What I read

“You, however, are condemned to signing your names to conceal your lack of individuality.” – Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red

“The Earth cannot punish me for obeying her messenger,”….”A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into its palm.” – Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

“Time can never show. Our lives are far too short.” – Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

“Well the furthest that his ancestor had gone from La Mancha in all his journeys had been the city of Barcelona and yet anyone who had read the true history would have thought that Don Quixote would have covered the whole immense area of Spain. There was a virtue in slowness that we had lost.” – Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

“It’s odd, he thought, as he steered Rocinate with undue caution round a curve, how sharing a sense of doubt can bring men together perhaps even more than sharing a faith. The believer will fight another believer over a shade of difference: the doubter fights only with himself.” – Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

“It’s symbolic, it’s a sort of reassurance – people need to deceive themselves. We’re preoccupied with saving a species which no longer has the capacity for survival and yet on the other hand we’re charging ahead and destroying the very environment for the survival of the human species itself.” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

“I search without success, everywhere: in railway waiting rooms, in train carriages, on boats, in food shops and parks, and even when out walking on the streets, I am always trying to capture a familiar face or a familiar build, or looking for some sign which can call up submerged memories. When I am observing others I always treat the other person as a mirror for looking inwardly at myself.” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

“You want a hometown so that you’ll be able to return to your childhood to recollect long lost memories” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

“The cork floating in the thronging crowd of people….it’s a state of being” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain

“ ‘The war is in the mountains,’ he said ‘For as long as I can remember, they have killed us in the cities with decrees, not with bullets.’ ” –  Gabriel García Márquez, Love in times of cholera

“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

” ‘There is a man,’ I thought on my way home, ‘who possesses all that Russians strive after: rank, wealth, family. And this man, on the eve of a battle which could end God knows how, jokes with a pretty woman and promises to take tea with her, just as if he had met her at a ball!” – Leo Tolstoy

“In the old days I used to be skeptical about there being a genuine unity that rose above people’s circumstances. But, living here for so long, I’ve learned that the masses can’t be contained in books – they’re too great. We’re all in this together, whatever we think of one another. In the last analysis we all have our humanity in common.” – Shizuko Go, Requim

“Because the faculties become refined when you starve them. Why, surely, as a doctor, my dear Watson, you must admit that what your digestion gains in the way of blood supply is so much lost to the brain. I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix. Therefore, it is the brain I must consider.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

“The man was majestic; he was a part of Nature; in no ordinary love scene could he ever be so great. For a wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and – by some sad, strange irony – it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy.” – E.M. Forester, Where Angels Fear to Tread

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