…sometimes you only know what you should take on and what you should not when you don’t have the choice.
To be betrayed, you probably first have to be deeply involved. Had I been deeply involved with anything in my life?
Snake wives make the very best kind of wife…
…When you give them instructions, they listen, looking at you steadily, with those big, crystal-clear eyes. They have something stubborn about them, but not stubborn like human women: human women get stubborn for emotional reasons; snakes are stubborn because that’s their nature.
–A Snake Stepped On 蛇を踏む (Hebi o fumu)
The Schocken Kafka Library Series (1999)
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Designed by Peter Mendelsund
Penguin Modern Classics Series (2007)
Art Direction by Mother
Cover photography by Jacob Sutton
Styling by Gary Card
Found these featured in ppaper. 21 December 1940 was 70th anniversary of the writer’s death. Designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith of Penguin Books.
“The genuinely innovative are led by their passion and not by rational ambitions. New ideas spring from personal interests, even if they seem irrelevant to the task at hand. Innovative people have to put practical considerations to one side because thinking about logistics leads to thinking logically, which ties down the leaps of the mind required to create something unique.”
(excerpt from be practically useless)
“Accidents reflect reality more accurately than does perfection. Perfection is the aberration. Think of accident as an answer in search of a different question. Work out what that different question is. It is probably more interesting than the one you were asking.”
(excerpt from plan to have more accidents)
(the notables from this book)
Georgia O’Keeffe (grow old without growing up)
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao by Frank Gehry (bring chaos to order)
Henry Moore (feel inadequate)
Mark Rothko (be conservative revolutionary)
Jeff Koons (search high and low)
Chuck Close (take advantage of a disadvantage)
“Something badly done can be refreshing. Being prepared to be uncool or nerdy can be charming, It’s a way of showing that you don’t care what anyone else thinks. The world is full of people who dedicate their lives to seeking approval.”
(excerpt from if you can’t be really good, be really bad)
“I feel pity for these batteries that worked so hard for my benefit, and I can’t throw them away. It seems a shame to get rid of them the moment they die, after these batteries have given me light and sound, and run my gadgets.”
“Indeed, it’s a shame that young people have such limited vocabularies nowadays.”
“Tsukiko, when you see a handsome man, even if you cannot understand what he says, you still think, Oh, that guy’s good-looking, don’t you? Handwriting is the same.”
“London seemed so measured, so predictable; the America the rest of my émigré family lived in seemed so content; while the real Russians seemed truly alive, had the sense that anything was possible.”
Yana Yakovleva vs FDCS (Drug Enforcement Agency)
Gold Digger Academy
Ruslana Korshunova vs Rose of the World
“The English stack their sentimental junks and dirty secrets far away in the garden shed; the Germans have “Keller”, basements, deep underground to hide all their dark memories. But in Russia you just throw it on the balcony; just as long as it isn’t in the flat itself, who cares if the neighbours see? We’ll deal with all that rubbish some other time. It’s not even part of us.”
Released in December 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton, these simple and strong cover design caught my eyes in the Tampines Regional Library shelf.
Dave Eggers mentioned Stories Not for the Nervous (a Hitchcock collection).
Scott Turow loved Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was reading Incognito by David Eagleman.
“I’m always close to tears reading Judith Kerr‘s delightful children’s story The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It tells of a tiger who turns up, quite unexpectedly, at teatime at the house of a girl called Sophie and her mother. You’d expect them to panic, but they take the appearance of this visitor entirely in their stride– and their reaction is a subtle invitation for us to approach life’s unexpected challenges with resilience and good humour.” –Alain de Botton
“The most pleasurable reading experience I’ve had recently was just last week– jogging on the beach with an audiobook of Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw. I was so engrossed in his essay “The Ketchup Conundrum” that I ran an extra mile just to find out how it ended.” –Dan Brown
(Interview with Sting)
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius––Stoicism and the limitations of power.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own– not of the same blood of birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”
(Interview with Amy Tan)
What book has had the greatest impact on you?
Probably the Bible… …Many of my stories also relate to undoing handed-down beliefs, whether they come from religion, society, or mothers. And my writing sensibility was also warped by a steady dose of gothic imagery, often related to religious sins or virtue: David braining Goliath, Samson’s bloody head missing a lock of hair, a stinking corpse arising to be kissed by relatives.
jacket illustration by Jillian Tamaki
“There’s always somebody who wants to be the Big Man, and take everything for themselves, and tell everybody how to think and what to do. When, actually, it’s he who is weak. But if the Big Men see that you see that they are weak they have no choice but to destroy you. That is the real tragedy.”
“Next time, we should go to Paris. Next time, we should go to the moon. He was a dreamer. But there are worst things, than being a dreamer.”
“We may like to think ourselves as civilized, but that civilization is in a large part bestowed by material wealth. Without this stuff, we would quickly be confronted by the same basic struggle that animals are faced with.”
“Wrapping a present with paper gives it a crispness and pristineness that emphasize the newness and value of the present inside. …The unwrapping of a present is akin to the act of birth; a new life for the object begins.”
“People love books, more perhaps than they love the written word. They use them as a way to define who they are and to provide physical evidence of their values.”
“Silica aerogel, the lightest solid in the world, which is 99.8 percent air.”
“Aerogel were created out of pure curiosity, ingenuity and wonder.”
“…materials are a reflection of who we are, a multi-scale expression of our human needs and desires.”
Hear The Wind Sing 風の歌を聴け (1979)
“Expression and communication are essential; without these, civilization ends.”
“Everyone who has something is afraid of losing it, and people with nothing are worried they’ll forever have nothing. Everyone is the same.”
Pinball 1973年のピンボール (1973)
“So many dreams, so many disappointments, so many promises. And in the end, they all just vanish.”
“Each of us had, to a greater or lesser degree, resolved to live according to his or her own system. If another person’s way of thinking was too different from mine, it made me mad; too close, and I got sad.”
“…I believe that what’s most important is what cannot be measured. I’m not denying your way of thinking, but the greater part of people’s lives consist of things that are unmeasurable, and trying to change all these to something measurable is realistically impossible.”
“Maybe they think about things a little too seriously. Perhaps there’s some pain they’re carrying around inside. They’re not good at making their feelings known to others and are somewhat troubled. They can’t find a suitable means to express themselves, and bounce back and forth between feelings of pride and inadequacy. That might very well be me. It might be you.”
I felt how important the simplest things were, like feeling proud, finding something funny, stretching yourself, retreating into yourself.
“I think we regular people may have forgotten a basic truth—we don’t really have the right to judge anyone else.”
”Happiness is as fragile and fleeting as a bubble of soap.”
A book is like another room, or another town, or another world, where someone is waiting to speak to you.
Questions and answers can only be exchanged between things in the same category. Spirit and body can never engage in dialogue.