“For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers—not just capable of doing it (which Morris already knew), but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels. The first book that does that is never forgotten, and each page seems to bring a fresh revelation, one that burns and exalts: Yes! That’s how it is! Yes! I saw that, too! And, of course, That’s what I think! That’s what I FEEL!”
“A good novelist does not lead his characters, he follows them. A good novelist does not create events, he watches them happen and then writes down what he sees.”
“And you, CONSTANT READER. Thank God you’re still there after all these years. If you’re having fun, I am, too.”
“For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers – not just capable of doing it, but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels.”
“A good novelist realizes he is a secretary, not God.”
“Books were escape. Books were freedom.”
“No. I was going to say his work changed my life, but that’s not right. I don’t think a teenager has much of a life to change. I just turned eighteen last month. I guess what I mean is his work changed my heart.”
“If you look like you belong in a place, most people think you do.”
“For readers, one of life’s most electrifying discoveries is that they are readers—not just capable of doing it (which Morris already knew), but in love with it. Hopelessly. Head over heels.”
“At some point in this course, perhaps even tonight, you will read something difficult, something you only partially understand, and your verdict will be this is stupid. Will I argue when you advance that opinion in class the next day? Why would I do such a useless ting? My time with you in short, only thirty-four weeks of classes, and I will not waste it arguing about the merits of this short story or that poem. Why would I, when all such opinions are subjective, and no final resolution can ever be reached?'
Some of the kids - Gloria was one of them - now looked lost, but Pete understood exactly what Mr. Ricker, aka Ricky the Hippie, was talking about...
'Time is the answer," Mr Ricker said on the first day of Pete's sophomore year. He strode back and forth, antique bellbottoms swishing, occasionally waving his arms. "Yes! Time mercilessly culls away the is-stupid from the not-stupid."
"It will occur for you, young ladies and gentlemen, although I will be in your rear-view mirror by the time it happens. Shall I tell you how it happens? You will read something - perhaps 'Dulce et Decorum Est,' by Wilfred Owen. Shall we use that as an example? Why not?'
Then, in a deeper voice that sent chills up Pete's back and tightened his throat, Mr. Ricker cried, " 'Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge...' And son on. Cetra-cetra. Some of you will say, This is stupid."
'And yet!" Up went the finger.
"Time will pass! Tempus will fugit! Owen's poem may fall away from your mind, in which case your verdict of is-stupid will have turned out to be correct. For you, at least. But for some of you, it will recur. And recur. Each time it does, the steady march of your maturity will deepen its resonance. Each time that poem sneaks back into your mind, it will seem a little less stupid and a little more vital. A little more important. Until it shines, young ladies and gentlemen. Until it shines.”
“You know what, kid? It's guys like you who give reading a bad name.”
“As the twig is bent the bough is shaped, that was another old saying, and once a pretentious asshole, always a pretentious asshole.”
“People assume any twentieth-century white male writer must be an alcoholic.”
“A good novelist does not lead his characters, he follows them. A good novelist does not create events, he watches them happen and then writes down what he sees. A good novelist realizes he is a secretary, not God.”
“There's nothing I like better than a good book discussion with someone who can hold up his end of the argument.”
“They say half a loaf is better than none, Jimmy, but in a world of want, even a single slice is better than none.”
“literature instead of cleanliness was next to godliness.”
“I think different. And I can think different if I want to.”
“Philosophers have debated the meaning of life for centuries, rarely coming to the same conclusion.”
“Some of you will say, This is stupid. Will I break my promise not to argue the point, even though I consider Mr. Owen’s poems the greatest to come out of World War I? No! It’s just my opinion, you see, and opinions are like assholes: everybody has one.” They all roared at that, young ladies and gentlemen alike. Mr. Ricker drew himself up. “I may give some of you detentions if you disrupt my class, I have no problem with imposing discipline, but never will I disrespect your opinion. And yet! And yet!” Up went the finger. “Time will pass! Tempus will fugit! Owen’s poem may fall away from your mind, in which case your verdict of is-stupid will have turned out to be correct. For you, at least. But for some of you it will recur. And recur. And recur. Each time it does, the steady march of your maturity will deepen its resonance. Each time that poem steals back into your mind, it will seem a little less stupid and a little more vital. A little more important. Until it shines, young ladies and gentlemen. Until it shines.”
“when someone says they’re going to be honest with you, they are in most cases preparing to lie faster than a horse can trot.”
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” That’s from the original Godfather,”
“Morris’s face is melting. He shrieks and begins hugging the blazing, dissolving remnants of Rothstein’s work to his burning chest.”
“For your family, you do all that you can.”
“It’s true what they say—sometimes the neuros are crazier than the patients.”
“Don’t let your good nature cloud your critical eye. The critical eye should always be cold and clear.”
“I knew there were no ghosts in there, but on the other hand, what if there were?”
“the most basic rule of human discourse: when someone says they’re going to be honest with you, they are in most cases preparing to lie faster”
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
“Lady Constance's lips tightened, and a moment passed during which it seemed always a fifty-fifty chance that a handsome silver ink-pot would fly through the air in the direction of her brother's head.”
“Being discreet has never been your strong suit.”
“It's just that I've never seen you care about anything in your life.'
I zip my fly.
And Michael goes, "I mean, I've watched you spend your while life not feeling bad about anything you're ever done.”
“He had undoubtedly not availed himself of the ministry archives, archives that might have revealed to him that Iranian diplomats in Paris, from this, his own Foreign Ministry, had taken it upon themselves to issue Iranian passports to Jews escaping the very Holocaust they were aware of, but that he now denied.”
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