Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Marriage Plot

Source: LPH
"In Madeleine's face was a stupidity Mitchell had never seen before. It was the stupidity of all normal people. It was the stupidity of the fortunate and beautiful, of everybody who got what they wanted in life and so remained unremarkable."

The Marriage Plot, p. 77
By Jeffery Eugenides
Published 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad

"I was working for the city as a janitor in a neighborhood elementary school and, in summer, collecting litter in the park alongside the East River near the Williamsburg Bridge. I felt no shame whatsoever in these activities, because I understood what almost no one else seemed to grasp: that there was only an infinitesimal difference, a difference so small that it barely existed except as a figment of the human imagination, between working in a tall green glass building on Park Avenue and collecting litter in a park. In fact, there may have been no difference at all."

A Visit from the Goon Squad, p. 71
By Jennifer Egan
Published 2010

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tuck Everlasting

"The ownership of land is an odd thing when you come to think of it. How deep, after all, can it go? If a person owns a piece of land, does he own it all the way down, in ever narrowing dimensions, till it meets all other pieces at the center of the earth? Or does ownership consist of only a thin crust under which the friendly worms have never heard of trespassing?"

Tuck Everlasting, p. 7
By Natalie Babbit
Published 1975

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Westing Game

"All quotations were either from the Bible or Shakespeare."

The Westing Game, p. 51
By Ellen Raskin
Published 1978

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The House on Mango Street

"People who live on hills sleep so close to the stars they forget those of us who live too much on earth. They don't look down at all except to be content to live on hills. They have nothing to do with last week's garbage or fear of rats. Night comes. Nothing wakes them but the wind."

Bums in the Attic from The House on Mango Street, pp. 86-87
By Sandra Cisneros
Published 1984

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"She called Joseph the desert, one summer afternoon when we were all walking along the Santa Monica Pier, because, she explained, he was an ecosystem that simply needed less input."

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, p. 52
By Aimee Bender
Published 2010

oh hello

A short hello and thank you. I'm so pleasantly surprised by everybody who has stopped by this creaky site. I especially love the messages patiently sitting in my inbox. Many of those messages suggested that I open the site to comments, and after evidently crawling to the bottom of every to-do list, I finally spent the whole five seconds it took to click "show" and "anyone." Let thoughts fly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlotte's Web

"... with men it's rush, rush, rush, every minute. I'm glad I'm a sedentary spider."
"What does sedentary mean?" asked Wilbur.
"Means I sit still a good part of the time and don't go wandering all over creation. I know a good thing when I see it, and my web is a good thing. I stay put and wait for what comes. Gives me a chance to think."

Charlotte's Web
, pp. 60 - 61
By E.B. White
Published 1952

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mick Harte Was Here

 "You know, like at first you have this gut reaction to something and you're positive that you're totally right. Only after a while, it creeps into your mind that the other guy may actually have a point. Then the next thing you know, his point's making more sense than your point. Which is totally annoying. But still, it happens."

Mick Harte Was Here, p. 79
By Barbara Park
Published 1995

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

"'When one is young, one thinks of love as the most important thing,' Professor Shan said, still facing the window. 'It's natural if you think so, though I do hope you've learned a few things from the books I've read to you. One could waste one's life pursuing a flower in the mirror, a moon in the river, but that is not what I want to see happen to you.'"

Kindness from Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, p. 38
By Yiyun Li
Published 2010

Saturday, September 17, 2011

James and the Giant Peach

"My dear young fellow," the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, "there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours that you haven't even started wondering about yet."

James and the Giant Peach, p. 78
By Roald Dahl
Published 1961

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Tiger's Wife

"You must be joking," he said. "Look around. Think for a moment. It's the middle of the night, not a soul anywhere. In this city, at this time. Not a dog in the gutter. Empty. Except for this elephant - and you're going to tell your idiot friends about it? Why? Do you think they'll understand it? Do you think it will matter to them?"

The Tiger's Wife, p. 55
By Téa Obreht
Published 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011


"It was pleasant to take a hot drink up to her room and have it beside her as she sat in her silent room reading in the empty house in the afternoons. The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."

Matilda, p. 21
By Roald Dahl
Published 1988

Thursday, August 25, 2011

For Esmé – with Love and Squalor

"He was rather like a Christmas tree whose lights, wired in series, must all go out if even one bulb is defective."

For Esmé – with Love and Squalor from Nine Stories, p. 106
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1950

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Alice in Wonderland

"For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."

Alice in Wonderland, p. 11
By Lewis Carroll
Published 1865

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

"It's kind of like when you look at yourself in the mirror and you say your name. And it gets to the point where none of it seems real. Well, sometimes, I can do that, but I don't need an hour in front of a mirror. It happens very fast, and things start to slip away. And I just open my eyes, and I see nothing. And then I start to breathe really hard trying to see something, but I can't. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it scares me."

