"No one should do a job he can do in his sleep." -- Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Travelers should only read after dark." -- Robert Harbison

"It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief" -- G.B Shaw

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds." -- William Ellery Channing

"There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; books are well written or badly written." -- Oscar Wilde

"I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage." -- Montesquieu

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas." -- A. Whitney Griswold

"The modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know they are dogmas." -- G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

"Ressler has always solved budget problems by spending Saturday nights in the lab instead of at Murphy's..." -- Richard Powers The Goldbug Variations

"In 1833, Carlyle observed that the history of the universe is an infinite sacred book that all men write and read and try to understand and in which they are also written." -- Jorge Luis Borges

"Gods -- or their equals -- don't get to opt for therapy or medication, though one can see how such things might do wonders for the Judeo-Christian God." -- Mikal Gilmore

"I wonder... why I keep so many books that I know I will not read again. I tell myself that, every time I get rid of a book, I find a few days later that this is precisely the book I'm looking for. I tell myself that there are no books (or very, very few) in which I have found nothing at all to interest me. I tell myself that I've brought them into my house for a reason in the first place, and that this reason may hold good again in the future. I invoke excuses of thoroughness, of scarcity, of faint scholarship. But I know that the main reason I hold onto this ever-increasing hoard is a sort of voluptuous greed. I enjoy the sight of my crowded bookshleves, full of more or less familiar names. I delight in knowing that I'm surrounded by a sort of inventory of my life, with intimations of my future. I like discovering, in almost forgotten volumes, traces of the reader I once was -- scribbles, bus tickets, scraps of paper with mysterious names and numbers, the occasional date and place on the book's flyleaf which take me back to a certain cafe, a distant hotel room, a faraway summer so long ago. I could, if I had to, abandon these books of mine and begin again, somewhere else; I have done so before, several times, out of necessity. But then I have also had to acknowledge a grave, irreparable loss. I know that something dies when I give up my books, and that my memory keeps going back to them with mournful nostalgia." -- Alberto Manuel, A History of Reading

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes)." -- Walt Whitman

"You live and learn or you don't live long." -- Robert A Heinlein

"That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time." -- John Stuart Mill On Liberty

"Whoever would know himself, let him open a book." -- Jean Paulhan

"Religious reverence for one's own job, even if the job is worth doing, is a sexual turnoff." -- Nancy Kress, Beggars & Choosers

"If music could be translated into human speech, it would no longer need to exist." -- Ned Rorem

"The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial." -- Disraeli

"Book lovers never go to bed alone." -- Anon.

"People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates" -- Thomas Szasz

Books are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development." --Dorothy L. Sayers

"The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books." --Katherine Mansfield

"Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter; [but] without intelligence, ... love is impotent and freedom unattainable." -- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

"Chemistry, they say, is what attracts people to one another. That may be. But if, after the chemistry does its work, you don't rise to a higher level of consciousness, the chemistry will eventually turn into hatred. The passion will still be there, but the attraction will become malicious and revengeful. That's what soap operas are based on, and a lot of so-called great literature. That's what a lot of people still call love." -- William Ashoka Ross

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -- Sir Richard Steele

"Magazines all too frequently lead to books and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature" -- Fran Lebowitz

"For the satiated, both sex and speed are pretty boring until the element of danger and even death is introduced." -- Marshall McLuhan

"If literature survives at all, it is as retreat for those who refuse to assimilate to American mass culture." - Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies

"Slums may well be breeding grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delerium." - Cyril Connoly

"Miranda once told me that there were only four important questions you could ask about any human being: How does he fill up his time? How does he feel about how he fills up his time? What does he love? How does he react to those he perceives as either inferior or superior to him?" -- Nancy Kress, Beggars in Spain

"This was a man who firmly believed that the word fine, as in "I'm feeling fine," was really an acronym spelling out 'Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.'" -- Will Self, Cock & Bull

"My life is a reading list." -- John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

"Read in order to live." -- Gustave Flaubert

"Books would be precious things indeed, if the mere possession of them guaranteed culture to their owner." -- Lucien of Samosta

"Feminist ideology began by claiming to give women freedom, enlightenment, and self-determination, but it has ended by alienating professional women from their own bodies." -- Camille Paglica, "No Law in the Arena", Vamps & Tramps

"Corn, corn, soybeans, corn, exit ramp, corn, and every few miles an outpost way off on a reach in the distance -- house, tree with tire-swing, barn, satellite dish. Grain silos are the only real sky line." -- David Foster Wallace on driving through central Illinois, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

"To put one's trust in God is only a longer way of saying that one will chance it." -- Samuel Butler

"You define a good flight by negatives: you didn't get hijacked, you didn't crash, you didn't throw up, you weren't late, you weren't nauseated by the food. So you're grateful." -- Paul Theroux

"Mathematics is the wrong discipline for people doomed to nongreatness. However, that's not why I switched. I didn't switch to computers because I missed the world or because I was haunted by my own inadequacy per se. It was all too occult for me. I'm the type of person who's willing to confront moderately awesome phenomena. Beyond that I lose my bearings. Chipping away at gigantic unproved postulates. Investigating the properties of common whole numbers and ending up in the wilds of analysis. Intoxicating theorems. Nagging little symmetries. The secrets hidden deep inside the great big primes. The way one formala or number or expression keeps turning up in the most unexpected places. The infinite. The infinitesimal. Glimpsing something, then losing it. The way it slides off the eyball. The unfinished nature of the thing." -- Ratner's Star by Don Delillo

"Digital clocks took the 'space' out of time." -- Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo

"I figured if Allah had wanted us up that early, He wouldn't have invented noon." -- The Exile Kiss by George Alec Effinger

"Since I don't smoke or drink and swear unconvincingly, symmetry is my only vice." -- Richard Powers, Three Farmers on their way to a Dance

"Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this live because of these musicales going on in my head." -- The New Life by Orhan Pamuk

"As was noted at the base of the Plexus, it had been developed by the AM Advanced Graphics Workshop. Rather than presenting maps of each floor of the Plex, they had used an Integrated Projection to show the entire Plex as a network of brightly colored paths and intersections. The resulting tangle was so convoluted and yet so clean and spare as to be essentially without meaning. Casimir, however, could read it, because he was not like us. After applying his large intelligence to the problem for several minutes he was able to find the most efficient route, and following it with care, he quickly became lost." -- the Big U, Neal Stephenson

"Books were made for use, and not for ostentation, ... in vain do they boast of full libraries that are contented to live with empty heads." -- Sir William Waller

"Personally, I would rather assemble a 1,500 piece puzzle of a Jackson Pollock painting than slog through Finnegan's Wake" -- Tom Raabe, Biblioholism

"Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives." -- Dr. Charles Fisher

"The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it." -- Elizabeth Drew

"There is also the Warren Report, of course, with its twenty-six accompanying volumes of testimony and exhibits, its millions of words. Branch thinks this is the megaton novel James Joyce would have written if he'd moved to Iowa City and lived to be a hundred." -- Libra by Don DeLillo

"Dancing disrupts the forces of conformity and order, introducing that wild element of unpredicatable fun and sparking the imagination." -- Michael Clark

"The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just sort of a tired feeling." -- Paula Poundstone

"Censorship is more depraving and corrupting than anything pornography can produce." -- Tony Smythe

"He would say only slightly facetiously that the main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading." -- from Norman Rush's Mating

"...There is a school of thought, a heresy from the madhouse of heresies in the ninth century, that says God is good and is in control of every individual thing that happens, every event, but that unfortunately the devil is in control of the timing." -- from Norman Rush's Mating

"The fear in their faces would haunt Dr. Larch forever, the epitome of everything he could never understand about the great ambiguity in the feelings people had for children. There was the human body, which was so clearly designed to want babies -- and then there was the human mind, which was so confused about the matter. Sometimes the mind didn't want the babies, but sometimes the mind was so perverse that it made other people have babies they knew they didn't want. For whom was this insisting done? Dr. Larch wondered. For whom did some minds insist that babies, even clearly unwanted onse, must be brought, screaming, into the world?" -- John Irving, The Cider House Rules

"...as a Protestant minister's son I am partial to apocalypses..." -- Matt Ruff in his notes explaining how Sewer, Gas & Electric came to be

"I grew up in a home in which books were valued. My mother and my grandmother were great readers, but books in general have always been central to Jewish culture. If you drop a book, you pick it up and you kiss it. Originally this was done because they were prayer books, but it developed that you treat every book with respect, regardless of the content." -- Aaron Lansky, quoted in Nicholas A. Basbanes A Gentle Madness

"Reading is a lot like sex. People who rarely read can feel abnormal. People who read all the time can feel abnormal. And because so much reading is done in private, behind closed doors (often bedroom doors), no one really knows what normal is. A book a day? A month? A year? Do self-help books count, or only novels? What if they're on tape?" -- Apparently from "Time"

"[I]t is the fate of operating systems to become free. " -- Neal Stephenson

"it was a splendid day in Spring
and outside we could hear the birds
that hadn't been killed
by the smog" -- Charles Bukowski

"H.P. Lovecraft is for the summer between junior and senior years in high school. Cosmic fear hits you about then anyway -- you realize you'll soon have to Get a Real Job or Go To College or Both and in those days, Be Drafted. A dose of Cthulhu helps put these feelings in perspective." -- Howard Waldrop

"Of course, no matter how righteously you live and what creed you profess, there is invariably some religion which believes that you're going to Hell." -- andrew c. bulhak

"Our principal task as their host is to provide books with the shelves on which they will make themselves at home. Shelves should be high enough and deep enough to let air circulate freely around them. Beyond that, there is only one useful rule for them: provide more than you expect to need. If you build them, the books will come. And if you don't, they will come anyway." -- Philomena Friedman in House Beautiful

"Some people think that Howard moved to rural Washington state to pursue a deep passion for trout fishing, and that he spends many long hours standing in icy rivers, clad only in neoprene waders, watching fish breathe. This is only partly true. Howard moved to Washington in pursuit of the perfect tan, and turned to fishing only upon discovering his mistake." -- about Howard Waldrop (This could very easily have been true about Oregon as well.)

