Nathan Englander

I'd much prefer my books to shoes...In the summer I sometimes take walks without shoes but never without a novel.

How terribly unfair that his whole self aches because of the shape of a shoulder, the soft line of a hip.

Harder than waking from a nightmare was trying to wake herself into one

The Jewish day begins in the calm of evening, when it won't shock the system with its arrival.

They went off to the Holy Land and went from Orthodox to ultra-Orthodox, which to me sounds like a repackaged detergent–ORTHODOX ULTRA®, now with more deep-healing power.

When my mother told my father what had happened, he didn't want to believe it. "Nobody ever wants to believe what happens to the Jews," she said, "not even us."

It is hard to know what a person would and wouldn't do in any specific instance. And you, spoiled child, apply the rules of civilization to a boy who had only seen its opposite. Maybe the fault for those deaths lies in a system designed for the killing of Tendlers that failed to do its job. An error, a slip that allowed a Tendler, no longer fit, back loose in the world.


Adam Johnson

But people do things to survive, and then after they survive, they can't live with what they've done.

Where we are from... [s]tories are factual. If a farmer is declared a music virtuoso by the state, everyone had better start calling him maestro. And secretly, he'd be wise to start practicing the piano. For us, the story is more important than the person. If a man and his story are in conflict, it is the man who must change.

"Today, tomorrow," she said. "A day is nothing. A day is just a match you strike after the ten thousand matches before it have gone out.

A name isn't a person,' Ga said. 'Don't ever remember someone by their name. To keep someone alive, you put them inside you, you put their face on your heart. Then, no matter where you are, they're always with you because they're a part of you.

Use your imagination only on the future, never on the present or the past.

Orphans are the only ones who get to choose their fathers, and they love them twice as much.

In communism, you'd threaten a dog into compliance, while in capitalism, obedience is obtained through bribes.

In my experience, ghosts are made up only of the living, people you know are out there but are forever out of range.

The darkness inside your head is something your imagination fills with stories that have nothing to do with the real darkness around you.


Bob Shacochis

I should like to elbow aside the established pieties and raise my martini glass in salute to the mortal arts of pleasure.

Unhealthy to the point of diseased, he’d say—he had caught something from her, some decay transmitted from soul to soul, but then he recollected contemptuously that by her own admittance she lacked a soul. At the intersection ahead they could see.

I want you so much, he said with such heart-tugging sincerity that to be fair, a translation from Turkish to English would have to flip a coin between "want" and "love.”

It almost felt like too much, just by the sad weight of its being so little.

Whatever your resources, the world was yours to the exact degree to which you summoned the fortitude and faith to step away from convention and orthodoxy and invent your own life. Tay

Yeah, what’s new, a typical case of brass myopia, nothing personal, never a reason for an officer to pay attention to an enlisted joe unless he wants his ass licked or is experiencing some Zulu impulse to ram a spear through your chest.


Laila Lalami

A name is precious; it carries inside it a language, a history, a set of traditions, a particular way of looking at the world. Losing it meant losing my ties to all those things too.

He needed time to adjust to real life, where heroes and villains could not be told apart by their looks or their accents, where there were no last minute reversals of fortune.

His anger took many shapes: sometimes soft and familiar, like a round stone he had caressed for so long that is was perfectly smooth and polished; sometimes it was thin and sharp like a blade that could slice through anything; sometimes it had the form of a star, radiating his hatred in all directions, leaving him numb and empty inside.

No lies are more seductive than the ones we use to console ourselves.

To overcome my fear, I shackled myself with hope, its links heavier than any metal known to man.

The universe had an odd sense of fairness; it took away things one did not want to give up, and then gave things one did not ask for

I was preoccupied only with the price of things and neglected to consider their value.


Richard Ford

Some people want to be bank presidents. Other people want to rob banks.

What's friendship's realest measure?
I'll tell you. The amount of precious time you'll squander on someone else's calamities and fuck-ups.

People surprise you, Frank, with just how fuckin stupid they are.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again.

What was our life like? I almost don't remember now. Though I remember it, the space of time it occupied. And I remember it fondly.

Find what causes a commotion in your heart. Find a way to write about that.

Then, what's the matter?' I wonder, in fact, how many times I have said that or something equal to it to a woman passing palely through my life. What're you thinking? What's made you so quiet? You seem suddenly different. What's the matter? Love me is what this means, of course. Or at least, second best: surrender. Or at the very least, take some time regaling me with why you won't, and maybe by the end you will.


