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  • #1
    Audrey Niffenegger
    “I don't know about you, but I'm kind of fed up with realism. After all, there's enough reality already; why make more of it? Why not leave realism for the memoirs of drug addicts, the histories of salt, the biographies of porn stars? Why must we continue to read about the travails of divorced people or mildly depressed Canadians when we could be contemplating the shopping habits of zombies, or the difficulties that ensue when living and dead people marry each other? We should be demanding more stories about faery handbags and pyjamas inscribed with the diaries of strange women. We should not rest until someone writes about a television show that features the Free People's World-Tree Library, with its elaborate waterfalls and Forbidden Books and Pirate-Magicians. We should be pining for a house haunted by rabbits.

    (from the review of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners in The Guardian)”
    Audrey Niffenegger

  • #2
    Oscar Wilde
    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
    Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

  • #3
    Mahatma Gandhi
    “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • #4
    Jasper Fforde
    “Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It's the crack cocaine of the literary world.”
    Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels

  • #5
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious
    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”
    Mary Oliver

  • #6
    Emily Dickinson
    “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”
    Emily Dickinson, Selected Letters

  • #7
    Jonathan Safran Foer
    “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.”
    Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  • #8
    Marilynne Robinson
    “There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”
    Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

  • #9
    Marilynne Robinson
    “I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

  • #10
    Marilynne Robinson
    “This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

  • #11
    Michael Cunningham
    “It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and its perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.”
    Michael Cunningham

  • #12
    Sylvia Plath
    “That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
    Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

  • #13
    Nicole Krauss
    “I, too, like to read. Once a month, I go to the local branch. For myself, I pick a novel and, for Bruno, with his cataracts, a book on tape. At first Bruno was doubtful. “What am I supposed to do with this?” he said, looking at the box set of “Anna Karenina” as if I’d handed him an enema. And yet. A day or two later I was going about my business when a voice from above bellowed, ALL HAPPY FAMILIES RESEMBLE ONE ANOTHER, nearly giving me a conniption. After that, he listened to whatever I’d brought him at top volume and then returned it to me without comment. One afternoon, I came back from the library with Ulysses. For a month straight he listened. He had a habit of pressing the stop button and rewinding when he hadn’t fully grasped something. INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT. Pause, rewind. INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE. Pause, rewind. INELUCTABLE MODALITY. Pause. INELUCT.”
    Nicole Krauss

  • #14
    Nicole Krauss
    “Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted--wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.”
    Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

  • #15
    Nicole Krauss
    “All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist.”
    Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

  • #16
    Miranda July
    “Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it's worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.”
    Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You

  • #17
    Franz Wright
    “literature will lose, sunlight will win, don't worry.”
    Franz Wright, God's Silence

  • #18
    Suzanne Collins
    “So it's you and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans.”
    Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

  • #19
    Lorrie Moore
    “Though she would have preferred long ago to have died, fled, gotten it all over with, the body--Jesus, how the body!--took its time. It possessed its own wishes and nostalgias. You could not just turn neatly into light and slip out the window. You couldn't go like that. Within one's own departing but stubborn flesh, there was only the long, sentimental, piecemeal farewell. Sir? A towel. Is there a towel? The body, hauling sadness, pursued the soul, hobbled after. The body was like a sweet, dim dog trotting lamely toward the gate as you tried slowly to drive off, out the long driveway. Take me, take me, too, barked the dog. Don't go, don't go, it said, running along the fence, almost keeping pace but not quite, its reflection a shrinking charm in the car mirrors as you trundled past the viburnium, past the pin grove, past the property line, past every last patch of land, straight down the swallowing road, disappearing and disappearing. Until at last it was true: you had disappeared.”
    Lorrie Moore, Birds of America
    tags: death

  • #20
    Lorrie Moore
    “Her rage flopped awkwardly away like a duck. She felt as she had when her cold, fierce parents had at last grown sick and old, stick-boned and saggy, protected by infirmity the way cuteness protected a baby, or should, it should protect a baby, and she had been left with her rage--vestigial, girlhood rage--inappropriate and intact. She would hug her parents good-bye, the gentle, emptied sacks of them, and think Where did you go?
    Lorrie Moore

  • #21
    W.H. Auden
    “You owe it to all of us to get on with what you're good at.”
    W.H. Auden

  • #22
    Kim Addonizio
    “Maybe you're one of those people who writes poems, but rarely reads them. Let me put this as delicately as I can: If you don't read, your writing is going to suck.”
    Kim Addonizio, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within

  • #23
    C.S. Lewis
    “I am a product [...of] endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents' interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had always the same certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.”
    C.S. Lewis

  • #24
    Ford Madox Ford
    “You seduced a young woman in order to be able to finish your talks with her. You could not do that without living with her. You could not live with her without seducing her; but that was the by-product. The point is that you can't otherwise talk. You can't finish talks at street corners; in museums; even in drawing-rooms. You mayn't be in the mood when she is in the mood – for the intimate conversation that means the final communion of your souls. You have to wait together – for a week, for a year, for a lifetime, before the final intimate conversation may be attained...and exhausted. So that...

    That in effect was love.”
    Ford Madox Ford, Parade's End
    tags: love

  • #25
    Julia Child
    “You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,' [Chef Bugnard] said. 'Even after you eat it, it stays with you - always.”
    Julia Child, My Life in France

  • #26
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “The centripetal force on our planet is still fearfully strong, Alyosha. I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I’ve long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one’s heart prizes them. Here they have brought the soup for you, eat it, it will do you good. It’s first-rate soup, they know how to make it here. I want to travel in Europe, Alyosha, I shall set off from here. And yet I know that I am only going to a graveyard, but it’s a most precious graveyard, that’s what it is! Precious are the dead that lie there, every stone over them speaks of such burning life in the past, of such passionate faith in their work, their truth, their struggle and their science, that I know I shall fall on the ground and kiss those stones and weep over them; though I’m convinced in my heart that it’s long been nothing but a graveyard. And I shall not weep from despair, but simply because I shall be happy in my tears, I shall steep my soul in emotion. I love the sticky leaves in spring, the blue sky — that’s all it is. It’s not a matter of intellect or logic, it’s loving with one’s inside, with one’s stomach.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

  • #27
    Frank Conroy
    “I could not resist the clarity of the world in books, the incredibly satisfying way in which life became weighty and accessible. Books were reality. I hadn't made up my own mind about my own life, a vague, dreamy affair, amorphous and dimly perceived, without beginning or end.”
    Frank Conroy, Stop-time

  • #28
    Margaret Atwood
    “You want the truth, of course. You want me to put two and two together. But two and two doesn’t necessarily get you the truth. Two and two equals a voice outside the window. Two and two equals the wind. The living bird is not its labeled bones.”
    Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

  • #29
    Margaret Atwood
    “If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you'd be doomed. You'd be ruined as God. You'd be a stone. You'd never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You'd never love anyone, ever again. You'd never dare to.”
    Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

  • #30
    Margaret Atwood
    “The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”
    Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin



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