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Subtlety Quotes

Quotes tagged as "subtlety" Showing 1-30 of 64
Sue Monk Kidd
“If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Jim Butcher
“The man once wrote: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. Tolkien had that one mostly right.

I stepped forward, let the door bang closed, and snarled, "Fuck subtle.”
Jim Butcher, Changes

Timothy Zahn
“If you don't want to be noticed, you don't use a Star Destroyer.”
Timothy Zahn, Heir to the Empire

Ilona Andrews
“We can do subtle," I assured her.
"It's our middle name," Andrea added.
For some odd reason Rene didn't look convinced.”
Ilona Andrews, Magic Slays

Alan Bradley
“To be most effective, flattery is always best applied with a trowel.”
Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Criss Jami
“Seemingly minor yet persistent things penetrate the mind over time making it difficult to ever realize the impact; hence, though quite unfortunate, the most dangerous forms of corruption are those that are subtle and below the radar.”
Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile

Hilary Mantel
“The fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes: a counter pushed across a table, a pen stroke that alters the force of a phrase, a woman's sigh as she passes and leaves on the air a trail of orange flower or rose water; her hand pulling close the bed curtain, the discreet sigh of flesh against flesh.”
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Carol Shields
“Bookish people, who are often maladroit people, persist in thinking they can master any subtlety so long as it's been shaped into acceptable expository prose.”
Carol Shields, Unless

“You're about as subtle as a fucking train wreck. On a boat.”
Doug Walker

Jeet Thayil
“He said he'd teach her the important things, starting with the most important thing of all, the correct way to make tea and rice, so tea wasn't overbrewed and the rice wasn't overcooked. He said: You want to make food forget Indian way. Indian's system is like American system, everything overdone. They have no subtle. He sent her to buy octopus. She brought the tentacles home in a bag of ice and cut them into thin slices, at a sharp angle. She put the sliced octopus in a saucepan with ginger and green onions and added a black bean paste. He told her to touch the octopus to the flame and serve. But she let the dish cook for a good five minutes until the flesh was tough and rubbery. You overdid, he told her. Old Chinese saying, you don't need take off your pant to fart.”
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Mark Haddon
“He said that it was very difficult to become an astronaut. I said that I knew. You had to become an officer in the air force and you had to take lots of orders and be prepared to kill other human beings, and I couldn't take orders. Also I didn't have 20/20 vision, which you needed to be a pilot.”
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Seth Dickinson
“Your power is secret, and in secret it is total. But to use your power you must touch the world. To touch you must be touched, to be touched is to be seen, to be seen is to be known. To be known is to perish. Act subtly, lest you diminish.”
Seth Dickinson, The Monster Baru Cormorant

“Little things
over time
make big differences,
as true for depletion as it is
for progress.”
Shellen Lubin

J.D. Salinger
“It happens to be one of those days when I see everybody in the family, including myself, through the wrong end of a telescope”
J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

Stewart Stafford
“Ruffian magpies and crows squabbled shrilly in the swaying tree by my window. Then, unbeknownst to me, a tiny starling with its astral plumage came closer still and made its resonant point with greater subtlety.”
Stewart Stafford

Adolfo Bioy Casares
“Sublime, close at hand but mysterious
With the living silence of the rose.”
Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel

Daniel Kahneman
“When something cement does not fit into the current context of activated ideas, the system detects an abnormality, as you just experienced. You had no particular idea of what was coming after something, but you knew when the word cement came that it was abnormal in that sentence. Studies of brain responses have shown that violations of normality are detected with astonishing speed and subtlety.”
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

J.K. Rowling
“You have no subtlety, Potter," said Snape, his dark eyes glittering. "You do not understand fine distinctions. It is one of the shortcomings that makes you such a lamentable potion-maker.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Stewart Stafford
“There is a time for diplomacy and a time for the battering ram.”
Stewart Stafford

“Those who sharpen their wits too much, lose them. To be over-subtle is to be stupid, my dear sir. The world at large will never be the fenced precinct or the desert island of the professors of economics.”
H. E. Jacob

Alexandra Rowland
“She’d make Nuryevet a strong country, unified again under one ruler, a country where the men were beautiful and the women were powerful and the children were healthy and bright-eyed
(comment: I love how the author switches gender norms and normalizes it off-handedly throughout the book)”
Alexandra Rowland, A Conspiracy of Truths

L.M. Montgomery
“It never rains but it pours.”
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sun Tzu
“When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.

That you may march a thousand li without wearying yourself is because you travel where there is no enemy. Go into emptiness, strike voids, bypass what he defends, hit him where he does not expect you.

To be certain to take what you attack is to attack a place the enemy does not protect. To be certain to hold what you defend is to defend a place the enemy does not attack.

Therefore, against those skilled in attack, an enemy does not know where to defend; against the experts in defense, the enemy does not know where to attack. Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Paul Valéry
“You can never be too subtle, and you can never be too simple.”
Paul Valéry, Analects.

C.A.A. Savastano
“I truly admire the British for their understatement and subtle sarcasm. A good rule is when using sarcasm is, it is best to "put a little English" on it.”
C.A.A. Savastano

C.A.A. Savastano
“Some people get sarcasm, and others do not. Poor them.”
C.A.A. Savastano

Iain M. Banks
“Gurgeh glanced at the man on stage. The lights were bright, sunlight spectraed. The slightly plump, pale-skinned male had several enormous, multicolored bruises—like huge prints—on his body. Those on his back and chest were largest, and showed Azadian faces. The mixture of blacks, blues, purples, greens, yellows and reds combined to form portraits of uncanny accuracy and subtlety, which the flexings of the man’s muscles seemed to make live, exactly as though those faces took on new expressions with each moment. Gurgeh looked, and felt his breath draw in.”
Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

“Disbelievers doubt rumors of miracles. They insist on seeing things with their own eyes. Believers recognize small miracles, like the everyday love that exists in families. (Who else could love these people?) Perhaps the greater miracle is that God’s work is quiet and subtle, easily overlooked; perhaps the greater miracle is that His work doesn’t conform to the expectations or demands of those who do not believe in Him.”
Jean-Michel Hansen

“- Tens noção, Samuel, de como a linguagem às vezes pode ser injusta?
- Estás-te a referir a quê?
- Enquanto as mulheres dizem umas às outras com a maior naturalidade do mundo "Adoro-te", nós temos de contentar-nos em dizer… "Lembras-te?”
Enrique Arce, La grandeza de las cosas sin nombre

Larry Collins
“Gandhi: "My friend, I'm glad you listened to the voice of God, and not the voice of Gandhi."
Mountbatten: "Well, Gandhiji, his is the only voice I'd sooner listen to than yours, but in what respect did I take God's advice against yours.”
Larry Collins, Freedom at Midnight

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