P.1 "A son is the promise that
time makes to a man. The guarantee every father receives that whatever
he holds dear will someday be considered foolish and that the person he
loves best in the world will misunderstand him."
P.48 "Never invest yourself in
something else so deeply, that its failure could cost you your happiness."
P.332 "God is the one whose
center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere."
P.315 "I think beginnings must
have their own endings hidden inside them."
P.150 "I finally figured out
that what matters most is just giving over to what you love."
P.115 "The Italians
say...There's no worse thief than a bad book."
P.219 "Everything means
so much more here because there is so much less."
P.64 "To truly hate is an
art one learns with time."
P.36 "Much like the
arrival of Spanish trains, in those stolen years you never knew when the end of
childhood was due."
P.98 "Army, marriage, the
church and banking: the four horsemen of the apocalypse."
P.41 "Even a man with the strength
of Ulysses must fasten himself to his mast when facing the artful woman!"
P.15 "Theology tells us
that spirits live beyond the body, but Poe believes it."
P.145 "Newspapers are
almost always quite mistaken about everything."
From A Little Love Story
P.96 "Families are like countries.
They have their own language and jokes and secrets and assumptions about the
right and wrong ways of doing things, and some of that always show in the
children, the way something of Germany or Australia always shows in a German or
and Australian, no matter where they go. Outsiders like it or they don't,
they feel at home there or they don't.
P.102 "You couldn't always be sure
where bad luck ended and good luck began. You had to just endure certain
things, and let time pass, and try to keep the gates open at the edges of your
P.119 "It seemed to me then that the whole
problem with the way the world was designed, came from the fact that we lived in
separate packages. You could not ever really reach out of your miniature
world and into someone else's and feel what they were feeling. Not really.
"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through
first, some unfinished business, time to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were
P.407 "One loves truly
only once in a lifetime, even if one isn't aware of it."
P.248 "It is not a question of
what a man writes. Especially a man who writes to earn his dollar, as Poe
was beginning to do then. It is a question of what a man does that says
who he is."
P.220 "The most dangerous
temptation in life is to forget to tend to your own business-you must learn to
respect yourself enough to preserve your own interests. If pursuing the
causes of others-even in charity-prevents your own happiness, you will be left
P.202 "I am afraid you
witnessed facts...and may even possess them, but
you fail to possess the truth."
From The Sparrow
P.37 "Have you ever thought
about a 12-step program for people who talk to much? You could call it On
and On Anon."
From While I Was Gone
P.424 "It seems we need
someone to know us as we are--with all we have done--and forgive us. We
need to tell. We need to be whole in someone's sight: know this
about me, and yet love me. Please."
like that kind of thing. I like warmth and uncalled-for kindness, the
small unnoticed generosities that speckle the meanness of the world."
P.204 "I've got the
heartburn...." "When their father had the heartburn, it was time to lay
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
P.202 "Family quarrels were sacred;
to be waged privately in fierce hissing whispers, low choked mutters and growls.
If they did yell and stamp, it must be behind closed doors and windows."
P.180 "One should always have
Latin, or at least a good classical poetry quotation to depend upon in great or
"New life changes everything -
even, and especially, the relationship between father and son."
P. 49 "A car isn't a thing, a
car is a place. Like a house. Its value is determined by the
memories you have of that place."
P. 107 "Honesty is the basis of
all friendship, but it can also destroy a love."
P. 47 "Children and cars have
one thing in common: women don't them any more or any less than men
do, just differently."
P. 36 "The first words a child
learns are, I believe, the most important ones in his life."
"If it makes the two of you happy, it'll
make the boy happy too. And in the long run, that's what counts."
"The only thing more difficult than living without a future is living
without a past."
P. 14 "For me, the watches of
that long night passed in ghastly wakefulness; ear, eye, and mind were alike
strained by dread: such dread as children only can feel."
P. 116 "The biggest popular lie
of our day is that everything is in our dreams."
P. 130 "For Bach, you don't have
to be a believer. It's enough to have a heart that hasn't turned to
P. 145 "Fighting against
progress was as senseless as complaining about the weather."
P. 125 "God is a mystery that
can't be solved. The same goes for love."
P. 123 "It's nicer to be one of
two than to be alone."
P. 118 "The intoxication brought
on by red wine makes sorrow both greater and more bearable."
P. 130 "You can pretend for a
long time, but one day it all falls away and you are alone."
P. 131 "Lies are never
forgotten, they go on and they grow."
P. 103 "I felt like a kid who,
after craving chocolate for months, was forced to eat it every day for
breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
P. 122 "You never regret
travel...or time with your brother."
P. 231 "I knew he'd be cold to
her. She was the one who'd stuck down his brother. He would never
forgive her or mask his feelings. I loved Kurt for that."
P. 169 "Travel is a
language spoken by an inclusive club. It's a trigger for memories and
a spark for more journeys."
P. 168 "There are few things in
life as sad as a rest home in January."
P. 222 "'Wow, she's hot,' I
Best thing is she ain't a slut, but she looks like a slut.' I bit my
lip to stifle a guffaw.
got to show that picture to my brother when he gets back.
big fan of sluts who ain't sluts.'"
P. 136 "Our lessons from
the road were different from classroom teachings. They were casual,
unstructured, coming in random places from unlikely sources. Still,
they were powerful."
P. 110 "The more
information I stockpiled, the more I worried about him. And it angered
me. I never fretted about Kurt in high school. I knew he'd get
by. He always did. On the road, his resourcefulness showed.
Still, it didn't stop me from the occasional big-brother panic. If he
was a couple of minutes late from a morning run, I'd sweat about a possible
kidnapping. When he said he needed to rest, I'd envision Ebola."
P. 68 "Funny. If it was
just one of us, this would be considered flaky. Two and it's brotherly
P. 74 "Still I pressed on,
propelled by clichéd, animal-laden advice about 'getting back on the horse'
or the existence of 'other fish in the sea'."
P. 246 "Travel is the only
investment with guaranteed returns. Count on it."
P. 266 "Poverty doesn't
automatically equate to unhappiness."
P. 259 "My world was the
P. 3 "For the first time, I
could see the relationship was over. Like a balloon slipping through a
child's hand. Up, up, then it's gone. Nothing to do but watch it
vanish. Still, I loved that balloon."
P. 44 "Not once did it
occur to me that I was having a heart-to-heart with a woman who faked
orgasms for a living."
P. 29 "...you're--a precious gem
in the stone quarry of life."
P. 50 "She felt smaller
than life, a shadow among the living. She'd have to work on rebuilding
the chunk of her that disappeared with Richard."
P. 67 "If all the world
hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you,
and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends."
P. 67 "If others don't love
me, I would rather die than live --I cannot bear to be solitary and hated."
P. 252 "'Thank you, Mr.
Rochester, for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back
again to you; and wherever you are is my home --my only home.'"
P. 235 "It is a happy thing
that time quells the longings of vengeance, and hushes the promptings of
rage and aversion: I had left this woman in bitterness and hate, and I came
back to her now with no other emotion than a sort of Ruth for her great
sufferings, and a strong yearning to forget and forgive all injuries --to be
reconciled and clasp hands in amity."
P. 178 "He made me love him
without looking at me."
P. 306 "My hopes were all dead
--struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the
first-born in the land of Egypt."
P. 265 "It seemed no attire had
ever so well become me; because none had I ever worn in so blissful a mood."
P. 466 "'Mr. Rochester, if ever
I did a good deed in my life--if ever I thought a good thought--if ever I
prayed a sincere and blameless prayer--if ever I wished a righteous wish,--I
am rewarded now. To be your wife is, for me, to be as happy as I can
be on earth.'"
P. 439 "Where there is energy to
command well enough, obedience never fails."
P. 354 "Prejudices, it is well
known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never
been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds
P. 337 "We know that God is
everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on
the grandest scale spread before us: and it is in the unclouded night-sky,
where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His
infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence."
P. 308 "Friends always forget
those whom fortune forsakes."
P. 81 "That's when I found
out there was a very fine line from a human being to an animal."
P. 323 "The show zipped
along, one of those rare nearly perfect performances that made you so high
it was hard to scrape yourself off the ceiling."
P. 48 "'Lads don't ever get
married', he counseled. 'My wife was thirty pounds lighter and a
hundred times nicer before we tied the knot.'"
P. 57 "Here was the woman who
made me fantasize about Huggies and Diaper Genies."
"...to be a teacher is
principally to hide rage when it is truly felt, and to feign it when it is
"Hindsight is a deceitful tool, turning angels into villains, tigers into
clowns. Over the years, past certainties melt like ripe cheese; no
memory is safe."
P. 343 "It’s funny how our
colleagues, those not-quite-friends who populate our lives more closely than
our closest relatives, remain so hidden to us in the essential. When we
think of them, we see them not as people with families and private lives,
but as we see them every day; dressed for work; businesslike (or not);
efficient (or not); all of us satellites in the same lumbering moon."
"There is something ultimately
magical in the sharing of secrets."
P. 266 "People,
I find, are for the most part very unobservant, especially of the things
that are going on right beneath their noses.."
"I've discovered that as long you
don't behave like a murderer, no one will assumer you are a murderer,
whatever evidence exists to the contrary."
"Most adults assume that the feelings of adolescence don't count, somehow,
and that those searing passions of rage and hate and embarrassment and
horror and hopeless, abject love are something you grow out of, something
hormonal, a practice run for the Real Thing. It wasn't. At
thirteen, everything counts."
192 "A good teacher knows that
there is fake anger and real anger – the fake is fair game, part of the good
teacher’s armory of bluff; but the real must be hidden at all costs, lest
the boys – those master manipulators – understand that they have scored a
P. 90 "… for although
listening to boys is bad enough, to listen to their parents is fatal…"
P. 85 "I have never
actually been burgled. I don’t suppose I have anything really worth
stealing, unless you count books, which are generally held to be worthless
by the criminal fraternity."
P. 45 "Already,
you see, secrets fascinated me. A bottle of sherry at the back of a stock
cupboard, a packet of letters in a tin box behind a panel, some magazines in
a locked filing cabinet, a list of names in an old accounts book. For me,
no secret was mundane; no tidbit too small to escape my interest. I knew
who who cheating on his wife; who suffered from nerves; who was ambitious;
who read romantic novels; who used the photocopier illicitly. If knowledge
is power, I owned the place."
"...escape from Alcatraz looks positively childish in comparison with escape
P. 28 "...as I
grew older I became more and more conscious of my inadequacy in his eyes,
and of his silent - but increasingly bitter - disappointment."
P. 23 (Referring to email)
"Thus, anyone in any office may contact anyone else in any other
office without all that unfortunate business of standing up, opening the
door, walking down the corridor, and actually talking to somebody (such a
perverse notion, with all the nasty human contact that implies)."
"The Newfoundlanders had provided a caring haven for hundreds of people at a
moment when they were scared and far from home. They were made to feel
safe and secure when the world around them seemed anything but."
"Looking around the school, they could see a large number of young people
from the town working as volunteers alongside their parents. This was
the very definition of community..."
"'When a Newfie meets a Newfie,' Lenny explained to Maria, 'they have lots
to talk about.'"
"Wiping away the tears, he was filled with another emotion. Pride.
At that moment he had never been more proud to be an American."
"...another path might have been easier for him to travel but
it couldn't possibly have offered a more satisfying conclusion."
"The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of
words, can still be so wonderfully vague."
"'There is no dishonor in losing the race,' Don said.
'There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.'"
"Many of us have convinced ourselves that compromise is
necessary to achieve our goals, that all of our goals are not attainable so
we should eliminate the extraneous, prioritize our desires, and accept less
than the moon."
"The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is
not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles -
preferably of his own making - in order to triumph. A hero without a
flaw is of no interest to an audience or to the universe, which, after all,
is based on conflict and opposition, the irresistible force meeting the
"Here's why I will be a good person. Because I listen.
