Sunday, June 30, 2019
From the Edge of the Sea, by Rachel Carson
"Underlying the beauty of the spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of that meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key to the riddle is hidden. It sends us back to the edge of the sea, where the drama of life played its first scene on earth and perhaps even its prelude; where the forces of evolution are at work today, as they have been since the appearance of what we know as life; and where the spectacle of living creatures faced by the cosmic realities of their world is crystal clear."
From The Marginal World
Saturday, June 29, 2019
From The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles
keep your fists to yourself, don't press your luck, don't rile me up,
or old as I am, I'll bloody your lip, splatter your chest
and buy myself some peace and quiet for tomorrow."
From Book Eighteen, The Beggar-King of Ithaca
Friday, June 28, 2019
From The Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Lisieux, translated by Michael Day
"If, for example, I find my brushes all over the place when starting to paint, or if a ruler or penknife has disappeared, II have to take strong hold of myself to resist demanding them back with asperity."
From Chapter Nine, Life in Carmel
Thursday, June 27, 2019
From The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
"'If your two sons had been murdered by your brother-in-law, would you take a handsome pension from him?'
'I take it that the question is rhetorical,' Marta said, putting down her sheaf of flowers and looking round to see which of the already occupied vases would best suit their type."
From Chapter 13
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
From Collected Poems, by Alfred Noyes
HILLS OF YOUTH
Once, on the far blue hills,
Alone with the pine and the cloud, in those high still places;
Alone with a whisper of ferns and a chuckle of rills,
And the peat-brown pools that mirrored the angels’ faces,
Pools that mirrored the wood-pigeon’s grey-blue feather,
And all my thistledown dreams as they drifted along;
Once, oh, once, on the hills, thro’ the red-bloomed heather
I followed an elfin song.
Once, by the wellsprings of joy,
In the glens of the hart’s-tongue fern, where the brooks came leaping
Over the rocks, like a scrambling bare-foot boy
That never had heard of a world grown old with weeping;
Once, thro’ the golden gorse (do the echoes linger
In Paradise woods, where the foam of the may runs wild?)
I followed the flute of a light-foot elfin singer,
A god with the eyes of a child.
Once, he sang to me there,
From a crag on a thyme-clad height where the dew still glistened;
He sang like the spirit of Spring in that dawn-flushed air,
While the angels opened their doors and the whole sky listened:
He sang like the soul of a rainbow, if heaven could hear it,
Beating to heaven, on wings that were April’s own;
A song too happy and brave for the heart to bear it,
Had the heart of the hearer known.
Once, ah, once, no more,
The hush and the rapture of youth in those holy places,
The stainless height, the hearts that sing and adore
Till the sky breaks out into flower with the angels’ faces!
Once, in the dawn, they were mine; but the noon bereft me.
At midnight now, in an ebb of the loud world’s roar,
I catch but a broken stave of the songs that left me
On hills that are mine no more.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
From The Lost Love, by Margaret Oliphant
"Every man has his own report to make of this wonderful life which we live day by day unconsciously forming history unawares."
From Chapter One (first line.)
Monday, June 24, 2019
From Empty Streets, by Michal Ajvas, translated by Andrew Oakland
"'From the moment I set out to find you, I've become enmeshed in so many stories,' I continued. 'I've learned about pirates, monsters living in underground lakes, prophets of strange sects, inventors of the typewriter, mysterious books, evil women who change into piles of waste paper, underwater statues, South American beautiful women terrorists, and men learned in bizarre sciences. I'd begun to believe you didn't exist.'"
From Part Two, Chapter Two
Sunday, June 23, 2019
"Harding's administration labeled its economic program a 'return to normalcy.' It's political program was a campaign against immigration, it's cultural program an aesthetic movement known as the Colonial Revival. Both looked inward, and backward, inventing and celebrating an American heritage, a fantasy of a past that never happened."
From Chapter Ten, Efficiency and the Masses
Saturday, June 22, 2019
From Unfinished Business, by Tamin Bayoumi
"A more promising view about the origins of international crises is the tendency of all investors, including banks, to herd."
From Chapter 6
Friday, June 21, 2019
Thursday, June 20, 2019
"Love is probably the only thing in the world that does not need to be explained and whose reasons need not be discovered."
From Chapter 13
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
From The Man Without Qualities, Volume One, by Robert Musil, translated by Sophie Wilkins
"These days, with everything in the world being talked about helter-skelter, when prophets and charlatans rely on the same phrases, except for certain subtle differences no busy man has the time to keep track of, and editors are constantly pestered with alarms that someone or other may be a genius, it is very hard to recognize the true value of a manor an idea; all one can do is keep an ear cocked for the moment when all the murmurs and whispers and shufflings at the editor's door grow loud enough to be admitted as the voice of the people."
From Chapter 77, Arnheim as the Darling of the Press
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
From A Cat, A Man, and Two Women, by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Paul McCarthy
"Was it then, really such a back-breaking task to win over a cat?"
From page 64, this edition
Monday, June 17, 2019
From The Bridge on the Drina, by Ivo Andric, translated by Lovett F. Edwards
"The last years of the nineteenth century, years without upheavals or important events, flowed past like a broad calm river before reaching its unknown mouth."
From Chapter XVI
Sunday, June 16, 2019
From No Exit and Three Other Plays, by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Stuart Gilbert
"Zeus: Much good they do you, your pink cheeks. For all your roses, my good man, you're no more than a sack of dung."
From The Flies, Act II, Scene One
Saturday, June 15, 2019
"I tell you, it's easy to clean up here. Hot and cold water on tap, just as much as you like, there is. Woolly towels, there is; and a towel horse so hot, it burns your fingers. Soft brushes to scrub yourself, and a wooden bowl of soap smelling like primroses. Now I know why ladies is so clean. Washing's a treat for them."
From Act Two
Friday, June 14, 2019
From The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
"Clara was in such a hurry to make her literate that at the age of five the little girl was already reading the newspaper over breakfast and discussing the news with her grandfather. At six she had discovered the magic books in the enchanted trunks of her legendary Great-Uncle Marcos and had fully entered the world-without-return of imagination."
From Chapter Nine, Little Alba
Thursday, June 13, 2019
From Portrait in Sepia, by Isabel Allende
"She had no intention of hiding her state; she exhibited it, indifferent to the disturbance she caused. In the street, people tried not to look at her, as if she had some deformity, or were naked. I had never seen anything like that, and when I asked what was the matter with the lady, my grandmother Paulina explained that the poor thing had swallowed a melon."
From Part Two, 1881 - 1896
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Monday, June 10, 2019
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Saturday, June 8, 2019
From Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, by John Waters
"Pia Zadora was brave to make Hairspray with me at the pinnacle of her screen notoriety. I'm proud that I got her good reviews for her performance as a beatnick chick. Allen Ginsberg seemed offended when I asked him for permission for Pia's character to read 'Howl' out loud in the movie. Lighten up, Allen; I wasn't making fun of the poem or Pia. Both were iconic without irony in my book. Did I bring up your unrepentant membership in NAMBLA, the long-term pedophile's rights group? No, I did not. Don't be so judgmental. Pia never was."
From Accidentally Commercial
Friday, June 7, 2019
"'Tell me those wonderful stories again.'
'I can't,' Sam Houston said.
'Why not?' I asked.
'Because they never happened.'"
From "Why Can't You Do a Biography of Napoleon?"