“That night as I lay in bed, I thought of several things I could have said and mourned the fact that my wit usually bloomed late, peaking when it no longer mattered, during the solitary hours close to midnight.”
“I remember thinking how easy it is to speak in clichés, to steal a line from pulp fiction and let it fall. We can only hover around the inexpressible with our words anyway, and there is comfort in saying what we have heard before.”
“Sometimes I feel that what we do and what we say is just a repetition, that's it's all happened before,' I said.
'Déjà vu,' he said, his voice flat.
'No, not that, not identical - vaguely the same, like we're trapped in a pattern or an idea that we can't give up, that leads us by the nose...”
“Sometimes even now I think I see him in the street or standing in a window or bent over a book in a coffee shop. And in that instant, before I understand that it's someone else, my lungs tighten and I lose my breath.”
“He hunched his shoulders and looked at the floor. With that movement, he entered the past. When he put on his jacket, kissed me again, and walked to the door, he was already a memory.”
“But that's why you're upset now. Fiction is not life.'
'You don't believe that.'
'I think I do.'
'You know as well as I do that the line can't be drawn, that we're infected at every moment by fictions of all kinds, that it's inescapable.'
'Don't be a sophist,' he said. 'There is a world and it's palpable.'
'I don't mean that,' I said. 'I mean that it's hard really to see it, that it's all hazy with out dreams and fantasies.”
“I know, but he must have felt it that way, that evil was an emptiness, a lack of something, not a presence.'
He turned his head fast and looked at me. 'That's what desire is, isn't it? The lack of something.”
“The pleasure was in the staging, the idea of ourselves as a repetition of others. I knew this without saying it, felt my femininity as the game of all women, a mysterious identification in which I lost myself.”
“Chance had given me this small adventure and I was pleased.”
“Do you know that I can't remember her face? Try as I may, it will not be conjured. I can tell you what she looked like; I can recite a description of her features, part by part, but I cannot evoke the whole face.'
'Don't you have a photograph?'
'Photographs!' He spat out the word. 'I'm talking about true recollection - seeing the face.”
“I mean that you've invented the story yourself. It belong to you, not me. You've already chosen an ending, a way out. I suppose it's inevitable that you want satisfaction.”
“I was glib, even witty, or at least that's how I imagined myself.”
“More than anything, the pictures had altered my vision of George. The graceful young man with long dark hair and beautiful manners had spawned a double, and it was this second man, the one I didn't know, who fascinated me.”
“You really believe that there are subjects that shouldn't be photographed?' George said. He spoke evenly and softly.
'Maybe I do,' I said, thinking aloud.
'You believe in censorship then,' said Stephen.
I looked up at Stephen. His face was tight, combative. 'Not censorship,' I said slowly. 'That's external. I mean control from the inside. After all, pictures can lie, too, can convey falseness rather than truth.”
“To forget is ordinary. Even people in mourning, distracted by some little happiness, forget the dead.”
“In the past I had given myself up to ephemeral pleasures, falling into bed with near strangers, and had no regrets. But those encounters had been simple. With George, I was lost - like a person in another country who can't read the signs. And George had taken the advantage. By claiming that I, unlike he, was intelligible - an open book - he had made me vulnerable.”
“Stephen's face lost its tension, and I remember thinking how easy it is to speak in clichés, to steal a line from pulp fiction and let it fall. We can only hover around the inexpressible with our words anyway, and there is comfort in saying what we have heard before.”
“I imagined Stephen's companion was a beautiful woman. Her form and coloring changed with my moving thoughts, but the idea that she existed remained to nag at me, and even though she was only a spook of my jealousy, I couldn't stop the surge of fantasies about her and Stephen. By the time I left the library, I had invented several elaborate plots involving the two of them.”
“I listened to the whine in my voice with a detached fascination. It was a false question. No answer would have pacified me. I had simply given in to a perverse need to ask, to expose and torment myself, and as soon as I heard the words, I experienced both relief and humiliation.”
“With Stephen, I had become a sour, witless bore. With others, I could be light. Men I cared nothing about called me, and every once in a while, I accepted an invitation. On them my indifference worked like an aphrodisiac, Because I didn't want anything, I felt free an jabbered away spinning out all kinds of silliness that seemed only to augment their desire.”
“I wonder now whether it isn't dangerous to assign significance to that which is essentially vacant, but we can't seem to avoid it. We cover up the holes with our speech, explaining away the emptiness until we forget it is there.”
“I had no destination, just the will to go, and I went fast.”
“I watched myself live, Iris, like a movie, and that image of myself is everything. I don't want to betray it. Do you know what I'm talking about? I'm telling you that what I can't bear is the ordinary. I don't want to bore myself, to sink into pedestrian ways of other people - heart-to-heart talks, petty confessions, relationships of habit, not passion. I see those people all around me, and I detest them, so I have to be divorced from myself in order to keep from sliding into a life I find nauseating. It's a matter of appearances, but surfaces are underestimated. The veneer becomes the thing. I rarely distinguish the man in the movie from the spectator anymore.”
“But don't you think that everybody is finally the same in the most essential ways? Some lives are probably much duller than others, but it's impossible to know how people live inside themselves, isn't it? I mean, a life could seem boring on the outside and be tumultuous within. Isn't cruelty more contemptible than ordinariness?”
“I'm telling you there are many ways to live and many ways to love. I guess my way is more roundabout than most.”
“I was walking home from the library on Broadway, and I remember that the street looked different to me, very clear and beautiful, and I felt incredibly happy. I even said to myself, 'I've never been happier than I am now.”
“He interrupted me more frequently and summarized my complaints in an increasingly optimistic light. I couldn't see or feel these changes myself, but Dr. Fish was confident, and I half believed him. The truth is that I participated in the deception. I was studying for my oral exams then, and I was desperate for the treatments to work.”
“Like most people confined to an institution, she had been divested of a past life.”
“His distaste was palpable. Although he cultivated ideas that embraced the perverse and forbidden, Stephen was squeamish, and his adventures were strictly of the fashionable, literary sort.”
“In this early memory he looks different from the way I would remember him later.”
“Ken appeared, was taller than she, wanted her, was acceptable and accepted on all sides; similarly, nagging mathematical problems abruptly crack open. Foxy could find no fault with him, and this challenged her, touched off her stubborn defiant streak. She felt between his handsomeness and intelligence a contradiction that might develop into the convoluted humour of her Jew. Ken looked lika a rich boy and worked like a poor one. From Farmington, he was the only son of a Hartford laywer who never lost a case. Foxy came to imagine his birth as cool and painless, without a tear or outcry. Nothing puzzled him. There were unknowns, but no mysteries. (...) He was better-looking, better-thinking, a better machine.”
“ROSS PEROT was the best thing that happened in American politics since Richard Nixon acquired a taste for gin. In both cases, the political dialogue of the day was enriched by spontaneous gibberish that entertained the wrong people and made the right ones question their faith.”
“Why is it”—she shivered as he kissed the top of her spine, went lower—“that I always end up naked while you remain dressed?”
A husky masculine chuckle, his lips moving over her shoulder, his hands on her hips. “Because I'm a smart man.”
“الدين الشخصى البحت يمكنه أن يعيش حتى فى أكثر العصور علمية دون أن يُعكر صفوه شئ طالما أنه يتجنب التورط فى أية تأكيدات يُمكن للعلم أن يدحضها.”
“I wonder if we should add a box to tick off -- Reason for travel: creepy planetary conquest... no, I suppose not.”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.