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.
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.
Chuck Klosterman People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they’d never admit in normal conversation.
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!
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.
Marquis de Sade To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blake Butler black beyond black
Megan Abbott When you have nothing inside you, you feel everything more, and feel you can control it all.
Franz Kafka I am a cage, in search of a bird.
Franz Kafka I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
Arthur Koestler Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me A weed is a plant out of place.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.
Tanya Thompson, Assuming Names: A Con Artist’s Masquerade Do you know the difference between neurotics and psychotics?Neurotics build castles in the sky; psychotics move into them.
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.
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less.
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human Whenever I was asked what I wanted my first impulse was to answer “Nothing.” The thought went through my mind that it didn’t make any difference, that nothing was going to make me happy.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth Well if being related by internet marriage is family, I suppose we are.
Franz Kafka I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
Franz Kafka I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
Graham Greene, The Ministry of Fear But it is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas Overhead the sky was melting, the cracked cream color rubbing off in cogs of brine.The fields far ahead of me in endless pudding, studded here and there with what had been: homes and houses, hair and heirlooms, habits, hallways, hauntings, hope.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human The weak fear happiness itself. They can harm themselves on cotton wool. Sometimes they are wounded even by happiness
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4 The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
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.
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries they’re fucking up minds they do not own.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
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.
M Ageyev, Novel with Cocaine I was terrified as only grown men and women can be when they wake in the middle of the night and begin to realize, in the absolute silence and solitude all around them, that it is not only their dream that has woken them, that it is their whole way of life.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin Children live in the same world we do. To kid ourselves that we can shelter them from it isn’t just naive it’s a vanity.
Stephen Graham Jones, The Least of My Scars Don’t let anybody ever tell you life’s fair. Not as long as I’m in it.
Marquis de Sade It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.
Arthur Nersesian, The Fuck-Up Perhaps the price of comfort is that life passes more rapidly. But for anyone who has lived in uneasiness, even for a short, memorable duration, it’s a trade-off that will gladly be made.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Will Christopher Baer Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
Paul Auster, Invisible You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.
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.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Chance Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.
David Peace, The Damned Utd You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
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.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man Tell me the manner in which a patient commits suicide and I’ll tell you how he can be cured
Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka The meaning of life is that it stops.
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.
Franz Kafka I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.
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.
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four I was miles and years away and then suddenly aware my hour was at hand, feeling all their eyes on me.
Paul Neilan Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Jim Thompson Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
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.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
Will Self Here we meet, on the page, naked and unadorned: shorn of class, race, gender, sexual identity, age and nationality.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness We live as we dream–alone….
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
Marquis de Sade Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
Niccolò Machiavelli Never was anything great achieved without danger.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn’t know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn’t have loved her more.
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 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.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Franz Kafka Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Franz Kafka A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
Marquis de Sade In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Paul Auster You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.
Franz Kafka Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
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.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
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.