Here is an example of the kind of parent I would like to be:
"Look here, dad, what would you do if the only way to get to our baby was up this dyke, anHere is an example of the kind of parent I would like to be:
"Look here, dad, what would you do if the only way to get to our baby was up this dyke, and mother and you and me were all on the other side of the river, and a huge motor-cruiser was fixed right across the opening of the dyke, so that none of us could get in, and our baby was all alone, and we knew that if we didn't get to him soon he'd go and die?" "Do?" said the doctor. "Why, we'd scupper that cruiser. We'd blow it sky high. We'd...But what's it all about, old chap? Don't you go trapping me into prescribing before diagnosis. Let's have the symptoms first. Tell me all about it..." And Tom, walking up and down with his father in the darkening garden, and already feeling a good deal better, poured out the whole story.... "Thinking it all over, you know, in terms of the monster, and talking it over with your mother, considering her as a coot, I've come to a conclusion. It's a pity it's happened, of course, and I'll be very much obliged to you if you can manage not to let those rowdies catch you, but, looking at the case as a whole, your mother on one side of the cruiser and our baby on the other, I don't really see what else you could have done." "I won't let them catch me," said Tom. "I'd much rather they didn't," said his father. "Good night, old chap." "Good night, dad," said Tom, and blew out his candle lantern. (78-9)...more
"'For more than a third of a century, assertions of Soviet superiority created calls for the United States to "re-arm." In the 1980s, the call was hee"'For more than a third of a century, assertions of Soviet superiority created calls for the United States to "re-arm." In the 1980s, the call was heeded so thoroughly that the United States embarked on a trillion dollar defense buildup,' Anne Hessing Cahn wrote in 1993. 'As a result, the country neglected its school, cities, roads and bridges and health care system. From the world's greatest creditor nation, the United States became the world's greatest debtor--in order to pay for the arms to counter the threat of a nation that was collapsing'" (69)....more
"Threadworms were one of my latest enthusiasms. I had recognized at once their criminal possibilities when Daffy had brought them up one morning at th"Threadworms were one of my latest enthusiasms. I had recognized at once their criminal possibilities when Daffy had brought them up one morning at the breakfast table. Not brought them up in the sense of vomiting, of course, but mentioned that she had been reading about them in some novel or another where they were being bred by a mad scientist with nefarious intentions who reminded her of me" (111).
"I let my attention wander. Across the church in the opposite semitransept, the stained-glass windows gave off a glorious glow. I remembered with pleasure the catalog of chemicals that had been used in their manufacture hundreds of years ago: manganese dioxide for the purples, iron or gold for the reds, salts of ferric iron for the brown skins, and silver chloride for the yellows. In one of the panels, a brawny man dressed in lion skins like a circus strongman lay sleeping with his head in the lap of a woman in a red dress who was cutting his hair with what appeared to be sheep shears. From behind a hanging drape in the corner of the room, half a dozen men were craning their necks for a view of the operation. When I was smaller, I had believed--because Daffy had told me so--that the woman, whose name was Brenda, was a barber apprentice and that the men hiding behind the curtain were the examiners who either would or would not grant her a barber's license." (262)
(view spoiler)["The problem with bereavement, I had already decided, was learning when to put on and when to take off the various masks that one was required to wear: with anyone who wasn't a de Luce, profound and inconsolable grief, complete with limp hands and downcast eyes; with family, distant coolness which, to tell the truth, was not all that different from our everyday life. Only when one was alone in one's own room could one pull faces at oneself in one's looking glass, hauling the corners of one's eyes down with first and fourth fingers spread, lolling one's tongue out and crossing one's eyes horribly just to assure oneself that one was still alive" (70). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"I've mentioned before my passion for poisons and my special fondness for cyanide. But, to be perfectly fair, I must admit that I also have something"I've mentioned before my passion for poisons and my special fondness for cyanide. But, to be perfectly fair, I must admit that I also have something of a soft spot for strychnine, not just for what it is, but for what it's capable of becoming. Brought into the presence of nascent oxygen, for instance, these rather ordinary white crystals become at first rich blue in color, then pass in succession through purple, violet, crimson, orange, and yellow. "A perfect rainbow of ruin!" (65)
"I had created a poison which, in sufficient quantities, was enough to stop a rogue elephant dead in its tracks. What it would do to an impertinent sister was almost too gruesome to contemplate. "One aspect of poisons that is often overlooked is the pleasure one takes in gloating over them" (66)....more
Hard not to like a book with a dedication reading: To all librarians that have ever been ever will be are now this book is respectfully dedicated
"I was seaHard not to like a book with a dedication reading: To all librarians that have ever been ever will be are now this book is respectfully dedicated
"I was searched before leaving the library - no one was exempt. The stealing and selling of rare antiquarian books were still big business, and the library weren't taking any chances. They had recently shot dead a thief who had attempted to steal one of the library's first editions of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Luckily for the librarian who fired the shot, the potential thief had been shot within the library boundary, allowing the killing to be categorised as 'Justifiable Lethal Force by a State Registered Librarian in the course of their duties', an incident that required only a few forms to be filled in. As it says on the T-shirts: 'I don't scare easily - I'm a librarian,' which was the polite version of the original: 'Don't give me any of your shit - I'm a librarian'" (113)....more
His fastidious use of punctuation warmed me to my very core. I would transcribe the whole of Chapter 10 here, but I shall choose a few lines that partHis fastidious use of punctuation warmed me to my very core. I would transcribe the whole of Chapter 10 here, but I shall choose a few lines that particularly struck me and that I rather wish our national leaders would read and even, perhaps, understand:
"Despite the tragedy of September 11 and the subsequent terrorist acts against Western targets throughout the world, despite the clash-of-civilization mentality that has seized the globe and the clash-of-monotheisms reality underlying it, despite the blatant religious rhetoric resonating throughout the halls of governments, there is one thing that cannot be overemphasized. What is taking place now in the Muslim world is an internal conflict between Muslims, not an external battle between Islam and the West. The West is merely a bystander--an unwary yet complicit casualty of a rivalry that is raging in Islam over who will write the next chapter in its story" (248).
"Turkey is a secular county in which outward signs of religiosity such as the hijab are forcibly suppressed. With regard to ideological resolve, one could argue that there is little that separates a secular country like Turkey from a religious country like Iran; both ideologize society. The United States, however, is a secularizing country, unapologetically founded on a Judeo-Christian--and more precisely Protestant--framework. As recognized nearly two hundred years ago by Alexis de Tocqueville, religion is the foundation of America's political system. It not only reflects American social values, it very often dictates them. One need only regard the language with which political issues like abortion rights and gay marriage are debated in Congress to recognize that religion is to this day an integral part of the American national identity and patently the moral foundation for its Constitution, its laws, and its national customs. Despite what schoolchildren read in their history books, the reality is that the separation of 'Church and State' is not so much the foundation of American government as it is the result of a two-hundred-fifty-year secularization process based not upon secularism, but upon pluralism" (261-2)....more