I’m under no illusion that people will read a list of book titles that I’ve read/am reading or any of the quotes I included. This is for my own reference. If you want to know some words that resonated with me or inspired me, feel free!

Currently Reading:

(Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace)

(War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy)

Books Read in Country

1. City of Bones – Cassandra Sullivan
2. Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkein

  • “I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back.”
  • “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
  • “Where there are so many all speech becomes a debate without end. But two together may perhaps find wisdom.”
  • “It would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart.”
  • “All that is gold does not glitter / Not all those who wander are lost / The old that is strong does not whiter / Deep roots are not reached by the frost”
  • “White! It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.” // “In which case it is no longer white. And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
  • “Nothing is evil in the beginning.”
  • “They did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unsustained.”
  • “For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.”

3. El tiempo de las mariposas – Julia Alvarez

  • “Y así es el destino del alma humana. Buscar y buscar el alma hermana.”

4. Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer

5. Looking for Alaska – John Green

6. Minority Report – Philip K. Dick

7. Unbearable Lightness – Portia de Rossi

8. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

9. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

  • Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe.”
  • “You are looking outward, and, above all else, that you must not do now. No one can advise and help you, no one. There is one way: Go within.”
  • “Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart?”
  • “If your everyday life appears to be unworthy subject matter, do not complain to life. Complain to yourself.”
  • “Your aloneness will expand and will become your home, greeting you like the quiet dawn. Outer tumult will pass by from afar.”
  • “[After reading] one becomes more and more delighted, more grateful, somehow clearer and simpler in one’s perceptions. One has a deeper faith in life, is more content, and has somehow gained self-worth.”
  • “If you will love what seems to be insignificant and will in an unassuming manner, as a servant, seek to win the confidence of what seems poor, then everything will become easier, more harmonious, and somehow more conciliatory – but for your innermost consciousness, your awakeness, and your inner-knowing.”
  • “Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language…Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. You need to live the question.”
  • “I believe that nearly all our griefs are moments of tension. We perceive them as crippling because we no longer hear signs of life from our estranged emotions. We are alone with the strange thing that has stepped into our presence. For a moment everything intimate and familiar has been taken from us. We stand in the midst of a transition, where we cannot remain standing.”
  • “The quieter and more patient, the more open we are when we are sad, the more resolutely does that something new enter into us, the deeper it is absorbed in us, the more certain it is to become our personal destiny.”
  • “A person would have a similar feeling, were he, with practically no preparation or transition taken from his home and placed on the summit of a high mountain. It would be a feeling of unequaled uncertainty – a vulnerability to a nameless something would nearly destroy him…But it is necessary that we experience that also. We must accept our existence to the greatest extent possible; everything, the unprecedented also, needs to be accepted. That is basically the only case of courage required of us: to be courageous on the face of the strangest, the most whimsical, and unexplainable thing that we could encounter.”
  • “Only he who can accept anything…will have a relationship to life greater than just being alive; he will exhaust his own wellspring of being. If we liken the existence of the individual to a room of larger or smaller size, it is evident that most people are familiar with only a corner of their room. Perhaps a window seat or space where they pace to and fro. In that way they have a certain security. Yet every uncertainty fraught with danger is so much more human.”
  • “With each encounter with truth one draws nearer to reaching communion with it.”
  • “Your doubt can become a good attribute if you discipline it.”
  • “Allow life to happen to you. Believe me, life is right in all cases.”
  • “All feelings that integrate and inspire are pure.”
  • “It is often the name of a crime upon which a life shatters, not the nameless and personal act itself at all.”
  • “You must not be frightened…when a sadness arises within you of such magnitude as you have never experienced, or when a restlessness overshadows all you do, like light and the shadow of clouds gliding over your hand. You must believe that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand. It shall not let you fall…You do know that you are in a period of transition and wish for nothing as much as to transform yourself.”

10. White Queen – Philippa Gregory

11. Fault in Our Stars – John Green * The current Thompson Family Book Club book

  • “In the darkest days, the Lord puts the best people into your life.”
  • “I liked the way his story ended with someone else.”
  • “Books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”
  • “I take quite a lot of pride in not knowing what is cool.”
  • “The joy you bring us is so much greater than the sadness we feel about your illness.”
  • “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: Slowly, and then all at once.”
  • “I’ve gotten really hot since you went blind.”
  • “Easy comfort isn’t comforting.”
  • “I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe but that has not been my experience.”
  • “It is a good life.”
  • “There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities… (there are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set)…But I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me forever within the numbered days and I’m grateful.”
  • “The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
  • “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you can’t even imagine yet.”
  • “Life comes from life.”
  • “So dawn goes down to day, the poet wrote. Nothing good can stay.”
  • “Grief does not change you. It reveals you.”

12. Big Questions from Little People

13. A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor

14. The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

15. Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum

16. This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz

17. Memory Wall – Anthony Doerr

  • “You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” – Luis Buñuel
  • “Why do any of us believe our lives lead outward through time? How do we know we aren’t continually traveling inward, toward our centers…drawn down some path that leads deeper inside, toward a miniature, shrouded, final kingdom that has waited within all along.”
  • “You bury your childhood here and there. It waits for you all your life, to come back and dig it up.”
  • “The tribe’s old language has a word for standing in the rain looking at the back of the person you love.”

18. We Were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates

  • “Because nothing between human beings isn’t uncomplicated and there’s no way to speak of human beings without simplifying and misrepresenting them.”
  • “Like old friends who’d somehow forgotten how much they liked each other.”

19. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy

20. Stranger than Fiction – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Dude You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School – C. J. Pascoe

22. My Name is Red – Orhan Pahnuk

  • “Once one accepts evil—and rejection in love is a significant cause for doing so—cruelty follows quickly.”
  • “A great painter does not content himself by affecting us with his masterpieces; ultimately he succeeds in changing the landscape of our minds.”
  • “Consequently, beauty is the eye discovering in our world what the mind already knows.”
  • “The beauty and mystery of the world only emerges through affection, attention, interest, and compassion.”

 23. An Unquiet Mind – Kay Redfield Jamison

  • “…this quicksilver illness [manic depression] that can both kill and create.”
  • On the pilot who failed to eject and save himself from a failing plane: “He also knew, however, that by doing so he risked that his accompanied plane would fall onto the playground and kill those of us who were there.”
  • “Kind, fair, and generous she has the type of self-confidence that comes from having been brought up by parents who not only loved her deeply and well, but who were themselves kind, fair, and generous people.
  • “I would always be drawn to the world of tradition as well.”
  • “People are generally caught up in their own lives and seldom notice despair in others if those despairing make an effort to disguise the pain.”
  • “I had a horrible sense of loss for who I had been.”
  • “If I floundered too far away, she brought me back into a geographical and emotional range of security, food, and protection.”
  • “Manic-depression is a disease that both kills and gives life. Fire, by its nature, both creates and destroys”
  • “It is the history of our kindnesses that alone make this world tolerable.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “I had forgotten what it felt like to be open to wind and rain and beauty, and I could feel life creeping back into crevices of my body and mind that I had completely written off as dead or dormant.”
  • “That darkness is an integral part of who I am.”
  • “Ecclesiastical belief that there is a season for everything.”
  • “But love is, to me, the ultimately more extraordinary part of the breakwater wall: it helps to shut out the terror and awfulness, while, at the same time, allowing in life and beauty and vitality. When I first thought about writing this book, I conceived of it as a book about moods, and an illness of moods, in the context of an individual life. As I have written it, however, it has somehow turned out to be very much a book about love as well: love as sustainer, as renewer, and as protector. After each seeming death within my mind or heart, love has returned to re-create hope and to restore life. It has, at its best, made the inherent sadness of life bearable and its beauty manifest. It has, inexplicably and savingly, provided not only cloak but lantern for the darker seasons and grimmer weather.
  • On the difference between sadnesss and depression: “Depression, instead, is flat hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed.”

24. The Cider House Rules – John Irving

  • “Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last.” – Charlotte Bronte
  • “The chairman of the state board of medical examiners was a retired physician who thought that President Teddy Roosevelt was the only other man in the world besides himself who had not been made from a banana.”
  • “…security is measured by the number of promises kept. Every child understands a promise—if it is kept—and looks forward to the next promise.”
  • “…whenever I try to listen to him I can think of a hundred good reasons for war.”
  • “No one should be allowed to make her feel ashamed.”
  • “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
  • “Homer Wells had a good, open face; it was not a face that could hide things—every feeling and thought was visible upon it, the way a lake in the open reflects every weather. He had a good hand for holding and eyes you could confess to…”
  • “A teen-ager discovers that deceit is almost as seductive as sex, and much more easily accomplished.”
  • “…those days that tire you out about your whole life.”
  • “How I resent fatherhood! The feelings it gives one: they completely ruin one’s objectivity, they wreck one’s sense of fair play…Damn the confusion of feeling like a father! Loving someone as a parent can produce a cloud that conceals from one’s vision what correct behavior is.”
  • “…she was lovely, but never falsely sweet; she was a great and natural beauty, but no crowd-pleaser.”
  • “…it was the people themselves who appeared expensive to her. She was puzzled by how charmed she felt to be looking at these lovely people.”
  • “In six or seven years, you’d have your own apples; you’d have apples for more than a hundred years.’ What do I want with a hundred years of apples? thought Wilbur Larch.”
  • It wasn’t necessary, Homer always said, and the women surely didn’t like to be shaved. “Like it?” Dr. Larch would say. “Am I in the entertainment business?”
  • “…something quivered in the atmosphere as if the air itself were panting.”
  • “…wherever Melony went, she would not be without guidance, she would not be without love, without faith; she had a good book with her.”
  • “It was in looking at sea gulls that it first occurred to Home Wells that he was free.”
  • “Such a warm washcloth kind of sympathy was leaking from Dr. Gingrich that Larch felt wet…”
  • “The most trouble that people got into, in Olive’s opinion, was trouble that they encountered because they stayed up too late.”
  • “She was the only one who read anything, and it took a while for her to realize how unfriendly they thought reading was, how insulted they felt when she did it.”
  • “She’s just a tramp,” one of them said. “At least she’s interesting,” the foreman snapped.
  • “There’s worse jobs,” Lorna said one day. / “Name one,” said Melony. / “Blowing bulldogs,” Lorna said. / “I don’t know about that,” Melony said. “I’ll bet every bulldog is different.” / “Then how come every man is the same?”
  • “Lorna was as thin as Melony was thick, she showed as much bone as Melony showed flesh; Lorna was pale and blond, whereas Melony was dark and darker; Lorna looked frail and she coughed a lot, whereas Melony looked almost as strong as she was and her lungs were a set of engines. Yet the women felt they belonged together.”
  • “You’re lettin’ a man make an asshole out of you.”
  • But who seeks the truth from unlikable sources?
  • Other people may look for a break from routine, but an orphan craves daily life.
  • As much as he desired a family, Homer Wells was not trained to appreciate a family’s flexible nature.
  • How we love to love things for other people; how we love to have other people love things through our eyes.

25. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri

  • “The baby’s birth, like most everything else in America, feels somehow haphazard, only half true.”
  • “For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy—a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts.”
  • “…he realizes that she has never wished she were anyone other than herself, raised in any other place, in any other way. This, in his opinion, is the biggest difference between them…”
  • “Now that it is just the two of them it seems to him, more than ever, that they are living together. And yet for some reason it is dependence, not adulthood, he feels.”
  • “The Ratliffs own the moon that floats over the lake, and the sun and the clouds.”
  • “It’s one of the things she’s always hated about life here: these chilly abbreviated days of early winter, darkness descending mere hours after noon. She expects nothing of days such as this, simply waits for them to end.”

26. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

  • “She said once that time is nothing to me but a series of bookmarks that I use to jump back and forth through the text of my life, returning again and again to the events that mark me…”
  • “…walking, after all, was an almost natal state. You surfaced without a history, past, shuffling the shards into chronological order before fortifying yourself for the present”
  • “It’s the nature of any life’s work that it have limits.”
  • “Because what you did was for the right reason. But what you did was also wrong.”
  • “Saw the world.”/ “What’d you think of it?” / “Different languages, same shit.”

27. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

  • In those moments, Mr. Kapasi used to believe that all was right with the world, that all struggles were rewarded, that all of life’s mistakes made sense in the end.
  • A boy on what sexy means: He cupped his hands around his mouth, and then he whispered, “It means loving someone you don’t know.”
  • When I was your age I was without knowing that one day I would be so far. You are wiser than that, Eliot. You already taste the way things must be.

28. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

  • These things sneak up on him for no reason, these flashes of irrational happiness. It’s probably a vitamin deficiency.
  • That kind of cool slouchiness always impressed Jimmy, coming from another guy: it was the sense of energies being held back, held in reserve for something more important than present company.
  • “You can’t buy it, but it has a price… Everything has a price.”
  • There had been something willed about it though, his ignorance. Or not willed, exactly: structured. He’d grown up in walled spaces, and then he had become one. He had shut things out.
  • He couldn’t say he was looking forward to it, this rest-of-his-life.
  • She was not unfeeling: on the contrary. But she refused to feel what he wanted her to feel.
  • The memos that came from above telling him he’d done a good job meant nothing to him because they’d been dictated by semi-literates; all they proved was that no one at AnooYoo was capable of appreciating how clever he had been. He came to understand why serial killers sent helpful clues to the police.
  • Nobody wanted to be sexless, but nobody wanted to be nothing but sex.
  • He looks around for a stick to use as a crutch, finds one. Good thing about sticks, they grow on trees.
  • Crake hadn’t been able to eliminate dreams. We’re hard-wired for dreams, he’d said. He couldn’t get rid of the singing either. We’re hard-wired for singing. Singing and dreams were entwined.

29. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

  • “Dr. Frankl’s words have a profoundly honest ring, for they rest on experiences too deep for deception.”
  • An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.
  • “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.” –Lessing
  • …it is not the physical pain which hurts the most…it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.
  • It was the incorrigible optimists who were the most irritating companions
  • The salvation of man is through love and in love.
  • No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.
  • The consciousness of one’s inner value is anchored in higher, more spiritual things, and cannot be shaken by camp life. But how many free men, let alone prisoners, possess it?
  • Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way
  • Not only our experiences, but all we have done, whatever great thoughts we may have had, and all we have suffered, all this is not lost, though it is past; we have brought it into being. Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.
  • We had literally lost the ability to feel pleased and had to relearn it slowly
  • We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

30. The Farming of Bones – Edwidge Danticat

  • When he’s not there, I’m afraid I know no one and no one knows me.
  • At times you could sit for a whole evening with such individuals, just listening to their existence unfold, from the house where they were born to the hill where they wanted to be buried. It was their way of returning home, with you as a witness…
  • His creed was one of memory, how remembering—through sometimes painful—can make you strong.
  • The poor man, no matter who he is, is always despised by his neighbors. When you stay too long at a neighbor’s house, it’s only natural that he become weary of you and hate you.

31. State of Wonder – Ann Patchett

  • Hope is a horrible thing, you know. I don’t know who decided to package hope as a virtue because it’s not. It’s a plague. Hope is like walking around with a fishhook in your mouth and somebody just keeps pulling it and pulling it.
  • She was certain that love would prevail, and when it didn’t, she had lost not only her marriage her ingenuous self.
  • He used to say we all had a compass inside of us and what we needed to do was to find it and to follow it.
  • In this life we love who we love. There were some stories in which facts were very nearly irrelevant.

32. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

  • Four in the afternoon, the light like melted butter.
  • We’re just a kind of haze, just coloured water.
  • What is the real breath of a man – the breathing out or the breathing in? Such was the nature of the gods.
  • The trees I walk beneath are wilting umbrellas, the paper is damp under my fingers, the words I write feather at the edges like lipstick on an aging mouth.
  • My bones have been aching again, as they often do in humid weather. They ache like history: things long done with, that still reverberate as pain.
  • I’ve had it before, the sense that even in the course of my most legitimate and daily actions – peeling a banana, brushing my teeth – I am trespassing.
  • Nobody is born with that kind of selflessness: it can be acquired only by the most relentless discipline, a crushing-out of natural inclination…
  • Farewells can be shattering, but returns are surely worse. Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence.
  • That is the other side of selflessness: its tyranny.
  • What fabrications they are, mothers…We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves – our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies. Now that I’ve been one myself, I know.
  • I detest kindness, he says. I detest people who pride themselves on being kind. Snot-nosed nickel-and-dime do-gooders, doling out the kindness. They’re contemptible.
  • She said, What you don’t know won’t hurt you. A dubious maxim: sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you very much.
  • To us, Mr. Erskine said that our laziness, our arrogance, our tendency to lollygag and daydream, and our sloppy sentimentality had all but ruined us for the serious business of life.
  • I cared, of course. I cared what people thought. I always did care. Unlike Laura, I have never had the courage of my convictions.
  • Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.
  • The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date.
  • So much better to travel than to arrive.
  • “I’m not senile,” I snapped. “If I burn the house down it will be on purpose.”
  • I will always remember this, she tells herself. Then: Why am I thinking about memory? It’s not then yet, it’s now. It’s not over.
  • It’s Paradise, but we can’t get out of it. And anything you can’t get out of is Hell.
  • Never do anything too well, said Winifred, it shows you’re trying.
  • On impulse he might die for her, but living for her would be quite different.
  • The old wish the young well, but they wish them ill also: they would like to eat them up, and absorb their vitality, and remain immortal themselves. Without the protection of surliness and levity, all children would be crushed by the past – the past of others, loaded onto their shoulders. Selfishness is their saving grace.
  • Home is where the heart is…I’m heartless, I thought. Therefore I’m homeless.
  • Here it comes – another year of vegetative hustling and jostling. They never seem to get tired of it: plants have no memories, that’s why. They can’t remember how many times they’ve done all this before.  
  • Time rises and rises, and when it reaches the level of your eyes you drown.
  • It wasn’t so easy, though, ending the war. A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and settle slowly.
  • I could have chosen ignorance, but I did what you would have done – what you’ve already done, if you’ve read this far. I chose knowledge instead. Most of us will. We’ll choose knowledge no matter what, we’ll maim ourselves in the process, we’ll stick our hands into the flames for it if necessary. Curiosity is not our only motive: love or grief or despair or hatred is what drives us on.
  • The picture is of happiness, the story not. Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there’s no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It’s loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along its twisted road.

33. Shell Collector – Anthony Doerr

  • Some mornings, moving through the lagoon, Tumaini splashing comfortably ahead, he felt a nearly irresistible urge to bow down.
  • Above them the stars were knife points, hard and white.
  • Life can turn out a million ways, Dorotea. Her mother speaks English like she is spitting rocks. But the one way life will not turn out is the way you dream it. You can dream anything, but it’s never what will be. It’s never the way it is. The only thing that can’t come true is your dream. Everything else…
  • This is indeed a full world Dorotea, It overspills. She breathes, tastes the salty ocean cycle of rot and birth.
  • Everything feels very tenuous, just then, and terribly beautiful, as if he is straddling two worlds, the one he came from and the one he is going to.
  • She was learning that in her life everything—health, happiness, even love—was subject to the landscape; the weathers of the world were inseparable from the weathers of her soul. There were doldrums in her arteries, gray skies in her lungs.
  • No one who has ever seen you run beneath the tress or hang on to the hood of his truck could ever again be entirely happy without you, but I could try. I could live, anyway.
  • But still he was mourning, and something in his face gave it away.
  • He grew corn, tomatoes, snap peas. He sat by the window in a café and read the paper, smiled at the waitress as she set down his change.

34. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See

  • Remember that beside a well one does not thirst. Beside a sister one does not despair.

35. Ten Poems to Change Your Life

36. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

  • …and then realized It was the theme to M*A*S*H. Suicide is painless.
  • When I asked her why she’d ever think her lyrics were remotely, possibly, vaguely right, she told me she always thought the woman in the song truly loved the man because she put his hat on the top shelf.
  • I’m tired of not knowing who I’ll be with or if I’ll be with anyone.
  • They have no harsh edges with each other, no spiny conflicts, they ride through life like conjoined jellyfish—expanding and contracting instinctively, filling each other’s spaces liquidly. Making it look easy, the soul-mate thing.
  • You have the same rhythm. Click. You just know each other. All of a sudden you see reading in bed and waffles on Sunday and laughing at nothing and his mouth on yours. And it’s so far beyond fine that you know you can never go back to fine. That fast. You think: Oh, here is the rest of my life. It’s finally arrived.
  • Maybe that is what I like best about him, the way he makes me. Not makes me feel, just makes me. I am fun. I am playful. I am game. I feel naturally happy and entirely satisfied.
  • He pulled a chair up to the table and sat on it backward. I wondered if cops actually did that. Or did some clever actor do that, and then cops began doing it because they’d seen the actors playing cops do that and it looked cool?
  • My husband is the most loyal man on the planet until he’s not. I’ve seen his eyes literally turn a shade darker when he’s felt betrayed by a friend, even a dear longtime friend, and then the friend is never mentioned again.
  • It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.
  • She’s easy to like. I’ve never understood why that’s considered a compliment—that just anyone could like you.
  • “You are brown as a berry, girl!”
  • Nick fastened me to the earth. Nick wasn’t like Desi, who brought me things I wanted (tulips, wine) to make me do the things he wanted (love him). Nick just wanted me to be happy, that’s all, very pure. Maybe I mistook that for laziness. I just want you to be happy, Amy. How many times did he say that and I took it to mean: I just want you to be happy, Amy, because that’s less work for me. But maybe I was unfair. Well, not unfair but confused. No one I’ve loved has ever not had an agenda. So how could I know?

37. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World – Tracy Kidder

  • “She’s crying, ‘It hurts, I‘m hungry.’ Can you believe it? Only in Haiti would a child cry out that she’s hungry during a spinal tap.”
  • “But WL’s [white liberals] think all the world’s problems can be fixed without any cost to themselves. We don’t believe that. There’s a lot to be said for sacrifice, remorse, even pity.”
  • Virchow: “If disease is an expression of individual life under unfavorable conditions, then epidemics must be indicative of mass disturbances of mass life.”
  • “Of course he believes in Voodoo. He just believes it’s wrong.”
  • As in mastering a language, one had to learn not just the literal meanings of words but also their connotations, and to grasp those one had to know the politics and economic systems and histories of a place.
  • “No one believes that I’m cheerful because of what I say and write, but I only say and write those things because they’re true.”
  • …he murmured something about how much could be done in Haiti if only he could get his hands on the money that the first world spent on pet grooming.
  • “…I can travel freely throughout the world, I can start projects, but that’s called privilege, not democracy.”
  • “The Haitians have a lot to say about inviting the wrong people into your midst, you know.”
  • Zanmi Lasante won’t survive Farmer. Partners in Health is an organization that relies too much on a genius.
  • At a Russian airport: He smiled at the grim-faced, uniformed woman at customs and said, “Sorry. Next time I’ll learn Russian.’ / ‘Next time fill out the English form,’ she snarled.

38. The Lords of Discipline – Pat Conroy

  • I wonder how many humans have died because sons wanted to prove themselves worthy of their fathers?
  • But I did know this: In my senior year I was beginning to learn how to discriminate between an idea that was or me and one that was for all the rest.
  • I’ve been around men long enough to know that all they want is a woman who’ll make them feel smart and handsome and superior.
  • I will speak from memory—my memory—a memory that is all refracting light slanting through prisms and dreams, a shifting, troubled riot of electrons charged with pain and wonder.
  • It sounds unimaginably dull to me, Father. It sounds like a cookbook written by someone who doesn’t like food.
  • I could always articulate what I loathed about the school but never could find the adequate words or the proper voice to praise it. It was not a dilemma of language but of emotion and persona. I would always be a better hate r of things and institutions than a lover of them.
  • I held her hand and realized that the blood I felt rushing through her wrist would soon be rushing through the brain of the fetus, that her body had become an aquarium and that her child was a swimmer in its lightless pool.
  • Happiness is an accident of nature, a beautiful and flawless aberration, like an albino. Like the albino it has no coloration. White. That is the color. //white as the color of happiness?
  • I liked it when I could feel myself study, when I was serious about it, when I was thinking about subjects that had nothing at all to do with life in the barracks.
  • I can seldom judge how I feel about an important event in my life as it happens. There is always a time lapse before I am sure exactly what it is I feel.

39. Feast of the GoatMario Vargas Llosa

40. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

  • The finest pleasures are always the unexpected ones
  • I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark.
  • …umbrellas sprout like mushrooms
  • Memories begin to creep forward from hidden corners of your mind. Passing disappointments.Lost chances and lost causes.Heartbreaks and pain and desolate, horrible loneliness.
  • It is a matter of perspective, the difference between opponent and partner
  • You cannot stop things…You can only be prepared for them to happen.
  • Stories have changed, my dear boy…There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act?
  • Stories affect people in ways which they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose.

41. Drown – Junot Diaz

  • The fact that I am writing to you in English already falsifies what I wanted to tell you. My subject: how to explain to you that I don’t belong to English though I belong nowhere else.
  • People like her got addictive personalities. You don’t want to be catching that.
  • Tell her that you love her hair, that you love her skin, her lips, because, in truth, you love them more than you love your own.

42. Random Family – Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

  • Too many great quotes to type up here…

43. Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo

  • Abdul Hakim, a person who cures others just by his own understanding.
  • Poor people didn’t unite; they competed ferociously amongst themselves for gains as slender as they were provisional.
  • Too often, weak government intensifies it and proves better at nourishing corruption than human capability.

44.  Run – Ann Patchett

  • There were some people who had the ability to tell other people what was worth wanting, could tell them in a way that was so powerful that the people who heard them suddenly had their eyes opened to what had been withheld from them all along.

45. Salt: A World History – Mark Kurlansky

  • In a 1961 speech, Charles de Gaulle, explaining the ungovernable character of the French nation said, “Nobody can easily bring together a nation that has 265 kinds of cheese.

46. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

  • Such love breeds loyalty and Mr. Hosokawa was a loyal man.
  • The kind of love that offers its life so easily, so stupidly, is always the love that is not returned.
  • The quality of the gift depends on the sincerity of the giver. It also helps if the gift is something the receiver actually wants.
  • The bird doesn’t know enough to be afraid and the person holding the gun will only end up looking like a lunatic.
  • She did not turn her eyes to Gen, who did not look at her, so how did it seem that they were staring at one another?
  • Most of the time we’re loved for what we can do rather than for who we are. It’s not such a bad thing, being loved for what you can do…but the other is better….I hate to say better, but it is. If someone loves you for what you can do then it’s flattering, but why do you love them? If someone loves you for who you are then they have to know you, which means you have to know them.
  • There was such an incredible logic to kissing such a metal-to-magnet pull between two people that it was a wonder that they found the strength to prevent themselves from succumbing every second.
  • Love was action. It came to you. It was not a choice.

47. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

  • Pride relates more to our opinions of ourselves, vanity to what we would have other think of us.
  • …restored Elizabeth to the enjoyment of all her original dislike
  • “Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.
  • He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.
  • …but Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right.
  • You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of any body.  I only want to think you are perfect, and you are set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.
  • You find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own.
  • Miss Bingley was left to all the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain but herself.
  • Pray forgive me, if I have been very presuming, or at least do not punish me so far, as to exclude me from P. I shall never be quite happy till I have been all round the park.
  • I wish I could say any thing to comfort you,” replied Elizabeth; “but it is wholly out of my power. You must feel it; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much.
  • Your ladyship. You may ask questions, which I shall not choose to answer.
  • You could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband…

48. The Metamorophosis – Franz Kafka

49. The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

  • Some philosophers have argued that the very open-endedness of human appetitie is responsible for both our savagery and civility, since a creature that could conceive of eating anything (including, notably other humans)  stands in particular need of ethical rules, manners, and rituals. We are not only what we eat, but how we eat, too.
  • As one scientist put it, carbon supplies life’s quantity, since it is the main structural element in living matter, while much scarcer nitrogen supplies its quality…
  • “Better safe than sorry” or “more is more” being nature’s general rule for male genes.
  • Since no individual plant has inherited any competitive edge over any other, precious resources like sunlight, water, and soil nutrients are shared equitably…The true socialist utopia turns out to be a field of F-1 hybrid plants.
  • “We’re still eating the leftovers of World War II.” – Vandana Shiva
  • …. fixing nitrogen is the most important invention of the twentieth century. He estimates that two of every five human on earth today would not be alive if not for Fritz Haber’s invention.
  • Yet this dualism dividing the benefactor of agriculture from the chemical weapons maker is far too pat, for even Haber’s benefaction has proven decidedly to be a mixed blessing.
  • If…the discover of agriculture represented the first fall of man from the state of nature, then the discovery of synthetic fertility is surely a second precipitous fall.
  • “Men have become the tools of their tools” – Thoreau
  • Employers were expected to supply spirits over the course of the workday; in fact, the modern coffee break began as a late-morning whiskey break called “the elvenses.” (Just to pronounce it makes you sound tipsy.)
  • Our inclination toward grass, which has the force of a tropism, is frequently cited as a prime example of “biophilia,” E.O. Wilson’s coinage for what he claims is our inherited genetic attraction for the plants and animals and landscapes with which we coevolved.
  • Ecology taught “you can never do only one thing,” what you ate was inseparable from how it was grown and how it reached your table.
  • But in an agricultural system dedicated to quantity rather than quality, the fiction that all foods are created equal is essential.
  • Joel began the meal by closing his eyes and saying a rambling and strikingly non-generic version of grace, offering a fairly detailed summary of the day’s doings to a Lord who, to judge by Joel’s tone of easy familiarity, was present and keenly interested.
  • “I’m just the orchestra conductor, making sure everybody’s in the right place  at the right time.”
  • In a way, the most morally troubling thing about killing chickens is that after a while it is no longer morally troubling.
  • As in the fields, nature provides the best model for the marketplace, and nature never puts all her eggs in one basket.
  • …the topics spiraling away from the table like desultory rings of smoke.

50. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

  • Her only gift was knowing people, almost by instinct, she thought walking on. If you put her in a room with some one, up went her back like a cat’s; or she purred.
  • To love makes one solitary, she thought.
  • The strange thing, on looking back, was the purity, the integrity, of her feeling for Sally.
  • And all the time, he knew perfectly well, Dalloway was falling in love with her; she was falling in love with Dalloway…
  • She had a sense of comedy that was really exquisite, but she needed people, always people, to bring it out, with the inevitable result that she frittered her time away, lunching, dining, giving these incessant parties of hers, talking nonsense, saying things she didn’t mean, blunting the edge of her mind, losing her discrimination.
  • For she had come to feel that it was the only thing worth saying—what one felt. Cleverness was silly. One must say simply what one felt.

51. Living History – Hillary Rodham Clinton

  • I have never been as good as or as bad as my most fervid supporters and opponents claimed.
  • What can I say to explain a love that has persisted for decades and has grown through our shared experiences of parenting a daughter, burying our parents and tending our extended families, a lifetime’s worth of friends, a common faith and an abiding commitment to our country? All I know is that no one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met. Bill Clinton and I started a conversation in the spring of 1971, and more than thirty years later we’re still talking.
  • Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you. Easier said than done.
  • “You have to be you…You’ll end up wearing someone else’s idea of who you are and how you should look. Concentrate instead on what’s important to you.” – Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis
  • I believe that when our hearts are raw with grief, we are most vulnerable to hurt, but also more open to new perceptions.
  • “The 80s were about acquiring—acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends?…” – Lee Atwater
  • “I know that you’re a Republican and so am I. I think Democrats are just one step short of communism, but this kid’s all right.” – Hillary Clinton’s dad on Bill Clinton
  • I’m not sure I’ve ever learned so much so fast about the consequences of saying or doing anything before knowing exactly what’s going on.
  • “Before we came here…we thought of ourselves as good people.” – Vince Foster on D.C. politics
  • “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” – Jackie O.
  • A First Lady occupies a vicarious position; her power is derivative, not independent, of the President’s.
  • But one simple phrase in Nouwen’s book struck like an epiphany: “the discipline of gratitude.”
  • One question broke my heart, and I couldn’t answer it. “Who would want to do that to kids who had never done anything to them?”
  • Like it or not, women are always subject to criticism if they show too much feeling in public.
  • From that point on, my staff regularly winked at the television screen and spoke into lamps, making loud requests for pizza, steak and milkshakes and hoping that our security handlers would deliver again.  – On Chinese surveillance
  • As one victim put it: “I want to forgive, but I need to know who and what to forgive.”
  • “Strength, money and knowledge—we cannot do anything without them.” Good advice for women everywhere.
  • “As long as you have a law that a man can have two wives, but a woman cannot have two husbands, you are not dealing with reality.”
  • He brought me to tears when he asked the graduates to recognize that their parents might “seem a little sad or act a little weird. You see, today we are remembering your first day in school and all the triumphs and travails between then and now. Though we have raised you for this moment of departure and we are very proud of you, a part of us longs to hold you once more as we did when you could barely walk, to read to you just one more time…”
  • “Parents, you have done your best. And you will miss your child when you leave here tonight. And, they will miss you also in about a month and for about fifteen minutes.”
  • “Even if she doesn’t believe the charges, it has to be devastating just to hear them.” Well, it was. – On charges of relations with Lewinsky
  • “We have moved past the sterile debate between those who say government is the enemy and those who say government is the answer…We have found a third way. We have the smallest government in thirty-five years, but a more progressive one. We have a small government, but a stronger nation.”
  • I could barely speak to Bill, and when I did, it was a tirade. I read. I walked on the beach. He slept downstairs. I slept upstairs. Days were easier than nights. Where do you turn when your best friend, the one who always helps you through hard times, is the one who wounded you? I felt unbearably lonely, and I could tell Bill did too.
  • The mystery of grace is that you cannot look for it. “Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness…It happens; or it does not happen.”
  • “She was beautiful and good. She was serious and funny. She was completely ambitious to do good and be good, but fundamentally selfless.”
  • “I have friends with questions about Hillary. I tell them, ‘Get over it. I know her.’ On breast cancer and health care and education and a woman’s right to choose, Hillary would never walk away. She’ll be there for us.’”

52. Villette – Charlotte Bronte

  • ’One moment longer,’ whispered solitude and the summer moon, ‘stay with us: all is truly quiet now; for another quarter of an hour your presence will not be missed: the day’s heat and bustle have tired you; enjoy these precious minutes.’
  • ‘though scentless when entire, yield fragrance when they’re bruised.’
  • She is not actuated by malevolence, but sheer, heedless folly. To a feather-brained school-girl nothing is sacred.
  • Nobody ever launches into Love unless he has seen or dreamed the rising of Hopes’ star over love’s troubled waters
  • There is no excellent beauty, no accomplished grace, no reliable refinement without strength as excellent, as complete, as trustworthy. As well might you look for good fruit and blossom on a rootleess and sapless tree, as for charms that will endure in a feeble and relaxed nature. For a little while, the blooming semblance of beauty may flourish round weakness; but it cannot bear a blast: it soon fades, even in serenest sunshine.
  • Whatever my powers — feminine or the contrary – God had given them, and I felt resolute to be ashamed of no faculty of His bestowal.
  • His heart will weep her always: the essence of Emmanuel’s nature is – constancy.
  • ‘But solitude is sadness.’ ‘Yes; it is sadness. Life, however, has worse than that. Deeper than melancholy lies heart-break.’

53. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett

  • I grew up in the 1960s, and my heart is always with those who deal with temptation by giving in to it.
  • People who did not have enough to do could easily become so lazy that they skimped what little work they did have…
  • She knew she really had been ready to put out the priest’s eyes, but instead of feeling ashamed she was overwhelmed by a sense of her own power. She had resolved not to let people make her a victim, and she had proved she could keep her resolution.
  • Philip believed that caring for people was the service of God.
  • The first casualty of a civil war was justice.
  • “You saved me, once, didn’t you?…Then I’ll do the same for you.”
  • There were not many people who said what they meant and did what they said. Tom reacted to surprises, crises and disasters by calmly weighing up the consequences, assessing the damage and planning the best response.
  • Tom was at the age when a man’s children are too old to be cute but have not yet given him grandchildren , and he sometimes takes a fond interest in other’s people’s babies.
  • He was always saying things like that, some of them less fanciful, and it made Aliena realize that she was starved of intelligent conversation.
  • “If you’re hungry, don’t try to cheat me—come to me for charity. And if you’re too proud to do that, and you would rather break the law instead, you must take your punishment like everyone else.”
  • Everything was perfect. That was why it was so strange that she was completely and utterly miserable.
  • “What you’re doing is wrong. I mean evil. To give up happiness like this is like throwing jewels in the ocean. It’s far worse than any sin.
  • “I can’t make out whether you love that wretched woman or hate her.” // “No. Nor can I.”
  • “You’re too good, you are.” // “ The real trouble is, I’m not good enough.”
  • How terrible, Jack thought, to be old and know that your life has been wasted.

54. 50 Shades Freed.

55. The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Chnaged the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macorís – Mark Kurlansky

56. Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman

  • No scientific or analytical bent was evident in my thinking—what I valued was artistry and effort and emotion.
  • In my travels I had encountered all kinds of people whose dignity seemed to have a price—widely variable—and I thought that next time I had better set my price higher than anyone would pay.
  • Do you have to find the evil in yourself in order to truly recognize it in the world?

57. The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene

  • Thus light does not get old; a photon that emerged from the big bang is the same age today as it was then. There is no passage of time at light speed.
  • Gravity, according to Einstein, is the warping of space and time.
  • The agent of gravity, according to Einstein, is the fabric of the cosmos. *but is that true…
  • As the eminent physicist John Wheeler has often said in describing gravity, “mass grips space by telling it how to curve, space grips mass by telling it how to move.”
  • Gravitational disturbances keep pace with, but do not outrun, photons.
  • At a microscopic level we learn that the best we can ever do is say that an electron has a particular probability of being found at any given location.
  • E=mc^2 tells us that energy can be turned into matter and vice versa. Thus if an energy fluctuation is big enough it can momentarily cause, for instance, an electron and its antimatter companion the positron to erupt into existence, even if the region was initially empty!
  • Everything tends toward greater disorder…total entropy increases.