"(To arrange a library is to practice,
in a quiet and modest way,
the art of criticism.)" -- Jorge Luis Borges, "June 1968"

"Science Fiction is the jazz of literature." -- David Brin, during a talk at Powells

"God is the order in chaos." -- Eli Khamarov

"Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

""On the Beach," "Soylent Green" and "1984" plumbed frightening depths. "Brave New World," "The Screwfly Solution" and "Fahrenheit 451" posed worrying questions. In contrast, "Oedipus Rex" is about as interesting as watching a hooked fish thrash futilely at the end of a line. You just want to put the poor doomed King of Thebes out of his misery -- and find a way to punish his tormentors." -- David Brin

"Graham wrote, "Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion." -- Martha Graham

"Apparently where the Oregon Trail divided there were two signs; one showed a heap of gold quartz to indicate California and the othe rsimply read, "To Oregon." The literate came to Portland and the book business has never looked back." -- from Papas' Portland in a section on Powells

"Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit." - W. Somerset Maugham

"Here in America men with plastic brains are attracted to women with plastic chests. What a perfect combination." -- from The Guide to Getting it On

"Later, he was to decide that Andrew's life had been fractally weird. That is, you could take any small piece of it and examine it in detail and it, in and of itself, would turn out to be just as complicated and weird as the whole thing in its entirety." -- from Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

"On the TV, the dancing instructors have finished demonstrating the basic steps. It is almost painful to watch them doing the compulsories, because when they do, they must willfully forget everything they know about advanced ballroom dancing, and dance like persons who have suffered strokes, or major brain injuries, that have wiped out not only the parts of their brain resonsible for fine motor skills but also blown every panel in the aesthetic-discretion module. They must, in other words, dance the way their beginning pupils like Randy dance." -- from Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

"There is a kind of unspoken collusion going on in mainstream science education: you get your competent but bored, insecure and hence stodgy teacher talking to an audience divided between engineering students, who are going to be responsible for making bridges that won't fall down or airplanes that won't suddenly plunge vertically into the ground at six hundred miles an hour, and who by definition get sweaty palms and vindictive attitudes when their teacher suddenly veers off track and begins raving about wild and completely nonintuitive phenomena; and physics students, who derive much of their self-esteem from knowing that they are smarter and morally purer than the engineering students, ahnd who by definition don't want to hear about anything that makes no fucking sense." -- from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

"'You know what this is? It's one of those men-are-from-Mars, women-are-from-Venus things.'
'I have not heard of this phrase but I understand immediately what you are saying.'
'It's one of those American books where once you've heard the title you don't even need to read it.'" -- from Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

Neal Gaimon on koi: "I sat outside in the courtyard and stared at the two white carp and the one scarlet and white carp. They looked, I decided, like Escher drawings of fish, which surprised me, as it had never occurred to me there was anything even slightly realistic in Escher's drawing." from "The Goldfish Pool and other stories"

"Books were my only reliable friends -- does any of this sound familiar?" -- Lewis Shiner

"Religious leaders have often ranted and railed against certain sexual practices, from masturbation and oral sex to homosexuality, as though these were the handiwork of the devil. But what if God feels more honored when a person joyfully masturbates as opposed to saying a speedy rosary or spending an obligatory hour in church. After all, God created orgasm, while prayers and churches are the creations of men. What if God receives more joy when an unmarried couple lovingly shares oral sex than when a church-going husband and wife have passionless, missionary position intercourse? And who is to say that God hasn't created a group of homosexual angels to guard the gates of heaven? Maybe God has a sense of humor and brings out the queer angels whenever a redneck preacher or one of his intolerant parishioners has just died and is awaiting judgment." from The Guide to Getting it On

"Therefore, no matter how the world makes out in the next few centuries, a large class of readers at least will not be too surprised at anything. They will have been through it all before in fictional form, and will not be too paralyzed with astonishment to try to cope with contingencies as they arise." -- L. Sprague De Camp

