Who Wrote it?

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May 22, 2016

“I walked all the way back to the hotel. Forty-one gorgeous blocks. I didn’t do it because I felt like walking or anything. It was more because I didn’t feel like getting in and out of another taxicab. Sometimes you get tired of riding in taxicabs the same way you get tired of riding in elevators. All of a sudden you have to walk, no matter how far or how high up.”

~  J.D.Salinger:  The Catcher in the Rye

May 29, 2016

“Actual life was chaos, but there was something terribly logical in the imagination. It was the imagination that set remorse to dog the feet of sin. It was the imagination that made each crime beat its misshapen brood. In the common world of fact the wicked were not punished, nor the good rewarded. Success was given to the strong, failure thrust upon the weak. That was all.”

~ Oscar Wilde:  The Picture of Dorian Gray

June 6, 2016

“The iron guard bit into the house-corner, crumbled the wall, and wrenched the little house from its foundations so that it fell sideways, crushed like a bug. And the driver was goggled and a rubber mask covered his nose and mouth. The tractor cut a straight line on and the air and the ground vibrated with its thunder. The tenant man stared after it, his rifle in his hand. His wife was beside him, and the quiet children behind. And all of them stared after the tractor.”

~ John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath

June 13, 2016

“At the approach of the roses, at the mere sight of those gaily-coloured images of pussy and cock-a-doodle-doo and baa-baa black sheep, the infants shrank away in horror; the volume of their howling suddenly increased.”

~ Aldous Huxley:  Brave New World

June 20, 2016

“He is certainly an individualist of the most pronounced type. Not only that, but he is very lonely.There is no congeniality between him and the rest of the men aboard his ship.His tremendous virility and mental strength wall him apart.They are more like children to him, even the hunters, and as children he treats them, descending perforce to their level and playing with them as a man plays with puppies.”

~  Jack London: The Sea Wolf

July 4, 2016

“There is little to see…until one strikes a match. Immediately another flame rises from the depths of the rock and moves towards the surface like an imprisoned spirit; the walls of the circular chamber have been most marvellously polished. The two flames approach and strive to unite, but cannot, because one of them breathes air, the other stone. A mirror inlaid with lovely colours divides the lovers, delicate stars of pink and gray interpose…”

~  E.M.Forster:  A Passage to India

July 11, 2016

”Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon them by their masters, but [this] dog, having faults of temper in common with his owner: and labouring, perhaps, at this moment, under a powerful sense of injury: made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. Having given it a hearty shake, he retired, growling, under a form; thereby just escaping the pewter measure…levelled at his head.”

-  Charles Dickens:  Oliver Twist

July 18, 2016

“He pressed his face against the pane of the window and gazed out into the darkening street. Forms passed this way and that through the dull light. And that was life…. His soul was fattening and congealing into a gross grease, plunging ever deeper in its dull fear into a sombre threatening dusk, while the body that was his stood, listless and dishonoured, gazing out of darkened eyes, helpless, perturbed and human for a bovine god to stare upon.”

- James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

August 1, 2016

“The day was grey enough, but the afternoon light still lingered, and it enabled me… to become aware of a person on the other side of the window and looking straight in. One step into the room had sufficed; my vision was instantaneous; it was all there. The person looking straight in was the person who had already appeared to me. He appeared thus again with… a nearness that represented a forward stride in our intercourse and made me, as I met him, catch my breath and turn cold.”

~ Henry James:  The Turn of the Screw

August 15, 2016

“And he, coming home from his walks with Miriam, was wild with torture. He walked biting his lips and clenching his fists, going at a great rate. Then, brought up against a stile, he stood for some minutes and did not move. There was a great hollow of darkness fronting him…. Why was he torn so, almost bewildered, and unable to move? Why did his mother sit at home and suffer? He knew she suffered badly.”

~ D.H. Lawrence: Sons and Lovers

August 22, 2016

“Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down.”

~ Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse

September 5, 2016

“… as we struggled round a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass-roofs, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, under the droop of heavy and motionless foliage. The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy.”

~ Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness

September 12, 2016

“There was a bright eye where the fire blazed at the base of the real smoke and it twinkled and winked at him as the branches moved across it. Concentrating on the fire he could at last see the earth near it, very brown and firmer than the earth near this side of the river. It must be full of bulbs and fallen nuts and grubs and fungi. There was undoubtedly food there for the other to eat.”

~  William Golding: The Inheritors

September 19, 2016

“Just here the blast of a toy tin trumpet came faintly down the green aisles of the forest. [He] flung off his jacket and trousers, turned a suspender into a belt, raked away some brush behind the rotten log, disclosing a rude bow and arrow, a lath sword, and a tin trumpet, and in a moment had seized these things, and bounded away, barelegged, with fluttering shirt.”

~ Mark Twain: Tom Sawyer

September 26, 2016

“In this position, my face was within a few feet of the surface of the quicksand. The sight of it so near me, still disturbed at intervals by it hideous shivering fit, shook my nerves for the moment. A horrible fancy that the dead woman might appear on the scene of her suicide… an unutterable dread of seeing her rise through the heavy surface of the sand… forced itself into my mind, and turned me cold in the warm sunlight.”

~ Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone

October 3, 2016

“They peered in at the merry-go-round which lay under a dry rattle and roar of wind-tumbled oak trees. Its horses, goats, antelopes, zebras, speared through their spines with brass javelins, hung contorted as in a death rictus, asking mercy with their fright-colored eyes, seeking revenge with their panic-colored teeth.”

~ Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked this Way Comes

Oct. 10, 2016

“Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog.”

~ Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Oct. 17, 2016

“All at once that shifty look came into his eyes which we always see when a madman has seized an idea…. He became quite quiet, and went and sat on the edge of his bed resignedly, and looked into space with lack-lustre eyes. I thought I would find out if his apathy were real or only assumed, and tried to lead him to talk about his pets, a theme which had never failed to excite his attention.”

~ Bram Stoker:  Dracula

Oct. 24, 2016

“There was a tremendous fence Bill had been working on to separate him from the obnoxious neighbors; it would never be finished, the task was too much. He rocked it back and forth to show us how solid it was. Suddenly he grew very tired and quiet and went in the house and disappeared in the bathroom for his morning fix, or mid-morning, pre-lunch. He came out glassy-eyed and calm, and sat down under his burning lamp.”

~ Jack Kerouac:  On the Road

Oct. 31, 2016

“The grave was filled up and levelled, no mound being shaped over it. The Sindlich men then bade the Chalk-Newton choir good-night, and departed with the cart in which they had brought the sergeant’s body to the hill…. [T]heir tread died away from the ear, and the wind swept over the isolated grave with its customary siffle of indifference…”

~ Thomas Hardy:  The Grave by the Handpost

Nov. 7, 2016

“The man sprinkles some straw and grass on the coffin and as he climbs out the other man shovels in the earth. Mam lets out a long cry, Oh, Jesus, Jesus, and a jackdaw croaks in a tree. I wish I had a rock to hit that jackdaw. When the men finish shoveling they wipe their foreheads and wait. One says, Ah, well, now, there’s usually a little something for the thirst that’s in it.”

~ Frank McCourt:  Angela’s Ashes

Nov. 21, 2016

“Besides this, I arrived at an unexpected perfection in my earthenware, and contrived well enough to make them with a wheel, which I found infinitely easier and better; because I made things round and shapable which before were filthy things indeed to look on. But I think I was never more vain of my own performance , or more joyful for anything I found out, than for my being able to make a tobacco pipe.”

~ Daniel Defoe:  Robinson Crusoe

Nov. 29, 2016

“When I came back to the Bal there was a crowd on the floor and [she] was dancing with the tall blond youth, who danced big-hippily, carrying his head on one side, his eyes lifted as he danced. As soon as the music stopped another one of them asked her to dance. She had been taken up by all of them. I knew then that they would all dance with her. They are like that.”

~ Ernest Hemingway:  The Sun also Rises

Dec. 5, 2016

“In their indifferent gazes floated the tranquillity of passions daily gratified; and beneath their gentle manners was visible that particular brutality imparted by domination in rather easy things, in which one’s strength is exerted and one’s vanity tickled, the handling of thoroughbred horses and the company of fallen women.”

~ Gustave Flaubert:  Madame Bovary

Dec. 12, 2016

“Our shopping … had no connection with the birthday of the Child or the legends and pictures. Her air of reserve toward the long series of blear-eyed, shapeless old men wearing red flannel blouses and false, white-wool whiskers said all too plainly that they in no way fulfilled her notions of Christmas merriment. She shook hands with them all politely, could not be persuaded to ask for anything from them….”