William Finnegan

The particulars of new places grabbed me and held me, the sweep of new coasts, cold, lovely, dawns. The world was incomprehensibly large, and there was still so much to see. Yes, I got sick sometimes of being an expatriate, always ignorant, on the outside of things, but I didn't feel ready for domestic life, for seeing the same people, the same places, thinking more or less the same thoughts, each day. I liked surrendering to the onrush, the uncertainty, the serendipity of the road.

I felt the weight of unmapped worlds, unborn language.

Being friends as in writing letters was so much easier than being friends as in living together.

By thirteen, I'd mostly stopped believing in God, but that was a new development and it left a hole in my world, a feeling that I'd been abandoned. The ocean was like an uncaring god, endlessly dangerous, power beyond measure.

I continued to doubt. But I was not afraid. I just didn’t want this to end.


Kelly Link

A monster. You and your friends, all of you. Pretty monsters. It's a stage all girls go through. If you're lucky you get through it without doing any permanent damage to yourself or anyone else.

You have to salvage what you can, even if you're the one who buried it in the first place.

Remember, when you don’t know what to do, it never hurts to play Scrabble. It’s like reading the I Ching or tea leaves.

You were going to travel for love, without shoes, or cloak, or common sense. This is one of the things a woman can do when her lover leaves her. It's hard on the feet perhaps, but staying at home is hard on the heart, and you weren't quite ready to give up on him yet.

The world is a dangerous place, full of people who don’t trust each other. This is why I am staying up in this tree.

The Customer isn't always right. Sometimes the customer is an asshole. That's the first rule of retail.

I hate those movies, those books, where some guy gets to go off and have adventures and meanwhile the girl has to stay home and wait. I'm a feminist. I subscribe to Bust magazine, and I watch Buffy reruns. I don't believe in that kind of shit.


Viet Thanh Nguyen

Nothing is ever so expensive as what is offered for free.

If youth was not wasted, how could it be youth?

I could live without television, but not without books.

We don’t succeed or fail because of fortune or luck. We succeed because we understand the way the world works and what we have to do. We fail because others understand this better than we do.

While it is better to be loved than hated, it is also far better to be hated than ignored.

As Hegel said, tragedy was not the conflict between right and wrong but right and right , a dilemma none of us who wanted participate in history could escape.

Remember, you're not half of anything, you're twice of everything.

I was in close quarters with some representative specimens of the most dangerous creature in the history of the world, the white man in a suit.

Now a guarantee of happiness—that's a great deal. But a guarantee to be allowed to pursue the jackpot of happiness? Merely an opportunity to buy a lottery ticket. Someone would surely win millions, but millions would surely pay for it.


Hisham Matar

Grief loves the hollow; all it wants is to hear its own echo.

Nothing is more acceptable than what we are born into.

I wanted to wear her as you would a piece of clothing, to fold into her ribs, be a stone in her mouth.

Nationalism is as thin as a thread, perhaps that's why many feel it must be anxiously guarded.

My silence made her say things she didn't need to say.

I wanted this world to still. I wanted to fix it and be fixed within it. But everything was on the move, the clouds, the wind. . .

Can you become a man without becoming your father?

There and then, sitting beside her and within the strength of my adoration, I felt invincible.

In the end all that remains are numbers, the measurement of distances, the quantity of things.

How readily and thinly we procure these fictional selves, deceiving the world and what we might have become if only we hadn't got in the way, if only we had waited to see what might have become of us.

A corrupt mind turns everything to its advantage.


Heather Ann Thompson

Twenty-one-year-old Chris Reed was gunned down with four bullets, including one that “exploded and took out a big chunk “of his left thigh. He listened in terror as troopers debated in front of him whether to kill him or let him bleed to death. As they discussed this the troopers had fun jamming their rifle butts into his injuries and dumping lime onto his face and injured legs, until he fell unconscious.

Ultimately, the human cost of the retaking was staggeringly high: 128 men were shot—some of them multiple times. Less than half an hour after the retaking had commenced, nine hostages were dead and at least one additional hostage was close to death. Twenty-nine prisoners had been fatally shot.

The bottom line, Rockefeller confirmed for Nixon, was that the entire rebellion had been masterminded by African Americans. “The whole thing was led by the blacks,” he said, and he assured the president that he had sent in the troopers “only when they were in the process of murdering the guards.