Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Jim Carroll, The Petting Zoo Back then, Billy imagined that drops of rain were unanswered prayers falling back to earth.
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.
Will Christopher Baer, Penny Dreadful A friend is like anything else. A dog, a plant. You ignore them and they tend to die on you.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.
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 To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels If you’re not a beautiful monster, then you’re a villager
Marquis de Sade In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
Joseph Conrad, Chance Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me If it hadn’t been what it was, it would’ve been beautiful.
Paul Auster, Invisible You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
Niccolò Machiavelli I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
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!
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.
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, Apathy and Other Small Victories Whenever I’m leaving I get sentimental for that nostalgia I know I won’t have the next day.
Paul Auster, Oracle Night It always stimulates me to discover new examples of my own prejudice and stupidity, to realize that I don’t know half as much as I think I do.
A C Weisbecker If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
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.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
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.
Blake Butler black beyond black
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man We got married: society’s solution to loneliness, lust and laundry.
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 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?
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.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
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 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.
Franz Kafka The meaning of life is that it stops.
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.
Tanya Thompson, Assuming Names: A Con Artist’s Masquerade From what I’d witnessed, honesty didn’t really make anyone happy. The truth was a punch to the gut, and while you were falling, a knee to the face, then you could lie on the floor and bleed for a spell.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
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.
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.
Marquis de Sade Fuck! Is one expected to be a gentleman when one is stiff?
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.
Graham Greene, Ways of Escape Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
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?
Paul Auster You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.
Arthur Koestler Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
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.
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Arthur Koestler, Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967 Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
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.
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth … her skills more akin to the baking of macaroons than solving the complexities of the universe.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
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 Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
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.
Paul Neilan Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
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.
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!
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.
Franz Kafka Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human The weak fear happiness itself. They can harm themselves on cotton wool. Sometimes they are wounded even by happiness
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
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.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories The world is your oyster……too bad you’re allergic to shellfish.
Franz Kafka I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG She was like a redneck Yoko Ono.
Will Christopher Baer Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
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.
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.
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.
Blake Butler, There Is No Year Email servers learned to laugh.
Marquis de Sade It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
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.
Megan Abbott When you have nothing inside you, you feel everything more, and feel you can control it all.
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.
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
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.
Franz Kafka I am free and that is why I am lost.
Jim Carroll You see, you just don’t knowI’m here to give you my heartAnd you want some fashion show
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.
Marquis de Sade Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
Will Self, Grey Area How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?
Marquis de Sade Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.