I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never
deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own.
People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's
conversations constantly. It's like having a passenger in your car who
suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street."
"...waiting was as much a part of their makeup as breathing
the thin air at ten thousand feet. They waited half of each year, in
rooms choked with smoke from yak dung fires, for the weather to become
hospitable enough for them to return outdoors. A Balti hunter would
stalk a single ibex for days, maneuvering hour by hour to get close
enough to risk a shot with the single expensive bullet he could afford to
spend. A Balti groom might wait years for his marriage, until the
twelve-year-old girl his parents had selected for him grew old enough to
leave her family. The people of the Braldu had been promised schools
by the distant Pakistani government for decades, and they were waiting
still. Patience was their greatest skill."
"For me, a good story is all about setting up expectations and
delivering on them in an exciting and surprising way."
"Now and then there are readings that make the hairs on the neck, the
non-existent pelt, stand on end and tremble, when every word burns and
shines hard and clear and infinite and exact, like stones of fire, like
points of stars in the dark..."
"They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for
nothing in return."
P. 3 "I
remember bare feet on old wood floors; shivering after a bath."
P. 10 "I
came of age in the 1980's, before diversity and multicultural awareness
trickled into western Michigan. Before ethnic was cool. Before
Thai restaurants became staples in every town."
"In our new household, ice cream had clear purposes: to
appease, to distract, to mark happiness."
"Isn't is a mother's job to teach lessons on good manners?
How am I supposed to know how to be a decent girl unless my mother shows
"To me, life lived in commercials was real life.
Commercials were instructions; they were news. They showed me what
perfection could be: in the right woman's hands, the layers of a cake
would always be exactly the same size. In the right woman's kitchen, a
cartoon rabbit would visit the children and show them how to slurp down a
tall glass of Nestle Quik with a straw. A shaken cruet would spill a
stream of Good Seasons over hills of lettuce leaves. Commercials were
a firm definition of motherhood, which almost all of my friends' mothers had
no trouble fulfilling. They swept floors and scrubbed bathtubs.
They cooked casseroles and washed dishes. They had smooth, sensible,
pageboy hairstyles and serene smiles. They set the dinner tables every
night and sang Cinderella songs and taught their children where to sit."
"Vocabularies are crossing circles and hoops. We are defined by
the lines we choose to cross or be confined by."
"It seemed that in Paris you could discuss classic literature or
architecture or great music with everyone from the garbage collector to the
"And the great lesson embedded in the book is that no one is born a
great cook, one learns by doing. This is my invariable advice to
people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes,
be fearless and above all have fun."
"I don't believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and
explanations over the food you make. When one's hostess starts in with
self-deprecations such as 'Oh, I don't know how to cook...,' or 'Poor little
me...,' or 'This may taste awful...,' it is so dreadful to have to reassure
her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not.
Besides, such admissions only draw attention to one's shortcomings (or
self-perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, 'Yes, you're
right, this really IS an awful meal!'...Usually one's cooking is better than
one thinks it is."
"A house without a cat is like life without sunshine."
"My sievelike mind didn't want to lock away dates and details; it wanted
to float and meander. If I mixed all those facts and theses up
with a little gelatine and egg white, I wondered, would they stick together
a way, I felt that I understood England intuitively, because it reminded me
of visiting my relatives in Massachusetts, who were much more formal and
conformist than I was."
"I had never taken anything so seriously in my life - husband and cat
excepted - and I could hardly bear to be away from the kitchen."
"Travel, we agreed, was a litmus test: If we could make the best
of the chaos and serendipity that we'd inevitably meet in transit, then we'd
surely be able to sail through the rest of life together just fine."
I see their marriage as something like a double helix, two souls
coiling round a common axis, joined yet never touching. Our lives,
Clem's and mine, made that shape too, for a time."
"We've reached this place where we understand why it's all different
from what we expected and that's just the way it's going to be."
P. 206 "Games are about
forgetting all the political and personal crap that builds up between us.
They're good that way."
