Posts Tagged ‘quote dump’

Quotes I’ve Loved, 2014

“…I attempted briefly to consecrate myself in the public library, believing every crack in my life could be chunked with a book.”
– Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

“…to this day there is something illusionistic and illusory about the relationship of time and space as we experience it in traveling, which is why whenever we come home from somewhere we never feel quite sure if we have really been abroad.”
– W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

“Darkness does not lift but becomes heavier as I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects which themselves have no power of memory is never heard, never described or passed on.”
– W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

“Although I had no regrets, I told myself sadly, that growing up was not the painless process one would have thought it to be.”
– Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

“The twenties are as frenetic a decade as the teens. You have a voice inside your head repeating I want, I want, I want,  but you don’t know what you want or how to get it. You hardly know who you are. You go on instinct. And your instinct mostly pushes you toward adventures you won’t grasp until you look back on them. Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward, some sage once said.”
– Erica Jongafterword, Fear of Flying

“What you imagine is what you remember, and what you remember is what you’re left with. So why not decide to imagine it a little differently?”
– Jennifer Dubois, A Partial History of Lost Causes

“‘Louis XVI was executed because they considered him to be a criminal, and a year later his judges were killed too for something. What is wrong? What is right? What must one love, what must one hate? What is life for, and what am I? What is life? What is death? What force controls it all?’ he asked himself. And there was no answer to one of these questions, except one illogical reply that was in no way an answer to any of them. That reply was: ‘One dies and it’s all over. One dies and finds it all out or ceases asking.’ But dying too was terrible.”
– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
– James Joyce, Ulysses

“By eight Greg and I were in Truckee. By eleven we were still standing on the hot side of the road trying to hitch a ride to Sierra City.
‘HEY!’ I yelled maniacally at a VW bus as it whizzed past. We’d been snubbed by at least six of them over the past couple of hours. Not being picked up by those who drove VW buses made me particularly indignant. ‘Fucking hippies,’ I said to Greg.
‘I thought you were a hippy,’ he said.
‘I am. Kind of. But only a little bit.'”
– Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
– Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“I began then to think of time as having a shape, something you could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another. You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.”
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

“Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a chain on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.”
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

“I’ve had the sort of day that would make Saint Francis of Assisi kick babies.”
– Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“Works that have a certain imperfection to them have an appeal for that very reason — or at least they appeal to certain types of people. [. . .] You discover something about that work that tugs at your heart — or maybe we should say the work discovers you.”
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“You’re afraid of imagination. And even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the responsibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep, and dreams are a part of sleep. When you’re awake you can suppress imagination. But you can’t suppress dreams.”
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


Quotes I’ve Loved, Last Half of 2013

“Within me are the dark immemorial forces of the Evil One, human and pre-human; within me too are the luminous forces, human and pre-human, of God–and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“Man is a frontier, the place where earth stops and heaven begins. But this frontier never ceases to transport itself and advance toward heaven.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“When you find yourselves in front of a beloved tomb, do not begin to weep. Keep ever in your minds this great consolation: Death is the door to immortality; there is no other door. Your beloved did not die–he became immortal.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“When the soul is willing, the body doesn’t mean a thing. All becomes soul, even the club in your hand, the coat on your back, the stones you walk over–all, all!”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“I don’t want to die. I don’t want to become immortal. Let me continue to live on the earth, and afterward, turn me into ashes.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“He could control her destiny now that she was dead, offer her the experiences she would have wanted, and provide drama for a life which had been so cruelly shortened. He wondered if this had happened to other writers who came before him, if Hawthorne or George Eliot had written to make the dead come back to life, had worked all day and all night, like a magician or an alchemist, defying fate and time and all the implacable elements to re-create a sacred life.”
– Colm Toibin, The Master

“He allowed himself to love these streets, as though they were a poem he had once memorized, and the years when he had first seen these colors and stones and studied these faces seemed a rich and valuable part of what he was now.”
– Colm Toibin, The Master

“‘The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed.’
‘I suppose one could say that Hitler didn’t betray his self.’
He turned. ‘You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.'”
– John Fowles, The Magus

“Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight.”
– Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

“Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else’s ready-made phrase about them.”
Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow

“Only love one person utterly and all the others will seem lovable too.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

“When we see the many gravestones sinking down or being worn away by the feet of churchgoers and even churches themselves fallen in on their memorial stones, still life after death may seem a second life into which we enter as a picture with its caption and dwell there longer than in our real and living lives. But then that picture too, that second existence, fades sooner or later. As over people, so over monuments, Time maintains its rights.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