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, p. 74
By Stephen Chbosky
Published 1999

Friday, July 8, 2011

White Oleander

"If evil means to be self-motivated, to be the center of one's own universe, to live on one's own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil. Because we dare to look through our own eyes rather than mouth clichés lent us from so-called Fathers. To dare to see is to steal fire from the Gods. This is mankind's destiny, the engine which fuels us as a race. Three cheers for Eve."

White Oleander, pp. 66-67
By Janet Fitch
Published 1999

Monday, June 27, 2011

Death: A Life

"I feel that I have important things to do, and important things to say, and I want to share them with all Creation, I just don't know what they are exactly. But I can feel something. My true calling is buried deep inside me, I know it is! I just don't know how to get at it. Can you tell me? Can You help me understand my true role in existence? Can You tell me what I'm doing here?"

Death: A Life, p. 40
By George Pendle
Published 2008

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Giver

"He found he was often angry, now: irrationally angry at his groupmates, that they were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them."

The Giver, p. 99
By Lois Lowry
Published 1993

Monday, June 13, 2011

Anna Karenina

"Anna Arkadyevna read and understood; but it was distasteful to her to read, that is, to follow the reflections of other people's lives. She had too great a desire to live herself. If she read that the heroine of the novel was nursing a sick man, she longed to move with noiseless steps about the room of a sick man; if she read of a member of Parliament making a speech, she longed to be delivering the speech; if she read of how Lady Mary had ridden after the hounds, and had provoked her sister-in-law, and had surprised every one by her boldness, she too wished to be doing the same. But there was no chance of doing anything; and twisting the smooth paper-knife in her little hands, she forced herself to read."

Anna Karenina, p. 91
By Leo Tolstoy
Published 1877

Monday, June 6, 2011

Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut

"Well, he sort of had his hand on my stomach. You know. Anyway, all of a sudden he said my stomach was so beautiful he wished some officer would come up and order him to stick his other hand through the window. He said he wanted to do what was fair. Then he took his hand away and told the conductor to throw his shoulders back. He told him if there was one thing he couldn't stand it was a man who didn't look proud of his uniform."

Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut from Nine Stories, p. 30
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1948

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

"What happened was: they became a team, a family of two. There had been many times before they ran away when they had acted like a team, but those were very different from feeling like a team. Becoming a team didn't mean the end of their arguments. But it did mean that the arguments became a part of the adventure, became discussions not threats. To an outsider the arguments would appear to be the same because feeling like part of a team is something that happens invisibly. You might call it caring. You could even call it love."

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
, p. 39
By E.L. Konigsburg
Published 1967

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Keep

"When he first came to New York, he and his friends tried to find a name for the relationship they craved between themselves and the universe. But the English language came up short: perspective, vision, knowledge, wisdom those words were all too heavy or too light. So Danny and his friends made up a name: alto. True alto worked two ways: you saw but also you could be seen, you knew and you were known. Two-way recognition."

The Keep, p. 6
By Jennifer Egan
Published 2006

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber? Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why."

Slaughterhouse-Five, pp. 76-77
By Kurt Vonnegut
Published 1969

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Bell Jar

"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I knew perfectly well the cars were making a noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn't hear a thing. The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might as well not have been there at all, for the good it did me."

The Bell Jar, pp. 18-19
By Sylvia Plath
Published 1963

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


"This group thing, I said, it's very strong. It's probably an instinct. You find it everywhere, from little groups like families to big ones like a town or school, to really big ones like a whole country. How about really, really big ones, she said, like a planet? Whatever, I said. The point is, in a group everybody acts pretty much the same, that's kind of how the group holds itself together. Everybody? she said. Well, mostly, I said. That's what jails and mental hospitals are for, to keep it that way. You think I should be in jail? she said. I think you should try to be more like the rest of us, I said.
Why? she said.
Because, I said."

Stargirl, p. 137
By Jerry Spinelli
Published 2000

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Before the War with the Eskimos

"'I never in my life would've thought you could be so small about anything,'" said Selena, who was just angry enough to use the word "small" but not quite brave enough to emphasize it."

Just Before the War with the Eskimos from Nine Stories, p. 42
By J.D. Salinger
Published 1953

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Virgin Suicides

"We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of the diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another and to tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together."

The Virgin Suicides, p. 43
By Jeffrey Eugenides
Published 1993

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Invisible Circus

"'Tomorrow they'll be so far,' she said. 'And we'll just be here, isn't that weird?' always with a wistfulness that betrayed her envy of passengers traveling through the night at high speed. It was a mystery to Phoebe, her sister's envy; why, when she and Faith were so clearly the winners, curled in warm beds, with Grandma's rough starched sheets pulled tight across their chests? Given a choice, who wouldn't choose home?"

The Invisible Circus, p. 206
By Jennifer Egan
Published 1995