The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

John-Green

“My parents were my two best friends. My third best friend was an author who did not know I existed.” – Chapter 1

“‘There will come a time,’ I said, ‘when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this’ – I gestured encompassingly – ‘will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.'” – Chapter 1

“‘Why are you looking at me like that?’
Augustus half smiled. ‘Because you’re beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.'” – Chapter 1

“‘They don’t kill you unless you light them,’ he said as Mom arrived at the curb. ‘And I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.'” – Chapter 1

“I like that he was a tenured professor in the Department of slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin.” -Chapter 2

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.” – Chapter 2

“‘Feel better?’ he asked.
‘No,’ Isaac mumbled, his chest heaving.
‘That’s the thing about pain,’ Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. ‘It demands to be felt.'” – Chapter 4

“You die in the middle of your life, in the middle of a sentence. But I do — God, I do really want to know what happens to everyone else.” -Chapter 5

“Given the final futility of our struggle, is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible?” – Chapter 5

“I giggled and said, ‘Okay.’ And then the line was quiet but not dead. It almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone.” – Chapter 5

“‘God, you’re the best,’ I told him.
I bet you say that to all the boys who finance your international travel,’ he answered.” – Chapter 5

“Oh, I got over it, darling. It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy.” – Chapter 6

“I’m like. Like. I’m like a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” – Chapter 6

“So of course I tensed up when he touched me. To be with him was to hurt him – inevitably. And that’s what I’d felt as he reached for me: I’d felt as though I were committing an act of violence against him, because I was.” Chapter 6

“‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’ Easy enough to say when you’re a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.” – Chapter 7

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” – Chapter 7

“‘You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you,’ he said.
‘I guess?’ I said
‘All efforts to save me from you will fail,’ he said.” -Chapter 8

“You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” – Chapter 8

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – Chapter 8

“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.” -Chapter 10

“I could feel everybody watching us, wondering what was wrong with us, and whether it would kill us, and how heroic my mom must be, and everything else. That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people.” -Chapter 10

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” -Chapter 10

“It looked like an old painting, but real — everything achingly idyllic in the morning light — and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be to live in a place where almost everything had been built by the dead.” – Chapter 11

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” – Chapter 11

“If you don’t live a life in service of a greater good, you’ve gotta at least die a death in service of a greater good, you know?” -Chapter 11

“‘I don’t ever want to do that to you,’ I told him.
‘Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.'” – Chapter 11

“Maybe some people need to believe in a proper and omnipotent God to pray, but I don’t.” -Chapter 12

“The space around us evaporated, and for a weird moment I really liked my body; this cancer-ruined thing I’d spent years dragging around suddenly seemed worth the struggle, worth the chest tubes and the PICC lines and the ceaseless bodily betrayal of the tumors.” -Chapter 12

“According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, of course, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness. Maslow’s pyramid seemed to imply that I was less human than other people, and most people seemed to agree with him. But not Augustus.” -Chapter 13

“Much of my life had been devoted to trying not to cry in front of people who loved me, so I knew what Augustus was doing. You clench your teeth. You look up. You tell yourself that if they see you cry, it will hurt them, and you will be nothing but A Sadness in their lives, and you must not become a mere sadness, so you will not cry, and you say all of this to yourself while looking up at the ceiling, and then you swallow even though your throat does not want to close and you look at the person who loves you and smile.” – Chapter 13

“‘Some war,’ he said dismissively. ‘What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They’re made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It is a civil war, Hazel Grace, with a predetermined winner.” – Chapter 13

“I don’t know what I believe, Hazel. I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe, but that has not been my experience.” – Chapter 14

“Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed. That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it — or my observation of it — is temporary?” – Chapter 14

“‘Ma’am,’ Augustus said, nodding toward her, ‘your daughter’s car has just been deservedly egged by a blind man. Please close the door and go back inside or we’ll be forced to call the police.'” – Chapter 14

“It seems like forever ago, like we’d had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” – Chapter 15

“I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s 0.1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” – Chapter 20

“I realized there was no one else to call, which was the saddest thing. The only person I really wanted to talk to about Augustus Waters’s death was Augustus Waters.” -Chapter 21

“It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.” -Chapter 21

“Thinking you won’t die is yet another side effect of dying.” -Chapter 21

“It’s almost as if the way you imagine my dead self says more about you than it says about either the person I was or the whatever I am now.” – Chapter 21

“You get all these friends just when you don’t need friends anymore.” -Chapter 21

“Writing does not resurrect. It buries.” – Chapter 21

“I went on spouting bullshit Encouragements as Gus’s parents, arm in arm, hugged each other and nodded at every word. Funerals, I had decided, are for the living.” – Chapter 22

“I knew that time would now pass for me differently than it would for him — That I, like everyone in that room, would go on accumulating loves and losses while he would not. And for me, that was the final and truly unbearable tragedy: Like all the innumerable dead, he’d once and for all been demoted from haunted to haunter.” – Chapter 22

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” -Chapter 23

“Sober up. Write another novel. Do the thing you’re good at. Not many people are lucky enough to be so good at something.” – Chapter 23

“It was kind of a beautiful day, finally real summer in Indianapolis, warm and humid — the kind of weather that reminds you after a long winter that while the world wasn’t built for humans, we were built for the world.” -Chapter 25

“We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.” -Chapter 25

“The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.” -Chapter 25

The Collected Stories – Ernest Hemingway: Part One

hemingway1This is the largest collection I’ve read in a while; and although I’m currently only half way through, I thought it would be appropriate to present the quotes in two parts.
As a side note: Reading a large volume of short stories consecutively can be rather challenging because of the lack of attachment/investment a reader usually feels toward any brief character or setting. That being said, Hemingway is arguably my favorite author.. ever so experiencing a fuller range of his writing styles, as well as a more diverse pool of themes has really been a treat.
So here’s a little taste of The Collected Stories of Ernest Hemingway – Part One:
(The title of each short story will be in bold.)

The Three-Day Blow:

“Fall for them but don’t let them ruin you.”

“Nick said nothing. The liquor had all died out of him and left him alone. Bill wasn’t there. He wasn’t sitting in front of the fire or going fishing tomorrow with Bill and his dad or anything. He wasn’t drunk. It was all gone. All he knew was that he had once had Marjorie and that he had lost her. She was gone and he had sent her away. That was all that mattered. He might never see her again. Probably he never would. It was all gone, finished.”

Cross Country Snow:

“On the white below George dipped and rose and dipped out of sight. The rush and the sudden swoop as he dropped down a steep undulation in the mountain side plucked Nick’s mind out and left him only the wonderful flying, dropping sensation in his body. He rose to a slight up-run and then the snow seemed to drop out from under him as he went down, down, faster and faster in a rush down the last, long steep slope. Crouching so he was almost sitting back on his skis, trying to keep the center of gravity low, the snow driving like a sandstorm, he knew the pace was too much. But he held it. He would not let go and spill. Then a patch of soft snow, left in a hollow by the wind, spilled him and he went over and over in a clashing of skis, feeling like a shot rabbit, then stuck, his legs crossed, his skis sticking straight up and his nose and ears jammed full of snow.”

My Old Man:

“Once there was an American woman sitting with her kid daughter at the next table to us and they were both eating ices and I kept looking at the girl and she was awfully good looking and I smiled at her and she smiled at me but that was all that ever came of it because I looked for her mother and her every day and I made up ways that I was going to speak to her and I wondered if I got to know her if her mother would let me take her out to Auteuil or Tremblay but I never saw either of them again.”

“He’d be reading the Paris-Sport and he’d look over at me and say, ‘Where’s your girl, Joe?’ to kid me on account I had told him about the girl that day at the next table. And I’d get red, but I liked being kidded about her. It gave me a good feeling. ‘Keep your eye peeled for her Joe,’ he’d say, ‘she’ll be back.'”

Big Two-Hearted River:

“Nick slipped off his pack and lay down in the shade. He lay on his back and looked up into the pine trees. His neck and back and the small of his back rested as he stretched. The earth felt good against his back. He looked up at the sky, through the branches, and then shut his eyes. He opened them and looked up again. There was a wind high up in the branches. He shut his eyes again and went to sleep.”

In Another Country:

“Although, as we walked to the Cova through the tough part of town, walking in the dark, with light and singing coming out of the wine-shops, and sometimes having to walk into the street when the men and women would crowd together on the sidewalk so that we would have to jostle them to get by, we felt held together by there being something that had happened that they, the people that disliked us, did not understand.”