"The Fine Print: Not all items in the picnic prize are meant to be consumed in a picnic setting. Olive oil, for instance - sure, you can maybe dip some bread in it, but we don't recommend consuming large quantities, not without a chaser, anyway. Picnickers: please do not feed the ants. You'll ruin their appetite for dinner, and Powell's could be held liable. Actual contents of the picnic basket will be determined by the prize winner in conjunction with Powell's Books and Pastaworks (in accordance with Picnic Principle #42, better known as the "there's no point sending you olives if you'd prefer local jam" clause). Also, Mr. Leonard Hullabolu of Hilton Head, South Carolina asks that the picnic prize-winner please refrain from molesting his alligators. Other than that, do what makes you happy. Powell's employees and their families are not eligible. " -- from the August 1999 contest at www.powells.com

and from their monthly newsletter:
"THE FINE PRINT: HANDY PICNIC TIPS! The sun sets in the west; orient your blanket accordingly. Respect local wildlife - eating chocolate covered ants in a picnic setting is considered by many to be in poor taste. Turkey, white wine; jerky, red wine. A word of warning: wicker will splinter. Brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh (New England residents only). Sporks: the utensil for the next 1000 years. One part peanut butter: one part jelly. Fluffernutter fans, you're on your own."

"'Utopia' Largo stopped pacing and flashed his crooked smile again. 'No. How can there ever be a utopia? There is no right way to live which we've simply failed to stumble upon. There is no set of rules, there is no system, there is no formula. Why should there be? Short of the existence of a creator--and a perverse one, at that-- why should there be some blueprint for perfecction, just waiting to be discovered?'" -- from "Chaff" by Greg Egan

"The sofa was perfect for sleeping. Not too soft, not too hard; even the cushions pillowed my head just right. Doing different tabulation jobs, I've slept on a lot of sofas, and let me tell you, the comfortable ones are few and far between. Typically, they're cheap deadweight. Even the most luxurious-looking sofas are a disappointment when you actually try to sleep on them. I never understand how people can be lax about choosing sofas.

"I always say--aprejudice on my part, I'm sure--you can tell a lot about a person's character from his choice of sofa. Sofas constitute a realm inviolate unto themselves. This, however, is something that only those who have grown up sitting on good sofas will appreciate. It's like growing up reading good books or listening to good music. One good sofa breeds another good sofa; one bad sofa breeds another bad sofa. That's how it goes.

There are people who drive luxury cars, but have only second- or third-rate sofas in their homes. I put little trust in such people. An expensive automobile may well be worth its price, but it's only an expensive automobile. If you have the money, you can buy it, anyone can buy it. Procuring a good sofa, on the other hand, requires styl and experience and philosophy. It takes money, yes, but you also need a vision of the superior sofa. That sofa among sofas.

The sofa I presently stretched out on wass first-class, no doubt about it. This, more than anything, gave me a warm feeling about the old man." -- from Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." - Anna Quindlen

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." -- Richard Dawkins

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." --Joseph Addison

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." --Joseph Brodsky

"I think I definitely want to blame my parents on this one. One of the things about having a minister for a father, you do tend to develop an irreverent streak. Kinda goes with the territory. And Dad was as bad as I am, really . . " -- Matt Ruff

"Because I actively enjoy sleeping, dreams, the unexplainable dialogues that take place in my head as I am drifting off, all that, I tell myself that lying down to an afternoon nap that goes on and on through eternity is not something to be concerned about. What spoils this pleasant fancy is the recollection that when people are dead they don't read books. This I find unbearable." -- William Maxwell, "Nearing Ninety"

"The first day I try to get about six hours in. Then my back starts getting tired, and I go over to Jake's and eat. I come back the next day - there's always something I couldn't quite get to - and I'm here for another two hours. So it's usually eight hours, which has kept me from seeing more of Portland than perhaps I should have, but I don't regret that." -- William Least Heat Moon on shopping at Powells

"I'm looking foward to when bioengineering moves from technology to handicraft: biotech on the other side of necessity, where it enters the realm of nose piercing. People with tiny little goldfish swimming in one eye or feathers growing out of their backs. I'd love to be in a world where women grow penises because it is fashionable, or you can have an eye replacement of a different color or from a different species. All the adults will sa, "Tut, tut, tut, girls never had penises in my day. We used to pierce our noses and lips. Why don't you do that/" And the kids will say, "Mom, you're so old-fashioned." All good technology should be used to piss off people's parents." -- Neil Gaiman in "Wired"

"The only read stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." -- Julia Child

"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian. Wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian. Lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it chinese. Garlic makes it good." -- Alice May Brock

If there is one factor that binds together all the really great religions of this world, it's that God created man in his own image. Many cynical atheists loudly assert that the reverse is really the case, putting the whole thing down to egocentricity on the part of the believer. But then what do atheists know about God anyway? What these doubting Toms have failed to grasp is the hidden truth: God created man in his own image, because he had to.

The erect biped, head at the top, feet at the bottom, wedding tackle about halfway up, represents the universal archteype, when t comes to the 'intelligent' being. This fact has long been known to science-fiction afficionados and U.F.O. contactees. Alien beings, from no matter which part of the galaxy they might hail, inevitably bear a striking resemblance to man. There are the occasional variations in height and cranial dimensions, but for the most part our cosmix cousins are a pretty reasonable facsimile of ourselves. Many even speak good English, often with a pronounced American accent. Such facts can hardly be argued with. They are evidence, should any really be needed, of a cosmic masterplan, and sufficient in themselves to serve friend atheist up with a wok-lod of egg. Faces, for the use of.

