Quotes From 2016 Reading

Every half a year I post my favorite quotes from the books I have read so far. I’m just a little late on this one.


  • “People aren’t rational. We’re not thinking machines, we’re – we’re feeling machines that happen to think.” – Peter Watts, Blindsight
  • “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
  • “We’re not hunter-gatherers anymore. We’re all living like patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital. What keeps us alive isn’t bravery, or athleticism, or any of those other skills that were valuable in a caveman society. It’s our ability to master complex technological skills.” – Neal Stephenson, Seveneves
  • “Jet lag results from our rapid motion between time zones, across the lines that we have drawn on the earth that equate light with time, and time with geography. Yet our sense of place is scrambled as easily as our body’s circadian rhythms. Because jet lag refers only to a confusion of time, to a difference measured by hours, I call this other feeling ‘place lag’: the imaginative drag that results from our jet-age displacements over every kind of distance; from the inability of our deep old sense of place to keep up with our aeroplanes.” – Mark Vanhoenacker, Skyfaring
  • “The problem with aging is not that it’s one damn thing after another—it’s every damn thing, all at once, all the time.” – John Scalzi, Old Man’s War
  • “An angry man does not usually shake his fist at the universe in general. He makes a selection and knocks his neighbor down.” – John Greene, Grendel
  • “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years.” – Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
  • “Afraid of the darkness of the unknown, the spaces in which we see only dimly, we often choose the darkness of closed eyes, of obliviousness.” – Rebecca Solint, Men Explain Things To Me
  • “because white men can’t
    police their imagination
    black men are dying” – Claudia Rankine, Citizen
  • “What is a man! What is a man but mended cloth, hastily worn and discarded? … What makes a man? What makes a hero, Shomer? Is it simply to live when there is nothing left to live for, when all you knew and loved is gone? Is it, simply, to survive? For like the threads of an intricate shawl, we have been pulled at and torn, Shomer. We have been unravelled.” – Lavie Tidhar, A Man Lies Dreaming
  • “Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith.” – Reza Aslan, No God But God
  • “The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history but honest and inclusive history.” – James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me
  • “Far from checking the spread of immorality, repression has always extended and deepended it. Thus it is futile to oppose it by rigorous legislation which trespasses on individual liberty.” – Daniel Guerin, Anarchism
  • “What is most appealing about young folks, after all, is the changes, not the still photograph of finished character but the movie, the soul in flux.” – Thomas Pynchon, Slow Learner
  • “We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?” – Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals
  • “I have lost tolerance for things without meaning. There is no time for them.” – quoted by Lee Billings, Five Billion Years of Solitude
  • “Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
  • “Some stories, you use up. Others use you up.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
  • “So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.” – Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
  • “There are the those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behaviour and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity.” – Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

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