“Books are like oxygen to a deep-sea diver," she had once said. "Take them away and you might as well begin counting the bubbles.”
“Although it is pleasant to think about poison at any season, there is something special about Christmas, and I found myself grinning.”
“I lay for a long time in silence, staring at the ceiling. Was my life always to be like this? I wondered. Was it going to go, forever, in an instant, from sunshine to shadow? From pandemonium to loneliness? From fierce anger to a fiercer kind of love?”
“I had concocted the gunpowder myself from niter, sulfur, charcoal, and a happy heart. When working with explosives, I've found that attitude is everything.”
“I had learned by personal experience that grumblers are deaf to any voices but their own.”
“I realized at once that a great actress can never be greater than when she's starring in her own life.”
“Either way, the whole thing was a pain in the porpoise.”
“The sweater didn't fit me, of course. Even with the sleeves rolled up I looked like a baggy monkey picking bananas. But to my way of thinking, at least in winter, woolly warmth trumps freezing fashion any day of the week.”
“Excuse me,' I said. 'I've just remembered something.' It was true. What I'd remembered was this: While I was not in the least afraid of the dead, there were those among the living who gave me the creeping hooly-goolies...”
“Yaroo!" I shouted, and I didn't give a beetle's bottom who heard me. "Ya-rooo!”
“Impertinent children ought to be given six coats of shellac and set up in public places as a warning to others.”
“I was halfway up the stairs when the doorbell rang. "Dash it all!" I said. There was nothing I hated more than being interrupted when I was about to do something gratifying with chemicals.”
“But getting back to my old friend water, the thing of it is this: No matter how hot or how cold, no matter its state, its form, its qualities, or its color, each molecule of water still consists of no more than a single oxygen atom bonded to two sister atoms of hydrogen. It takes all three of them to make a blinding blizzard— or a thunderstorm, for that matter … or a puffy white cloud in a summer sky. O Lord, how manifold are thy works!”
“Perhaps, I thought, whenever we began to breathe the breath of others, when the spinning atoms of their bodies began to mingle withour own, we took on something of their personality, like crystals in a snowflake. Perhaps we became something more, yet something lesser than ourselves.”
'Lie,' he said. 'Why do you fabricate these outlandish stories?'
'Well,' I wanted to say, 'there are those of us who create because all around us, things visible and invisible are crumbling. We are like the stonemasons of Babylon, forever working, as it says in Jeremiah, to shore up the city of walls.'
I didn't say that, of course. What I did say was: 'I don't know.”
“Good morning, Flavia," she said at last, but her acknowledgment of my presence came too late for my liking.”
“Older sisters are much alike the world over: half a cup of love and half one of contempt.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, friends and neighbors, and anyone else I've managed to leave out–”
“Was my life always to be like this? I wondered.Was it going to go, forever, in an instant, from sunshine to shadow? From pandemonium to loneliness? From fierce anger to a fiercer kind of love?
Something was missing. I was sure of it. Something was missing, but I couldn't for the life of me think what it was.”
“Theater, I suppose, is a form of mass mesmerism, and if that’s the case, Shakespeare, despite his chemical shortcomings, was surely one of the greatest hypnotists who ever lived.”
“Think of the billions of trillions of snowflakes, and the billions of trillions of hydrogen and oxygen molecules in every single one of them. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, who wrote the laws for the wind and the rain, the snow and the dew? I’ve tried to work it out, but it makes my head spin.”
“The vicar's organized a snow-shoveling party."
"But why?" I asked.
It didn't make sense. If all the roads were closed, what use was it clearing a way to the front door?
"Because," said Aunt Felicity's voice behind me, "it is a well-known fact that more than two men shut up together in an enclosed space for more than an hour constitute a hazard to society. If unpleasantness is to be avoided, they must be made to go outdoors and work off their animal spirits.”
“I was being resisted by millions of tiny crystals, I knew, but the strength of their chemical bonds was enormous. If all of us could be like snow, I thought, how happy we should be.”
“Many focus on what they perceive as a loss of some vital aspect of our humanity. To me, the sessence of being human is not in our limitations. It is our ability to reach beyond our limitations. We did not stay on the ground. We did not even stay on the planet. And we are already not settling for the limitations of our biology.”
“Now, being in Africa, I was hungry for more of it, the changes of the seasons, the rains with no need to travel, the discomforts that you paid to make it real, the names of the trees, of the small animals, and all the birds, to know the language and have time to be in it and to move slowly.”
“Jehu, king of Israel from 841–814 BC, had engineered the slaughter of the descendants of Ahab at Jezreel in fulfillment of the prophecies of Elijah (1Ki 21:21; 2Ki 10:1–11). So Jezreel had become a picture of judgment as well as a warning to heed God’s prophets.”
“People who live life in fear of taking risks die without living it.”
“Paul felt deeply for the unity of the body of Christ. He was convinced that unity could only be reached by the exercise of love and prayer.”
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