What it all comes down to, as it so often does, is the very beginning of the universe. This, say the bigheads of the scientific fraternity, all began with a big band. Wrong! The universe, in fact began, with the sound of a duck call, followed by a whistle and an enormous cosmic wind-break....

About five minutes after the burst of celestial flatulence, when the air had begun to clear a bit, things began to settle down into the shapes which were most comfortable and efficient for them. And so they remained. No one has yet improved upon the sphere as a planetary shape, nor the erect biped as its ruling species. That's the way it is. Like it, or lump it. Q.E.D." -- Robert Rankin, Armageddon: The Musical

Don't become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don't read Shakespeare. Read Webster's revenge plays. Don't read Homer and Aristotle. Read Herodotus where he's off talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats. If you want to read about myth don't read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists. There are hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies of mutants. There have always been geeks. There will always be geeks. Become the apotheosis of geek. Learn who your spiritual ancestors were. You didn't come here from nowhere. There are reasons why you're here. Learn those reasons. Learn about the stuff that was buried because it was too experimental or embarrassing or inexplicable. --- Bruce Sterling : ``The Wonderful Power of Storytelling''

"Rat will not eat yogurt. She says that if God had intended fo us to eat spoiled milk He wouldn't have let us invent refrigerators." -- from The Snarkout Boys & the Baconbury Horror by Daniel Pinkwater

"I've said this before, and I say it again. Bagels can be an enormous power for good or for evil. It is up to us to decide how we will use them." -- Daniel Pinkwater from Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights

"If the English had deep-dish pizza they could have kept their empire." -- Daniel Pinkwater in Fish Whistle

"Schiller's 'Ode to Joy' is perfectly serviceable parlor verse, but 'profound' is not exactly the word for i: 'He who has a noble wife, / Let him join our mighty song of rejoicing!' And it doesn't magically become profound when sung by massed choirs backed with roaring timpani and trilling violins. It only sounds that way." J. Bottum, "The Soundtracking of America", The Atlantic Monthly

"Life's a bitch, and then you change your shoes and start dancing" -- ??

"Here's a good rule of thumb to follow: people hate blinking. It is extremely distracting, and should only be used to draw the user's attention to the most severe conditions, such as: "Your computer is on fire". " -- from The Interface Hall of Shame

"I have sought for happiness everywhere, but I have found it nowhere except in a little corner with a little book." -- Thomas A Kempis

"There must of course be a night light at the head of the bed. Not just a decorative glow-worm effect, but a 40 watt light with an adjustable shade that is really good to lie in bed and read by. And always there should be books--chosen more to divert than to strain. The sort of selection appropriate for a guest room might best comprise two or three books of the moment, a light novel, or a mystery novel, a book of essays or poetry, another of short stories, and a few of the best magazines. Better yet, books ought to be chosen particularly, for even though one may not guess accurately the tastes of another, one can at least guess whether the visitor is likely to prefer transcendental philosophy or detective stories, and provide accordingly." -- Emily Post

"That I can read and be happy while I am reading, is a great blessing. Could I have remembered, as some men do, what I read, I should have been able to call myself an educated man. But that power I have never possessed. Something is always left--something dim and inaccurate--but still something sufficient to preserve the taste for more. I am inclined to think that it is so with most readers." -- Anthony Trollope

"The great thing about suicide is that it's not one of those things you have to do now or you lose your chance. I mean, you can always do it later." -- Harvey Fierstein

"The man who never alters his opinion
is like standing water,
and breeds reptiles of the mind." -- William Blake

"Ever since there have been men, man has given himself over to too little joy. That alone, my brothers, is our original sin. I should believe only in a God who understood how to dance." -- Henri Matisse

"Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music tht will melt the stars." -- Gustave Flaubert

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." -- Gandhi

"I've just completed the third consecutive night of my latest performance piece, entitled "Benjy's Getting 8 Hours of Sleep". In this piece, I lie in bed and fall into a deep trance until my clock radio clicks on and begins blasting the local smooth jazz station, at which point I regain consciousness and blindly pound my poor Panasonic with a fist until Kenny G goes away. " -- Benjy Feen on monkeybagel.com

""The dance is the most universal of the arts, since, as Goethe justly said, it could destroy all the fine arts. It is an expression of all the emotions of the spirit, from the lowest to the highest. It accompanies and stimulates all the processes of life, from hunting and farming to war and fertility, from love to death. It enables, in turn other arts to come into being: music, song, drama. Despite all their riches, the dance is no formless complex, but a simple unity." -- Gerardus Van Der Leeuw

"How to Use This Book:
Open the book to the first page and begin scanning words from left to right until their meaning is understood. Continue in this manner until the entire page has been scanned, then move on to the next page. NOTE: This may require physically 'turning the page' to bring the next page into view.... When you are finished with the last page of the book, return to the first page and continue reading. This process can be repeated until you get a life." -- Mr. Bunny's Guide to ActiveX by Carlton Egremont III

"The familiar dot '.' symbol from Internet addresses is used in this book to terminate sentences." -- Mr. Bunny's Guide to ActiveX by Carlton Egremont III

"Sooner or later everything turns up in the Windows Registry. Canceled TV shows go there to sulk. Old generals go there to fade away. And those socks that disappear from your rinse cycle? You get the idea." -- Mr. Bunny's Guide to ActiveX by Carlton Egremont III

"I did not read from a sense of superiority, or advancement, or even learning. I read because I loved it more than any other activity on earth." -- Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

"'the rest you learn from books,' the novelist B. J. Chute, my senior writing instructor at college, said after she had taught us to send out submissions in a manila envelope, with a SASE for the inevitable rejection." -- Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

"And while the ending was weak, it was much less weak than the endings of his other books; there was no sensation of "gee, where'd the last 50 pages of this book go" as there was in, say, Diamond Age." -- Douglas Muir, on Cryptonomicon in rec.arts.sf.written

"I like it that my career has all the predictability and continuity of a children's nonsense rhyme." -- Nick Bantock, The Artful Dodger

"Up until quite late in its life The Venetian's Wife was going to be called Shiva, but it was pointed out by the marketing people that North Americans didn't like foreign titles, nor did they know who or what Shiva was. I'd been through this kind of battle before. My line was drawn, "How are we going to stop our language from shrinking if we keep pandering to the thousand or so words in common usage?" (Shakespeare's plays contain a total vocabulary of over twenty thousand words.)" -- Nick Bantock, The Artful Dodger

"'Here's the deal, Sam. If you sleep with a girl, and afterwards she still likes you as a friend' -- Lydia did the body language quotation marks with her hands on 'as a friend' -- 'then she's always going to like you as a friend and she's never going to like you as a lover and there's nothing in the hell-bitch world you can do about it.'" -- Tim Sandlin, Skipped Parts

"While walking down the aisles, spend time exploring the ingredients on the labels. Buy what strikes your fancy: jars filled with unusual ingredients, bags of dried spices, freseh and exotic produce. Take a chance. Try something you can't pronounce." -- The Zen of Cooking by Lucille Naimer

"Depression is like a headache or true love or any of those indefinable concepts. If you've never been there, you don't know what it's like until you're too far in to stop the process." -- Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin

"Your body is not a temple, it is an amusement park. Enjoy the ride." - Anthony Bourdain

"If Neal Stephenson wrote a book about pocket lint it'd still somehow involve a helicopter. ". -- Benjy Feen on monkeybagel.com

"Learn to ignore everything anyone (including myself) has ever told you about wine protocol. Sometimes win drinking, like spontaneous sex on the kitchen table, is far more satisfying when you toss out all the rules." -- Bob Blumer, Off the Eaten Path

"Pehaps he wished to breed barkless dogs out of a sense of solidarity with that long-vanished civilization or perhaps it was because he knew somehow that all men need an obsession to bring meaning and purpose to their lives, and, for this, one obsession is as good as another." -- The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis De Bernieres

"The booty drought is like a difficult crossword puzzle. When you get stuck, you just have to put it down and go do something else for a while. " -- from tomato nation

"If I hear a sigh of pleasure from the dance floor, it becomes part of our music." - Duke Ellington

"Dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you hve never been hurt before, sing as though no on can hear you, live as though heaven is on earth." -- Unknown

"You are so part of the world that your slightest action contributes to its reality. Your breath changes the atmosphere. Your encounters with others alter the fabrics of their lives, and the lives of those who come in contact with them." - Jane Roberts as quoted by Clifford A. Pickover

"In addition to its use in arithmetic and science, the Hindu-Arabic number system is the only genuinely universal language on Earth, apart perhaps for the Windows operating system, which has achieved the near universal adoption of a conceptually and technologically poor product by the sheer force of market dominance. " -- Keith Devlin

"The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy." -- Gustave Flaubert

"It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life." -- Henry Ward Beecher

"Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance." -- Ezra Pound

"Actually, it seems to me the life of a middle aged male is a race between hair falling out of its own accord and getting ripped out over stress and irritation. Women have it harder--they have to rip it all out. " - John Walker

"People who don't read are brutes." - Eugene Ionesco

"While all the other skaters, including Nancy Kerrigan, look like dolls and grew up in pretty houses, Tonya Harding grew up among the strip malls and trailer parks in Beaverton, Oregon, where theres nothing to do but drive into Portland or shop at Target and smoke a lot of pot.... Tonya didn't get along with her mother or any of her mother's six husbands, so she put all her energies into skating, even if she had to skate on a pond in April when the ice was breaking up and she might die!" -- from _Dancing Queen_ by Lisa Carver. (She's obviously never been to Oregon)

Sun gone and come up
another morning now. Here we are
again, climbing out of the
sheets thinking not
since yesterday have I felt
glad to be alive."
-- unknown

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting." -- T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"Please slut responsibly" - from tomato nation

"I used to be embarassed that my sex knowledge came more from books than from experience, but by the time my experience caught up with my library, I realized that a great book was on par with a great fuck, without disrespect to the lessons learned from either." -- Susie Bright in the Utne Reader

"Life is like a simile." -- Terry Carr.

