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Middlemarch
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The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
"What's your ugly place?

We all have one. We all have a place we quite deliberately do not go to. That we are aware is there, but have developed systems and defensive walls and jokes and denials in order to keep it out of the light of day. It's the..." Read more of this review »
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“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
Albert Einstein
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“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
Dalai Lama XIV
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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove
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Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
"I wished a German editor would have given the author some counsel because there are so many faults regarding the use of the German language (see my status updates for that) it’s almost ludicrous. I will never understand the need of US writers to w..." Read more of this review »
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
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I really, really wanted to like this book. It sounds stupid but I actually feel slightly guilty at how disappointed I was with it and I think the main reason is because the author is a British student of the same age as me and, as soon as I learn..." Read more of this review »
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
"In short: the publisher's overblown hype set this book up for judgment and failure, but the book itself provided the rope.

I hate hype. The thing about hype is that it---unfairly, at times---sets the bar up so high that there is really nowhere to g..." Read more of this review »
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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
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More of Christine's books…
Muriel Barbery
“It's one of my profound thoughts, but it came from another profound thought. It was one of Papa's guests, at the dinner party yesterday, who said: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach teach the teachers; and those who can't teach the teachers, go into politics."


Everyone seemed to find this very inspiring but for the wrong reasons . . . It doesn't mean what you think it does at the outset. If people could climb higher in the social hierarchy in proportion to their incompetence, I guarantee the world would not go around the way it does. But that's not even the problem. What his sentence means isn't that incompetent people have found their place in the sun, but that nothing is harder or more unfair than human reality: humans live in a world where it's words and not deeds that have power, where the ultimate scale is mastery of language. This is a terrible thing because basically we are primates who've been programmed to eat, sleep, reproduce, conquer and make our territory safe, and the ones who are most gifted at that, the most animal types among us, always get screwed by the others, the fine talkers, despite these latter being incapable of defending their own garden or bringing a rabbit home for dinner or procreating properly. Humans live in a world where the weak are dominant. This is a terrible insult to our animal nature, a sort of perversion or a deep contradiction.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

“Men may irritate women entirely by accident, but I believe they infuriate one another wholly by design.”
S.E. Grove, The Glass Sentence

Winifred Holtby
“Look here,' she began, 'you can't go on like that, you know. If you are really keen on a thing, and it's a good thing, you ought to go and do it. It is no use waiting till people tell you that you may go. Asking permission is a coward's way of shifting responsibility on to some one else.”
Winifred Holtby

Winifred Holtby
“Do. Do? Oh, you never do anything except the things I tell you. You're always wringing your hands and looking sorry, but I always have to think of the things to do .”
Winifred Holtby, The Crowded Street

Muriel Barbery
“Truth loves nothing better than simplicity of truth: that is the lesson Columbe Josse ought to have learned from her medieval readings. But all she seems to have gleaned from her studies is how to make a conceptual fuss in the service of nothing. It is a sort of endless loop, and also a shameless waste of resources, including the courier and my own self.
. . . Granted, the young woman has a fairly efficient way with words, despite her youth. But the fact that the middle classes are working themselves to the bone, using their sweat and taxes to finance such pointless and pretentious research leaves me speechless. Every gray morning, day after gloomy day, secretaries, craftsmen, employees, petty civil servants, taxi drivers and concierges shoulder their burdens so that the flower of French youth, duly housed and subsidized, can squander the fruit of all that dreariness upon the altar of ridiculous endeavors . . .
Should you devote your time to teaching, to producing a body of work, to research, to culture? It makes no difference. The only thing that matters is your intention: are you elevating thought and contributing to the common good, or rather joining the ranks in the field of study whose only purpose is its own perpetuation, and only function the self-reproduction of the elite - for this turns the University into a sect.”
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Melanie
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