I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find - if it’s a good novel - that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little… But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.
Edgar Allan Poe
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After.
Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Contagious suicide made it palpable. Spiky bacteria lodged in the agar of the girls’ throats. In the morning, a soft oral thrush had sprouted over their tonsils. The girls felt sluggish. At the window the world’s light seemed drained. They rubbed their eyes to no avail. They felt heavy, slow-witted. Household objects lost meaning. A bedside clock became a hunk of molded plastic, telling something called time, in a world marking its passage for some reason. When we thought of the girls along these lines, it was as feverish creatures, exhaling soupy breath, succumbing day by day in their isolated ward. We went outside with our hair wet in the hopes of catching flu ourselves so that we might share their delirium.
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
‘And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more “literary” you are. That’s my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often.’
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451