"Many contractors derisively call outside recruiters 'pimps', but that is not entirely fair. Even prostitutes know the billing rate." -- James R. Ziegler in the Contract Employee Handbook

"Imagination is only intelligence having fun. A healthy mind knows how to switch between worlds, and which one you need to eat and sleep in." -- Terry Pratchett

"Buying a pair of shoes is one of the most optimistic acts I know, next to falling in love. I like nothing better than to see an old man wearing a brand new pair of brogues or cap-toed oxfords, preferably jaunty orange-brown, unscuffed, heels unworn. We want to be here tomorrow, but buying new shoes, like falling in love, says I plan on being here tomorrow." -- Jonathan Carroll, Outside the Dog Museum

"On the last bite of my late meal in Vienna, I realized that disappearing and McDonald's had a lot in common. Western culture sends out so many mixed signals it's a wonder there aren't more lunatics at large. On the one hand we're taught to do whatever we can to prove we're individuals. Hey, short of death, what can be worse than being mistaken for another person? An added benefit is, the more individual you are, the more chance you have at a kind of immortality. Look at Gandhi. Look at Mao. Look at Elvis.

On the other hand, we're expected to be Republicans or Democrats, Beatles fans, members of the Lion's Club or Kiwanis, proud citizens of the U.S. of A., France . . . Trinidad.

What sane society screams that one must be different to be successful, then with the same breath says anyone who doesn't like hamburders is a 'weirdo'? To yourself be true, but if you're too true you'll be alone. Or you'll 'disappear' beacuse the status quo has no use for the genuine oddball. Taking out a pen, I wrote on a rumpled napkin: "Two ways to be invisible -- eat every meal at McDonald's, or be so strange that people make every effort not to see you -- bums, real geniuses, etc.'" -- Jonathan Carroll, Outside the Dog Museum

"Everyone is a bore to someone. That is unimportant. The thing to avoid is being a bore to oneself." - Gerald Brenan

"Most big companies don't like you very much, except for hotels, airlines and Microsoft, which don't like you at all." -- Bill Bryson in Notes from a Big Country

"... the results are undefined, and we all know what 'undefined' means: it means it works during development, it works during testing, and it blows up in your most important customers' faces." -- Scott Meyers, Effective C++

"Do that, and the best you can hope for is that people will ignore you. More realistically, you'd be skinned alive, or possibly sentenced to ten year hard labor writing microcode for waffle irons and toaster ovens." -- Scott Meyers, Effective C++

"For a long time it puzzled me how something so expensive, so leading edge, could be so useless, and then it occurred to me that a computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a dangerously perfect match." -- Bill Bryson, Notes from a Big Country

"Well-behaved women rarely make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

"Better to get up late and be wide awake then, than to get up early and be asleep all day." - Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

"You can buy a book new, buy it in hardback or wait for the paperback, find it used or as a collectible. I don't mind. What I care about most is that people are reading." -- Neil Gaiman

"Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know sountries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. Use your memory! Use your memory! It is those bitter seeds alone which might sprout and grow someday." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

"I had always liked blind dates. If nothing else, it was an interesting way of discovering what people thought of you." -- Jonathan Carroll, Sleeping in Flame

"Hardly anyone ever leaves. This is because Des Moines is the most powerful hypnotic known to man. Outside town there is a big sign that says, WELCOME TO DES MOINES. THIS IS WHAT DEATH IS LIKE. There isn't really. I just made that up. But the place does get a grip on you." -- Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent

"I had to drive to Minneapolis once, and went on a back road just to see the country. But there was nothing to see. It's just flat and hot, and full of corn and soybeans and hogs. Every once in a while you come across a farm or some dead little town where the liveliest thing is the flies." -- Bill bryson, The Lost Continent

"Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidabe evil. There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides." -- John Stuart Mill

"Eating is sex for old people." -- Jonathan Carroll, The Marriage of Sticks

"Your boyfriend had a dream about potatoes and you're asking me to interpret it? I'm just old. Being old doesn't mean you know more; it means you ate enough fiber." -- Jonathan Carroll, The Marriage of Sticks

"For an adult, eating alone at McDonald's is admitting a kind of defeat." -- Jonathan Carroll

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." - Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

"Sex is not the ultimate high, but the ultimate high hangs out around sex. The ultimate high is the dance with another person, played so deep down and with such abandon that glee returns to grown-ups." -- Marianne Williamson

