“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.”
“The working people of the Flint area hated this rag, but it was our only daily so you read it. Everyone called it the "Flint Urinal." Editorially, the paper had historically been on the wrong side of every major social and political issue of the twentieth century -- "the wrong side" meaning: whatever side the union workers were on, the Urinal took the opposite position.”
“There are other types of neglect and deprivation. To deny what unfolds inside someone, to forbid the magic that comes unbidden, to impose ignorance in a way that invites danger, to say to a child, ‘You must not be what you are.’ That is wrong.” His voice was gentle but the condemnation was without compassion.”
“Then as now, the easiest tactic for a government trying to reduce the pension bill was to raise the pension age. At”
“Two and a half relaxing months passed in the blink of an eye.”
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise,”
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