Quotes About Life And Death From Books

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Quotes About Life And Death From Books

By the consultation of books, whether of dead or living authors, many temptations of petulance and opposition, which occur in oral conferences, are avoided. An authour cannot obtrude his advice unasked, nor can be often suspected of any malignant intention to insult his readers with his knowledge or his wit. Yet so prevalent is the habit of comparing ourselves with others, while they remain within the reach of our passions, that books are seldom read with complete impartiality, but by those from whom the writer is placed at such a distance that his life or death is indifferent.
— Samuel Johnson —

When the last autumn of Dickens's life was over, he continued to work through his final winter and into spring. This is how all of us writers give away the days and years and decades of our lives in exchange for stacks of paper with scratches and squiggles on them. And when Death calls, how many of us would trade all those pages, all that squandered lifetime-worth of painfully achieved scratches and squiggles, for just one more day, one more fully lived and experienced day? And what price would we writers pay for that one extra day spent with those we ignored while we were locked away scratching and squiggling in our arrogant years of solipsistic isolation?
Would we trade all those pages for a single hour? Or all of our books for one real minute?

— Dan Simmons

He had in his Bronx apartment a lodger less learned than himself, and much fiercer in piety. One day when we were studying the laws of repentance together, the lodger burst from his room. "What!" he said. "The atheists guzzles his whiskey and eats pork and wallows with women all his life long, and then repents the day before he dies and stands guiltless? While I spend a lifetime trying to please God?" My grandfather pointed to the book. "So it is written," he said gently.-"Written!" the lodger roared. "There are books and there are books." And he slammed back into his room.
The lodger's outrage seemed highly logical. My grandfather pointed out afterward that cancelling the past does not turn it into a record of achievement. It leaves it blank, a waste of spilled years. A man had better return, he said, while time remains to write a life worth scanning. And since no man knows his death day, the time to get a grip on his life is the first hour when the impulse strikes him.

— Herman Wouk

Domestic pain can be searing, and it is usually what does us in. It's almost indigestible: death, divorce, old age, drugs; brain-damaged children, violence, senility, unfaithfulness. Good luck with figuring it out. It unfolds, and you experience it, and it is so horrible and endless that you could almost give up a dozen times. But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on. Through the most ordinary things, books, for instance, or a postcard, or eyes or hands, life is transformed. Hands that for decades reached out to hurt us, to drag us down, to control us, or to wave us away in dismissal now reach for us differently. They become instruments of tenderness, buoyancy, exploration, hope.

— Anne Lamott

Christ alone, of all the philosophers, magicians, etc., has affirmed eternal life as the most important certainty, the infinity of time, the futility of death, the necessity and purpose of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as an artist greater than all other artists, scorning marble and clay and paint, working in the living flesh. In other words, this peerless artist, scarcely conceivable with the blunt instrument of our modern, nervous and obtuse brains, made neither statues nor paintings nor books. He maintained in no uncertain terms that he made ... living men, immortals.

— Vincent Van Gogh

Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives. In later life we admire, we are entertained, we may modify some views we already hold, but we are more likely to find in books merely a confirmation of what it is in our minds already; as in a love affair it is our own features that we see reflected flatteringly back. But in childhood all books are books of divination, telling us about the future, and like the fortune teller who sees a long journey in the cards or death by water they influence the future. I suppose that is why books excited us so much. What do we ever get nowadays from reading to equal the excitement and the revelation in those first fourteen years? ... It is in those early years that I would look for the crisis, the moment when life took a new slant in its journey towards death.

— Graham Greene

What I sought in books was imagination. It was depth, depth of thought and feeling; some sort of extreme of subject matter; some nearness to death; some call to courage. I myself was getting wild; I wanted wildness, originality, genius, rapture, hope. I wanted strength, not tea parties. What I sought in books was a world whose surfaces, whose people and events and days lived, actually matched the exaltation of the interior life. There you could live.

— Annie Dillard

In that six months, so much happened that death seemed, primarily, inconvenient. The trial period was extended. I seem to keep extending it. There are many things to do. There are books to write and naps to take. There are movies to see and scrambled eggs to eat. Life is essentially trivial. You either decide you will take the trite business of life and give yourself the option of doing something really cool, or you decide you will opt for the Grand Epic of eating disorders and dedicate your life to being seriously trivial.

— Marya Hornbacher

Keep that red-haired girl of yours in the open air all summer and don't let her read books until she gets more spring into her step." This message frightened Marilla wholesomely. She read Anne's death warrant by consumption in it unless it was scrupulously obeyed. As a result, Anne had the golden summer of her life as far as freedom and frolic went. She walked, rowed, berried, and dreamed to her heart's content; and when September came she was bright-eyed and alert, with a step that would have satisfied the Spencervale doctor and a heart full of ambition and zest once more. "I just feel like studying with might and main," she declared as she brought her books down from the attic. "Oh, you good old friends, I'm glad to see your honest face once more - yes, even you, geometry.

— L.M. Montgomery

No one in the family has ever really gotten over Bob's death. We talk of him daily, recounting stories and imagining what his reactions would be to new books and recent events. He remains for my family the perfect model of how you can be gone but ever present in the lives of people who loved you, in the same way that your favorite books stay with you for your entire life, no matter how long it's been since you turned the last page.

— Will Schwalbe

I detest all books which run chronologically, which commence at the cradle and end with the grave. Even life doesn't run that way, much as people think it does. Life only commences at the hour of spiritual birth - which may be at eighteen or at forty-seven. And death is never the goal - but life! more life!

— Henry Miller

You read about me in history books, but now I am dedicated to spreading the truth about preserving the dignity of all human life from natural conception to natural death.

— Norma McCorvey

Do I think there's life after death? No, I think my books are my life after death.

— May Sarton

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