58. Einstein: His Life and His Universe – Walter Isaacson

  • “I have a low opinion of that view of a relationship between a man and wife because it makes the wife and the prostitute distinguishable insofar as the former is able to secure a lifelong contract.”
  • He hardly dared… “pick up a piece of apparatus for fear it might blow up.”…”My fears regarding the laboratory were rather well founded.”
  • “To dwell on the things that depress or anger us does not help in overcoming them. One must knock them down alone.”
  • “The central idea of general relativity is that gravity arises from the curvature of spacetime…Gravity is geometry.” – physicist James Hartle
  • “This discovery was, I believe, by far the strongest emotional experience in Einstein’s scientific life, perhaps in all his life,” Abraham Pais later said. He was so thrilled he had heart palpitations, as if “something had snapped” inside.
  • Basic to his political thinking was the recognition of the dignity of the individual and the protection of political and intellectual freedom.
  • (On only 3 people in the world understanding general theory of relativity): The shy Quaker said nothing. “Don’t be so modest, Eddington!” said Silberstein. Replied Eddington, “On the contrary. I’m just wondering who the third might be.”
  • Weizmann: During the crossing, Einstein explained his theory to me every day, and by the time we arrived I was fully convinced that he really understands it.
  • “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.”
  • “The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experieienced there is something that our minds cannot graps, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man.
  • The charge of inconsistency would have amused Einstein. For a scientist, altering your doctrines when the facts change is not a sign of weakness.
  • “Please don’t tell anybody but I am Dr. Einstein, I’m on my way home, and I’ve forgotten where my house is.”
  • Elsa and Albert Einstein like each other, understood each other, and perhaps most important (for she, too, was actually quite clever in her own way) were amused by each other. So even if it was not the stuff of poety, the bond between them was a solid one. It was forged by statisfying each other’s desires and needs, it was genuine and it worked in both direcitnos.
  • But Einstein preferred to think of himself not as a conservative bus as (again) a rebel, a nonconformist…
  • The primary result was a powerful argument that if time travel is possible itself is not.
  • “We have squandered a lot of time on this, and the result looks like a gift from the devil’s grandmother.”
  • “The strange thing about growing old is that the intimate identification with the here and now is slowly lost. One feels transposed into infinity, more or less alone.”
  • For some people, miracles serve as evidence of God’s existence. For Einstein it was the absence of miracles that reflected divine providence. The fact that the cosmos is comprehensible, that it follows laws, is worthy of awe. This is the defining quality of a “God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists.”

59. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

60. Yes Please – Amy Poehler

  • I believe great people do things before they are ready.
  • I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality, and accepting it made everything a lot easier.
  • Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.
  • Looking silly can be very powerful. People who are committing and taking risks become the king and queen of my prom. People are their most beautiful when they are laughing, crying, dancing, playing, telling the truth, and being chased in a fun way.
  • To Will Arnett after her water breaks: “I’ve turned into an animal now and I have a feeling this will be the nicest thing you see all night.”
  • My friend Louis CK likes to say that “guilt is an intersection.” Getting out of it means making a choice and moving forward.
  • Things like, nothing lasts forever and relationships can end. The best that can happen is you learn a little more about what you can handle and you stay soft through the pain.
  • It’s easier to be brave when you’re not alone.
  • Adventure and danger can be good for your heart and soul.
  • Remember that no matter how old you are, every time you see that person the first thing you will think of is “I had sex with you.”
  • Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not about the result.
  • Lean Back. I uncrossed my legs and I made eye contact. I immediately decided this was not my problem, and the relief of that decision spread across my chest like hot cocoa.
  • I practiced another new thing I’ve learned. I just sat there quietly.
  • How the word “no” should be the “end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation.” I am obsessed with The Gift of Fear.
  • “There are no promises. Look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, at all that lives and dies. What truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.” – Pema
  • A person’s tragedy does not make up their entire life. A story carves deep grooves into our brains each time we tell it. But we aren’t one story. We can change our stories. We can write our own.
  • The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.

61. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

62. Profiles in Courage – John F. Kennedy

  • “No man’s ambition has a right to stand in the way of performing a simple act of justice.” – Altgeld.
  • …it was precisely because they did love themselves—because each one’s need to maintain his own respect for himself was more important to him than his popularity with others….
  • “Democracy is the worst form of government—except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill
  • For without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.

63. And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

  • On those days, Parwana thought it was as though, somewhere deep inside, her sister understood dimly that her beauty was a weapon. A loaded gun, with the barrel pointed at her own head.
  • One thing I have come to see is that one is well served by a degree of both humility and charity when judging the inner workings of another person’s heart.
  • I know now that some people feel unhappiness the way others love: privately, intensely, and without recourse.
  • Dig beneath a beautiful piece of writing and you will find all manner of dishonor. Creating means vandalizing the lives of other people, turning them into unwilling and unwitting participants. You steal their desires, their dreams, pocket their flaws, their suffering. You take what does not belong to you. You do this knowingly.
  • You’re lying there underneath all that snow, you can’t tell which way is up or down. You want to dig yourself out but pick the wrong way, and you dig yourself to your own demise.
  • When Eric comes home…the first thing he does is shed his coat and his briefcase at the door and then he drops on the couch and extends his arms and wiggles his fingers. “Give her to me, Pari. Give her to me.” As he bounces Isabelle on his chest, Pari fills him in on the day’s tidbits—how much milk Isabelle took, how many naps, what they watched together on television, the enlivening games they played, the new noises she’s making. Eric never tires of hearing it.
  • She will not plant the seed in their mind, that parent is capable of abandoning their children, of saying to them You are not enough.
  • The picture of it in her mind is of an ax striking ssoil and suddenly rich black oil bubbling up to the surface. This is what is happening to her, memories struck upon, rising up from the depths.
  • They feel wronged. They haven’t been given their due. No one loved them enough. Of course they expect you to love them. They want to be held, rocked, reassured. But it’s a mistake to give it to them. They can’t accept it.
  • I tell myself I am searching for something. But more and more, it feels like I am wandering, waiting for something to happen to me, something that will change everything, something that my whole life has been leading up to.
  • I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that.
  • If I’ve learned anything in Kabul, it is that human behavior is messy and unpredictable and unconcerned with convenient symmetries.
  • It wore me out, trying to make like I was having a good time. I felt a stomachache coming on, and we left after an hour or so of shuffling about. On the drive home, Baba kept glancing my way with a bruised look like he was on the verge of saying something.
  • Everything will remind me of you
  • Of the thousands and thousands of moments my mother and I shared together through all the years, this is the one that shines the brightest, the one that vibrates with the loudest hum at the back of my mind.
  • “But time, it is like charm. You never have as much as you think.”
  • They tell me I must wade into waters, where I will soon drown. Before I march in, I leave this on the shore for you. I pray you find it, sister, so you will know what was in my heart as I went under.

64. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

  • I alone, could manifest a change in that which was around me. By changing my mood, my energy, I allowed Eve to regard me differently.
  • People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like having a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor’s yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words “soccer” and “neighbor” in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pelé, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn’t he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that, no, you grew in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pelé, and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit – that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor’s dog – would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pelé.

65. The Two Towers – JRR Tolkein

66. The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

  • A mere matter of falling, yet no one ever fell. It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor. Rather, they were too frightened to be cowards.
  • In any war story, but especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way. The angles of vision are skewed.
    Like a killer forest fire, like cancer under a microscope, any battle or bombing raid or artillery barrage has the aesthetic purity of absolute moral indifference—a powerful, implacable beauty—and a true war story will tell the truth about this, though the truth is ugly.
  • In many ways he was like America itself, big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor. Like his country, too, Dobbins was drawn toward sentimentality.
  • “Daddy, tell the truth,” Kathleen can say, “did you ever kill anybody?” And I can say, honestly, “Of course not.” Or I can say, honestly, “Yes.”
  • Something had gone wrong. I’d come to this war a quiet, thoughtful sort of person, a college grad, Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, all the credentials, but after seven months in the bush I realized that those high, civilized trappings had somehow been crushed under the weight of the simple daily realities. I’d turned mean inside. Even a little cruel at times. For all my education, all my fine liberal values, I now felt a deep coldness inside me, something dark and beyond reason. It’s a hard thing to admit, even to myself, but I was capable of evil.
  • Even then, at nine years old, I wanted to live inside her body. I wanted to melt into her bones—that kind of love.
    The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.
  • “Well, right now,” she said, “I’m not dead. But when I am, it’s like…I don’t know, I guess it’s like being inside a book that nobody’s reading.”

67. Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola – Michele Wucker

68. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

  • We often made fun of them and played jokes on them, but in our hearts we trusted them. The idea o authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs.
  • While they thought that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing we already knew that death-throes are stronger.

69. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

  • On Kelvin: There Kelvin proved himself such a prodigy that he was admitted to Glasgow University at the exceedingly tender age of ten. By the time he had reached his early twenties, he had studied at institutions in London and Paris, graduated from Cambridge (where he won the university’s top prizes for rowing and mathematics, and somehow found time to launch a musical society as well), been elected a fellow of Peterhouse, and written (in French and English) a dozen papers in pure and applied mathematics of such dazzling originality that he had to publish them anonymously for fear of embarrassing his superiors…
  • Dennis Overbye: “Bohr once commented that a person who wasn’t outraged on first hearing about quantum theory didn’t understand what had been said.”
  • Heisenberg, when asked how one could envision an atom, replied: “Don’t try.”
  • For pure, focused, devastation, however, probably the most intense earthquake in recorded history was one that struck—and essentially shook to pieces—Lisbon, Portugal on All Saints Day (November 1), 1755…The convulsive force was so great that the water rushed out of the city’s harbor and returned in a wave fifty feet high…
  • Drilling from a ship in open waters is in the words of one oceanographer, “like trying to drill a hole in the sidewalks of New York from atop the Empire State Building using a strand of spaghetti.”
  • Altogether in the last 100 million years (the magnetic field) has reversed itself about two hundred times, and we don’t have any real idea why. It has been called “the greatest unanswered question in the geological sciences.”
  • Once after his wife had sent him upstairs to change for a dinner party he failed to return and was discovered asleep in his pajamas. When roused, Haldane explained that he had found himself disrobing and assumed it was bedtime.
  • Richard Feynman: “You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight,” he would say. “I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!” His point, of course, was that it is easy to make any banal situation seem extraordinary if you treat it as fateful.
  • …all the water, and thus virtually all the weather…
  • Temperature is really just a measure of the activity of molecules.
  • Sunlight energizes atoms….When you feel the sun warm on your back on a summer’s day, it’s really excited atoms you feel.
  • Imagine trying to live in a world dominated by dihydrogen oxide, a compound that has no taste or smell and is so variable in its properties that it is generally benign but at other times swiftly lethal. Depending on its state, it can scald you or freeze you. In the presence of certain organic molecules it can form carbonic acids so nasty that they can strip the leaves from threes and eat the faces off statuary. In bulk, when agitated, it can strike with a fury that no human edifice could withstand. Even for those who have learned to live with it, it is an often murderous substance. We call it water…Water is strange stuff. It is formless and transparent, and yet we long to be beside it. It has no taste and yet we love the taste of it.
  • There are 320 million cubic miles of water on Earth and that is all we’re ever going to get. The system is close: practically speaking, nothing can be added or subtracted. The water you drink has been around doing its job since the Earth was young.
  • David Attenborough on great blue whale: Its tongue weighs as much as an elephant, its heart is the size of a car and some of its blood vessels are so wide that you could swim down them.
  • For random events to produce even a single protein would seem a stunning improbability—like a whirlwind spinning through a junkyard and leaving behind a fully assembled jumbo jet, in the colorful simile of the astronomer Fred Hoyle.
  • Everything that has ever lived, plant or animal, dates its beginnings from the same primordial twitch. At some point in an unimaginably distant past some little bag of chemicals fidgeted to life…
  • We couldn’t live for two minutes without them, yet even after a billion years mitochondria behave as if they think things might not work out between us. They maintain their own DNA. They reproduce at a different time from their host cell. They look like bacteria, divide like bacteria, and sometimes respond to antibiotics in the way bacteria do. In short, they keep their bags packed.
  • There was so much unrecognized novelty in the collection that at one point upon opening a new drawer Conway Morris famously was heard to mutter, “Oh fuck, not another phylum.”
  • …if not told to live—if not given some kind of active instruction from another cell—cells automatically kill themselves. Cells need a lot of reassurance.
  • He urged Darwin to write a book about pigeons instead, “Everyone is interested in pigeons,” he observed helpfully.
  • “Descended from apes! My dear, let us hope that it is not true, but if it, let us pray that it will not become generally known.” – Remark attributed to the wife of the Bishop of Worcester after Darwin’s theory of evolution was explained to her
  • It measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. Along the fault line, the land rose by as much as twenty feet. The quake was so violent, in fact, that it made water slosh out of pools in Texas.
  • As Alan Walker and Pat Shipman have drily observed, if you correlate tool discovery with the species of creature most often found nearby, you would have to conclude that early hand tools were mostly made by antelopes.
  • No one knows why [the australopithecines] disappeared. “Perhaps,” suggest Matt Ridley, “we ate them.”
  • If you were to look one in the eyes, it might appear superficially to be human, but “you wouldn’t connect. You’d be prey.”
  • Ian Tattersall: There are some places in Africa where you literally can’t move without stepping on [the hand axes]. It’s strange because they are quite intensive objects to make. It was as if they made them for the sheer pleasure of it.”
  • Indeed, dodos were so spectacularly short on insight, it is reported, that if you wished to find all the dodos in a vicinity you had only to catch one and set it to squawking and all the others would waddle along to see what was up.

70. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

  • There wasn’t a word for it. It was more that things too small to mention—laughter in the hall at school, a live gecko scurrying in a tank in the science lab—made me feel happy one moment and the next like crying. Sometime, in the evenings, a damp, gritty wind blew in the windows from Park Avenue, just as the rush hour traffic was thinning and the city was emptying for the night; it was rainy, trees leafing out, spring deepening into summer; and the forlorn cry of horns on the street the dank smell of the wet pavement had an electricity about it, a sense of crowds and static…
  • On Boris speaking his native language: …a sort of livening, or alertness, a sense of a different and more efficient person occupying his body.
  • None of us ever find enough kindness in the world, do we?
  • I had no desire to exert myself one bit more than I absolutely had to.
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom (CLAIRE)
  • Girl Food: hummus and olives, cake and champagne, lots of silly take-out vegetarian salads and half a dozen kinds of ice cream.
  • “Because you are not mad, or wild, or grieving! You are not roaring out to choke her with your own bare hands! Which means your soul is not too mixed up with hers…”
  • …when I was in the room with her, she overrode everything: her skin, her eyes, her rusty voice, flame-colored hair and a tilt to her head that sometimes gave her a look like she was humming to herself; and the light in the kitchen was all mixed up with the light of her presence, with color and freshness and beauty.
  • They were playing old Bob Dylan, more than perfect for narrow Village streets close to Christmas and the snow whirling down in big feathery flakes, the kind of winter where you want to be walking down a city street with your arm around a girl like on the old record cover…
  • (this was another thing about her; she listened, her attention was dazzling—I never had the feeling that other people listened to me half as closely…)
  • And the father did have the family place in Virginia—Goochland County, was it? (MORGAN)
  • …beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful.
  • A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.

71. Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

  • Dothraki believed that all things of importance in a man’s life must be done beneath the open sky.
  • We all need to be mocked from time to time lest we start to take ourselves too seriously.

72. A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

  • Is there any creature on earth as unfortunate as an ugly woman .
  • “That’s pretty.” He remembered Sansa telling him once that he should say that whenever a lady told him her name.
  • Let her believe I want her wisdom, women fancy that.
  • Perhaps that is the secret. It is not what we do, so much as why we do it.
  • “…dreams take strange shapes sometimes. The truth of them is not always easy to understand.”
  • She had ridden with them every day and slept among them every night without ever truly becoming one of them.
  • “Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.”

73. A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

  • …eunuchs tend to plumpness in any case. Food is the only vice allowed them.
  • All she felt was pity, and pity was death to desire.
  • He was tempted to ask what she prayed for, but Sansa was so dutiful she might actually tell him, and he didn’t think he wanted to know.
  • If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next.

74. A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

75. A Dance With Dragons – George R. R. Martin

76. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

77. Consider the Lobster – David Foster Wallace

78. Anthem – Ayn Rand

79. The Magicians – Lev Grossman

  • He was used to this anticlimactic feeling, where by the time you’ve done all the work to get something you don’t even want it.
  • Giant cinnamon rolls of hay dotting the field cast long shadows.
  • They maneuvered around one another with the absolute confidence of people who had spent huge amounts of time together, who trusted and loved one another and who knew how to show one another off to best advantage and how to curb each other’s boring and annoying habits.
  • He didn’t know whether he’d committed the perfect crime or a crime so public and unspeakable that nobody could bring themselves to confront him about it in broad daylight.
  • When he was done he slapped Quentin hard across the face. “That is for doubting yourself,” he said.
  • In Antarctica he’d fantasized about having nothing to do except lie on his bed and sleep and stare into space, but now those empty hours were here, and they were getting old amazingly fast.
  • It was like she’d become charged in some way that drew him to her uncontrollably.
  • The problem with growing up is that once you’re grown up, people who aren’t grown up aren’t fun anymore.
  • He relaxed as a cocktail of relief and shame filled him, one generous part of each.
  • Glasses hurled into the fireplace to ensure that no lesser toast would ever be drunk from them.
  • Is it because you are intelligent? Is it because you are brave and good? Is it because you’re special? Maybe. Who knows. But I’ll tell you something: A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. Or what did you think that stuff in your chest was? A magician is strong because he hurts more than others. His wound is his strength. Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.
  • She preyed on other people’s healthy love and made it sick and  crippled
  • Until sunlight came bleeding up over the horizon
  • Light was leaking out of the sky, and the fun was leaking out of the afternoon.
  • You can’t just decide to be happy. No, you can’t. But you can sure as hell decide to be miserable.
  • Wearing a little pair of round spectacles hooked over its pointy ears. What the fuck, his cacodemon had glasses? It stood over him, uncertain, looking learned and thoughtful. It didn’t know whom to fight.
  • Pissing rain.

80. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

81. Paper Towns – John Green

  • It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.
  • It’s so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

82. We The Living – Ayn Rand

  • There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don’t want to do it – it isn’t right. If it’s right and you don’t want to do it – you don’t know what right is and you’re not a man.
  • His eyes were closed; hers were open, looking indifferently up at the ceiling.
  • She looked into the mirror, sometimes, and wondered about the eyes people had told her were so clear, so honest.
  • Kira, the highest thing in a man is not his god. It’s that in him which knows the reverence due a god. And you, Kira, are my highest reverence…
  • Or because I know what I want, and that something which knows how to want—isn’t that life itself? And who—in this damned universe—who can tell me why I should live for anything but for that which I want? Who can answer that in human sounds that speak for human reason?…But you’ve tried to tell us what we should want. You came as a solemn army to bring a new life to men. You tore that life you knew nothing about, out of their guts—and you told them what it had to be.
  • Look and don’t tell me, don’t tell any one, just tell yourself: what are you living for? Aren’t you living for yourself and only for yourself? Call it your aim, your love, your cause—isn’t it still your cause? Give your life, die for your ideal—isn’t it sill your ideal? Every honest man lives for himself. Every man worth calling a man lives for himself. The one who doesn’t—doesn’t live at all.

83. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

84. Sex at Dawn…

——————————————-

85. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

  • ((Laurene Powell’s father was a Marine pilot who died in a crash in Santa Ana California in order not to crash into residential area…(An Unquiet Mind))
  • At one point the pulmonologist tried to put a mask over his face when he was deeply sedated. Jobs ripped it off and mumbled that he hated the design and refused to wear it.
  • Jobs challenged (the robot voice app): “Are you a man or a woman?” Amazingly, the app answered in its robotic voice, “They did not assign me a gender.”

86. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

87. Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed

  • It is not so incomprehensible as you pretend, sweet pea. Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or as heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor, and “loaded with promises and commitments” that we may or may not want to keep. The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love.
  • …the healing—the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud change—is entirely and absolutely up to you.
  • The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.
  • An unhealthy way to talk about a friend behind his or her back is rooted in cruelty and ill will. There is a lack of generosity and a cutting glee; one takes pleasure in ripping the so-called friend to shreds…Our affection is one of convenience rather than heart.
  • Because no matter how experimental he is, his life isn’t an experiment. His life is like your life and my life and all the lives of all the people who are reading these words right now. It’s a roiling stew of fear and need and desire and love and the hunger to be loved. And mostly, it’s the latter.
  • It’s up to you to make your life. Take what you have and stack it up like a tower of teetering blocks. Build your dream around that.
  • At her memorial service, my mother’s favorite professor stood up and granted her an honorary PhD.
  • I hope you will be surprised and knowing at once. I hope you’ll always have love. I hope you’ll have days of ease and a good sense of humor. I hope one of you really will bake me a pie. I hope when people awk what you’re going to do with your English and/or creative writing degree you’ll say: Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire; or maybe just: Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters.
  • After I finished with my narration (about Jesus’ life), it was like someone had served my kids two triple-shot Americanos. Tell me about Jesus! became a ten-times-a-day demand.
  • And if there’s one thing I believe more than I believe anything else, it’s that you can’t fake the core. The truth that lives there will eventually win out. It’s a god we must obey, a force that brings us all inevitably to our knees. And because of it, I can only ask the three of you the same question: Will you do it later or now?
  • In my experience, those sorts of revelations help. They unclench the stronghold of one’s fears. They push the intimacy to a more vulnerable place. And they have a spectacular way of revealing precisely the sort of person one is…
  • No is golden. No is the kind of power the good witch wields. It’s the way whole, healthy, emotionally evolved people manage to have relationships with jackasses while limiting the amount of jackass in their lives.
  • Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.
  • I can only say you are worth of love and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.
  • We have to be whole people to find whole love, even if we have to make it up for a while.
  • It’s a truism of transformation that if we want things to be different we have to change ourselves.
  • I’ll admit that I’m presenting this option with more optimism that I feel.
  • You might, for example, be interested to know that the word “prestigious” is derived from the Latin praestigiae, which means “conjuror’s tricks.” Isn’t that interesting? This word that we use to mean honorable and esteemed has its beginnings in a word that has everything to do with illusion, deception, and trickery.
  • Putting faith in that stuff might pay the rent, but it’s never going to build your house. We are here to build the house. (Metaphor of us as houses)
  • I had that feeling you get—there is no word for this feeling—when you are simultaneously happy and sad and angry and grateful and accepting and appalled and every other possible emotion, all smashed together and amplified. Why is there no word for this feeling? Perhaps because the word is “healing” and we don’t want to believe that. We want to believe healing is purer and more perfect, like a baby on its birthday. Like we’re holding it in our hands. Like we’ll be better people than we’ve been before. Like we have to be.
  • It isn’t enough to have had an interesting or hilarious or tragic life. Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear on our lives. For what happened in the story to transcend the limits of the personal, it must be driven by the engine of what the story means.
  • That we must help ourselves. That after destiny has delivered what it delivers, we are responsible for our lives.

88. Men Explain Things To Me – Rebecca Solnit

  • The Tyranny of the Quantifiable: Private profit over public good; speed and efficiency over employment and quality; the utilitarian over the mysteries and meanings that are of greater use t our survival and to more than our survival, to lives that have some purpose and value you that survive beyond us to make a civilization worth having.

89. My Beloved World – Sonia Sotomayor

  • Without acknowledgment and communication, forgiveness was beyond reach.
  • For all the misery he caused us, I knew with certainty that he loved us. Those aren’t things you can measure or weigh. You can’t say: This much love is worth this much misery. They’re not opposites that cancel each other out; they’re both true at the same time.
  • I was fifteen years old when I understood how it is that things break down: people can’t imagine someone else’s point of view.
  • But what really binds us as a family? The way they shore themselves up with sotires; the way siblings can feud bitterly but still come through for each other; how an untimely death, a child gone before a parent, shakes the very foundations; how the weaker ones, the ones with invisible wounds, are sheltered; how a constant din is medicine against loneliness; and how celebrating the same occasions year after year steels us to the changes they herald. And always food at the center of it all.
  • If you want to change someone’s mind, you must understand what need shapes his or her opinion.
  • Cucurrucucu song

90. Faraway Nearby – Rebecca Solnit

  • Some instinct that comes from being at home in the world was never hers, the protective instinct that attracts you to what encourages you. Instead she buffeted between principles and fears. She took the out-to-be for the actual and adhered to what she should like and how things should be. It was as though she traveled by a map of the wrong place, hitting walls, driving into ditches, missing her destination, but never stopping or throwing out the map. And she never stopped being Cinderella, and told her own story largely as a series of things that happened to her rather than things she did.
  • The bigness of the world is redemption. Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest. Being able to travel both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the question begins by going outward and beyond.
  • “Never turn down an adventure without a really good reason”
  • Coincidence: the word is often used to mean the accidental but literally means to fall together.
  • Pain serves a purpose. Without it you are in danger. What you cannot feel you cannot take care of.
  • …love enlarges; it annexes affectionately; at is utmost it dissolves all boundaries.
  • …although people get paid to do their jobs you cannot pay someone to do their job passionately and wholeheartedly.
  • Goodwill is something you put away like preserves, for a rainy day, for winter, for lean times…
  • Director Walter Salles said of his Che Guevara movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, “I always thought of this film as if you were walking under gentle rain. After two hours of being exposed to it, you would be wet but without having felt the heavy, imposed dramatic effect of it.”…Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi “…It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little.
  • She told me that for her the year was like a long day in which she was out in the world in the summer and lived more introspectively and indoors in winter.
  • It’s lovers that belong to the night, or rather the night that liberates them to live in the moment, in their skin, in each other.
  • It’s not ultimately a journey of immersion but emergence.
  • Reading is also traveling, the eyes running along the length of an idea, which can be folded up into the compressed space of a book and unfolded within your imagination and your understanding.
  • On the word ‘empathy’ : It was a translation of the German word Einfuhlung, or feeling into, as though the feeling itself reached out.
  • I found it too easy to forgive them, or rather to regard them with sympathy at my own expense. It was as though I saw the depths but not the surface, the causes but not the effect.
  • Virginia Woolf: “It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole.”
  • The sufferer “has to be ready to give up their story.” Some people love their story that much even if it’s of their own misery, even if it ties them to unhappiness, or they don’t know how to stop telling it. Maybe it’s about loving coherence more than comfort, but it might also be about fear—you have to die a little to be reborn, and death comes first, the death of a story, a familiar version of yourself.
  • The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.
  • Listen: you are not yourself, you are crowds of others, you are as leaky a vessel as was ever made…
  • What if we only wanted openings, the immortality of the unfinished, the uncut thread, the incomplete, the open door, and the open sea?

91. A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me – Jason Schmidt

92. Girl on a Train – Paula Hawkins

93. Although of Course You End up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace – David Lipsky

  • DAVID LYNCH*
  • …you’re always gonna have about as much success as you need, and that’s fine.
  • So I think it’s got something to do with, that we’re just—we’re absolutely dying to give ourselves away to something. To run, to escape, somehow. And there’s some kinds of escape—in a sort of Flannery O’Connorish way—that end up, in a twist, making you conform yourself even more. And then there are other kinds that say, “Give me seven dollars, and in return I will make you forget your name is David Wallace, that you have a pimple on your cheek, and that your gas bill is due.”
  • Last of Mohicans
  • “Well, who do you think the devil’s going to be? Somebody with…a red cape? Whooo! No, the devil will be a very nice, very likable guy. Who very gradually lowers our standards of what’s good, you know. And that’ll be his job. And he’ll get all the great women.”
  • …I realized I wasn’t near as smart as I thought I was. Ad I realized that a lot of other people, including people without much education were a fuck of a lot smarter than I thought they were. I got—what’s the word? Humbled, in a way, I think.
  • And I think if there is sort of a sadness for people—I don’t know what, under forty-five or something?—it has to do with pleasure and achievement and entertainment.
  • I think every generation finds new excuses for why people behave in a basically ugly manner. The only constant is the bad behavior. I think our excuse, now, is media and technology.
  • …the fear is the basic condition, and there are all kinds of reasons for why we’re so afraid. But the fact of the matter is, is that, is that the job that we’re here to do is to learn how to live in a way that we’re not terrified all the time. And not in a position of using all kinds of different things, and using people to keep that kind of terror at bay.

94. The Magician King – Lev Grossman

  • He who completes a quest does not merely find something. He becomes something.
  • …the knights who had sins on their consciences never did very well on the quest for the Grail. The thing was to go to confession before you set out. You had to face yourself and deal with your shit, that’s how you got somewhere.
  • “Is this how you spell your name?” The boy pointed. Under his picture Eleanor had written in colored pencil, all capitals: KENG. The K was backward. “Yes.”

