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Favorite Quotations from Books We Have Read

George Orwell:

“The Further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

Thomas Berger- The Feud:

"... had been having those dreams which give you the second chance that reality does not allow."

Mark R. Levin- Men in Black:

As Thomas Jefferson said,"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate
powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think
them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a
wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to 
inform their discretion." Minimally invasive surgery refers to any surgical procedure that is performed through tiny incisions instead of a large opening. Because your surgeon will make smaller incisions, you will likely have a quicker recovery time and less pain than traditional open surgery but with the same benefits as traditional surgery.

Mark R. Levin- Men in Black:

"The Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role 
of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed."
Antonin Scalia, 2003.

Mark R. Levin- Men in Black:

"Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of
pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our
legislators-not a single state had such unrestricted abortion
before the Supreme Court decreed it to be national policy in
1973." Ronald Reagan, 1983.

Primo Levi- The Drowned and the Saved:

" It is an obvious observation that where violence 
is inflicted on man it is also inflicted on language."

Don DeLillo- Cosmopolis:

"...Chinese wisdom, she said 'To know and not act
 is not to know.' 

Wayne W. Dyer- Wisdom of the Ages: Dyer quoting Epictetus:

” Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinions of the things that happen.”

Victor Davis Hanson- Mexifornia, A State of Becoming:

“The work of cultural unity is of the ages; advancing racial and ethnic separatism is a gesture of the moment.”

Jim Thompson- South of Heaven:

“There is no end to always when you’re twenty one.”

Vincent Van Gogh- Quotation:

” I think That I still have it in my heart someday to paint a bookshop with the front yellow and pink in the evening. …Like a light in the midst of darkness.”

Joseph J. Ellis- Founding Brothers. The Revolutionary Generation:

Quoting Abigail Adams in her letter writing to Thomas Jefferson in 1800 after the Presidential election:

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

Another quote from Abigail Adams writing to Thomas Jefferson:

“Affection still lingers in the bosom even after esteem has taken its flight.”

Ayn Rand- “America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men.”

Milton Friedman- ” It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”

George Orwell- Keep the Aspidistra Flying:

“… money is thicker than blood.”

James Allen- As a Man Thinketh:

” The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart- this you will build your life by, this you will become.”

Ludwig von Mises:

” The issue is always the government or the market. There is no third solution.”

Harry Browne:

” Government doesn’t work. You work, I work, Federal Express works, Microsoft works, the Salvation Army works, Alcoholics Anonymous works, but government doesn’t.”

Ayn Rand:

” Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

Joseph Ellis-Founding Brothers:The Revolutionary Generation:

Commenting on the Hamilton/Burr Duel being called an “Interview” in their time, as the “Language of  Deniability”. 

Joseph Ellis- Founding Brothers:The Revolutionary Generation:

Referring to the Hamilton/Burr Duel (Interview) and the contradictions of witnesses:

“Evidence of the post modern contention that no such thing as objective truth exists. That historic reality is an enigmatic, inherently and negotiable bundle of free floating perceptions.”

Milton and Rose Friedman-Free to Choose:

” The system under which people make their own choices–and bear most of the consequences of their decisions–is the system that has prevailed for most of our history.”

Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged:

” But I’m richer now than I was in the world. What’s wealth but the means of expanding one’s life? There’s two ways one can do it: either by producing more or by producing it faster. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m manufacturing time.”

Johann Christian Friedrich Holderin- As quoted by F.A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom:

“What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.”

Francis Thompson- Poet:

“The angels keep their ancient places.” “Turn but a stone, and start a wing.”

Wallace Stegner- Wolf Willow:

” Poetry is seldom useful, but always memorable.”

Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged:

Dr. Pritchett… “Man’s metaphysical pretensions,” he said, “are preposterous. A miserable bit of protoplasm full of ugly little concepts and mean little emotions-and it imagines itself important! Really, you know, that is the root of all troubles in the world.”

” The philosophers of the past were superficial.” Dr Pritchett went on. “It remained for our century to redefine the purpose of philosophy. The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life, but to prove to them that there isn’t any.” 

Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged:

” I’ll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You’ll find that one of them is wrong.”

B. Tavern- Trozas:

“Making the men forget everything there was, or could be, outside their present surroundings was an advantage to the Company, just as it is useful to a dictator when he wants to suppress the people he governs so much that they become completely uninterested in political life and feel themselves lucky because it is no longer necessary for them even to think or take any type of personal responsibility. The sheep feels best, safest, and happiest in the flock, where it has nothing else to do but graze, grow wool, and give birth to lambs.”

