Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
“People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.” He sighed. “It’s people who claim that they’re good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.” (Gregory Maguire, from Wicked)
Has the world lost its joy? Is that why we’re in such a mess? (Madeleine L’Engle, from A Swiftly Tilting Planet)
‘We are happy lovers. Aren’t we? And happiness makes one stupid. Happiness and wisdom do not go together, just as body and thought do not go together. Because only pain is the thought of the body. In other words, happy people become stupid people. It is only when they get tired of their happiness that lovers can become wise again, if that is what they otherwise are.’ (Milorad Pavić, from Last Love in Constantinople)
And I fervently believe that there will come a time when no one will be burned and no one beheaded; when the criminal will plead for death as a mercy and deliverance and death will be denied him, for life will serve as his punishment just as death does today; when there will be no senseless uniforms and rituals, no contracts and conditions binding feeling, no duties and responsibilities, and will shall yield to love alone, not to will; when there will be no husbands and wives, only lovers … (Vissarion Belinsky, from Letters to V. P. Botkin, 1840-1841)
“Truth, Vinicius, dwells somewhere so high that the gods themselves cannot see it from the top of Olympus. To you, carissime, your Olympus seems higher still, and, standing there, you call to me, ‘Come, you will see such sights as you have not seen yet!’ I might. But I answer, ‘I do not have feet for the journey.’ And if you read this letter to the end, you will acknowledge, I think, that I am right.” (Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Quo Vadis)
Every man always has handy a dozen glib reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from The Gulag Archipelago)
But novelists write for countless reasons: for money, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement: as skilled furniture makers enjoy making furniture, as drunkards like drinking, as judges like judging, as Sicilians like emptying a shotgun into an enemy’s back. I could fill a box with reasons, and they would all be true, though not true of all. Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create as real as, but other than the world that is. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
By the river. She was standing by the river. She was dancing without moving. By the river. She wasn’t beautiful exactly; she was like a shimmer in the distance. She was so white his reservation eyes suffered. (Sherman Alexie, from “All I Wanted to do Was Dance”)
Revolution is the universal rule of evolution. Revolution is a universal principle of the world. Revolution is the essence of the struggle for survival or destruction in a time of transition. Revolution submits to heaven and responds to men’s needs. Revolution rejects what is corrupt and keeps the good. Revolution is the advance from barbarism to civilization. Revolution turns slaves into masters. (Zou Rong, from The Revolutionary Army)
Hey, look at that! I’m back in Arizona and I picked up almost two months’ worth of comics! Yeah, I’m not going to review them properly here – that would take waaaaaaaay too long. This is more of a “What I bought and the random thoughts I have about the issues and, why not, what I did in Pennsylvania for seven-and-a-half weeks.” Can you handle that??????
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A young girl, a frailty, simple and true, who had been unable to stand up from the piano and had had to be carried; a girl half his age; a girl who could not shoot a gun, had never been in an oyster house, atop a tower, or under the wharves; a girl hotter always than noon in August; a girl who knew nothing; had thrown him so hard that he would be out of breath forever. (Mark Helprin, from Winter’s Tale)
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