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Posts Tagged ‘Book quotes’

Well, of course I love Looking for Alaska- it’s a John Green novel that deals with existentialism, the teenage experience and exactly why we continue to trudge through life even though ultimately, there is no beating it. In fact the only real question is which of the above factors I’m most suckered by!
It is this  quality of the story- it’s being replete with moments that are recognizably true– that makes it so endlessly fascinating. There is also that quick, unexexpected humour that is uniquely John Green’s that peppers the book and makes you realize simultaneously that this could so easily have been your story and that you could never have quite thought up that turn of phrase.


During my very cursory review of the book’s cover ( I really couldn’t wait to plunge in!), I noticed a comparison to the Catcher in the Rye (which, as you can guess, made me want to really stop looking at the damn cover and READITALREADY!). I see elements of similarity, thematically, but the lead characters and their specific grievances are  different, and the writing styles are nothing alike.* Also, while Salinger does not seem to welcome too much probing of his work,(In his dedication: “If there is an amateur reader still left in the world–or anybody who just reads and runs–I ask him or her, with untellable affection and gratitude…”), I can tell that this book is clearly drawn from John (who is one half of the Youtube sensation Vlogbrothers)’s own past and he seems to appreciate the extent to which an author’s experiences colours his choices for subject matter. Authorial influence is not always so apparent in books and lots of people seem to look upon this picking apart of books to get at the author’s own driving beliefs with distaste, but I really enjoyed drawing conclusions from this book and also having them coincide with what I know of the author from his videos.


As for the story itself, it revolves around young teenage misfit and collector of famous last words, Miles ‘Pudgy’ Halter, who moves to a boarding school in hopes of a second chance for happiness through reinventing himself. Culver Creek becomes a place of many firsts, for Pudgy. He makes friends with incredibly funny, larger-than-life characters who are, on first impression, exactly ‘the wrong sort’. In particular, he fancies himself in love with the intriguing, the elusive, the shrouded-in-mystery and lover-of-drama, Alaska Young. Even through the tragedy of  her life, Pudgy finds with new conviction, that  despite very real obstacles in the very real labyrinth of life, that the Great Perhaps he seeks is undiminished in its allure .

En fin, I find myself making an unlikely comparison with another book I read recently, which is Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse. The latter is much more convoluted, but all the same, seeks an explanation for man’s desire to keep living despite life’s lack of nice, formulaic guarantees. And surprisingly, both authors find comfort in biblically rooted ideas of redemption and hope.


If I haven’t made a convincing argument for reading the book already, I’ll leave his brilliant words the job:

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

[Rap by Alaska]: “Oh shit did you just diss the feminine gender / I’ll pummel your ass then stick you in a blender / You think I like Tori and Ani so I can’t rhyme / but I got glow like Ghostbusters got slime / objectify women and it’s fuckin’ on / you’ll be dead and gone like ancient Babylon.”

But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.

(Cheering at a basketball game)The Colonel led all the cheers.
Cornbread!” he screamed.
CHICKEN!” the crowd responded.
Rice!”
PEAS!”
And then, all together: “WE GOT HIGHER SATs.”
Hip Hip Hip Hooray!” the Colonel cried.
YOU’LL BE WORKIN’ FOR US SOMEDAY!”

“Have you really read all those books in your room?” Alaska, laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.”

“I hated cranberry sauce, but for some reason my mom persisted in her lifelong belief that it was my very favorite food, even though every single Thanksgiving I politely declined to include it on my plate.”

“Suffering is universal. it’s the one thing Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims are all worried about.”

“I am concussed.”

“But why Alaska?”, I asked her. She smiled with the right side of her mouth.”Well, later, I found out what it means. It’s from an Aleut word, Alyeska. It means ‘that which the sea breaks against’, and I love that. But at the time, I just saw Alaska up there. And it was big, just like I wanted to be. And it was damn far away from Vine Station, just like I wanted to be.”

*Edit: I do think the fox hat may have been a sort of wink at the reader (reminiscent of Holden Caulfield’s red hunting hat), if in fact the book was inspired by Catcher in the Rye, which (for the record) the author makes no mention of.

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Of all the books I’ve read lately, this one sticks out by a mile.In fact I am so in love with this book that I think it deserves a post in itself.Any other book sharing space would just sound very ‘meh..’.

The lead character, Howard Roark, is like no other.If there is one thing I love more than the book (OK, almost), it is him:

‘Both men disliked Roark.He was usually disliked, from the first sight of his face, anywhere he went.His face was closed like the door of a safety vault; things locked in safety vaults are valuable; men did not care to feel that.He was a cold, disquieting presence in the room; his presence had a strange quality; it made itself felt and yet it made them feel that he wasn’t there; or perhaps it was that he was and they weren’t.’

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Another excerpt, this from the antagonist-in-chief, Ellsworth Toohey  (Perhaps ‘The man who could never be’ , as the author intended to portray him would be a better description?) :

” Have you ever thought of the style of a soul, Kiki?”