‘Are you married?’
‘No, but I hope to be.’
‘The more of a fool you are,’ he said. He seemed very angry. ‘A man must not marry.’
‘Why, Signor Maggiore?’
‘Don’t call me “Signor Maggiore.”‘
‘Why must not a man marry?’
‘He cannot marry. He cannot marry,’ he said angrily. ‘If he is to lose everything, he should not place himself in a position to lose that. He should not place himself in a position to lose. He should find things he cannot lose.’
He spoke very angrily and bitterly, and looked straight ahead while he talked.
‘But why should he necessarily lose it?’
‘He’ll lose it,’ the major said. He was looking at the wall.

Hills Like White Elephants:

‘And we could have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’
‘What did you say?’
‘I said we could have everything.’
‘We can have everything.’
‘No, we can’t.’
‘We can have the whole world.’
‘No, we can’t.’
‘We can go everywhere.’
‘No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more.’
‘It’s ours.’
‘No, it isn’t. And once they take it away, you never get it back.’
‘But they haven’t taken it away.’
‘We’ll wait and see.’
‘Come on back in the shade,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t feel that way.’
‘I don’t feel any way,’ the girl said. ‘I just know things.’
‘I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do –‘
‘Nor that isn’t good for me,’ she said. ‘I know. Could we have another beer?’

Che Ti Dice La Patria?:

“Naturally, in such a short trip, we had no opportunity to see how things were with the country or the people.”

A Simple Enquiry:

“Around the major’s eyes were two white circles where his snow-glasses had protected his face from the sun on the snow. The rest of his face had been burned and then tanned and then burned through the tan. His nose was swollen and there were edges of loose skin where blisters had been. While he worked at the papers he put the fingers of his left hand into a saucer of oil and then spread the oil over his face, touching it very gently with the tips of his fingers. He was very careful to drain his fingers on the edge of the saucer so there was only a film of oil on them, and after he had stroked his forehead and his cheeks, he stroked his noes very delicately between his fingers.”

An Alpine Idyll:

‘You oughtn’t to ever do anything too long.’
‘No. We were up there too long.’
‘Too damn long,’ John said. ‘It’s no good doing a thing too long.’

Banal Story:

“Our children’s children – what of them? Who of them? New means must be discovered to find room for us under the sun. Shall this be done by war or can it be done by peaceful methods?”

“Men and boys bought full-length colored pictures of him to remember him by, and lost the picture they had of him in their memories by looking at the lithographs. Bull-fighters were very relieved he was dead, because he did always in the bull-ring the things they could only do sometimes.”

Now I Lay Me:

“I myself did not want to sleep because I had been living for a long time with the knowledge that if I ever shut my eyes in the dark and let myself go, my soul would go out of my body. I had been that way for a long time, ever since I had been blown up at night and felt it go out of me and go off and then come back. I tried never to think about it, but it had started to go since, in the nights, just at the moment of going off to sleep, and I could only stop it by a very great effort. So while now I am fairly sure that it would not really have gone out, yet then, that summer, I was unwilling to make the experiment.

I had different ways of occupying myself while I lay awak. I would think of a trout stream I had fished along when I was a boy and fish its whole length very carefully in my mind; fishing very carefully under all the logs, all the turns of the bank, the deep holes and the clear shallow stretches, sometimes catching trout and sometimes losing them. I would stop fishing at noon to eat my lunch; sometimes on a log over the stream; sometimes on a high bank under a tree, and I always ate my lunch very slowly and watched the stream below me while I ate.”

“And I do not remember a night on which you could not hear things. If I could have a light I was not afraid to sleep, because I knew my soul would only go out of me if it were dark.”

A Way You’ll Never Be:

“‘Let’s not talk about how I am,’ Nick said. ‘It’s a subject I know too much about to want to think about it any more.'”

A Natural History of the Dead:

“…considering his days as numbered and nothing appearing to remain for him to do but to lie down and die, a small moss-flower of extraordinary beauty caught his eye. ‘Though the whole plant,’ says he, ‘ was no larger than one of my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its roots, leaves and capsules without admiration. Can that Being who planted, watered and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and suffering of creatures formed after his own image? Surely not. Reflections like these would not allow me to despair; I started up and, disregarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forward, assured that relief was at hand; and I was not disappointed.'”

“Maybe cats do not die then, they say they have nine lives, I do not know, but most men die like animals, not men. I’d never seen a natural death, so called, and so I blamed it on the war and like the persevering traveller, Mungo Park, knew that there was something else; that always absent something else, and then I saw one.”