Sunday, June 29, 2008

Small Town Odds by Jason Headley

"Let me tell you something, son. You are not the first person in the world who hasn't had things go his way."

Eric was already uncomfortable. "I know that."

"You do?" He said, sounding somewhat surprised. "Well think about this. Think about how long you've been alive. You're going to have to live that many years again just to get where I am right now. Then, you'll probably live at least that many again before you finally check out. You have to live your whole life two more times."


"So you so you might want to start living like your whole lives ahead of you. Not behind."

Small Town Odds by Jason Headley

"Tomorrow's game," coach Gleason began, "is a rivalry." He paused here. His public speeches were lousy with such phrases. Most of the time they could be passed off as being for dramatic effect. But occasionally a Gleason pause would be so long, and so poorly placed, it seemed as though the sum of the English language had collected itself quickly and fled his consciousness for good."

The River Wife by Jonis Agee

"You can't push on a person so hard that they have to give up every single secret, she was discovering. Some things were better locked away in the heart where they could remain a hard, bitter kernel that they had become in such darkness. Glancing toward the barn where L.O. was still standing in the sunlight, his face upturned, as if he meant to blind himself, she wondered if he would become that splinter in her heart, the luck of love that turned bad. Not if she could help it, she vowed. She'd keep them close and teach them how much another person could mean in his life. He'd never want to leave her! But even as she said it, she felt the shadow behind her, against the screen door, something watching and waiting."

The River Wife by Jonis Agee

"She also began to write the story of her life beginning with the earthquake, because it seems after Chabot's passing that we die so suddenly, without a final reckoning, slipping quickly from memory, that without children who continue us, we cease, become as common as dirt trampled beneath the feet of travelers. She could not stand the idea, so she wrote to give evidence of their lives for that brief moment."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulkes

"Yes, but I live my days in my own head. I no longer live through the eyes and thoughts of another. When I was a child I was certain that I was unique. Then as a young man I became convinced that I was, if not unique, then of a complexity and fascination previously unknown." Valade levered a loose cobble up with the toe of his boot. "But over the years I came to understand about half of the paradoxes that made up my complexity. The remainder, it transpired, were either insoluble by me, or, more likely, had no solution. They were simply dead ends of no significance. So you see, Doctor," he said, replacing the cobble and firming it back in place with his foot, "that at the age of fifty-five I have essentially ceased to be of interest to myself."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks

"There is a famous man called Galton who takes photographs of mad people and then lays the images one on top of the other. He is trying to show that all murderers have the same shaped head, or that if you have a long jaw you are likely to be melancholic."

"And that is not what you do?"

"No. I do just the opposite. I use them to make patients look like less of a type and more of an individual. When I see them in their wards, I see a sort of undifferentiated mass. But when I take a picture, I see each man and woman. And each one is in fact a human with a story. In some ways the insanity is the least important thing about them. In a photograph they are still complete, so one is not tempted to see them so much as something broken."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Linda See

"We were at the mercy of powerful elements and could do to and could do nothing but follow our fates. This can be explained by yin and yang: There are women and men, dark and light, sorrow and happiness. These things create balance. You take a moment of supreme happiness like Snow Flower and I felt at the beginning of the Catching Cool Breezes Festival, then sweep it away in the cruelest way with Beautiful Moon's death. You take two happy people like Aunt and Uncle, then turn them in an instant into two end-of-the-liners with nothing to live for, who, when father died, would have to rely on older brothers kindness to care for them and not throw them out. You take a family like mine that is not so well off, then add the pressure of too many weddings in one household.... All these things disrupted the balance of the universe, so that God set things right by striking down a kindhearted girl. There is no life without death. This is the true meaning of Yang and yank.