Like a Book Elegantly Bound...

This is a tumblr for all of the quote-worthy passages I come across in all of the books I will inevitably read this summer, and beyond.

May 17, 2009 9:39pm
"That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Apr 20, 2009 8:07pm
"Early morning is a time of magic in Cannery Row. In the gray time after the light has come and before the sun has risen, the Row seems to hang suspended out of time in a silvery light. The street lights go out, and the weeds are a brilliant green. The corrugated iron of the canneries glows with the pearly lucence of platinum or old pewter. No automobiles are running then. The street is silent of progress and business. And the rush and drag of the waves can be heard as they splash in among the piles of the canneries. It is a time of great peace, a deserted time, a little era of rest. Cats drip over the ground to look for fish heads. Silent early morning dogs parade majestically picking and choosing judiciously whereon to pee. The sea gulls come flapping in to sit on the cannery roof peaks shoulder to shoulder. From the rocks near Hopkins Marine Station comes the barking of sea lions like the baying of hounds. The air is cool and fresh. In the back gardens the gophers push up the morning mounds of fresh damp earth and they creep out and drag flowers into their holes. Very few people are about, just enough to make it seem more deserted than it is….It is the hour of the pearl - the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself."
John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

"Early morning is a time of magic in Cannery Row. In the gray time after the light has come and before the sun has risen, the Row seems to hang suspended out of time in a silvery light. The street lights go out, and the weeds are a brilliant green. The corrugated iron of the canneries glows with the pearly lucence of platinum or old pewter. No automobiles are running then. The street is silent of progress and business. And the rush and drag of the waves can be heard as they splash in among the piles of the canneries. It is a time of great peace, a deserted time, a little era of rest. Cats drip over the ground to look for fish heads. Silent early morning dogs parade majestically picking and choosing judiciously whereon to pee. The sea gulls come flapping in to sit on the cannery roof peaks shoulder to shoulder. From the rocks near Hopkins Marine Station comes the barking of sea lions like the baying of hounds. The air is cool and fresh. In the back gardens the gophers push up the morning mounds of fresh damp earth and they creep out and drag flowers into their holes. Very few people are about, just enough to make it seem more deserted than it is….It is the hour of the pearl - the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself."

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Apr 18, 2009 1:09pm
"This season’s couture shows bloomed like gardenias in the monastery of the new austerity. The collections blew kisses at our plastic-belt-tightening in these dress-down, hard times. Couture laughed extravagantly at the bonfire of banking, the end of ostentatious consumption. It was, let’s be frank, a let-them-eat-cake moment, and we asked, Who on earth is going to wear this stuff? Who has the gall? Where is the ball? The galas, the dinners, the soirees? Where are these yards of elegant swank going to be appropriate? Where is all the expensive good taste going to look tasteful? These were the wrong questions. We should have asked: Do we really and truly want a world without couture? Are we willing to throw away what we have on top of what has already been lost? Is there no place for the exclusive and the beautiful? For the hysterically indulgent? And the superbly crafted? You have no idea how sensational a couture frock is until you’ve held one, or worn one, as Emily Blunt does with Victorian insouciance here. The skill, the satisfaction of the stitching, the delicacy of the beading and the lacing, the softness and the stiffness, the fall and the rustle and the silhouette. It is the perfect detachable cosmetic surgery. The ateliers that fabricate these clothes are the repositories of centuries of prestidigious patience and acute, minute observation passed from thimbled, nimble fingertip to fingertip. Couture is a promise to the future from the past: There will be entrances and orchestras again, carriages and candelabra again, parties and seasons again. There will be glamour again. Throughout the history of civilization, doom, doldrums, depression, and disaster have descended to paint the town gray. But they will also recede, leaving little but a shudder. What is left, what abides, is beauty."
Vanity Fair (May 2009)

"This season’s couture shows bloomed like gardenias in the monastery of the new austerity. The collections blew kisses at our plastic-belt-tightening in these dress-down, hard times. Couture laughed extravagantly at the bonfire of banking, the end of ostentatious consumption. It was, let’s be frank, a let-them-eat-cake moment, and we asked, Who on earth is going to wear this stuff? Who has the gall? Where is the ball? The galas, the dinners, the soirees? Where are these yards of elegant swank going to be appropriate? Where is all the expensive good taste going to look tasteful? These were the wrong questions. We should have asked: Do we really and truly want a world without couture? Are we willing to throw away what we have on top of what has already been lost? Is there no place for the exclusive and the beautiful? For the hysterically indulgent? And the superbly crafted? You have no idea how sensational a couture frock is until you’ve held one, or worn one, as Emily Blunt does with Victorian insouciance here. The skill, the satisfaction of the stitching, the delicacy of the beading and the lacing, the softness and the stiffness, the fall and the rustle and the silhouette. It is the perfect detachable cosmetic surgery. The ateliers that fabricate these clothes are the repositories of centuries of prestidigious patience and acute, minute observation passed from thimbled, nimble fingertip to fingertip. Couture is a promise to the future from the past: There will be entrances and orchestras again, carriages and candelabra again, parties and seasons again. There will be glamour again. Throughout the history of civilization, doom, doldrums, depression, and disaster have descended to paint the town gray. But they will also recede, leaving little but a shudder. What is left, what abides, is beauty."

Vanity Fair (May 2009)

Apr 13, 2009 3:19pm
(via victoriamcgee)
"Everything in New York is a photograph. All the things that are supposed to be dirty or rough or unrefined are the most beautiful things. Garbage cans at the ends of alleyways look like they’ve been up all night talking with each other. Doorways with peeling paint look like the wise lines around an old feller’s eyes. I stop and stare but can’t stay because men always think I’m selling something. Or worse, giving something away. I wish I could be invisible. Or at least I wish I didn’t look like someone they want to look at. They stop being part of the picture, they get up from their chess game and come out of the frame at me, blocking my view. What do they see when they look at me?"
Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees

(via victoriamcgee)

"Everything in New York is a photograph. All the things that are supposed to be dirty or rough or unrefined are the most beautiful things. Garbage cans at the ends of alleyways look like they’ve been up all night talking with each other. Doorways with peeling paint look like the wise lines around an old feller’s eyes. I stop and stare but can’t stay because men always think I’m selling something. Or worse, giving something away. I wish I could be invisible. Or at least I wish I didn’t look like someone they want to look at. They stop being part of the picture, they get up from their chess game and come out of the frame at me, blocking my view. What do they see when they look at me?"

Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees

Apr 12, 2009 7:03pm
(via leafy)
Only a day or two since I had been separated from my sister, I had been sent to wahs some rags one afternoon, when a moth came fluttering down from the sky onto my arm. I flicked it off, expecting that it would fly away, but instead it sailed like a pebble across the coutryard and lay there upon the ground. I didn’t know if it had fallen from the sky already dead or if I had killed it, but its little insect death touched me. I admired the lovely pattern on its wings, and then wrapped it in one of the rags I was washing and hid it away beneath the foundation of the house
I hadn’t thought about this moth since then; but the moment it came to mind I got on my knees and looked under the house until I found it. So many things in my life had changed, even the way I looked; but when I unwrapped the moth from its funeral shroud, it was the same startingly lovely creature as on the day I had entombed it. It seemed to be wearing a robe in subdued grays and browns, like Mother wore when she went to her Mah-Jongg games at night. Everything about it seemed beautiful and perfect, and so utterly unchanged. If only one thing in my life had been the same as during that first week in Kyoto…As I thought of this my mind began to swirl like a hurricane. It struck me that we -that moth and I- were two opposite extremes. My existence was as unstable as a stream, changing in every way; but the moth was like a piece of stone, changing not at all. While thinking this thought, I reached out a finger to feel the moth’s velvety surface; but when I brushed it with my fingertip, it turned all at once into a pile of ash without even a sound, without even a moment in which I could see it crumbling. I was so astonished I let out a cry. The swirling in my mind stopped; I felt as if I had stepped into the eye of a storm. I let the tiny shroud and its pile of ashes flutter to the ground; and now I understood a thing that had puzzled me all morning. The stale air had washed away. The past was gone.
Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

(via leafy)

Only a day or two since I had been separated from my sister, I had been sent to wahs some rags one afternoon, when a moth came fluttering down from the sky onto my arm. I flicked it off, expecting that it would fly away, but instead it sailed like a pebble across the coutryard and lay there upon the ground. I didn’t know if it had fallen from the sky already dead or if I had killed it, but its little insect death touched me. I admired the lovely pattern on its wings, and then wrapped it in one of the rags I was washing and hid it away beneath the foundation of the house

I hadn’t thought about this moth since then; but the moment it came to mind I got on my knees and looked under the house until I found it. So many things in my life had changed, even the way I looked; but when I unwrapped the moth from its funeral shroud, it was the same startingly lovely creature as on the day I had entombed it. It seemed to be wearing a robe in subdued grays and browns, like Mother wore when she went to her Mah-Jongg games at night. Everything about it seemed beautiful and perfect, and so utterly unchanged. If only one thing in my life had been the same as during that first week in Kyoto…As I thought of this my mind began to swirl like a hurricane. It struck me that we -that moth and I- were two opposite extremes. My existence was as unstable as a stream, changing in every way; but the moth was like a piece of stone, changing not at all. While thinking this thought, I reached out a finger to feel the moth’s velvety surface; but when I brushed it with my fingertip, it turned all at once into a pile of ash without even a sound, without even a moment in which I could see it crumbling. I was so astonished I let out a cry. The swirling in my mind stopped; I felt as if I had stepped into the eye of a storm. I let the tiny shroud and its pile of ashes flutter to the ground; and now I understood a thing that had puzzled me all morning. The stale air had washed away. The past was gone.

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Apr 12, 2009 6:43pm
"Why can’t reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there’s so little fish to catch?"
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

"Why can’t reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there’s so little fish to catch?"

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Apr 12, 2009 6:38pm
(via victoriamcgee)
"What is unique about the ‘I’ hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common. The individual ‘I’ is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered."Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

(via victoriamcgee)

"What is unique about the ā€˜Iā€™ hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common. The individual ā€˜Iā€™ is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered."
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Apr 12, 2009 6:24pm
"She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day."
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Apr 12, 2009 6:18pm
"We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if in caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are not communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps."
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

"We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if in caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are not communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps."

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Apr 12, 2009 6:10pm
(via Penelope Nightingale.)
""He had lived through a time of war when everything offered up to those around him was a lie. He had felt like a man in the darkness of a room imitating the calls of a bird.
But here they were shedding skins. They could imitate nothing but what they were. There was no defence but to look for the truth in others.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

(via Penelope Nightingale.)

""He had lived through a time of war when everything offered up to those around him was a lie. He had felt like a man in the darkness of a room imitating the calls of a bird.

But here they were shedding skins. They could imitate nothing but what they were. There was no defence but to look for the truth in others.”

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

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