James Michener- The Drifters: Quoting Booker T. Washington:

“The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.”

Julian Barnes:

“Perhaps the world progresses not by maturing, but by being in a permanent state of adolescence, of thrilled discovery.”

Ernest Hemingway:

“There is nothing noble in being superior to you fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Nancy Mitford:

“The greatest advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of Life’s essential unfairness.”

Wallace Stegner- Wolf Willow:

” But memory, though vivid, is imprecise, without sure dimensions, and it is as much to test memory against adult observation as for any other reason that I return.”

Posted December 2013

George Bernard Shaw:  ” The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

John Fowles- The Magus:

“Utrambibis? Aquam An Undam?” (Latin) “Which are you drinking? The water or the wave?”

Margaret Atwood- The Handmaid’s Tale:

“How easy it is to invent a humanity for anyone at all.”  What an available temptation.”

John Cheever ” I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss- you can’t do it alone.”

Allan Bloom- ” The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency- the belief that the here and now is all there is.”

‘Eprit d’escalier’ or L’esprit de l’escalier: (French) “The wit of the staircase.” Refers to the perfect witty response you think of after conversation or argument has ended. Thinking of the right comeback too late.

Tom Wolfe- Man in Full:

” Your first wife married you for better or worse, your second wife, particularly if you were 60 and she was a 28 year old number like Serena, why kid yourself, she married you for better.”

James Alan McPherson- Gold Coast:

” Like many of the artistically inclined rich, she wanted to own is someone else, what she could not own in herself.”

Ron Paul- The Revolution, a Manifesto:

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Paul quoting George Washington.

Ron Paul- The Revolution, A Manifesto:

“There is nothing so permanent as a “temporary” government program.” Paul quoting Milton Friedman.

Edward Abbey- Abbey’s Road:

“But there’s nothing to do” You’re right. There is absolutely nothing that has to be done.” Conversation with daughter Suzie hiking the confluence overlook in Canyonlands National Park in Southeast Utah.

Larry McMurtry- Commanche Moon:

“Courage would not keep a warrior alive for long if courage was not backed up by judgement.”

Cormac McCarthy- Blood Meridian:

” Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak.  Historical law subverts it at every turn.  A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by any ultimate test.”

Malcolm Forbes

” With all thy getting, get understanding.”

Henry Ford

” Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”

Trammell Crow

“Find out what customers wanted and then providing them with a better version of it than they imagined possible.”

Jonathan Carroll- From the Teeth of Angels:

“No one really knows themselves because they don’t know what the rest of the world thinks of them.”   Carroll quoting Delome Schwartz.

Ayn Rand-Anthem:

“What disaster took their reason away from men? What whip lashed them to their knees in shame and submission? The worship of the word “We”.”

Wallace Stegner-The Spectator Bird:

“I cope, therefore I am.”

Jim Harrison- Warlock:

“His previously sublimated antennae made him know that a woman can only love weakness until she becomes bored with mothering it. Then she looks elsewhere out of superior sanity.”

John Fowles- A Maggot:

“…believed, like so many Christians, before and after him, that it must be true because it ought to be true.”

D.H. Lawrence- Women in Love:

“Their sufficiency decreased with knowledge.”

Vincent van Gogh:

“…The emotions that grip me in front of nature can cause me to lose consciousness, and then follows a fortnight during which I cannot work.”

Edmund Burke:

“The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice.”

Michael Chabon- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay:

“The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place.”

Tim O’Brien- Going After Cacciato:

“…Because there was the expectation of dawn coming upon the sea, and you could watch the water turn to color as if paint had been poured into it at the horizon, and the pretty colors helped sustain thoughts.”

George Gilder-Wealth and Poverty:

“When faith dies, so does enterprise.”

John Fowles- The Magus:

“Too often unimaginative institutional treatment gives plausible substance to the basic delusions of persecution.”

Jim Harrison- Returning to Earth:

“Whoever we are isn’t for certain.”

Jim Harrison- Returning to Earth:

Quoting Camus- “It rained so hard even the sea was wet.”

William Faulkner- As I Lay Dying:

“I could remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.” Addie Bundren 

Robert Ludlum- Janson Directive:

“Ceremony is the hand maiden of power.”

Thomas Berger- Reinhart in Love:

“…we daydream glories, not obligations.”

Thomas Berger- Reinhart in Love:

“He had discovered that more authority and more possessions paradoxically diminish true responsibility,  for a man tends to worry about these rather than himself. Thus they stay sleek and he gets flabby.”

