**spoiler alert** « When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling. My life is like a memento mori pa**spoiler alert** « When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling. My life is like a memento mori painting from European art : there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition. I mock this skull. I look at it and I say, ‘You’ve got the wrong fellow. You may not believe in life, but I don’t believe in death. Move on !’ The skull snickers and moves even closer, but that doesn’t surprise me. The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity – it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud. »
« I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it. »
« I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both. »
« It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names. Witness Simon who is called Peter, Matthew also known as Levi, Nathaniel who is Bartholomew, Judas, not Iscariot, who took the name Thaddeus, Simeon who went by Niger, Saul who became Paul. »
« Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans. »
« And so, in that Greek letter that looks like a shack with a corrugated tin roof, in that elusive, irrational number with which scientists try to understand the universe, I found refuge. »
« It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them – and then they leap. »
« To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. »
« All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving ; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive. »
« If thirst can be so taxing that even God Incarnate complains about it, imagine the effect on a regular human. It was enough to make me go raving mad. I have never known a worse physical hell than this putrid taste and pasty feeling in the mouth, this unbearable pressure at the back of the throat, this sensation that my blood was turning to a thick syrup that barely flowed. Truly, by comparison, a tiger was nothing. »
« It seems orange – such a nice Hindu colour – is the colour of survival because the whole inside of the boat and the tarpaulin and the life jackets and the lifebuoy and the oars and most every other significant object aboard was orange. Even the plastic, beadless whistles were orange. »
« How true it is that necessity is the mother of invention, how very true. »
« I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. »
« Time is an illusion that only makes us pant. I survived because I forgot even the very notion of time. »
« Something in me died then that has never come back to life. »
« Don’t you bully me with your politeness ! Love is hard to believe, as any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, as any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe ? »
"But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because th"But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!' What did they call such young people in Goethe's Germany?"
"I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was - I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outisde, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost."
**spoiler alert** "I mad little mistakes deliberately, but she had ways to punish me without touching the skin she hated."
"Black sells. It's the hotte**spoiler alert** "I mad little mistakes deliberately, but she had ways to punish me without touching the skin she hated."
"Black sells. It's the hottest commodity in the civilized world. White girls, even brown girls have to strip naked to get that kind of attention."
"Taught me a lesson I should have known all along. What you do to children matters. And they might never forget."
"Every girl I know introduces her boyfriend as a lawyer or artist or club owner or broker or whatever. The job, not the guy, is what the girlfriend adores."
"As a teacher I thought I was well read although in college, as an education major, I was not required to read any literature. Until I was in prison I'd never read The Odyssey or Jane Austen. None of it taught me much, but concentating on escapes, deceits, and who would marry whom was a welcome distraction."
"I don't think many people appreciate silence or realize that it is as close to music as you can get. Quiet makes some folks fidget or feel too lonely. After fifteen years of noise I was hungry for silence more than food."
"When I woke up I reminded myself that freedom is never free. You have to fight for it. Work for it and make sure you are able to handle it. Now I think of it, that black girl did do me a favor. Not the foolish one she had in mind, not the money she offered, but the gift that neither of us planned: the relase of tears unshed for fifteen years. No more bottling up, No more filth. Now I am clean and able."
"The reason for this tracking was not love, she knew; it was more hurt than anger that made her drive into unknown territory to locate the one person she once trusted, who made her feel safe, colonized somehow. Without him the world was more than confusing - shallow, cold, deliberately hostile."
"'Why is her skin so black?' 'For the same reason yours is so white.'"
"Just because he had two college degrees he thaught he could tell everybody what to do. They rolled their eyes at his arrogance."
"Simply dumbstruck by her beauty Booker stared open-mouthed at a young blue-black woman standing at the curb laughing. He clothes were white, her hair like a million black butterflies asleep on her head."
"Booker had no words to describe his feelings. What he did know was that the rain-soaked air smelled like lilac when he played while remembering her."
"A child. New life. Immune to evil or illness, protected from kidnap, beatings, rape, racism, insult, hurt, self-loathing, abandonment. Error-free. All goodness. Minus wrath. So they believe."
"Listen to me. You are about to find out what it takes, how the world is, how is works and how it changes when you are a parent. Good luck and God help the child."
**spoiler alert** RUNAWAY "He thought families were like a poison in your blood."
CHANCE "Her professors were delighted with her - they were grateful the**spoiler alert** RUNAWAY "He thought families were like a poison in your blood."
CHANCE "Her professors were delighted with her - they were grateful these days for anybody who took up ancient languages, and particularly for someone so gifted - but they were worried, as well. The problem was that she was a girl."
"Be available, be friendly (especially if you are not popular) - that was what you learned in a small town and also in a girls' dormitory. Be accommodating to anybody who wants to suck you dry, even if they know nothing about who you are."
"Every few pages she seemed to have had an orgy of underlining."
"It often happened when somebody really valuable got into bad trouble, they were changed into a constellation."
"The thing that was your bright pleasure. You don't think about it. A loss you could not contemplate at one time, and now it becomes something you can barely remember. That is what happens. And even if it's not put away, even if you make your living from it, every day? Juliet thinks of the older teachers at the school, how little most of them care for whatever it is that they teach. Take Juanita, who chose Spanish because it goes with her Christian name (she is Irish) and who wants to speak it well, to use it in her travels. You cannot say that Spanish is her treasure. Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang on to it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you."
SILENCE "Without exactly meaning to, she lost contact with most of her friends. It was no wonder. She lived now a life as different as possible from the life of the public, vivacious, concerned, endlessly well-informed woman that she had been. She lived amongst books, reading through most of her waking hours and being compelled to deepen, to alter, whatever premise she had started with. She often missed the world news for a week at a time."
PASSION "She could not explain or quite understand that it wasn't altogether jealousy she felt, it was rage. And not because she couldn't stop like that or dress like that. It was because that was what girls were supposed to be like. That was what men - people, everybody - thought they should be like. Beautiful, treasured, spoiled, selfish, pea-brained. That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with. Then she would become a mother and she'd be all mushily devoted to her babies. Not selfish anymore, but just as pea-brained. Forever."
TRESPASSES "The thing about life, Harry had told Lauren, was to live in the world with interest. To keep your eyes open and see the possibilities - see the humanity - in everybody you met. To be aware. If he has anything at all to teach her it was that. Be aware."
"Her isolation at school was based on knowledge and experience, which, as she half knew, coul look like innocence and priggishness. The things that were wicked mysteries to others were not so to her and she did not know how to pretend about them. And that was what separated her, just as much as knowing how to pronounce L'Anse aux Meadows and having read The Lord of the Rings."
TRICKS "Foreigners talked differently, leaving a bit of space around the words, the way actors do."
"Twins are often the reason for mix-ups and disasters in Shakespeare. A means to an end, those tricks are supposed to be."
**spoiler alert** "It was too tempting. Now I sit on the train, my arms wrapped around myself, hands jammed against my sides to stop them from trembli**spoiler alert** "It was too tempting. Now I sit on the train, my arms wrapped around myself, hands jammed against my sides to stop them from trembling, like an excited child caught up in an adventure. I was so glad to have a purpose that I stopped thinking about the reality."
"It's impossible to resist the kindness of strangers. Someone who looks at you, who doesn't know you, who tells you it's OK, whatever you did, whatever you've done: you suffered, you hurt, you deserve forgiveness."
**spoiler alert** "I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithfu**spoiler alert** "I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do net tell lies because they cannot talk."
"I do not like people shouting at me. It makes me scared that they are going to hit me or touch me and I do not know what is going to happen."
"I rolled back onto the lawn and pressed my forehead to the ground again and made the noise that Father call groaning. I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world. "
"Some people think the Milky Way is a long line of stars, but it isn't. Our galaxy is a huge disc of stars millions of light tears across and the solar system is somewhere near the outside edge of the disc."
"Mother used to say that it meant Christopher was a nice name because it was a story about being kind and helpful, but I do not want my name to mean a story about being kind and helpful. I want my name to mean me."
"But Terry is stupid, so quod erat demonstrandum which is Latin for Which is the thing that was going to be proved, which means Thus it is proved."
"And in the Bible it says Thou shalt not kill but there were the Crusades and two World Wars and the Gulf War and there were Christians killing people in all of them."
"sometimes I look up into the sky and I think that there are molecules of Mother up there, or in clouds over Africa or the Antarctic, or coming down as rain in the rainforests in Brazil, or in snow everywhere."
"I do not like strangers because I do not like people I have never met before. They are hard to understand."
"And all I could see would be stars. And stars are the places where the molecules that life is made of were constructed billions of years ago. For example, all the iron in your blood which stop you being anaemic was made in a star."
"Mr Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe."
"I like Sherlock Holmes, but I do not like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. That is because he wasn't like Sherlock Holmes and he believed in the supernatural. And when he got old he joined the Spiritualist Society which meant that he believed you could communicate with the dead. This was because his son died of influenza during the First World War and he still wanted to talk to him."
"And I know I can do this because I wen to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon...more
**spoiler alert** "It feels like some cosmic coincidence."
"Kids were nice enough to me, but they tended to treat me as if I were a grown-up. Another t**spoiler alert** "It feels like some cosmic coincidence."
"Kids were nice enough to me, but they tended to treat me as if I were a grown-up. Another teacher. And you don't flirt with your teachers."
"Just for the sake of experiment, I wiggle my nose like Samantha on Bewitched. Nothing happens. I snap my fingers. Click my heels. I'm still here."
