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  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

"Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us."

"I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe."

"Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?"

"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."

"That life - whatever else it is - is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch."

"Because I don’t care what anyone says or how often or winningly they say it: no one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here’s the truth: life is a catastrophe. The basic fact of existence – of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do – is a catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me – and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool. Sinkhole of hospital beds, coffins, and broken hearts. No release, no appeal, no “do-overs” to employ a favored phrase of Xandra’s, no way forward but age and loss, and no way out but death."

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”

  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

"Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a direction, like west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country entirely. But when you go mad you don’t go any other place, you stay where you are. And somebody else comes in."

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

"She sought emotion, not landscapes" p 31

"And now she could not bring herself to believe that the calm in which she was living was the happiness she had dreamed of." P 34

"'Oh, I love the sea!' said Monsieur Leon.

'Doesn't it seem to you,' asked Madame Bovary, 'that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?'" P 70-71

"It was one of those rare feelings which do not interfere with everyday life and are cultivated because they are rare; the pain of losing them would be greater than the happiness of possessing them"

P 93

"Lucia came forward, half supported by her maids, wearing a wreath of orange blossoms in her hair and paler than the white satin of her gown. Emma thought of her wedding day and saw herself walking to the church along the narrow path between the wheatfields. Why had she not resisted and supplicated, like Lucia? But she had actually been joyful, unaware of the abyss into which she was plunging herself. . . .Oh, if only in the freshness of her beauty, before the defilement of marriage and the disillusionment of adultery, she had been able to rest her life on some noble, stalwart heart! Virtue, tenderness, sensuality and duty would have been merged, and she would never have fallen from such a loft pinnacle of bliss. But that kind of happiness was no doubt only a lie invented to make one despair of all desires. She was now acquainted with the pettiness of the passions exaggerated by art. Forcing herself to take her mind off her sorrows, she tried to see in this reproduction of them nothing but a visual fantasy designed for her enjoyment, and she even smiled inwardly with scornful pity when a man wearing a black cloak appeared from behind the door curtain at the back of the stage." P 194

  • The New Yorker.. on the Eichmann Trial by Hannah Arendt

"They know that the system which succeeds in destroying its victim before he mounts the scaffold . . . is incomparably the best for keeping a whole people in slavery. In submission. Nothing is more terrible than these processions of human beings going like dummies to their death"

apr 20 2018 ∞
jul 14 2018 +