"Other than this hint of vampire, he is Ken-doll handsome, down to his
"Marriage, he says, is like an old carpet. No matter how beautiful or
priceless, no matter how familiar, it needs airing out, needs to rest from
being trampled on."
P. 33 "Many a hope chest
contains a suit of rattling bones."
"Sometimes I worry that artistic grandiosity runs in our blood."
"Louisa thinks this makes my life easy - being the favorite. She
doesn't realize that once you're the disappointment, or once you've chosen a
path seen as odd or unchoosable, your struggle is over, right? On the
other side of the fence - mine - every expectation you fulfill (or look like
you might, on purpose or not) puts you one step higher and closer to that
Grand Canyon rim from which you could one day rule the world - or plummet in
very grand style."
"People who haven't tried to explode their creativity might not
understand the high that comes through stretching your imagination..."
"If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you
don't watch it, you start showing off."
"The funny part is, I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her.
I'm crazy. I didn't even like her much, and yet all of a sudden
I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her. I swear to God
I'm crazy. I admit it."
"...I found restaurant work deeply satisfying. I loved the hard
physical labor. I loved working with food, feeling peaches slip from
their skins to reveal the fruit's hidden color, sniffing the air as onions
carmelized. But what I liked best was watching people eat the food I
had cooked, leaning in to listen to one another. Good food, I saw, was
about more than merely eating."
"The scent of steak was like the sound of a trumpet cutting through the
air, so high and clear that it triumphed over every other sense."
"...we all become actors, to some extent, when we go out to eat.
Every restaurant is a theater, and the truly great ones allow us to indulge
in the fantasy that we are rich and powerful. When restaurants hold up
their end of the bargain, they give us the illusion of being surrounded by
servants intent on ensuring our happiness and offering extraordinary food."
"Remember, he's four. And a Christian."
"'You can be anything you want to be', his parents told him, but
they lied. Truth was, an enormous breach existed between one's
ambitions and one's reality."
"He was also a bit stunned, during the months of divorcing, by the
speed with which one could go from being part of a unit to being an
individual human quite insistently separate."
"...you have to remember that even if there's no one else in the
world that loves you as much as I do, there's also no one else who can
possibly hate you as much as I've hated you over the years. That makes me
qualified to assess the situation."
"Some women start cleaning their houses frantically. Not me. I still
can't stand cleaning. But I guess I do have some bizarre and deep need to
now that there's another life inside me."
"Sandra has known me since we were five. She can see what I'm
thinking. That's why it's worth having a best friend. Saves on words."
"I can't decide if my curiosity or my fear is the stronger emotion."
"When he was tiny, on a frenzied night like this, he would have
snuggled with her in this very bed, bare toes pressing against her leg.
Now he extended over six feet, and though he hugged, he didn't snuggle."
"The best hosts on this planet are the ones with the least."
"...powerful people are accustomed to being sucked up to. When
you don't, it makes you more desirable. The less you want them, the
more they want you..."
"Katie heard the story. 'It's come at last,' she thought, 'the
time when you can no longer stand between your children and heartache.
When there wasn't enough food in the house you pretended you weren't hungry
so they could have more. In the cold of a winter's night you got up
and put your blanket on their bed so they wouldn't be cold. You'd kill
anyone who tried to harm them - I tried my best to kill that man in the
hallway. Then one sunny day, they walk right into the grief that you'd
give your life to spare them.'"
"'The difference between rich and poor,' said Francie , 'is that the
poor do everything with their own hands and the rich hire hands to do
"Francie's conception of a mistress broke and scattered. She
had believed that men never married their mistresses - that they cast
them aside like worn-out gloves. So Miss Armstrong was to become a
wife instead of a worn-out glove. Well!"
"'The day will come, Francie,' she said, 'when you're forty-five and
have a shape like a bag of horses' oats tied in the middle. Then
you'll look back and long for the old days when men wanted to pinch
"There had to be the dark and muddy waters so that the sun could
have something to background its flashing glory."
"The cloth smelled of Johnny, warm and cigarish. But it was a
comforting thing to the child. It smelled of protection and love."