"It turned out that coming from such far corners of the social universe had its downsides."
"The doctors keep coming around and pulling up my eyelids and waving around a flashlight. They are rough and hurried, like they don't consider eyelids worthy of gentleness. It makes you realize how little in life we touch one another's eyes. Maybe your parents will hold an eyelid up to get out a piece of dirt, or maybe your boyfriend will kiss your eyelids, light as a butterfly, just before you drift off to sleep. But eyeldis are not like elbows or knees or shoulders, parts of the body accustomed to be jostled."
"If I stay. If I live. It's up to me."
"My aversion to Adam's shows had nothing to do with the doubts. The same niggling doubts I always had about not belonging. I didn't feel like I belonged with my family, and now I didn't feel like I belonged with Adam, except unlike my family, who was stuck with me, Adam had chosen me, and this I didn't understand. Why had he fallen for me? It didn't make sense."
"Fake it till you make it."
"And it was like I knew, and that certainly planted itself in my belly like a warm secret."
"Above me shones the stars, for the night was very clear. I felt a certain sense of friendly comfort in their twinkling. All the old constellations ha"Above me shones the stars, for the night was very clear. I felt a certain sense of friendly comfort in their twinkling. All the old constellations had gone from the sky, however: that slow movement which is imperceptible in a hundred human lifetimes, had long since rearranged them in unfamiliar groupings. But the Milky Way, it seemed to me, was still the same tattered streamer of star-dust as of yore. Southward ( as I judged it) was a very bright red star that was new to me; it was even more splendid than our green Sirius. And amid all these scintillating points of light one bright planet shone kindly and steadily like the face of an old friend. Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own toubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life." The Time Machine - H.G.Wells...more
"But he, Siddharta, where did he belong? Whose life would he share? Whose language would he speak? At that moment, when the world around him melted awa"But he, Siddharta, where did he belong? Whose life would he share? Whose language would he speak? At that moment, when the world around him melted away, when he stood alone like a star in the heavens, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of icy despair, but he was more firmly himself than ever. That was the last shudder of his awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards."
"Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goal, if he can think, wait and fast."
"But he has the secret of those people to whom success comes by itself, whether it is due to being born under a lucky star ot whether it is magic, or whether it has has learned it from the Samanas. He always seems to be playing at business, it never makes much impression on him, it never masters him, he never fears failure, he is never worried about a loss."
"So that was what he had come to; he was so lost, so confused, so devoid of all reason, that he had sought death. This wish, this childish wish had grown so strong within him: to find peace by destroying his body."
**spoiler alert** "In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life. An intense love, a veritable tornado s**spoiler alert** "In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life. An intense love, a veritable tornado sweeping across the plains - flattening everything in its path, tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shreds, crushing them to bits."
"Miu smiled. A nostalgic, intimate smile, like a treasured old possession pulled out of the back of a drawer."
"A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magicla baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side."
"Like the sound of a velvet curtain being drawn aside on a peaceful morning to let in the sunlight to wake someone very special to you."
"I hadn't planned on being a teacher, but after I actually became one I discovered a deeper respect and affection for theprofession than I ever imagined I'd have. More accurately, really, I should say that I happened to discover myself."
"'I hardly recognize you these days,' I said. 'It's that season,' she said disinterestedly, sipping at her drink through a straw. 'What season?' I asked. 'A delayed adolescence, I guess. When I get up in the morning and see my face in the mirror, it looks like someone else's."
"I understand what you mean by precarious. Sometimes I feel so - I don't know - lonely. The kind of helpless feeling when everything you're used to has been ripped away. Like there's no more gravity, and I'm left to drift in outer space with no idea where I'm going.' 'Like a little lost Sputnik?'"
"Strange thing is, when I'm not with Miu I don't feel like going anywhere."
"Judging the mistakes of strangers is an easy thing to do - and it feels pretty good."
"Do you know what 'Sputnik' means in Russian? 'Travelling companion.'"
"What happened after I first met Miu was I stopped thinking."
"Understanding is but the sum of our misunderstandings."
"Ever since I was little I've enjoyed making my own private rules and living by them. I was very independant, super-serious type of girl. I was born in Japan, went to Japanese schools, grew up playing with Japanese friends. Emotionally I was completely Japanese, but by nationality I was a foreigner, Technically speaking Japan will always be a foreign country. My parents weren't the kind to be strict about things, but that's one thing they drummed into my head since I can remember: You are a foreigner here. I decided that in order for me to survive I needed to make myself stronger."
"Sumire went over to the other side. That would explain a lot. Sumire broke through the mirror and journeyed to the other side. To meet the other Miu who was there. If the Miu on this side rejected her, wouldn't that be the logical thing to do?"
"Why do people have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the Earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?"
"Miu was like an empty room after everyone's left."