95. The Magician’s Land – Lev Grossman

  • Rain hammered on the roof and streamed down the windows and vomited out of a drainpipe in a rooster tail.
  • When Quentin sat up he immediately wished he had in fact died in a catastrophic teleportation accident.
  • You are an outsider…But you came to us, and you bowed before the desert, and you combed through its sands with your fingers…You thought the desert would grant you its treasures. The treasures of our people. You thought it would give up our secrets. Our metal. Our strength. You thought you would take our desert from us, and rule over us. Here is what the desert has given you: a bag of worthless sand. You will never find our metal. The desert guards its secrets. It shares them only with its sons and daughters. You may take this and back to you High King of Fillory and tell him that I let you live. Tell him that he may send us more whores if he chooses, this one was adequate. // I don’t need your secrets, Foremost. But I’ll take your weapons. And I’ll take your desert too. And you can tell your god when you see him that I didn’t let you live. But I guess that’ll be kind of obvious //  See he’d made a big mistake. He thought when he sent me out there that he was going to crush me, but he was wrong. He made me stronger. The desert made me look at my own secrets, the ones I kept from myself, and I did.
  • Maybe he’d die, maybe he’d be OK, I don’t know. What am I, a fucking doctor?
  • Time was defined by change, and very little changed for a blue whale.
  • She’d kind of forgotten that he great-grandfather was a real person, and his brothers and sister too. They’d lived real lives. They’d had real hopes and dreams and secrets, and none of it had worked out the way they wanted it to. They’d felt like the heroes of their own stories, just like she felt like the hero of hers, but that was no guarantee that everything would work out. Or anything.
  • “What else do I like?” / “Hot baths. Fresh socks. Really big sneezes. That feeling when you successfully flip a pancake. And this.”
  • “I didn’t bring you back for me” (Q to A)

96. Purity – Jonathan Franzen

  • We girls are supposed to at least have these amazing sexual powers, but in my recent experience this is just a lie told by men to make them feel better about having ALL the power.
  • “Everyone thinks they have strict limits…until they cross them.”
  • Contrast between love and lust: Love turned out to be soul-cripplingly, stomach-turning, weirdly claustrophobic: a sense of endlessness bottled up inside him, endless weight, endless potential…
  • Leila ought to have felt betrayed, but mostly she felt sorry for Pip. Happy people didn’t tell lies.
  • I’m going to give you the names of other people who’ve been briefed, and you need to leave an electronic trail of contacting every one of them.
  • “A great job and a family doesn’t sound so bad to me.” / “You should do something better with the guts you’ve got.”
  • I’m starting to think paradise isn’t eternal contentment. It’s more like there’s something eternal about feeling contented. There’s no such thing as eternal life, because you’re never going to outrun time, but you can still escape time if you’re contented, because then time doesn’t matter.
  • Here are two true things about fame. One is that it’s very lonely. The other is that the people around you constantly project themselves onto you. This is part of why it’s so lonely. It’s as if you’re not even there as a person. You’re merely an object that people project their idealism onto, or their anger, or what have you.
  • How do you know that you’re a person, distinct from other people? By keeping certain things to yourself. You guard them inside you, because, if you don’t, there’s no distinction between inside and outside. Secrets are the way you know you even have an inside…To have an identity, you have to believe that other identities equally exist. You need closeness with other people.
  • When Andreas’s hand crept, thrillingly, to the inside of her thigh, she had neither the courage no even the inclination to place a corresponding hand on his leg. The rightness of the phrase preyed upon was becoming evident. The feelings of prey in the grip of a wolf’s teeth were hard to distinguish from being in love.
  • Being so liked by him, she was liking herself quite a lot, but it deepened her sense of dread to hear herself continuing to provoke him, and to feel the effect her provocation had.
  • But the one thing I never worry about is your good moral sense. You’ve always been a loving person, with a clear sense of right and wrong. I know you better than you know yourself. And that’s what I know about you.
  • Always worth approaching every man you met as if he might become your best friend in the world.
  • Weak people hold grudges…Strong people forgive.

97. Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

98. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

99. Empathy Exams – Leslie Jamison

  • Which is the sad half life of arguments—we usually remember our side better.
  • Empathy is a kind of care but it’s not the only kind of care, and it’s not always enough. I want to think that’s what Dr. G. was thinking. I needed to look at him and see the opposite of my fear, not its echo.
  • But motions can be more than rote. They don’t just express feeling; they give birth to it.
  • Scholar Graham Huggan defines “exoticism” as an experience that “posits the lure of difference while protecting its practitioners from close involvement.”
  • A friend of mine once dreamed a car crash that left all the broken pieces of her Pontiac coated in bright orange pollen. My analyst pushed and pushed for me to make sense of the image, she wrote to me, and finally, I blurted: My wounds are fertile! And that has become one of the touchstones and rallying cries of my life. /// What’s fertile in a wound? Why dwell in one? Wounds promise authenticity and profundity; beauty and singularity, desirability. They summon sympathy. They bleed enough light to write by. They yield scars full of stories and slights that become rallying cries. They break upon the fuming fruits of damaged engines and dust these engines with color. /// And yet—beyond and beneath their fruits—they still hurt. The boons of a wound never get rid of it; the just bloom from it. It’s perilous to think of them as chosen. Perhaps a better phrase to use is wound appeal, which is to say: the ways a wound can seduce, how it can promise what it rarely gives. As my friend Harriet once told me: “Pain that gets performed is still pain.”
  • But isn’t wanting attention one of the most fundamental traits of being human—and isn’t granting it one of the most important gifts we can ever give?

100. One Plus One – Jojo Moyes

101. Between The World and Me – Ta-Naheisi Coates

102. Field Guide to Getting Lost – Rebecca Solnit

  • The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation—how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?
  • Vacant lots like missing teeth gave a rough grin to the streets we haunted.
  • Exceptional beauty and charm are among those gifts given by the sinister fairy at the christening. They give the bearer considerable sway over others, which can keep them so busy being a sort of siren on the rocks where others shipwreck that they forget that they themselves need to figure out where they are going.
  • Is it that the joy that comes from other people always risks sadness, because even love doesn’t fail, mortality enters in; is it that there is a place where sadness and joy are not distinct, where all emotion lies together, in a sort of ocean into which the tributary streams of distinct emotions go, a faraway deep inside; is it that such sadness is only the side effect of art that describes the depths of our lives, and to see that described in all its potential for loneliness and pain is beautiful?
  • The weight of a dream is not in proportion to its size. Some dreams are made of fog, some of lace, some of lead. Some dreams seem to be made out of less the usual debris of the psyche than bolts of lightning sent from outside.
  • A happy love is a single story, a disintegrating one is two or more competing, conflicting versions, and a disintegrated one lies at your feet like a shattered mirror, each shard reflecting a different story, that it was wonderful, that it was terrible, if only this had, if only that hadn’t. The stories don’t fit back together, and it’s the end of stories, those devices we carry like shells and shields and blinkers and occasionally maps and compasses. The people close to you become mirrors and journals in which you record your history, the instruments that help you know yourself and remember yourself, and you do the same for them.

103. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

104. Quiet by Susan Cain

  • How did we get from Character to Personality without realizing that we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?
  • But the thing about Tony –and what draws people to buy his products—is that like any good salesman, he believes in what he’s pitching.
  • In the United States, he feels, conversation is about how effective you are at turning your experiences into stories, whereas a Chinese person might be concerned with taking up too much of another person’s time with inconsequential information.
  • Keltner even says that if he had to choose his mate by asking a single question at a speed-dating event, the question he would choose is: “What was your last embarrassing experience?”
  • Introverts are constitutionally programmed to downplay reward—to kill their buzz, you might say—and scan for problems.
  • People who tend to suppress their negative emotions regularly might start to see the world in a more negative light – Judith Grob
  • Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; it fuels it.

105. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – Siddhartha Mukherjee

  • Political revolutions, the writer Amitav Ghosh writes, often occur in the courtyards of palaces, in spaces on the cusp of power, located neither outside nor inside.

106. The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff

  • You’d be surprised how many people…ignore the clear reality that Things Are As They Are.
  • When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.

107. Defending Jacob  – William Landay

108. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

109. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

  • For her part, Marilyn told herself each time she put down the receiver that it was the last time, that she would not call again, that this was proof her family was fine, that she had begun a new life. She told herself this so firmly that she believed it completely, until the next time she found herself dialing their number.

110. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – John le Carre

111. Free Food for Millionaires – Min Jin Lee

  • She paid attention, the kind of attention that almost didn’t exist anymore.
  • The heart seemed to her fickle or forgetful, or perhaps, in an uglier way, it was hidden with possible betrayals. Was love a decision, then? Regardless, in the alternative to this feeling called love—maybe respect, kindness, and pleasure between two bodies and minds having sex were the ideals worth shooting for.
  • “They think we’re shit because we’re poor…Makes you want to be rich, doesn’t it?”/”No. Makes you feel rich to not behave that way.”
  • Virginia had once said men never forgot the girls who said no.
  • Besides, common wisdom in the frat house held that it was worthless fighting girls because they couldn’t be wrong.
  • For a marriage to last…both partners should possess a stubborn will, a fear of failure, and a strong sense of shame of breaking from convention.
  • The kisses had touched him like a blessing, like he had been loved, that he had been cured.
  • Watching the kiss, Casey thought, A blessing must feel like that.
  • “It’s just that I don’t know how to love. Without taking over.”
  • Feeling as if it had been a long time since she’d carefully thought about him.
  • Delia was like home to him. Ella was the house on the hill he’d dreamed of buying. But he could never relax in her presence.
  • Yet the terrible truth was that the girl who broke our heart would always have more power than you liked.
  • “It’s preposterous how much unearned power [attractive people] have.”

112. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande