The Fault in Ours Stars was, as a whole, wonderfully written (read my glowing review) but a handful of passages were even more awesome than the rest. Unfortunately some didn’t make the cut here—I am not one to disclose important plot points by way of citation—but here are a few good ones.
“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)”
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
“‘How many people do you think have ever died?’
‘I happen to know the answer to that question,’ he said. ‘There are seven billion living people, and about ninety-eight billion dead people.’
‘Oh,’ I said. I’d thought that maybe since the population growth had been so fast, there were more people alive than all the dead combined.
‘There are about fourteen dead people for every living person,’ he said. ‘I did some research on this several years ago. I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?’
‘And there are?’
‘Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we’re disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare, and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about.'”
It’s difficult to pick out favorite quotes from We Need to Talk About Kevin, both because every sentence is truly beautiful and because repetition seems to somehow imply endorsement, a hard pill to swallow when the topic is mass murder (or even just rampant cynicism). But here are some tidbits I enjoyed.
“I always prefer socializing at night—it is implicitly more wanton.”
“Only a country that feels invulernable can afford political turmoil as entertainment.”
Continue reading “My favorite quotes from We Need to Talk About Kevin”
“Hitherto, I had always regarded the United States as a place to leave. After you brazenly asked me out—an executive with whom you had a business relationship—you goaded me to admit that had I been born elsewhere, the U.S. of A. was perhaps the first country I would make a beeline to visit: whatever else I might think of it, the place that called the shots and pulled the strings, that made the movies and sold the Coca-Cola and shipped Star Trek all the way to Java; the center of the action, a country that you needed a relationship with even if that relationship was hostile; a country that demanded if not acceptance at least rejection—anything but neglect. The country in every other country’s face, that would visit you whether you liked it or not almost anywhere on the planet.”
Here are my Favorite Awesome Quotes from The Fran Lebowitz Reader. One of these is probably going on my gravestone.
“I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use. Pleasant because one is in the best possible company and safe because sleep is the consummate protection against the unseemliness that is the invariable consequence of being awake. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. Sleep is death without the responsibility.”
Continue reading “Fran Lebowitz: Some favorite quotes”
“It is pointless to assume that the earth alone is afflicted with the phenomenon of life.”
Back to Work is a hard book to excerpt, in the same way an informational but stylistically unexciting textbook might be. But there were a few passages that caught my eye. And since this is the season of giving, here they are! (with my de-politicianizing translations.)
“Our constitution was designed by people who were idealistic but not ideological. There’s a big difference. You can have a philosophy that tends to be liberal or conservative but still be open to evidence, experience, and argument. That enables people with honest differences to find practical, principled compromise. On the other hand, fervent insistence on ideology makes evidence, experience, and argument irrelevant: If you possess the absolute truth, those who disagree are by definition wrong, and evidence of success or failure is irrelevant. There is nothing to learn from the experience of other countries. Respectful arguments are a waste of time. Compromise is weakness. And if your policies fail, you don’t abandon them; instead you double down, asserting that they would have worked if only they had been carried to their logical extreme.”
Translation: Remember what it was like when Republicans knew words other than ‘no’? Hahahah me neither. Continue reading “From the Desk of Bill Clinton”
Despite what my review suggested, it’s actually pretty easy to find quotes in Tropic of Cancer that wouldn’t draw the attention of the Parents Television Council (or whatever the book version of them is.)
“When into the womb of time everything is again withdrawn, chaos will be restored and chaos is the score upon which reality is written.”
“For a hundred years or more the world, our world, has been dying. And not one man, in these last hundred years or so, has been crazy enough to put a bomb up the asshole of creation and set it off.”
Continue reading “Tropic of Cancer: SFW quotes”
“New York makes even a rich man feel his unimportance. New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.”