"When you really think about it, though, the majority of us who spend any significant amount of time in chain bookstores are not there for intellectual pursuits. We're there because we want to read magazines without paying for them and we need a quick caffeine fix, or because we are shopping for the next holiday, birthday, or bat mitzvah. The real intellects (which we all are at least some of the time) are lurking in the libraries and independent bookstores of the world. And they're probably wearing stained shirts" -- from Sex and Bookselling by Nora Russells & Tara Logan

"As a culture, we believe that if we kill something, we've killed the issue. That's why so many books end with death, why so many plays end with death, because it's full resolution. I'm always curious to know what happens after Romeo and Juliet die. In a way, that's the beginning of the story. Maybe beyond the story is even better. " -- Chuck Palahniuk (quoted in nerve.com)

"She was reading a famous composer's biography but, as with all biographies, preferred reading it last volume to first because it gave her a better picture of the artist.
'It's like that in life--first you meet a person as they are now, then only after you're interested in them do you want to know more about their past or their childhood.' " -- Jonathan Carroll, After Silence

"Newspapers have changed their character during my lifetime. They used to be the principal carriers of the world's news, but television holds that position now. Television, however, has serious limitations; it is a visual medium, and it is dominated by the principle that nothing is news unless you can take a picture of it. It is here that the newspapers still hold their own; so much of what goes on in the political world cannot be effectively photographed; statesmen, in their expensive but uninteresting clothes, make very poor TV and their prolonged deliberations are dull when we see them on the box. Politics must be interpreted, and newspapers have become their untiring interpreters. Even MacNeil and Lehrer cannot hold you for too long with a description of what is happening in the world, but at your leisure you can read half a dozen interpretations written by newspaper columnists and draw your own conclusions. That doesn't happen on television; it draws your conclusions for you, and the conclusions it draws are those of people whose primary job it is to see that you do not change your channel. Thus catastrophic wars are seen in terms of starving children, or weary troops of refugees; the reasons for the wars, even when they can be discovered, are too complex for the picture-box. If we knew the reasons, our sympathy might cool. The TV journalists cannot permit your sympathy to cool, for emotion, not intelligence, is what holds you to the small screen." -- Robertson Davies, in The Merry Heart

"Seize the present. Everything you do matters." -- Quaker teaching

"About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all." -- Rita Mae Brown

"Follow your bliss." -- Joseph Campbell

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire." -- la Rochefoucald

"Sometimes you have to get to know someone really well to realize you're really strangers." -- Mary Richards

"It's too easy to get swept up; doing things because the opportunities are there, not because we're burning to do them." -- Sam Sheppard

"The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live -- moreover, the only one." -- E.M. Cioran

"The average person thinks he isn't." -- Father Larry Lorenzoni

"If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance." -- Bruce Bellingham

"Change before you have to." -- Jack Welch

"Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad." -- unknown

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval." -- Santayana

"Money can't buy happiness, but it does quiet the nerves." -- Joe Louis

"Do not resist growing old -- many are denied the privelege." -- unknown

"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on." -- Joseph Heller, Catch-22

"A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return." - Salman Rushdie

"...I've just been feeling insecure since I was 20, and that's all I've been trying to express. Now the entire world is feeling insecure." -- Haruki Murakami in The Village Voice

"Nobody can double-check everything they hear, even if it comes from their parents, teachers, or the narrator on TV, but you can at least be on the lookout for evidence that contradicts what you thought you knew. This is what critical thinking is, but it's a learned behavior that isn't usually taught in school before College, and sometimes not even then depending on what courses you take. The result is that only a minority have fully developed the skill, and for everyone else the perception of truth remains one based on authority rather than evidence." -- from The Standard of Truth

"Design in black and white. Add color for emphasis, when your design is complete." -- Diane Wilson, quoted in User Interface Design for Programmers

"You may disagree with such a pessimistic vision. But if there is a way for the world to be transformed for the better, it can only be done by pessimism; optimists will never change the world for the better." -- Jose Saramago, quoted in Book magazine

"A novel is just a story that's been bound. If there's one thing humans excel at, it's telling stories. Our narrative voices have been honed through years of conversation, letters, and gossipy emails. We know how to string audiences along, slowly deploying just enough of the juicy bits to keep them hanging. The ability to braid together life experiences in a compelling way is part of our birthright. " -- from the 1st National Novel Writing Month motivational email for 2002

"If you are a success in life, there are places you must go and pay to be humiliated. It is an unwritten law that human beings must be tormented throughout their lives in one way or another. If you are fortunate enough to have risen to a social level where no one does it to you for free, then you must pay for the service. Trendy restaurants, exclusive boutiques, any Mercedes-Benz dealer, or your very own personal trainer saying how fat and out of shape you are being a few examples." -- Jonathan Carrol, White Apples

"One must judge men not by their opinions but by what their opinions have made of them." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

 [kristin buxton]  [quotes