“To some extent, we are our own text, which is why my mission would be important–erroneous signs confer their blemishes on their very owners” (pp. 12-13).
“With all my meat and blood and breath, I am rooting for the success of the magician’s trick. But the noise of hope is not a racket in my heart” (p. 296).
“This is my superhero alter ego. I go around the world finding people who commit social injustices and I attack them with copies of literary classics to teach them a lesson. The kid who is suspended for racial slurs? I break into his bedroom in the middle of the night, knock out a few of his teeth, and leave him with a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. The parents who get arrested because they let their twelve-year-old throw a party without their supervision and the kids break into the liquor cabinet? I visit the parents in their holding cell to drop off two copies of Lord of the Flies. Before the next presidential election I’ll skip around the country like Santa Claus, delivering 1984 to all eligible and literate voters” (pp. 188-189).
“How can you say that you’ve taken any trouble to live when you won’t even dance?” (p.88)
“No one can truly escape her or his subjectivity. There is always an I or we hiding somewhere in a text, even when it does not appear as a pronoun” (p. xi).
“I have read more than you would fancy, Mr. Lockwood. You could not open a book in this library that I have not looked into, and got something out of also; unless it be that range of Greek and Latin, and that of French–and those I know one from another, it is as much as you can expect of a poor man’s daughter” (p. 71).
“There is, Bit knows, what happens on the surface, and there is what pulls beneath. He thinks of standing in a river current, the wind strong in the opposite direction” (p. 22).
“It was a testimony to optimism, a suspension bridge, each far-fetched plate, truss, and girder an act of faith against gravity and good sense” (p. 1).
“He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him” (p. 4).
“But what’s the harm in going out in style? It’s not just that offense is the best form of defense, but that fighting the unknown with a sense of glamour carries its own redemption. God may not be there to rescue you, but if it all goes horribly wrong at least you’ll have gone out prepared in your silks and finery, victim to the very thing–the sense of chance–that made the life you’ve just relinquished worth living” (p. 26).