Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year of Magical Thinking

Photo: LIFE
"As a child I thought a great deal about meaninglessness, which seemed at the time the most prominent negative feature on the horizon... No eye was on the sparrow. No one was watching me. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end."

The Year of Magical Thinking, pp. 189-90
By Joan Didion
Published 2006

Monday, December 27, 2010


"Somewhere in The Great Gatsby (which was my Tom Sawyer when I was twelve), the youthful narrator remarks that everybody suspects himself of having at least one of the cardinal virtues, and he goes on to say that he thinks his, bless his heart, is honesty. Mine, I think, is that I know the difference between a mystical story and a love story. I say that my current offering isn't a mystical story, or a religiously mystifying story, at all. I say it's a compound, or multiple, love story, pure and complicated."

Zooey, p. 49
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1957


Photo: Here and here.
"At that moment, though, he chanced to look up from the table and see someone he knew across the room - a classmate, with a date. Lane sat up a bit in his chair and adjusted his expression from that of all-around apprehension and discontent to that of a man whose date has merely gone to the john, leaving him, as dates do, with nothing to do in the meantime but smoke and look bored, preferably attractively bored."

Franny, p. 21
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1955

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ethan Frome

"The words went on sounding between them as though a torch of warning flew from hand to hand through a black landscape."

Ethan Frome, p. 105
By Edith Wharton
Published 1911

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

"Why, then, did I go on sitting in the car? Why didn't I get out while, say, we were stopped for a red light? ... There seems to me at least a dozen answers to these questions, and all of them, however dimly, valid enough. I think, though, that I can dispense with them, and just reiterate that the year was 1942, that I was twenty-three, newly drafted, newly advised in the efficacy of keeping close to the herd - and, above all, I felt lonely. One simply jumped into loaded cars, as I see it, and stayed seated in them." - Buddy Glass

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, p. 25
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1963

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seymour: An Introduction

"They may shine with the misinformation of the ages, but they shine."

Seymour: An Introduction, p. 213
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1963

The Texts of Chuang-tzu

"The sage is full of anxiety and indecision in undertaking anything, and so he is always successful."

The Texts of Chuang-tzu, Book XXVI
By Chuang-tzu
Published 4th century BC

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mr. Muo's Traveling Couch

Photo: Here
"So you've struck it rich?"
"No. All the profits go to the prison. But that's a reasonable price to pay for my daytime freedom. At dusk I go back to spend the night in a cell for lifers. It's right next to death row. Every time there's an execution I see a guard going past the door with a plate of meat for the man who's going to be shot the next day. That's when I say to myself, Shit, I've done pretty well for myself, avoiding the last supper."

Mr. Muo's Traveling Couch, p. 79
By Dai Sijie
Published 2003

Dandelion Wine

Photo: TFS
"Kindness and intelligence are the preoccupations of age. Being cruel and thoughless is far more fascinating when you're twenty." -Helen Loomis

Dandelion Wine, p. 147
By Ray Bradbury
Published 1957