~ Katherine Anne Porter:  A Christmas Story

Dec.19, 2016

“They averred, that the symbol was not mere scarlet cloth, tinged in an earthly dye-pot, but was red-hot with infernal fire, and could be seen glowing all alight, whenever [she] walked abroad in the night-time. And we must needs say, it seared [her] bosom so deeply, that perhaps there was more truth in the rumor than our modern incredulity may be inclined to admit.”

~ Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter

Jan. 2, 2017

“She found an unexpected interest here. She felt its application to herself, felt it in a nervous thrill all over her; and at the same moment that her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table, [his] pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing, listening, and he turned round the next instant to give a look, one quick, conscious look at her.”

~ Jane Austen: Persuasion

Jan.9, 2017

“He drew out an envelope, then reached into his vest pocket and unclipped his fountain pen. He moved leisurely, and had turned so that he was in full view of the jury. He unscrewed the fountain-pen cap and placed it gently on his table. He shook the pen a little, then handed it with the envelope to the witness. “Would you write your name for us?” he asked. “Clearly now, so the jury can see you do it.”

~ Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

Jan. 23, 2017

“In the cool blue twilight of two steep streets in Camden Town, the shop at the corner, a confectioner’s, glowed like the butt of a cigar. One should rather say, perhaps, like the butt of a firework, for the light was of many colours and some complexity, broken up by many mirrors and dancing on many gilt and gaily-coloured cakes and sweetmeats.”

~ G.K. Chesterton: ‘The Invisible Man’ from The Innocence of Father Brown

Jan. 30, 2017

“Only after weeks of vain effort did the right idea occur to somebody — namely, to utilise the force of gravity. Huge boulders, far too big to be used as they were, were lying all over the bed of the quarry. [They] lashed ropes round these, and then all together … dragged them up the slope to the top of the quarry, where they were toppled over the edge, to shatter to pieces below.”

~ George Orwell: Animal Farm

Feb. 13, 2017

“While leading the way upstairs, she recommended that I should hide the candle, and not make a noise; for her master had an odd notion about the chamber she would put me in, and never let anybody lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. She did not know, she answered: she had lived there only a year or two; and they had so many queer goings on, she could not begin to be curious.”

~ Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Feb. 20, 2017

“Once upon a time, on the uninhabited island of the shores of the Red Sea, there lived a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour. And the Parsee lived by the Red Sea with nothing but his hat, his knife and a cooking stove… And one day he took flour and water and currants and plums and sugar and things, and made himself a cake which was two feet across and three feet thick. It was indeed a Superior Comestible…”

~ Rudyard Kipling: How the Rhinoceros Got his Skin

Feb. 27, 2017

“A man came striding around that corner, gas mask dangling by its straps at his neck, his eyes intent on the overhead poison snoopers that lined this corridor. He was yellow-haired, flat of face with green eyes. Crisp lines radiated from his thick-lipped mouth. He looked like some water creature misplaced among those who walked the land.”

~ Frank Herbert: Dune

March 13, 2017

“I looked upon the scene before me — upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain — upon the bleak walls — upon the vacant eye-like windows — upon a few rank sedges — and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees — with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after dream of the reveler upon opium — the bitter lapse into everyday life — the hideous dropping off of the veil.”

~ Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher (short story)

March 20, 2017

“[She] seized this as a precious permission. She would not have asked [him] at once to teach her the languages, dreading of all things to be tiresome instead of helpful; but it was not entirely out of devotion to her future husband that she wished to know Latin and Greek. Those provinces of masculine knowledge seemed to her a standing-ground from which all truth could be seen more truly.”

~ George Eliot:  Middlemarch

April 3, 2017

“The barber went swiftly up the street where the sparse lights, insect-swirled, glared in rigid and violent suspension in the lifeless air. The day had died in a pall of dust; above the darkened square, shrouded by the spent dust, the sky was as clear as the inside of a brass bell. Below the east was a rumor of the twice-waxed moon.”

