Category: "Books: Excerpt"

August 19th, 2008
John Irving - The World According to Garp - 176"If you're careful," Garp wrote, "if you use good ingredients, and you don't take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day: what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane."

August 6th, 2008
Homer Hickam - Rocket Boys - 144

Mr. Hartsfield did his best to give us a tool to do our work. "Ladies and gentlemen, you must learn deductive reasoning!" He caught Roy Lee ogling the girl next to him and threw a perfect chalk strike to the boy's head. "Now, sir, let me put a general statement to you," he said to Roy Lee. "All human beings have brains, that's my major premise. Do you not agree?"

Roy Lee rubbed his head, chalk dust sticking to his lacquered D.A. "Yes, sir."

Mr. Hartsfield stood and balanced on his toes. "And all teenagers are human beings. That is my minor premise, controversial though it may be. And if my major and minor premises are so, sir, what is your conclusion?"

Roy Lee wrinkled his brow. "That all teenage boys have brains?" he finally allowed.

"Why, yes, my boy!" Mr. Hartsfield shouted and bounced a foot off the floor. "So what, pray tell, is your excuse?

July 29th, 2008
Per Petterson - Out Stealing Horses - 73People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No-one can touch you unless you yourself wants them to. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay, because they will talk about you no matter how much you squirm, it is inevitable, and you would do the same thing yourself.

July 16th, 2008
John Irving - The World According to Garp - 85He wrote Helen that "a part of adolescence is feeling that there's no one else around who's enough like yourself to understand you..."

July 3rd, 2008
Per Petterson - Out Stealing Horses - 74I suffer a sudden onset of meaningless melancholy and feel the eyes of the check-out lady on my forehead as I search for the money to pay, the widower is what she sees, they do not understand anything, and it is just as well.

June 23rd, 2008
Jhumpa Lahiri - Interpreter of Maladies - The Third and Final Continent - 198While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.

June 12th, 2008
Neil Gaiman - American Gods - 514"There are a lot of good places," said Whiskey Jack. "That's kind of the point. Listen, gods die when they are forgotten. People too. But the land's still here. The good places, and the bad. The land isn't going anywhere."

May 27th, 2008
Per Petterson - Out Stealing Horses - 248"No, I'm not cold," I said, and heard an impatient and irritated edge in my voice. I have been criticised for that later in life, by women especially, and that is because it is women I have used it against. I admit it.

May 18th, 2008
Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist - 44It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it's easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it's in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one's dreams would have no meaning.

May 14th, 2008
Charles Baxter - The Feast of Love - 216...and I was having this insight that my parents had let me loose in the world without explaining anything of importance to me.