” The ..what ? “

” The style of a soul.Do you remember the famous philosopher who spoke of the style of a civilization? He called it ‘style’.He said it was the nearest word he could find for it.He said that every civilization has a basic principle, one single, supreme, determining conception, and every endeavor of men within that civilization is true, unconsciously and irrevocably, to that one principle…I think, Kiki, that every human soul has a style of its own, also.Its one basic theme.You’ll see it reflected in every thought, every act, every wish of that person.The one absolute, the one imperative in that living creature. Years of studying a man won’t show it to you. His face will. You’d have to write volumes to describe a person. Think of his face. You need nothing else.”

And Howard Roark is every inch that man who knows his ‘style’, and finds an outlet for it in architecture.‘The man who was as man should be.”

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” Howard Roark built a temple to the human spirit. He saw man as strong, proud, clean, wise and fearless. He saw man as a heroic being. And he built a temple to that. A temple is a place where man is to experience exaltation. He thought that exaltation comes from the consciousness of being guiltless, of seeing the truth and achieving it, of living up to one’s highest possibility, of knowing no shame and having no cause for shame, of being able to stand naked in full sunlight. He thought that exaltation means joy and that joy is man’s birthright. He thought that a place built as a setting for man is a sacred place. That is what Howard Roark thought of man and of exaltation. But Ellsworth Toohey said that this temple was a monument to a profound hatred of humanity. Ellsworth Toohey said that the essence of exaltation was to be scared out of your wits, to fall down and to grovel. Ellsworth Toohey said that man’s highest act was to realize his own worthlessness and to beg forgiveness. Ellsworth Toohey said it was depraved not to take for granted that man is something which needs to be forgiven. . . . To glorify man, said Ellsworth Toohey, was to glorify the gross pleasure of the flesh, for the realm of the spirit is beyond the grasp of man. To enter that realm, said Ellsworth Toohey, man must come as a beggar, on his knees. Ellsworth Toohey is a lover of mankind.” – Dominique Francon.

The woman for a man like Roark, Dominique Francon is an idealist who loves Roark for his impassioned work, and hates him because the general public will never see beauty in it.She pronounces him guilty of the crime of building structures fit for no man.While it is generally taken for an agreement with public sentiment, she believes that they are not a worthy audience and that his structures must be saved from the world, not the other way around.

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“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” ( Part of Roark’s stunning defence at his last trial. I wish I could put all of it here but 1) It’s the best part of the story, and something you should read for yourself and 2) We have too few readers as-is, ’nuff said.)

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Genre : It’s a book on a man and his work and the formidable combination they make.Roark’s buildings are described as seeming to grow out of the very earth- so natural and true as they are.It might seem strange that one man’s ego give birth to that , but Roark’s personality accounts for everything.There is also a contrasting character in Peter Keating- the architect seemingly at the head of it all, with recognition in toxic quantities.Mr.Wynand, the man who could have been , for the part that he is ( is this all sounding too much like something from a legal document what with all the repetition?) is another absolutely brilliant character.

Bottom line? Must.Read.Book.NOW.

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Outside of a dog, books are man’s best friend.Inside of a dog..well,then,  it’s just too dark to read.

I don’t remember where I read that one or who said it but I couldn’t agree more.Last night, I finished Noughts and Crosses.

Consider yourself spoiler-warned

I thought the first half was brilliant.Seriously, I loved it.Towards the end, though, I had trouble deciding which of the lead characters I hated more.The fact still remains that it is a very good book and seeing as I have nothing better to do and neither do you (which is what I gather from the fact that you are reading this at all), I’m posting some of my favorite quotes:

” Sephy, d’you ever dream of just . . . escaping?Hopping on the first boat or plane you come across and just letting it take you away.” (Ahem. Sound familiar, LucidInsanity ?)” – Callum

“And just like that the sister (Lynnette) I knew was gone.Now she doesn’t go out, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t think much as far as I can tell.She just is.She stays lost in the middle of her own world somewhere.We can’t get in and she doesn’t come out. . . But her mind takes her to somewhere kind, I think, to judge by the peaceful, serene look on her face most of the time.Sometimes I wondered if it was worth losing your marbles to find that kind of peace.Sometimes I envied her.” -Callum

” One of these days, Callum is going to forget himself and actually look pleased to see me.” – Sephy.This one made me laugh!

And there was more, too but I don’t remember.Also: the book is obviously no mindless laugh track- it’s charged and draining. But still.Oh, and if you like this sort of thing ( basically some psychology and things – definitely not going to make it big with my description skills!) you’ll love 19 minutes.

Apart from that:

1) We-that is t say, LucidInsanity, FuzzyLogic, Marthe and I-met yesterday which is cause for minor celebration, school being its hectic ,er, not-self and all..

2) I bought

Which is really funny since LucidInsanity owns a copy and she dared me to go read it because it was so utterly rubbish-y.I never did get around to doing that ( I don’t know why).And NOW..I’ve gone and bought it.Er, because there was nothing else to buy.And? I really like it so far.Crazy, yes?

The Yellow Coloured Stick Paper With Gum has also been featuring more in my life.OK, last night, anyway.Because I’ve taken to marking off quotes that I like so I don’t have to memorize the page numbers or anything and highlighting would’ve ruined the book.

3)Back to school tomorrow.

On that ominous note, I shall take your leave.

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