"Everyone struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up
there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it
rains. Its growing out of sour earth. And it's strong because
its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be
strong that way."
"What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while."
"I will, forever, be only six exits away from Ikea. A shame I
don't need any furniture, because I have plenty of time to decipher the
"Desire. And what a queer thing that was, desire. You could choose what
you took and what you bought, and what you kept and what you gave away. But
not what you wanted."
"A man's heart was a queer, stubborn thing, thought Sheamus McKenna. It
just went on loving a woman long after it should have stopped."
"But there was an ocean to cross between knowing where you belonged and
having the fire in your heart to go there. And Emma Tremayne had lost her
courage to set sail."
"Ever notice how sisters, when they aren't the best of
friends, make particularly vicious enemies?"
"The Chicago Times-Herald took the broad view and said of
Holmes: 'He is a prodigy of wickedness, a human demon, a being so
unthinkable that no novelist would dare to invent such a character.
The story, too, tends to illustrate the end of the century'."
"The exposition by day might wear a chaste gown of white
staff, but at night it danced barefoot and guzzled champagne."
"So when their conversation had dried up a few months ago, she'd
felt her own loneliness like a lumpy, dust-filled couch she'd owned so long
that she'd almost stopped seeing it, only now there it was, an eyesore in
the middle of the room, too cumbersome to move."
"The next hours are the worst in my life, which if you think about
it, is saying something."
"...I know I'm going to have what we call a hollow day back in
District 12. That's a day where no matter what you put in your belly, it's
“Perhaps we weren't the normal people trapped in extraordinary situations
that we'd been pretending to be. Perhaps we'd done something ourselves to
create these situations. Perhaps we were responsible for what had happened."
“It's like a crater, a hole where
"Also, everywhere I'm looking at kids,
adults mostly don't seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call
the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over
again so they can take a photo, but they don't want to actually play with
them, they'd rather drink coffee talking to other adults."
"In his eyes, I'm not the new girl.
I'm not the color of my skin. I'm a story. One with a past and a future
"I don't want being Danish to be
something that I can put on and take off. I don't want the Danish in me to
be something time makes me leave behind."
"All the furniture looks new even though
there is no plastic on it. This is what it feels like to be rich, I think.
You have nice things, but you don't worry about them."
"We live in the same house but we both
feel lonely. We and lonely don't belong in the same sentence."
"Math can explain the reason there's a
one out of four chance that I'd have blue eyes. But it doesn't explain why
me. And science or math can't explain what makes one person lucky, or what
makes a person lucky enough to survive."
"If there's no one else to tell
another side - the only story that can be told is the story that becomes
"What if Mor knew about the blues?
What if she had thought that sometimes there's a way to take the sadness and
turn it into a beautiful song."
“Jesse Jackson wants us to be
African-American now. I don't know if this is a good idea. I don't know any
black people who have even been to Africa."
"She's hugging Granma, getting
the sad stuck feeling out of her with a song."
"When art is stolen, there are
hundreds of thousands of people who would be deprived of seeing it. Art
theft isn't just a crime against the owner. It's a crime against the
"I believe that the Gardner
paintings will reappear. Maybe not next week, maybe not next year, but
"'But listen, two guys go in and get
$200, $300 million in paintings. What's better than that? Right? No one gets
hurt. No one gets caught. You know, I'm not saying doing armed robbery is
the right thing to do. Because it's not,' he says. 'But this was the perfect
"...art, it's my life, my faith.
Something I just can't do without."
"'You have to remember, the people
who steal art are not nice,' Smith told me. 'They're crooks, and they steal
things that don't belong to them.'"
"That night I knew it wasn't the end
for us - that the thing that bound us together, the thing we all understood
deep down, was that life - however we chose to live it - was something you
embraced with open eyes and a full heart - and that if we made an effort, we
could be friends like this forever."
“'Haven't we become so tied up in our
kids - so determined to give them some Nick at Nite version of a stable life
- that we forgot to take care of us?'"
