Tag Archives: books

Don’t Tell Anyone

“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep …

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Even If It’s Hopeless

Excerpted from The Mayor of Castro Street:  The Life and times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts, ©1982: Harvey himself never talked much about his childhood in Woodmere and Bayshore, except for two stories. First, the August afternoon a few weeks after his graduation when he was briefly picked up by police for indecent exposure. …

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The Jugular

 Excerpted from John Lydon’s autobiography Rotten:  No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, ©1994: That’s the trouble with working-class people throughout the world. They always try to spur their hatred onto what they see as being lower down the scale, rather than going for the fucking jugular of the upper- and middle-class bastards who are keeping …

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Only Made It Worse

“‘That’s horrid.’ Horrible, thought Susan. The word is ‘horrible’. ‘Horrid’ is a childish word selected to impress nearby males with one’s fragility, if I’m any judge. She knew it was unkind and counterproductive of her to think like that. She also knew it was probably an accurate observation, which only made it worse.”  ~Terry Pratchett, …

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Anyone Can Do It

 John Lydon (aka “Johnny Rotten”) on the Sid Vicious personality cult, excerpted from his autobiography Rotten:  No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, ©1994: Since I always have to have a point and purpose to everything I do, that’s why people accuse me of being calculated. But it’s the way I am. I always know my next …

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We Couldn’t Stand It

“It was horrible to hear Camille sobbing so.  We couldn’t stand it and went out to buy beer.”  ~Jack Kerouac as Sal Paradise in On The Road, ©1957 Not exactly overflowing with the milk of human kindness, are you there, Jack?

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“It’s sad and I don’t like it.”

Excerpted from On The Road by Jack Kerouac, ©1957: Dean was having his kicks; he put on a jazz record, grabbed Marylou, held her tight, and bounced against her with the beat of the music. She bounced right back. It was a real love dance. lan MacArthur came in with a huge gang. The New …

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Jack and Rita

Excerpted from On The Road by Jack Kerouac, ©1957: Then I went to meet Rita Bettencourt and took her back to the apartment. I got a her in my bedroom after a long talk in the dark of the front room. She was a nice little girl, simple and true, and tremendously frightened of sex. …

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Wonderfully Chaotic

 John Lydon on politics, excerpted from his his autobiography Rotten:  No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, ©1994: Around the time of the punks, socialism wasn’t working in England. The Labour party were unimpressive and tedious. The Conservatives, the same. It fluctuated from one party to another, four years of this, four years of that, and …

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Only a Shape

 “An emotion was swelling in my throat. It took me a moment to recognize what it was. I had been old and stern for so long, carved with regrets and years like a monolith. But that was only a shape I had been poured into. I did not have to keep it.”  ~Madeline Miller, in …

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Old Women Knitting Quilts

 Excerpted from John Lydon’s autobiography Rotten:  No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, ©1994: I’m not a social snob; I can move inside any group and feel comfortable, I don’t care if it’s old women talking about knitting quilts. It’s all about human beings. I can find that as fascinating as anything else. Sid, Paul, and …

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Done Your Job

 One of the hardest issues a pet owner has to deal with is expensive veterinary bills.  I like the way Gwen Cooper talks about it in this excerpt from her book Homer:  The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat, ©2015: Animals are luckier than humans, because animals get to live in the now.  They …

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Who Are You?

Excerpted from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, ©1865: She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar, that was sitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest …

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Eff It After All

  “Come, let us go.  Let us leave this festering hellhole.  Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable.  Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”  Dirk Gently, in Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, ©1987 My friend Mary, who …

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Humdrum, Everyday Badness

 “(There) are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not …

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It Just Was

 Excerpted from A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton, ©2012: “You should get some sleep,” said the bear.  “I’ll keep going for a bit.  It’s a nice night.  Thought I’d row for a while longer and take a look at the moon.” “Look at the moon?” said the boy.  “Why?  It’s …

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It Would Have Been Sheepish

 “The vampire gave her the kind of smile only a vampire can give. It would have been sheepish, if sheep had different teeth.” ~Terry Pratchett in, Monstrous Regiment ©2003

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To Be

“We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to …

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Rhythm and Length

   Excerpted from an article in The Nation about Joan Didion: In Blue Nights, her 2011 memoir about grief, family, and work, Didion said that when she and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, worked on dialogue for their screenplays, they would mark the time a character spent speaking before coming up with the words themselves: …

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An Escape from Personal Responsibility

In this excerpt from Scoundrel Time ©1976 by Lillian Hellman, the author discusses the difference between a “radical” and an “ideologue”: The popular image of the radical is of the wild and irresponsible “bomb thrower.”  But most radicals I have met were extraordinarily civil.  They oppose the general degradation, not with a programmatic “solution,” but …

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