Clareified

Where does the good go

Archive for the 'Books' Category

Notable Quotables

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 by Dawn Summers

Excerpts from Jess Walters “Beautiful Ruins” — yet another not so great book:

“What kind of wife would I be if I left your father simply because he is dead?”

“He tossed rocks in the sea. He endured the teasing of the fisherman. He peeked in on his dying mother. And he waited – as he always had – for life to come and find him.”

“If he wasn’t entirely happy, he wasn’t unhappy, either. Rather, he found himself inhabiting the vast, empty plateau where most people live, between boredom and contentment.”

“Act as if ye have faith and it shall be given you.”

“You’re not dying,” Pasquale said./ “I am already dead inside,” she said. “You should push me out into the sea and drown me like that old sick cat of yours.”/ Pasquale straightened. “You said my cat ran away, while I was at University.”/ She shot him a glance from the corner of her eye. “It is a saying.”/ “No. It’s NOT a saying! There is no saying such as that. Did you and Papa drown my cat while I was in Florence?”

“My book is about an American who fights in Italy during the war, loses his best friend, and falls out of love with life. The man returns to America, where he hopes to teach English and write a book about his disillusionment. But he only drinks and broods and chases women. He can’t write. Perhaps it is his guilt over being alive while his friend died. And guilt is sometimes a kind of envy.”

“A writer needs four things to acheive greatness Pasquale: desire, disappointment, and the sea.”/ “That’s only three.”/ Alvis finished his wine. “You have to do disappointment twice.”

“Words and emotions are simple currencies. If we inflate them, they lose their value, just like money. They begin to mean nothing. Use ‘beautiful’ to describe a sandwich and the word means nothing.”

“If you leave this village you will die a whore’s death, blind and thirsty, scratching at your dry dead birth hole.”

“God, this life is a cold, brittle thing. And yet it’s all there is.”

“So this is what ghosts are like, Michael thinks. Not white corporeal figures haunting your dreams, but old names buzzed over cell phones.”

“Our names are writ in water anyway, as Keats said, so what’s it bloody matter?”

“Amid all those drinks, they’d told their stories: first the bland, self serving story one tells a stranger – family, college, career — and then the truth.”

“This is what happens when you live in dreams, he thought: you dream this and you dream that and you sleep right through your life.”

“Some memories remain close; you can shut your eyes and find yourself back in them. These are first-person memories – I memories. But there are second-person memories, too, distant you memories, and these are trickier: you watch yourself in disbelief.”

“She realized that lying to everyone about what had happened had been like holding her breath for the last year.”

“Pasqo, the smaller the space between your desire and what is right, the happier you will be.”

“His aunt never made breakfast, even though Carlo had insisted for years that a hotel hoping to cater to French and Americans must offer breakfast. (It’s a lazy man’s meal, she always said. What laggard expects to eat before doing any work?)”

“He wished he could reassure his mother: a man wants many things in life, but when one of them is also the right thing, he would be a fool not to choose it.

“At peace? Who but the insane would ever be at peace? What person who has enjoyed life could possibly think one is enough? Who could live even a day and not feel the sweet ache of regret?

“This idea that true sacrifice is painless.”

Notable Quotables

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 by Dawn Summers

Two bad books in a row… I fear this may be the consequence of overdoing any thing. Anyway, this book is a chronicle of say… the 50 Shades of Grey author in Elizabeth Taylor’s day… a successful, but terrible author. But in apeing bad writing, the author kind of ends up with bad writing. Shrugs.

Excerpts from Angel by Elizabeth Taylor:

“She was bound to fall in love some time or other, he thought. But I hope no harm comes of it. He could not imagine any brightness or ease ahead of her. Her sternness, the rigorousness of her working days, her pursuit of fame, had made her inflexible: she was eccentric, implacable, self-absorbed. Love, which calls for compliance, resilience, lavishness, would be a shock to her spirit, an upset to the rhythm of her days. She would never achieve it, he was sure.”

“A holiday wouldn’t do any good, or make any difference. I should have to take myself with me.”

“I really haven’t a friend, I suppose, he thought, going through one name after another in his mind; but he meant, I haven’t anyone left to borrow from.”