“Few people are capable of concerning themselves with the most recent past. Either the present holds us violently captive, or we lose ourselves in the distant past and strive with might and main to recall and restore what is irrevocably lost.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

Quotes I’ve Loved, First Half of 2013 Edition

Sorry I’ve been less than awesome at updating lately. I’ve just been on a string of trips, because my teaching schedule is drastically reduced in the summer and I have time to travel. At the beginning of the month I was in Italy (Rome and Venice, if you were curious), then my brother visited me in Prague and we went to Munich with my roommate. I’m currently coming at you from a hostel in Budapest, where I’m typing on the stickiest keyboard I’ve ever experienced.

This is my last trip for awhile, I think (though on Monday if you’d asked me what my weekend plans were, they wouldn’t have included being in Budapest…), so there should be more posts soon. I’m currently about 3-4 books ahead of the blog. I just have to write them. But here are some of my favorite quotes I’ve read this year to tide you over till my next post. These are the quotes that have REALLY knocked me over, made me feel something, think about something, or at least stop and underline them. They’re the ones I’ve taken with me in this project.


“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

“As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived.”
– Mario Puzo, The Godfather

“[. . .] memory is time folding back on itself. To remember is to disengage from the present.”
– Madeliene Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

“Like many others who have lived long in a great capital, she had strong feelings about the various railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“[. . .] the music started with a goblin walking quietly over the universe, from end to end. Others followed him. They were not aggressive creatures; it was that that made them so terrible to Helen. They merely observed in passing that there was no such thing as splendour or heroism in the world.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or another; finally the name ‘Mozart’ will vanish, the dust will have won.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in ‘sadness,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘regret.’ Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, ‘the happiness that attends disaster.’ Or: ‘the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.’ I’d like to show how ‘intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members’ connects with ‘the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.’ I’d like to have a world for ‘the sadness inspired by failing restaurants’ as well as for ‘the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.’ I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

“One may feel a certain indifference to the death penalty, one may refrain from pronouncing upon it, from saying yes or no, so long as one has not seen a guillotine with one’s own eyes: but if one encounters one of them, the shock is violent; one is forced to decide, and to take part for or against.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“What is more melancholy and more profound than to see a thousand objects for the first and the last time? To travel is to be born and to die at every instant.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“That light called history is pitiless; it possesses this peculiar and divine quality, that, pure light as it is, and precisely because it is wholly light, it often casts a shadow in places where people had hitherto beheld rays; from the same man it constructs two different phantoms, and the one attacks the other and executes justice on it, and the shadows of the despot contend with the brilliance of the leader.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There is, as we know, a philosophy which denies the infinite. There is also a philosophy, pathologically classified, which denies the sun; this philosophy is called blindness.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Not seeing people permits one to attribute to them all possible perfections.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Our chimeras are the things which the most resemble us. Each one of us dreams of the unknown and the impossible in accordance with his nature.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of the other.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Way late at night Will had heart – how often? – train whistles jetting steam along the rim of sleep, forlorn, alone and far, no matter how near they came. Sometimes he woke to find tears on his cheek, asked why, lay back, listened and thought, Yes! they make me cry, going east, going west, the trains of far gone in country deeps they drown in tides of sleep that escape the towns. Those trains and their grieving sounds were lost forever between stations, not remembering where they had been, not guessing where they might go, exhaling their last pale breaths over the horizon, gone. So it was with all trains, ever.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Add up all the rivers never swum in, cakes never eaten, and by the time you get to my age, Will, it’s a lot missed out on. But then you console yourself, thinking, the more times in, the more times possibly drowned, or choked on lemon frosting. But then, through plain dumb cowardice, I guess, maybe you hold off from too much, wait, play it safe.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“So, in sum, what are we? We are the creatures that know and know too much. That leaves us with such a burden again we have a choice, to laugh or cry. No other animal does either. We do both, depending on the season and the need.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Death doesn’t exist. It never did, it never will. But we’ve drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we’ve got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Is Death important? No. Everything that happens before Death is what counts.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, okay? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“Home is watching the moon rise over the open, sleeping land and having someone you can call to the window, so you can look together. Home is where you dance with others, and dancing is life.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why. Not until the future eats the present, anyway. We know when it’s too late.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“I believe the entire natural world is but the ultimate expression of that spiritual world from which, and in which alone, it has its life.”
– Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly

“I am firmly persuaded that a great deal of consciousness, every sort of consciousness, in fact, is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From Underground

%d bloggers like this: