Franz Kafka I am a cage, in search of a bird.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
Joan Didion I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo I told most people I was an alcoholic if they asked and some if they didn’t. I figured everyone deserved a fair chance to cut and run at the very beginning.
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four My father used to say, ‘If you want to know the artist, look at the art’. He was usually talking about Stanley Matthews or Don Bradman when he said it.
Jim Thompson There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.
Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million Blood helicopters chopped across my slim cerebrum like fresh diamonds, rings in screaming on small hands coming awake inside my linings, each after its own way to reach beyond me.
Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off Each moment, the world washes its hands of you, starts all over again. Easy as that. Wonderful as that.
Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo Better than drugs that don’t last and more solid than gold, vaginas allow women to move about unmolested, in a way that men can only dream of.
Joseph Conrad, Chance Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Joan Didion, Where I Was From I closed the box and put it in a closet.There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.
Arthur Koestler I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
Thomas Pluck, Dark City Lights I worked all day in back of a hot van snipping off dog balls, I can cut one more pair.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me We’re all wanting things we don’t understand. things we can’t even name. The yearning so deep, like pinions over our hearts.
Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.
Marquis de Sade My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend Every one interprets everything in terms of his own experience. If you say anything which does not touch a precisely similar spot in another man’s brain, he either misunderstands you, or doesn’t understand you at all.
Marquis de Sade Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Franz Kafka I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4 One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories Whenever I’m leaving I get sentimental for that nostalgia I know I won’t have the next day.
Joan Didion You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Paul Auster You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
Blake Butler, Three Hundred Million I put the girl’s teeth shaped like my mother’s teeth into my own mouth and on her teeth I chewed until I heard my own teeth in my head breaking and I swallowed and I smiled.
Arthur Koestler The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine To begin with, I had never done any good deeds; besides, even if I had simply fabricated a few, I would not have enjoyed going on about them.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Luke Rhinehart There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we normally live our lives and we’d sort of like to find out what it is.
Marquis de Sade In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Will Self Here we meet, on the page, naked and unadorned: shorn of class, race, gender, sexual identity, age and nationality.
Arthur Koestler Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Arthur Nersesian, Manhattan Loverboy The masses-I love em-they rush for red lights, risking everything to capture a few seconds, only to get home and waste their lives.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy …the greatest source of misery in the world, the greatest cause of anguish and hatred and sadness and death, was neither disease nor race nor religion. It was hope.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.
Will Self, Grey Area How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.
Paul Neilan Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas I am so stupid, so easily fooled. It’s really almost funny. If I could lift a finger I would gladly kill myself.
Megan Abbott, You Will Know Me Because there’s a hundred ways sex can ruin you but there’s no end to the ways love can.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine Finally, when all was said and done, the certainty (so often experienced, yet always new) that female charms, the kind that inflame the senses, are no more than kitchen smells: they tease you when you’re hungry and disgust you when you’ve had your fill.
Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness– the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string.
David Peace, The Damned Utd You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off But at some point you have to just decide that if a bear’s going to eat you, a bear’s going to eat you, and then you go about your day.
Franz Kafka Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Franz Kafka Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Marquis de Sade It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories It takes more than one kick in the pants to reverse a lifetime of unplanned apathy.
Niccolò Machiavelli I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories Sitting on my stool I thought of a bumper sticker: “If Mean People Suck, Why Isn’t My Dick In Your Mouth?
A C Weisbecker, Cosmic Banditos Either the present part of the story slowed down a bit and waited for the past part to catch up, or the past part speeded up and overtook the present part.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me Ages fourteen to eighteen, a girl needs something to kill all that time, that endless itchy waiting, every hour, every day for something — anything — to begin.
Franz Kafka There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe … but not for us.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face and accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticism; in psychology, neurosis.
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin I thought at the time that I couldn’t be horrified anymore, or wounded. I suppose that’s a common conceit, that you’ve already been so damaged that damage itself, in its totality, makes you safe.
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.
Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
Marquis de Sade Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
Franz Kafka A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories It’s like someone who prays every night saying God’s a good listener. Just because you’re talking to us doesn’t mean we’re listening. With me and God, you never really know.
Franz Kafka The meaning of life is that it stops.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
Jim Carroll You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.
Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy Kugel was a firm believer that death was not always a bad thing – that life often reached such levels of crapitude that dying was preferable to living.
Megan Abbott, The Fever I have another friend who gets what I’m really like, and I get her. She scares me. Did you ever see yourself times ten in another person and want to cover your eyes?
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
Blake Butler black beyond black
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
A C Weisbecker If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.
Arthur Nersesian, Dogrun I lay in bed and watched moments break into phenomenal particles of panic and could actually see the divine crack of God’s ass as he completely turned his back on me.