"Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no bugs in his hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out and dried himself, and he still had bugs in his hair; in fact, he had bugs all over him. A month later he had bugs in his lungs."
*A Scanner Darkly* by Philip K. Dick
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
In a broad valley, at the foot of a sloping hillside, beside a clear bubbling stream, Tom was building a house. The walls were already three feet high and rising fast. The two masons Tom had engaged were working steadily in the sunshine, their trowels
going scrape, slap and then tap, tap while their laborer sweated under the weight of the big stone blocks. Tom’s son Alfred was mixing mortar, counting aloud as he scooped sand onto a board.
There was also a carpenter, working at the bench beside Tom, carefully shaping a length of beech wood with an adz.
- *Pillars of the Earth*, Ken Follett
My first impression was that the stranger's eyes were of an unusually light blue. They had met mine for several blank seconds, vacant, unmistakably scared. Startled and innocently naughty, they reminded me of an incident I couldn't quite place: something which had happened a long time ago, to do with the upper fourth form classroom. They were the eyes of a schoolboy surprised in the act of breaking one of the rules. Not that I had caught him, apparently, at anything except his own thoughts: perhaps he imagined I could read them. At any rate, he seemed not to have heard or seen me cross the compartment from my corner to his own, for he started violently at the sound of my voice; so violently, indeed, that his nervous recoil hit me like repercussion. Instinctively I took a pace backwards.
\- *Mr Norris Changes Trains*, Christopher Isherwood
Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes. And so it had been horseshoes all morning long. Taran's arms ached, soot blackened his face. At last he dropped the hammer and turned to Coll, who was watching him critically.
*The Book of Three* from the series **Chronicles of Prydain** by Lloyd Alexander
I've been cordially invited to join the visceral realists. I accepted, of course. There was no initiation ceremony. It was better that way.
*The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño*
“It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini
> “Like all Vogon ships it looked as if it had been not so much designed as congealed. The unpleasant yellow lumps and edifices which protuded from it at unsightly angles would have disfigured the looks of most ships, but in this case that was sadly impossible. Uglier things have been spotted in the skies, but not by reliable witnesses.”
-Douglas Adams (*The Restaurant at the End of the Universe*)
“He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances. While he placed considerable trust in the understanding and mercy of his Creator, he harbored that residue of elemental guilt that made all men fear the chance of hell. Still, all he had ever heard of hell made him think it unlikely that the torments reserved for its luckless inhabitants could be restricted to a sore nose.”
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.
> Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart.
— *The House of Mirth*, Edith Wharton
I'm currently reading two books.
"'Des, wake up!'"
- *Carnosaur* by John Brosnan
"When our dragon declared war on Indiana, I knew it was going to be a bad day."
- *The Dark Prophecy* by Rick Riordan
> I had the biggest fattest head of any baby that was ever born into the human species. My head was -- and remains -- a combination of the head from the alien in *Alien* and a prize-winning albino casaba melon from the Iowa State Fair.
-- [author](#s "Rainn Wilson"), [title](#s "The Bassoon King")
No one stays forever. On the morning of her disappearance Lilia woke up early, and lay still for a moment in the bed. It was the last day of October. She slept naked.
* *Last Night in Montreal* - Emily St. John Mandel.
"I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well. Though I drew my last breath long ago and my heart has stopped beating, no one, apart from that vile murderer, knows what's happened to me. As for that wretch, he felt for my pulse and listened for my breath to be sure I was dead, then kicked me in the midriff, carried me to the edge of the well, raised me up and dropped me below. As I fell, my head, which he'd smashed with a stone, broke apart: my face, my forehead and cheeks, were crushed; my bones shattered, and my mouth filled with blood."
Orhan Pamuk, "My Name Is Red"
"Freedom of speech implies the freedom to hear. Without willing listeners, brilliant thinkers cannot educate, brave orators cannot mobilize, daring leakers cannot reform. The unseen play, the unread book, the ignored appeal, fall silently away. The unheard lament flutters and fails."
Freedom of Speech Mightier Than the Sword by David K. Shipler