~ William Faulkner: Dry September (short story)

April 17, 2017

“Here the cinema of life is run backwards. The old are the first to arrive. They are idle, and have lost the gift of sleep. Each of our bodies is a clock that loses time. Young as I am, I can hear in myself the protein acids ticking; I wake at odd hours and in the shuddering darkness and silence feel my death rushing towards me like an express train. The older we get, and the fewer mornings left to us, the more deeply the dawn stabs us awake.”

~ John Updike: Lifeguard (short story)

April 24, 2017

“The house they rented sat alone save for a single tall pecan tree on a high embankment overlooking a highway. At intervals a car would shoot past below and his wife’s eyes would swerve suspiciously after the sound of it and then come back to rest on the newspaper full of beans in her lap. One of the things she did not approve of was automobiles. In addition to her other bad qualities, she was forever sniffing up sin.”

~ Flannery O’Connor: Parker’s Back (short story)

May 15, 2017

“He seconded the word with the action, and plunged the dagger, which he suddenly displayed, into the broad breast of the English yeoman, with such fatal certainty and force, that the hilt made a hollow sound against the breastbone, and the double-edged point split the very heart of the victim. [He] fell and expired with a single groan.”

~ Sir Walter Scott: The Two Drovers (short story)

May 22, 2017

“Mildred stood over his bed, curiously. He felt her there, he saw her without opening his eyes, her hair burnt by chemicals to a brittle straw, her eyes with a kind of cataract unseen but suspect far behind the pupils, the reddened pouting lips, the body as thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon.”

~ Ray Bradbury:  Fahrenheit 451

June 5, 2017

“She preceded us down the steps and dropped straight into the arms of the white-haired man, who with steely strength held her for a moment suspended. “Madre mia, madre mia,” he said breathlessly and dropped his umbrella as he put her carefully down on to the platform as though she might break – the very idea connected with Aunt Augusta was ridiculous.”

~ Graham Greene:  Travels with my Aunt

June 19, 2017

“Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth…. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, indistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers.”

~ Charles Dickens: Bleak House

July 3, 2017

“She got up from her chair and gently pulled free the lit candle held in his hands. She walked to the window and blew it out there, so the smoke went out of the room. She disliked his lying there with a candle in his hands, mocking a deathlike posture, wax falling unnoticed onto his wrist. As if he was preparing himself, as if he wanted to slip into his own death by imitating its climate and light.”

~ Michael Ondaatje: The English Patient

July 24, 2017

“His frame, which had once been tall and erect, like the cedar, was now bending under the pressure of more than a century. The elastic, light step of an Indian was gone, and in its place he was compelled to toil his tardy way over the ground, inch by inch. His dark, wrinkled countenance was in singular and wild contrast with the long white locks which floated on his shoulders as to announce that generations had probably passed away since they had last been shorn.”

~ James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans

August 28, 2017

“He stepped along with a chipper air, and flung himself into a doll’s chair in a very free and easy way, without waiting to be asked. He tossed his hat into the waste basket. He picked up my old chalk pipe from the floor, gave the stem a wipe or two on his knee, filled the bowl from the tobacco box at his side, and said to me in a tone of pert command, — ‘Gimme a match!’
         I blushed to the roots of my hair ….”
~ Mark Twain: The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut (short story)
Sept.12, 2017
“Now, amid the green, life-restless loom of that Arsacidean wood, the great, white, worshipped skeleton lay lounging — a gigantic idler! Yet, as the ever-woven verdant warp and woof intermixed and hummed around him, the mighty idler seemed the cunning weaver; himself all woven over with the vines, every month assuming greener, fresher verdure; himself but a skeleton. Life folded Death; Death trellised Life.”
~  Herman Melville: Moby Dick
Oct. 2, 2017
“She is silent, she will never speak, never forgive, never reach a hand, never leave this frozen present tense. All waits, suspended. Suspend the autumn trees, the autumn sky, anonymous people. A blackbird, poor fool, sings out of season from the willows by the lake. A flight of pigeons over the houses; fragments of freedom, hazard, an anagram made flesh. And somewhere the stinging smell of burning leaves. cras amet qui numguam amavit/quique amavit cras amet
~ John Fowles: The Magus
“Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other. Evil besides … had left on the body an imprint of deformity and decay. And yet when I looked upon the ugly idol in the glass, I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This too, was myself.”
~  Robert Louis Stevenson: Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde


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