluebeard
"O curiosity, thou mortal bane!
Spite of thy charms, though causest often pain
And sore regret, of which we daily find
A thousand instances attend mankind:
For thou--O may it not displease the fair--
A fleeting pleasure art, but lasting care.
And always proves, alas! too dear the prize
Which, in the moment of possession, dies."
2 4 026. Coming Soon!!!: A Narrative - John Barth
"'So are we Postmodern, or what?' Sher asked somewhere along the way. For we were using the performers' real names onstage, and directly posing the question to the audience whether a showboat show could be floated successfully in the age of electronic digitality, and if so, whether via the nostalgia route (couple of Show Boat takeoffs here) or high-tech special effects, as best we could mount them. In short, we were talking and singing about what we were doing as we did it, as well as about the history of our medium, and making that metanarrative and metacommentary part of the entertainment. Was that Postmodern?
Are we Post-mah-dern? Narrator crooned back to her, to the tune of "The Party's Over," and at once quick Kit (for such was she beginning already to become in certain of our routines) picked up the melody and improvised the next line:
'Is this the end-of-the-road?'
Whereto her proto-Kaboodle, thinking as fast as he could under the uncommonly distracting circumstances, responded
Or is ree-cycled self-conscious i-ro-ny just one-more-passing-mode?"
63 7.9 027. Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco
"Any fact becomes important when it's connected to another."
"Incredulity doesn't kill curiosity; it encourages it. Though distrustful of logical chains of ideas, I loved the polyphony of ideas. As long as you don't believe in them, the collision of two ideas--both false--can create a pleasing interval, a kind of diabolus in musica. I had no respect for some ideas people were willing to stake their lives on, but two or three ideas that I did not respect might still make a nice melody. Or have a good beat, and if it was jazz, all the better."
13 9.4 028. The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Gri... - Wilhelm Grimm,Jacob Grimm
"Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it."
3 9.5 029. The Citadel of the Autarch (Book of the New ... - Gene Wolfe
"'Sometimes driven aground by the photon storms, by the swirling of the galaxies, clockwise and counterclockwise, ticking with light down the dark sea-corridors lined with our silver sails, our demon-haunted mirror sails, our hundred-league masts as fine as threads, as fine as silver needles sewing the threads of starlight, embroidering the stars on black velvet, wet with the winds of Time that go racing by. The bone in her teeth! The spume, the flying spume of Time, cast up on these beaches where old sailors can no longer keep their bones from the restless, the unwearied universe. Where has she gone? My lady, the mate of my soul? Gone across the running tides of Aquarius, of Pisces, of Aries. Gone. Gone in her little boat, her nipples pressed against the black velvet lid, gone, sailing away forever from the star-washed shores, the dry shoals of the habitable worlds. She is her own ship, she is the figurehead of her own ship, and the captain. Bosun, Bosun, put out the launch! Sailmaker, make a sail! She has left us behind. We have left her behind. She is in the past we never knew and the future we will not see. Put out more sail, Captain, for the universe is leaving us behind...'"
431 8.3 030. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs."
"Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end."
1 10 031. On Wings of Song - Thomas M. Disch
"...there seemed to be this difference between the language of words. It didn't seem possible, in the language of music, to lie."
"Everywhere you looked: sex. He could think of nothing else. He'd sit at the dinner table, talking about whatever (or, more likely, listening), and the taste of the sauce on his tongue became one with the taste of Boa an hour before when they'd made love, a taste that might be overwhelmed, all at once, by a spasm of total pleasure right there at the dinner table that would stiffen his spine and immobilize his mind. He would look at Boa (or, just as often, at Alethea) and his imagination would begin to rev until it had gone out of control, until there was nothing in his head but the image, immense and undifferentiated, of their copulation. Not even theirs, really, but a cosmic abstraction, a disembodied, blissful rhythm that even the flames of the candles obeyed.
It was the same when they would listen to music. He had read, in some book of advice lent him by Mrs. Boismortier, that it was a bad idea to listen to too many records. The way to discover what any piece of music was about was to perform it yourself, or lacking that, to hear it performed live. The habit of listening to records was a form of self-abuse. But, ah, there is something to be said for the habit. Lord God, such music as they listened to that week! Such pleasures as they shared! Such flurries of fingers, such cadences and cadenzas, such amazing transitions to such sighs and smiles and secret sympathies suddenly made plain as in the most brilliant and luminous of mirrors!