Thomas Berger- Reinhart in Love:

“Believe me, knowing only your wife, whom you love, you will know women much better than if you had thousands of them”  says a Character in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

Thomas Berger- Reinhart in Love:

“A consummated love is grand, but one that misses connections is sometimes glorious, giving you an imaginative lien on the woman forever”

Russell Banks- Trailerpark

“Sickness is the mystery, the miracle, and the physician understands such things, you say, whereas you, who are not a physician, all you understand is health and how to maintain health, with supplements as physio omega and exercise. This is not so, of course, for health is the mystery and the miracle, not sickness. Sickness can be penetrated, understood, predicted. Health cannot, so is important to count with professionals as Inspire online support groups to help people restore their health.”

Posted December 2012

Russell Banks- Trailerpark:

“When you share the center of your life with someone else, you create a third person who is neither you nor the person you have cleaved to”

Posted December 2012

B. Tavern-March to The Monteria:

“De todos modos, hijos mios, la mejor almohada es una consciencia limpia. which he meant to say, there is no softer pillow than a clean conscience”

Posted December 2012

Dashiell Hammett-1926

“Simplicity and clarity… are the most elusive and difficult of literary accomplishments, and a high degree of skill is necessary to any writer who would win them. They are the most important qualities in securing the maximum desired effect on the reader.” 

John Fowles- A. Maggot:

“A nation is lost which distinguiseth not law from sin. Crime is of fact, that may be proven or not. Sin is for God alone to judge.”

Tom Robbins- Skinny Legs and All:

“Those people who recognize that imagination is reality’s master, we call “sages”, and those who act upon it, we call “artists”.

Iris Murdoch:

“Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape; you can still see very little but you can smell the earth and feel the wind blowing.”

Russell Banks:

“Lists of books we reread and books we can’t finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.”

Tom Robbins- Villa Incognito:

“Danger, the perfume of change, and change is the future’s vocation.”

Arthur Herman- How the Scots Invented the Modern World:

Herman quoting Andrew Carnegie from Carnegie’s book Triumphant Democracy: “The Republic may not give wealth or happiness, ” he wrote “she has not promised these. It is freedom to pursue these, not their realization, we can claim. But if she does not make the emigrant happy or prosperous, this she can do and does do for everyone, she makes him a citizen, a man.”

John Fowles- A. Maggot:

“…unconsciously show that feature common to all members of extremist sects, whether political or religious, forced to consort with more normal human beings, an awareness, both defiant and embarrassed, of how locked away they are from conventional society.”

Tom Robbins-Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas:

Quoting Horace Walpole- “The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.”

Kurt Vonnegut- Slaughterhouse-Five:

Billy Pilgrim-“On Tralfamadore you learn that the world is just a collection of moments all strung together in beautiful random order.” 

Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged

Dr Ferris- 

“… Dr. Stadler, you’re speaking as if this book were addressed to a thinking audience. If it were, one would have to be concerned with such matters as accuracy, validity, logic, and the prestige of science. But it isn’t. It’s addressed to the public. And you have always been first to believe that the public does not think.” Dr. Stadler said nothing. “this book may have no philosophical value whatever, but is has great psychological value.”

“You see Dr. Stadler, people don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue-a highly intellectual virtue-out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt.”

Stadler- ” And you propose to pander to that?”

Ferris- “That is the road to popularity.”

Stadler-“Why should you seek popularity?”

Ferris- “We are a public institution, … supported by public funds.” 


Pat Conroy, My Losing Season- quoting Thomas Wolfe:

” An author must gorge himself on ten thousand images to select the magical one that can define a piece of the world in a way one has never considered before.”

James Salter, A Sport and a Pastime:

“One alters the past to form the future.”

“The more clearly one sees this world, the more one is obligated to pretend it does not exist.”

Jim Harrison, Warlock:

“He revered the words of an old Jewish literature professor who said, the downfall of a nation could be detected in the misuse of language by its public officials, and the disintegration of its eating habits.”

William Blake as quoted by Jonathan Carroll, From the Teeth of Angels:

He whose face gives no light shall never become a star.”

John Fowles, A. Maggot:

“Those who lie hidden, or live far from knowledge, may never fully have it.”

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory:

“Hate was just a failure of imagination.”

John Fowles, A. Maggot:

“…That all politics was as clouds before the sun, that is, more necessary nuisance than truth.”

Wallace Stegner, The Spectator Bird:

“Getting old is like standing in a long, show line. You wake up out of the shuffle and torpor only at those moments when the line moves you one step closer to the window.”

“One of the nice things about getting something talked out is that it brings on a spell of pampering.”

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