If there is something I want to improve, it's keeping the track of beautiful quotes I come upon when reading. I am very inconsistent; some I mark down in some of my gazillion notebooks; some I type into the Goodreads as I'm reading. Therefore, in the end, I don't really have one place where they all exist, but in this case, I kind of remembered very vividly the books that were beautifully written. I am one of them people who enjoy the written word for its aesthetic value - willing to admit the language is more important for me than the plot or any other aspect of a story.
Out of curiosity, I went and checked my favourite quotes from 2013 - they were still beautiful :)
"How do you smuggle daydreams into reality?"
asks David Mitchell in number9dream. It is the question that still keeps haunting me.
In addition to the usual aspirin and endorphins, I saw stims, tranks, Flashback tubes, orgasm derms, shunt primers, cannabis inhalers, non-recom tobacco cigarettes, and a hundred less identifiable drugs.
This describes contents of a lady's medicine cabinet in Dan Simmons's The Fall of Hyperion. Not sure I would want to get intimately acquinted with the aforementioned medicine cabinet, but I have to admire the author's creativity. His books are full of such little pearls.
"Mum said I'd learn betrayals come in various shapes and sizes, but to betray someone's dream is the unforgiveable one."
Holly Sykes rings the truth in Mitchell's The Bone Clocks. Handling other people's dreams is a dangerous business indeed.
But the appetite for sophisticated ruin was already there.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, a highly quotable book. Moreso than the quote itself, I was stricken by the concept of "sophisticated ruin" - I think there is a certain group of people who are more prone for the sophisticated ruin, and I think I might be a member of this group.
There may be stranger reasons for being alive.
There are books. There's Auntie Teg and Grampar. There's Sam, and Gill. There's interlibrary loan. There are books you can fall into and pull up over your head. There's the distant hope of a karass** sometime in the future.
Among Others, Jo Walton - and what a beautiful thought it is to have. Though I'm still searching for my Real Life karass - I think I found a form of it via the book blogging ^^
"And so we constantly infer someone else's intentions, thoughts, knowledge, lack of knowledge, doubts, desires, beliefs, guesses, promises, preferences, purposes, and many, many more things in order to behave as social creatures in the world."
The cynic in me rejoiced, writing down this piece of truth from Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. A human can be such an ugly herd animal.
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike-topped walls, and triple-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas, and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule drivers, mules, and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunchbacked makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed from kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bathhouse adulterers; heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candlemakers rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottled-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; beavers of muds; gutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attick nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives; and aging rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night soil; gatekeepers; beekeepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet nurses; perjurers; cutpurses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their fight began, over the balcony of the Room of the Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observers the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell. Congratulations to those who actually got through this last quote - you guys are troopers. This is my favourite quote of the year. This one page holds the reasons why I read. I am not the cryer when it comes to art, but I can say with all honesty, I almost wept when I got to the end of this paragraph after the first read, out of sheer happiness that there is a person in the world who is able to write like that. And that is why I love Mitchell - not because of his clever plot structures or relatable characters. I love him because he is the virtuoso of text, the master with words, the lord of the language.
* From a Virginia Woolf quote - "Language is wine upon the lips"
** Kurt Vonnegut