Subtlety Quotes

Quotes tagged as "subtlety" Showing 1-30 of 58
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

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

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

Michael Moorcock
“The subtlest lie of all is the full truth.”
Michael Moorcock, The Bane of the Black Sword

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

Minae Mizumura
“Transported to a different culture, thought often loses its subtlety and can even rampage like a wild beast.”
Minae Mizumura, The Fall of Language in the Age of English

Patrick Rothfuss
“What what. Hush hush.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Lauren Lola
“It was easy to conclude: The night was young and alive, in its ever so subtle way.”
Lauren Lola, An Absolute Mind

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

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

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

Charles Dickens
“Pride is not all of one kind.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Michel de Montaigne
“...were these Essays of mine considerable enough to deserve a critical judgment, it might then, I think, fall
out that they would not much take with common and vulgar capacities, nor be very acceptable to the singular and excellent sort of men; the first would not understand them enough, and the last too much; and so they may hover in the middle region.”
Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Jason Medina
“Mostly everyone in the living room jumped up at the sound of his voice. The words that came out of his mouth did not fully register with most of them. A few were still half asleep and wondering why he decided to appoint himself the position of human alarm clock. Unfortunately, there was no time for subtlety and no time for breakfast.”
Jason Medina, The Manhattanville Incident: An Undead Novel

“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

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

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

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

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