October 14, 2015

Awaking in New York

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 11:06 am

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war,
lie stretching into dawn,
unasked and unheeded.

Maya Angelo, Awaking in New York

July 27, 2015

The Year of The Flood

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 3:22 pm

There was a close-up of her dead face, looking more gentle and peaceful than I’d ever seen her look in life. Maybe that was the real Bernice, I thought — kind and innocent. Maybe she was truly like that inside, and all the fighting we used to do and all her sharp and unpleasant edges — that was her way of struggling to get out of the hard skin she’d grown all over herself like a beetle shell. But no matter how she hit out and raged, she’d been stuck in there. That thought made me feel so sorry for her that I cried.

Margaret Atwood, The Year of The Flood

June 18, 2015


Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 2:18 pm

For all its beauty, honesty, and effectiveness at improving the human condition, science demands a terrible price—that we accept what experiments tell us about the universe, whether we like it or not. It’s about consensus and teamwork and respectful critical argument, working with, and through, natural law. It requires that we utter, frequently, those hateful words—“I might be wrong.” On the other hand, magic is what happens when we convince ourselves something is, even when it isn’t. Subjective Truth, winning over mere objective fact. The will, triumphing over all else. No wonder, even after the cornucopia of wealth and knowledge engendered by science, magic remains more popular, more embedded in the human heart.

David Brin, Existence

December 8, 2014


Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 2:03 pm

She has no real idea of Outside. She has never watched television, never stood in a bread line, never seen a crack den or a slasher movie. She cannot define napalm, or political torture, or neutron bomb, or gang rape. To her, Mamie, with her confused and self-justifying fear, represents the height of cruelty and betrayal; Peter, with his shambling embarrassed lewdness, the epitome of danger; the theft of a chicken, the last word in criminality. She has never heard of Auschwitz, Cawnpore, the Inquisition, gladiatorial games, Nat Turner, Pol Pot, Stalingrad, Ted Bundy, Hiroshima, My Lai, Wounded Knee, Babi Yar, Bloody Sunday, Dresden or Dachau. Raised with a kind of mental inertia, she knows nothing of the savage inertia of destruction, that once set in motion in a civilization is as hard to stop as a disease.

Nancy Kress, Inertia

November 13, 2014

Bridge of Birds

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:24 am

“Error can point the way to truth, while empty-headedness can only lead to more empty-headedness or to a career in politics.”

Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds

October 23, 2014

Une Saison en Enfer

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:27 am

Je reviendrai, avec des membres de fer, la peau sombre, l’oeil furieux : sur mon masque, on me jugera d’une race forte. J’aurai de l’or : je serai oisif et brutal. Les femmes soignent ces féroces infirmes retour des pays chauds. Je serai mêlé aux affaires politiques. Sauvé.

Maintenant je suis maudit, j’ai horreur de la patrie. Le meilleur, c’est un sommeil bien ivre, sur la grève.

Arthur Rimbaud, Une Saison en Enfer

April 4, 2014

Oryx and Crake

Filed under: Bits of books — Jared @ 8:10 am

“Jimmy, look at it realistically. You can’t couple a minimum access to food with an expanding population indefinitely.Homo sapiens doesn’t seem able to cut himself off at the supply end. He’s one of the few species that doesn’t limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words – and up to a point, of course – the less we eat, the more we fuck.”

“How do you account for that?” said Jimmy.

“Imagination,” said Crake. “Men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere thought of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or rabbit doesn’t behave like that. Take birds – in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t mate at all. They put their energy into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live on forever.”

“As a species, we’re doomed by hope then?”

“You could call it hope. That, or desperation.”

“But we’re doomed without hope, as well,” said Jimmy.

“Only as individuals,” said Crake cheerfully.

“Well, it sucks.”

“Jimmy, grow up.”

Crake wasn’t the first person who’d ever said that to Jimmy.

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake