O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
When we were driving out of town I said, “I hate the corpses of empires, they stink as nothing else. They stink so badly that I cannot believe that even in life they were healthy.” “I do not think you can convince mankind,” said my husband, “that there is not a certain magnificence about a great empire in being.” “Of course there is,” I admitted, “but the hideousness outweighs the beauty. You are not, I hope, going to tell me that they impose law on lawless people. Empires live by the violation of law.” (Rebecca West, from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)
“Reading,” he says, “is always this: there is a thing that is there, a thing made of writing, a solid material object, which cannot be changed, and through this thing we measure ourselves against something else that is not present, something else that belongs to the immaterial, invisible world, because it can only be thought, imagined, or because it was once and is no longer, past, lost, unattainable, in the land of the dead …”
“Or that is not present because it does not yet exist, something desired, feared, possible or impossible,” Ludmilla says. “Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be …” (There, now you see the Other Reader leaning forward to peer beyond the edge of the printed page at the ships of the rescuers or the invaders appearing on the horizon, the storms …) “The book I would like to read now is a novel in which you sense the story arriving like still-vague thunder, the historical story along with the individual’s story, a novel that gives the sense of living through an upheavel that still has no name, has not yet taken shape …” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveller)
You don’t know exactly when you fall in love with someone, do you? There isn’t that sudden moment when the music stops and you look into one another’s eyes for the first time, or whatever. Well, maybe it’s like that for some people, but not me. I had a friend who told me she fell for a boy when she woke up in the morning and realized he didn’t snore. It doesn’t sound much, does it? Except it sounds true. (Julian Barnes, from Talking It Over)
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