“As we grow older, we are already dying; our hold on life lessens; there are fewer to mourn us or keep us in mind.”

“She was not so much living in the past as investing the present with what the past had had.”

“She has aped our ways very well indeed; but this will always happen with people who are pretending to be what they are not – the performance is suddenly shown to be what it is, they make an unexpected mistake and their true vulgarity comes into sight. As now… ‘Nouveau riche,’ is the word for her,” Angel said smartly. Two words, Nora thought, dazed.”

Quotable Notables

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 by Dawn Summers

This book is about a reporter who quits his job in the early aughts to start an internet website of financial advice written poetically. It does not succeed. The whole time I was reading this book, it felt like the author’s excuse to publish what she knew was terrible poetry, but with a small hope that it might be good or profound. It wasn’t.

Excerpts from “The Financial Lives of the Poets” by Jess Walter.

“I don’t want to spend every night tailing her online like some Internet P.I. I don’t want to be sneaky and I don’t want to catch her cheating or thinking of cheating or wishing she could cheat. And hell, if she does cheat, I’m not even sure I want to know about it. I’d rather be the blithe idiot: get up in the morning, go to a job, come home, help my kids with their homework and go to bed with my wife, clueless. Especially now – with this noose tightening around my neck and the sense that it’s all getting away from me… I only want comfort. Peace. I don’t want to have to work on my marriage; I just want to have it.”

“[T]he truly stupid mistake was believing that when we fell, a net made of money could catch us.”

“My dreams tend to be either so obscure as to seem random, or so obviously connected to my subconscious that it’s embarrassing – as if even my hidden depths lack depth.”

“I thought of myself as more than a simple newspaper reporter, somehow better than the mean of my colleagues. I offer no excuses for this arrogance, and no rationale, either; I simple felt bigger than what I did for a living, like I was slumming, like I deserved more money, more respect and more esteem than any grubby newspaper could offer.”

“The man loves journalism the way pedophiles love children.”

“I do hate concerts. I have hated them ever since we went to an outdoor festival once and were nearly trampled to death. I hate paying three times the cost of a CD just to stand in an unruly crowd and think one of two things: (A) this song sounds just like it does on the CD or (B) this song sounds nothing like it does on the CD.”

“only bullies respond to being bullied by being bullies…”

“I’m also sure of this: I’ll never fall in love again. I’ve lost my innocence. And my disappointment is not that my own home has lost half its value. What disappoints me is me – that I fell for their propaganda when I knew better, that I actually allowed myself to believe that a person could own a piece of the world when the truth is that anything you try to own ends up owning you. We’re all just renting. And this is how the poets failed us.”

“You can tell when you’re in an empty house… There was nothing there… an emptiness that felt unnatural. I think about all of those foreclosures out there: an empty house is an abomination.”

Quotable Notables

Monday, October 15th, 2012 by Dawn Summers

Some excerpts from Alix Ohlin’s “Inside”

She had never been one for good deeds. She wasn’t selfish- just self-contained. She liked to stay within her own borders.

If she were a movie character, this would eventually burst loose in a flood of bad behavior. But life was longer than movies and a person never knew when the flood would finally come, or sometimes even how to recognize it when it did.

Mitch washed the dishes and prepared to leave, the sorrow of endings pressing down on his heart.

She thought she would dream about him; but if she did, it was lost in the inky darkness of her sleep, and gone by morning.

There is a difference between the facts of a person and the truth of him, and Tug knew it.

“You don’t have to apologize.”/ “Right. Therapy means never having to say you’re sorry.”/ “You might have to, actually, maybe even a lot. But mostly you have to figure out why you did whatever you’re sorry about.”

Sometimes he hated himself simply because he was alive when others were not, and he wanted to wipe out the memories of every patient he’d had, every problem he’d caused or heard about or failed to alleviate. Other times he thought he would never forget any of these things and that it was important not to, perhaps the most important task of his life. Witnessing the pain of others is the very least you can do in this world.

Notable Quotables

Friday, October 5th, 2012 by Dawn Summers

If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life. Even if you can’t get together with that person. -1Q84