We’re not stupid! We’re just poor! And we have a right to insist on this distinction –Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Beware the man of one book
You go to someone and you think, ‘I’ll tell him this.’ But why? The impulse is that the telling is going to relieve you. And that’s why you feel awful later–you’ve relieved yourself, and if it truly is tragic and awful, it’s not better, it’s worse—the exhibitionism inherent to a confession has only made the misery worse.
-Philip Roth, American Pastoral
One thought-murder a day keeps the psychiatrist away.
― Saul Bellow, Herzog
We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
-Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“All the lives we could live, all the people we will never know, never will be, they are everywhere. That is what the world is.”
-Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project
“When I was a boy my grandfather died, and he was a sculptor. He was also a very kind man who had a lot of love to give the world, and he helped clean up the slum in our town; and he made toys for us and he did a million things in his lifetime; he was always busy with his hands. And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands. He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”
Despite the content, Fahrenheit 451 somehow always makes me feel hopeful.