Friday, 8 February 2013

Quotations from some of my recently read books

Edward Marston – The Queen’s Head (1988)

Truth then caught up with Rumour and plucked its feathers.

"I have tried to hide my light under a bushel but I have never been able to find a bushel big enough."

He had insinuated his way back into the outer suburbs of her affections.

John Dickinson – The Cup of the World (2004)

(A wedding vow) Say the truth to one another. Let your lives be as a mirror to one another. Keep the promises you have spoken.  You are man and wife.

Tad Williams – The Dragonbone Chair (1988)

….and everywhere books, books, books, dropped half-way open or propped upright here and there about the chamber like huge clumsy butterflies.

Penelope Fitzgerald “The Bookshop” (1978)

His emotions, from lack of exercise, had disappeared almost altogether.

The right-hand wall she kept for paperbacks.  At 1s 6d each, cheerfully coloured, brightly democratic, they crowded the shelves in well-disciplined ranks.  They would have a rapid turnover and she had to approve of them yet she could remember a world where only foreigners had been content to have their books bound in paper.

“I don’t know if men are better judges than women,” said Florence, “but they spend much less time regretting their decisions.”

Guy Gavriel Kay “Under Heaven” (2010)

At the lowest ebb, of a person or a nation, the first seeds of later glory may sometimes be seen, looking back with a careful eye.  At the absolute summit of accomplishment the insects chewing from within at the most extravagant sandalwood may be heard, if the nights are quiet.

The voice she also remembers, too vividly. Why, and how, does one voice, one person, come to conjure vibrations in the soul, like an instrument tuned?  Why a given man, and not another, or a third? She hasn’t nearly enough wisdom to answer that.  She isn’t sure if anyone does.

Looking back, Tai would name that day as another of those that changed his life. Paths branching, decisions made. Sometimes, you did have a choice, he thought.

Sometimes the one life we are allowed is enough.

Kim Stanley Robinson “Galileo’s Dream” (2009)

“It only proves that when all your dreams come true you realise that you were an idiot to have such dreams.”

We all have seven secret lives. The life of excretion; the world of inappropriate sexual fantasies; our real hopes; our terror of death; our experience of shame; the world of pain; and our dreams. No one else ever knows these lives. Consciousness is solitary. Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.

The less people know and understand… the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them; while on the other hand, to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgement upon anything new.

“You need to remember what helps you, and forget things that don’t help you. But you have not achieved that. Few people have, I have found.”

But surpassing all stupendous inventions, what sublimity of mind was his who dreamed of finding means to communicate his deepest thoughts to any other person, though distant by mighty intervals of place and time.  Of talking with those who are in India… (Possibly a quote from Galileo’s manuscripts.)

…all human history is a fleck of foam on a grain of sand…

It made him think of Ariosto’s stanzas about the princess confined to a walnut shell and yet holding court there just as always.  You could not help but love such a gift for sizing one’s ambition in accordance to a real situation.  He had never been able to do that.

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