“Do not be too timid & squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. What if they are a little coarse, & you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, & get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never more be so afraid of a tumble.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Book Can Throw You Across The Room

“You can pick up a book but a book can throw you across the room. A book can move you from a comfortable armchair to a rocky place where the sea is. A book can separate you from your husband, your wife, your children, all that you are. It can heal you out of a lifetime of pain. Books are kinetic, and like all huge forces, need to be handled with care. But they do need to be handled.”

– Jeanette Winterson


“I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of, like the YA equivalents of The Maltese Falcon and Strangers on a Train. Weirdly, then, reading YA stuff now is a little like being a young adult way back then: Is this Vonnegut guy any good? What about Albert Camus? Anyone ever heard of him? The world suddenly seems a larger place.”

– Nick Hornby

Carpe Diem

“‘Carpe diem’ doesn’t mean seize the day—it means something gentler and more sensible. ‘Carpe diem’ means pluck the day. Carpe, pluck. Seize the day would be ‘cape diem,’ if my school Latin serves. No R. Very different piece of advice. What Horace had in mind was that you should gently pull on the day’s stem, as if it were, say, a wildflower or an olive, holding it with all the practiced care of your thumb and the side of your finger, which knows how to not crush easily crushed things…Pluck the cranberry or blueberry of the day tenderly free without damaging it, is what Horace meant—pick the day, harvest the day, reap the day, mow the day, forage the day.”

– Nicholson Baker

More Reading

“The more I read, the more I felt connected across time to other lives and deeper sympathies. I felt less isolated. I wasn’t floating on my little raft in the present; there were bridges that led over to solid ground. Yes, the past is another country, but one that we can visit, and once there we can bring back the things we need.”

-Jeanette Winterson


“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace.”

Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander