“If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”
“One of the greatest myths in the world - & the phrase 'greatest myths' is just a fancy way of saying 'big fat lies' -- is that troublesome things get less & less troublesome if you do them more & more. People say this myth when they are teaching children to ride bicycles, for instance, as though falling off a bicycle & skinning your knee is less troublesome the fourteenth time you do it than it is the first time. The truth is that troublesome things tend to remain troublesome no matter how many times you do them, & that you should avoid doing them unless they are absolutely urgent.”
“Are you ready?" Klaus asked finally.
"No," Sunny answered.
"Me neither," Violet said, "but if we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let's go.”
“It was darker than a pitch-black panther, covered in tar, eating black licorice at the very bottom of the deepest part of the Black Sea.”
“the table of elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise.”
“Every problem has a solution. Sometimes it just takes a long time to find the solution -- even if it's right in front of your nose.”
“Sometimes words are not enough. There are some circumstances so utterly wretched that I cannot describe them in sentences or paragraphs or even a whole series of books.”
“Morning is one of the best times for thinking. When one has just woken up, but hasn't yet gotten out of bed, it is a perfect time to look up at the ceiling, consider one's life, and wonder what the future will hold.”
“Read about things that wouldn't keep you up all night long, weeping and tearing out your hair.”
“To hear the phrase “our only hope” always makes one anxious, because it means that if the only hope doesn't work, there is nothing left, and that is never pleasant to think about, however true it might be.”
“Like this book, the dictionary shows you that the word "nervous" means "worried about something" -- you might feel nervous, for instance, if you were served prune ice cream for dessert, because you would be worried that it would taste awful -- whereas the word "anxious" means "troubled by disturbing suspense," which you might feel if you were served a live alligator for dessert, because you would be troubled by the disturbing suspense about whether you would eat your dessert or it would eat you.”
“If you are ever forced to take a chemistry class, you will probably see, at the front of the classroom, a large chart divided into squares, with different numbers and letters in each of them. This chart is called the table of elements, and scientists like to say that it contains all the substances that make up our world. Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element of aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise. The element of surprise is not a gas like oxygen, or a solid, like aluminum. The element of surprise is an unfair advantage, and it can be found in situations in which one person has sneaked up on another. The surprised person - or, in this sad case, the surprised person - are too stunned to defend themselves and the sneaky person has the advantage of the element of surprise.”
“But your imaginings would be ersatz, as all imaginings are.”
“There are many, many things that are difficult in this life, but one thing that isn't difficult at all is figuring out whether someone is excited or not when they open a present.”
“But unlike this book, the dictionary also discusses words that are far more pleasant to contemplate. The word 'bubble' is in the dictionary, for instance, as is the word 'peacock,' the word 'vacation,' and the words 'the' 'author's' 'execution' 'has' 'been' 'canceled,' which makes a sentence that is always pleasant to hear.”
“If you were to take a plastic bag and place it inside a large bowl, and then, using a wooden spoon, stir the bag around and around the bowl, you could use the expression 'a mixed bag' to describe what you had in front of you, but you would not be using the expression in the same way I am about to use it now. Although 'a mixed bag' sometimes refers to a plastic bag that has been stirred in a bowl, more often it is used to describe a situation that has both good parts and bad parts. An afternoon at a movie theater, for instance, would be a mixed bag if you favourite movie were showing but if you had to eat gravel instead of popcorn. A trip to the zoo would be a very mixed bag if the weather were beautiful, but all the man- and woman-eating lions were running around loose.”
“The word "haunted", I'm sure you know, usually applies to a house, graveyard, or supermarket that has ghosts living in it, but the word can also be used to describe people who have seen and heard such horrible things that they feel as if ghosts are inside them, haunting their brains and hearts with misery and despair.”
“The children knew, as I'm sure you know, that there is usually no reason to be afraid of the dark, but even if you are not particularly afraid of something, you might not want to get near it”
“It made the Baudelaire sisters a little sad to see all those books sitting in the library unread and unnoticed, like stray dogs or lost children that nobody wanted to take home.”
“The French expression 'cul-de-sac' describes what the Baudelaire orphans found when they reached the end of the dark hallway, and like all French expressions, it is most easily understood when you translate each French word into English. The word 'de,' for instance is a very common French world, I would be certain that 'de' means 'of.' The word 'sac' is less common, but I can fairly certain that it means something like 'mysterious circumstances.' And the word 'cul' is such a rare French word that I am forced to guess at its translation, and my guess is that in this case it would mean 'At the end of the dark hallway, the Baudelaire children found an assortment,' so that the expression 'cul-de-sac' here means 'At the end of the dark hallway, the Baudelaire children found an assortment of mysterious circumstances.”
“Troublesome things tend to remain troublesome no matter how many times you do them, and that you should avoid doing them unless they are absolutely urgent.”
“The passageway was still as dark as a bar of extra-dark chocolate sitting in a planetarium covered in a thick, black blanket”
“Myths are often entertaining, but they're never very helpful.”
“I am sure you have heard that appearance doesn't matter and that it's what's on the inside that counts. Well that of course is utter nonsense, because if no one cared about what's on the outside no one would take a bath or comb their hair and the world would be a lot smellier than it already is!”
“One of the greatest myths in the world–and the phrase “greatest myths” is just a fancy way of saying “big fat lies”–is that troublesome things get less and less troublesome if you do them more and more. The truth is that troublesome things tend to remain troublesome no matter how many times you do them, and that you should avoid doing them unless they are absolutely urgent.”
“Arguing with somebody is never pleasant, but sometimes it is useful and necessary to do so. Just the other day, for example, it was useful and necessary for me to have an unpleasant argument with a medical student because if he hadn't let me borrow his speedboat I would now be chained inside a very small waterproof room, instead of sitting in a typewriter factory typing our this woeful tale.”
“Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of the elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of the elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise.”
“One of my prized possessions is a small wooden box with a special lock on it that is more than five hundred years old and works according to a secret code that my grandfather taught me. My grandfather learned it from his grandfather, and his grandfather learned it from his grandfather, and I would teach it to my grandchild if I thought that I would ever have a family of my own instead of living out the remainder of my days all alone in this world.”
“As I'm sure you know, the expression 'It's all uphill from here' has nothing to do with walking up stairs - it merely means that things will get better in the future.”
“For one thing, the penthouse was simply too big. Besides the seventy-one bedrooms, there were a number of living rooms, dining rooms, breakfast rooms, snack rooms, sitting rooms, standing rooms, ballrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and an assortment of rooms that seem to have no purpose at all.”
“The sack of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the destruction of the temple prompted a massive exodus of Jews from the Holy Land.”
“To be afraid of a survivable thing was irrational.”
“That's what Father and Mother are, thought Nafai. They stay together, not because of any gain, but because of the gift. Father doesn't stay with Mother because she is good for him, but rather because together they can do good for us, and for many others.”
“Love one another, push the perimeter of this glorious language. Lastly, please show proper courtesy; open not your neighbor's mail.”
“For a moment they all looked at Dermot incredulously, as if he'd just announced he was going to birth a kangaroo.”
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