"'Everyone thinks I spend my
time at home watching soap operas and whipping up gourmet meals. . . but I'm
usually draining pots of pasta and tossing in bottled sauce, or I'm racing
around town looking for poster board and the right kind of cleats, or I'm
patching the crumbling walls, or managing a fever while I'm on the phone
planning the next school fund-raiser. I'm always on the edge of losing it.'"
"There's serenity around you. All of
us - myself, Jo, Kate - we all need that. When you're around, our worlds are
put into the proper perspective."
"'I'm speeding through the streets
of Bangalore with a Nigerian renegade.' Kate melted into the backseat. 'Now
I can die happy.'"
"...Jo wished she had half the calm that
Sarah carried around her like a perfume."
"Gardner felt rejuvenated, and they
soon returned home, the first of many occasions that she would turn to art
as a way to jump-start her soul."
"There's nothing better than June because
it's the end of the school year and there's nothing but summer for weeks."
"'Sweetie,' she says, 'all I think
when I look at you is hallelujah.'"
"Her face had a strange look to it. It wasn't horror, which was what I'd
dreaded most; it was something closer to fear - apprehension tinged with
perplexity - and beneath it all, just the slightest hint of disapproval,
sitting there like a seed, waiting to learn more before it sprouted and
"...whenever my father sang, all the birds in the area would fall
silent and listen. His voice was so beautiful, high and clear so filled with
life it made you want to laugh and cry at the same time."
"She could no longer stop them,
the emotions that had been building up inside her finally venting: pain,
horror, despair, anger, all fused into one terrible alloy. She tried to hold
it in but found she was little more than a broken vessel, ruptured by
sorrow, released of grief."
"If there was one thing she had
learned in her brief time at Kalaupapa, it was that all things end."
"In a low voice Sister Victor said,
'I think she'd smile like that even if she were sitting in a boiling pot,
being picked at by cannibals.'
Catherine laughed despite herself.
'You see, Sister? That's all we have
to do. Learn how to smile in the cannibal pot, and life would be so much
"So as he prepared himself to lose a
daughter he cherished, and mourned a marriage painfully bled of love and
affection, Henry Kalama grieved too for the loss of his country, his
kingdom, now just a kingdom of the heart."
"They were frightened, no question, but they were not afraid of me.
It was a fear of messing up and having to face themselves again, and facing
the world, and the likes of you."
"The science of Papa's trade brought him an even greater level of
respect. It was well and good to share bread and music, but it was
nice for Liesel to know that he was also more than capable in his
occupation. Competence was attractive."
"I do not carry a sickle or scythe. I only wear a hooded black
robe when it's cold. And I don't have those skull-like facial features
you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what
I truly look like? I'll help you out. Find yourself a mirror
while I continue."
"Where's the fight? he wondered. Where's the will to
hold on? Of course, at thirteen, he was a little excessive in his
harshness. He had not looked something like ME in the face. Not
yet. WIth the rest of them, he stood around the bed and watched the
man die - a safe merge, from life to death. The light in the window
was gray and orange, the color of summer's skin, and his uncle appeared
relieved when his breathing disappeared completely. 'When death
captures me,' the boy vowed, 'he will feel my fist on his face.'
Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry. Yes.
I like that a lot."
"Like most humans in the grip of revelation, Hans Hubermann
stood with a certain numbness. The next words would either be shouted
or would not make it past his teeth. Also, they would most likely be a
repetition of the last thing he'd said, only moments earlier."
"One should modulate the voice, my dear William, while breathing
gently from the hips. Thus one avoids those chest-notes which have
betrayed many a secret. In other words, pass the toast."
"Bill was a great conspirator - worth a hundred Watsons."
"I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand
castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skill
is their capacity to escalate."
"'Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages
and go search for work in the cities,' Mortenson explains. 'But the
girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they've
learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women,
improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant
mortality, the answer is to educate girls'."
"We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly.
We're the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football
drills." "Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow
down and make building relationships as important as building projects.
He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I
could ever hope to teach them."
"Could it be that a partially employed American who lived out
of a storage locker could seem like little more than a flashing neon dollar
sign to people in the poorest region of one of the world's poorest