Category: "Books: Excerpt"

April 12th, 2011
Steve Martin - Shopgirl - 80As he turns away from her, she finally can name what disturbs her about him. He doesn't laugh.

April 5th, 2011
The Finkler Question by Howard JacobsonAt a certain age men began to shrink, and yet it was precisely at that age that their trousers became too short for them. Explain that.

March 29th, 2011
Poke the Box by Seth GodinIf your organization refuses to start, is so busy harvesting that they have no interest in planting, perhaps your investment of time and effort is misplaced.

February 24th, 2011
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel by Susanna ClarkeIt is the right of the traveler to vent their frustration at every minor inconvenience by writing of it to their friends. Expect long descriptions of everything.

August 20th, 2009
Bram Stoker - Dracula - 208"Ah, you don't comprehend, friend John. Do not think that I am not sad, though I laugh. See, I have cried even when the laugh did choke me. But no more think that I am all sorry when I cry, for the laugh he come just the same. Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, 'May I come in?' is not the true laughter. No! he is a king, and he come when and how he like. He ask no person; he choose no time of suitability. He say, 'I am here.' Behold, in example I grieve my heart out for that so sweet young girl; I give my blood for her, though I am old and worn; I give my time, my skill, my sleep; I let my other sufferers want that so she may have all. And yet I can laugh at her very grave -- laugh when the clay from the spade of the sexton drop upon her coffin and say, 'Thud! thud!' to my heart, till it send back the blood from my cheek. My heart bleed for that poor boy -- that dear boy, so of the age of mine own boy had I been so blessed that he live, and with his hair and eyes the same. There, you know why I love him so. And yet when he say things that touch my husband-heart to the quick, and make my father-heart yearn to him as to no other man -- not even to you, friend John, for we are more level in experiences than father and son -- yet even at such moment King Laugh he come to me and shout and bellow in my ear, 'Here I am! here I am!' till the blood come dance back and bring some of the sunshine that he carry with him to my cheek. Oh, friend John, it is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles; and yet when King Laugh come he make them all dance to the tune he play. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard and tears that burn as they fall -- all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him. And believe me, friend John, that he is good to come, and kind. Ah, we men and women are likes ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come; and, like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again; and we bear to go on with our labour, what it may be.'"

July 1st, 2009
Per Petterson - Out Stealing Horses - 78You can learn a lot from films if you have a good memory, watch how people do things and have done them always, but there is not much real work in modern films, there are only ideas. Thin ideas and something they call humour, everything has to be a laugh now. But I hate being entertained, I don't have any time for it.

June 18th, 2009
Bram Stoker - Dracula - 224"...Doctor you don't know what it is to doubt everything, even yourself. No, you don't; you couldn't with eyebrows like yours."

June 5th, 2009
Michael Chabon - The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - 92A gin and tonic under its tiny canopy of lime, I said, elevates character and makes for enlightened conversation.

May 8th, 2009
Neil Gaiman - American Gods - 303It was a dream, and in dreams you have no choices: either there are no decisions to be made, or they were made for you long before ever the dream began.

April 21st, 2009
Bram Stoker - Dracula - 58No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and how dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.