Book Monster

Conquering literature one book at a time
(to say nothing of the movies)

To regard all things and principles of things as inconstant modes or fashions has more and more become the tendency of modern thought. Let us begin with that which is without - our physical life. Fix upon it in one of its more exquisite intervals, the moment, for instance, of delicious recoil from the flood of water in summer heat. What is the whole physical life in that moment but a combination of natural elements to which science gives their names? But these elements, phosphorus and lime and delicate fibres, are present not in the human body alone: we detect them in places most remote from it. Our physical life is a perpetual motion of them - the passage of the blood, the wasting and repairing of the lenses of the eye, the modification of the tissues of the brain by every ray of light and sound - processes which science reduces to simpler and more elementary forces. Like the elements of which we are composed, the action of these forces extends beyond us; it rusts iron and ripens corn. Far out on every side of us those elements are broadcast, driven by many forces; and birth and gesture and death and the springing of violets from the grave are but a few out of ten thousand resultant combinations. That clear, perpetual outline of face and limb is but an image of ours, under which we group them - a design in a web, the actual threads of which pass out beyond it. This at least of flame-like our life has, that it is but the concurrence, renewed from moment to moment, of forces parting sooner or later on their ways.

Walter PaterThe Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry

Her (2013/Spike Jonze)

Her (2013/Spike Jonze)

A person can spend his whole life between four walls. If he doesn’t think or feel that he’s a prisoner, then he’s not a prisoner. But then there are people for whom the whole planet is a prison, who see the infinite expanse of the universe, the millions of stars and galaxies that remain forever inaccessible to them. And that awareness makes them the greatest prisoners of time and space.

Vladimir BartolAlamut

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule… In thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! … As the Swiss Inscription says: Speech is silvern, Silence is golden; or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.

Thomas CarlyleSartor Resartus

Are not half our lives spent in reproaches for foregone actions, of the true nature and consequences of which we were wholly ignorant at the time?

Herman MelvilleMardi and a Voyage Thither

368. Aaron’s Rod by D.H. Lawrence
369. Armance by Stendhal
370. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
371. The Ordeal of Richard Feverel by George Meredith
372. Jackson’s Dilemma by Iris Murdoch
373. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
374. Pioneer Life Among the Loyalists in Upper Canada by Walter S. Herrington
375. A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift
376. An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army by Flora Sandes
377. Mafeking Road and Other Stories by Herman Charles Bosman (+)
378. A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman
379. Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (+)
380. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
381. Mocha Dick: Or the White Whale of the Pacific by J.N. Reynolds

Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one’s luck.

Iris Murdoch