It dawned on him that this is what being in love was all about. This was why people made such a fuss over it. Why they said it made the world go round. It did! He stood with Boa on the roof of Worry's tower and watched the sun rise above the green body of the earth and felt himself to be, with her, ineffably, part of a single process that began in that faraway furnace that burned atoms into energy. He could not have explained how this was so, nor could he hold on for more than a moment to his highest sense of that enveloping Love, the moment when he felt needles of light piercing his and Boa's separate flesh, knitting their bodies like two threads into the intricate skein of that summer's profusions. It was only a single moment, and it went.
But every time they made love it was as though they were moving toward that moment again, slowly at first, then suddenly it would be there again in its immense, arisen majesty within them, and still the delirium swelled as they moved from height to effortless height, exalted, exulting, exiles from earth, set free from gravity and the laws of motion. It was heaven, and they had the keys. How could they have kept themselves from returning, even supposing they had wanted to?"
99 7.7 032. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
"I tried to run to him, but the mud sucked my feet down. The mud was impeding him too, because one time, when he kicked out, he slipped and fell into the blackness. But his jumbled swear-words continued uninterrupted, and I was able to reach him just as he was getting to his feet again. I caught a glimpse of his face in the moonlight, caked in mud and distorted with fury, then I reached for his flailing arms and held on tight. He tried to shake me off, but I kept holding on, until he stopped shouting and I felt the fight go out of him. Then I realised he too had his arms around me. And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field, for what seemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the wind kept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us being swept away into the night."
2 6.5 033. Time and the Gods - Lord Dunsany
"And men shall gain harbour from the mocking of the gods at last in the warm moist earth, but to the gods shall no ceasing ever come from being the Things that were the gods. When Time and worlds and death are gone away nought shall then remain but worn regrets and Things that were once gods."
2 10 034. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower: In S... - Marcel Proust
"This new concept of the "finest, highest achievement of art" had no sooner entered my mind than it located the imperfect enjoyment I had had at the theater, and added to it a little of what it lacked; this made such a heady mixture that I exclaimed, "What a great artiste she is!" It may be thought I was not altogether sincere. Think, however, of so many writers who, in a moment of dissatisfaction with a piece they have just written, may read a eulogy of the genius of Chateaubriand, or who may think of some other great artist whom they have dreamed of equaling, who hum to themselves a phrase of Beethoven for instance, comparing the sadness of it to the mood they have tried to capture in their prose, and are then so carried away by the perception of genius that they let it affect the way they read their own piece, no longer seeing it as they first saw it, but going so far as to hazard an act of faith in the value of it, by telling themselves "It's not bad you know!" without realizing that the sum total which determines their ultimate satisfaction includes the memory of Chateaubriand's brilliant pages, which they have assimilated to their own, but which, of course, they did not write. Think of all the men who go on believing in the love of a mistress in whom nothing is more flagrant than her infidelities; of all those torn between the hope of something beyond this life (such as the bereft widower who remembers a beloved wife, or the artist who indulges in dreams of posthumous fame, each of them looking forward to an afterlife which he knows is inconceivable) and the desire for a reassuring oblivion, when their better judgement reminds them of the faults they might otherwise have to expiate after death; or think of the travelers who are uplifted by the general beauty of a journey they have just completed, although during it their main impression, day after day, was that it was a chore--think of them before deciding whether, given the promiscuity of the ideas that lurk within us, a single one of those that affords us our greatest happiness has not begun life by parasitically attaching itself to a foreign idea with which it happened to come into contact, and by drawing from it much of the power of pleasing which it once lacked."
"...genius, or even great talent, lies less in elements of mind and social refinement superior to those of others than in the ability to transform and transpose them. To heat a liquid with a flashlight, what is required is not the strongest possible torch, but one in which the current can be diverted from the production of light and adapted to the production of heat. To fly through the air, it is not necessary to have the most powerful motorcar, but a motor which, by turning its earthbound horizontal line into a vertical, can convert its speed along the ground into ascent. Likewise, those who produce works of genius are not those who spend their days in the most refined company, whose conversation is the most brilliant, or whose culture is the broadest; they are those who have the ability to stop living for themselves and make a mirror of their personality, so that their lives, however nondescript they may be socially, or even in a way intellectually, are reflected in it. For genius lies in reflective power, and not in the intrinsic quality of the scene reflected."
"...in love, unlike war, the more one is defeated, the more one imposes harsh conditions."
"The image of the woman we love, though we think it has a pristine authenticity, has actually been often made and remade by us. And the memory that wounds is not contemporaneous with the restored image; it dates from a very different time; it is one of the few witnesses to a monstrous past. Since this past goes on existing, though not inside us, where we have seen fit to replace it with a wondrous golden age, a paradise where we are to be reunited and reconciled, such memories and such letters are a reminder of reality; their sudden stab ought to make us realize how far we have strayed from that reality, and how foolish are the hopes with which we sustain our daily expectation."
148 7.9 035. Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of... - Jostein Gaarder
"Wasn’t it extraordinary to be in the world right now, wandering around in a wonderful adventure!"
10 9.1 036. Nine Princes In Amber (The Chronicles of Amb... - Roger Zelazny
"All roads lead to Amber."
"I enjoy slaughtering beasts," he said, "and I think of my relatives constantly."
"Now, it is written that only a prince of Amber may walk among Shadows, though of course he may lead or direct as many as he choose along such courses. We led our troops and saw them die, but of Shadow I have this to say: there is Shadow and there is Substance, and this is the root of all things. Of Substance, there is only Amber, the real city, upon the real Earth, which contains everything. Of Shadow, there is an infinitude of things. Every possibility exists somewhere as a Shadow of the real. Amber, by its very existence, has cast such in all directions. And what may one say of it beyond? Shadow extends from Amber to Chaos, and all things are possible within it. There are only three ways of traversing it, and each of them is difficult.
If one is a prince or princess of the blood, then one may walk, crossing through Shadows, forcing one's environment to change as one passes, until it is finally in precisely the shape one desires it, and there stop. The Shadow world is then one's own, save for family intrusions, to do with as one would. In such a place I had dwelled for centuries.
The second means is the cards, cast by Dworkin, Master of the Line, who had created them in our image, to facilitate communications between members of the royal family. He was the ancient artist to whom space and perspective meant nothing. He had made up the family Trumps, which permitted the willer to touch his brethren wherever they might be. I had a feeling that these had not been used in full accord with their author's intention.
The third was the Pattern, also drawn by Dworkin, which could only be walked by a member of our family. It initiated the walker into the system of the cards, as it were, and at its ending gave its walker the power to stride across Shadows.
The cards and the Pattern made for instant transport from Substance through Shadow. The other way, walking, was harder."
8 7.8 037. Elective Affinities (Oxford World's Classics... - J. W. von Goethe
"Things we are used to, small in themselves perhaps, are never easy to do without, but we suffer real pain at their absence only when the occasion itself is significant."
11 6.7 038. Lysistrata - Aristophanes
"A man, a man! I spy a frenzied man!
He carries Love upon him like a staff."
There is no beast, no rush of fire, like woman so untamed.
She calmly goes her way where even panthers would be shamed.
And yet you are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with me,
When for your faithful ally you might win me easily."
1 4 039. Clouds - Aristophanes
I only wish to ask you some questions. Have you any memory?
That depends: if anything is owed me, my memory is excellent, but if I owe, alas! I have none whatever."
10 8.3 040. The Guns of Avalon (The Chronicles of Amber ... - Roger Zelazny
"I had to find me a place, a place resembling another place - one which no longer existed. I located the path. I took it."
"Amber casts an infinity of shadows, and my Avalon had cast many of its own, because of my presence there. I might be known on many earths that I had never trod, for shadows of myself had walked them, mimicking imperfectly my deeds and my thoughts."
6 8.8 041. The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1... - Arthur Schopenhauer
"'The world is my idea:'--this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness, which is himself."
"Only through the union of space and time do we reach matter, and matter is the possibility of co-existence, and, through that, of permanence; through permanence again matter is the possibility of the persistence of substance in the change of its states."
"Will is the thing-in-itself, the inner content, the essence of the world. Life, the visible world, the phenomenon, is only the mirror of the will."
35 8.2 042. Much Ado About Nothing (The new Penguin Shak... - William Shakespeare
"Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it:
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality."
"Being that I flow in grief,
The smallest twine may lead me."
I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is
not that strange?
As strange as the thing I know not. It were as
possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as
you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I
confess nothing, nor I deny nothing."
"I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man: for, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words:
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement."
"I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods
And made a push at chance and sufferance."
"The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve,--
I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good
swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers,
whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned
over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I
cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent
rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for,
'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous
endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
nor I cannot woo in festival terms."
"Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but
foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
will depart unkissed."
"I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
buried in thy eye"
"Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.
Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,
10 8.5 043. Zeno's Conscience: a Novel - Italo Svevo
"...it is comfortable to live in the belief that you are great, though your greatness is latent."
"The absent man is always wrong..."
2 5 044. A House of Pomegranates - Oscar Wilde
"'Through our sunless lanes creeps Poverty with her hungry eyes, and Sin with his sodden face follows close behind her. Misery wakes us in the morning, and Shame sits with us at night. But what are these things to thee? Thou art not one of us. Thy face is too happy.'"
"They did not understand a single word of what he was saying, but that made no matter, for they put their heads on one side, and looked wise, which is quite as good as understanding a thing, and very much easier."
8 6 045. All's Well That Ends Well - William Shakespeare
"The blushes in my cheeks thus whisper me--
'We blush that thou shouldst choose; but be refus'd,
Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever;
We'll ne'er come there again.'"
"My being here it is that holds thee hence:
Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels offic'd all: I will be gone,
That pitiful rumour may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day!
For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away."
"Ay, so you serve us
Till we serve you; but when you have our roses
You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves,
And mock us with our bareness."
I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it."
7 8.7 046. Sign of the Unicorn (The Chronicles of Amber... - Roger Zelazny
"'I have always been able to detect the quarter of the wind,' I said. 'I do not sail against it.'"
"Many are the times I have awakened, sometimes shaking, always afraid, from the dream that I occupied my old cell, blind once more, in the dungeons beneath Amber. It is not as if I were unfamiliar with the condition of imprisonment. I have been locked away on a number of occasions, for various periods of time. But solitary, plus blindness with small hope of recovery, made for a big charge at the sensory-deprivation counter in the department store of the mind. That, with the sense of finality to it all, had left its marks. I generally keep these memories safely tucked away during waking hours, but at night, sometimes, they come loose, dance down the aisles and frolic round the notions counter, one, two, three."
2 6 047. The Napoleon of Notting Hill - G. K. Chesterton
"Men are men, but Man is a woman."
"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time."
"'Madmen are always serious; they go mad from lack of humour. You are looking serious yourself..."
2 5.5 048. Old Mother West Wind - Thornton W. Burgess
"'Now you all know that people who do nothing worth while in this world are of no use and there is little room for them. So when Mother Nature saw how useless had become the Frog tribe she called the King Frog before her and she said:
"Because you can think of nothing but your beautiful tail it shall be taken away from you. Because you do nothing but eat and sleep your mouth shall become wide like a door, and your eyes shall start forth from your head. You shall become bow-legged and ugly to look at, and all the world shall laugh at you."'"
2 6.5 049. The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad - Thornton W. Burgess
"'Ah done learn a right smart long time ago that Ah don' know all there is to know about mah neighbors,' said he. 'We-uns done think of Brer Toad as ugly-lookin' fo' so long that we-uns may have overlooked something. Ah don' reckon Brer Toad can sing, but Ah 'lows that perhaps he thinks he can. What do you-alls say to we-uns going down to the Smiling Pool and finding out what he is really up to?'"
"There are stranger things in the world to-day
Than ever you dreamed could be.
There's beauty in some of the commonest things
If only you've eyes to see."
"'Time to watch for clouds is
When the sky is clear.'"
26 7.8 050. Underworld - Don DeLillo
"Longing on a large scale is what makes history. This is just a kid with a local yearning but he is part of an assembling crowd, anonymous thousands off the buses and trains, people in narrow columns tramping over the swing bridge above the river, and even if they are not a migration or a revolution, some vast shaking of the soul, they bring with them the body heat of a great city and their own small reveries and desperations, the unseen something that haunts the day--men in fedoras and sailors on shore leave, the stray tumble of their thoughts, going to a game."
"Waste is a religious thing. We entomb contaminated waste with a sense of reverence and dread. It is necessary to respect what we discard."
"Pain is just another form of information."
"I needed a private life. How could you have a private life in a place where all your isolated feelings are out in the open, where the tension in your heart, the thing you've been able to restrict to small closed rooms is everywhere exposed to the whitish light and grown so large and firmly fixed that you can't separate it from the landscape and sky?"
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