Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Franz Kafka I am free and that is why I am lost.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas Which do you prefer, she says. Sex or Violence?
I try to smile. What’s the difference, really.
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!
Eryk Pruitt, HASHTAG Do you understand why I prefer you to have a toy gun?
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin It’s far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.
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 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.
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.
Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me There are things that have to be forgotten if you want to go on living.
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.
Megan Abbott, Dare Me Love is a kind of killing, Addy,” she says. “Don’t you know that?
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory Hate is a lack of imagination.
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human What did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings?
Paul Auster, Invisible You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
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.
Jim Carroll You see, you just don’t know
I’m here to give you my heart
And you want some fashion show
Franz Kafka, The Trial It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.
Will Christopher Baer Sorrow is like the ocean and sometimes I wish my heart would stop.
Blake Butler black beyond black
Arthur Nersesian, Mesopotamia Stressful jobs, loveless marriages, bad food-most people kill themselves slowly every day.
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.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories If stealing a few saltshakers was wrong I didn’t want to be right.
Franz Kafka A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
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.
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.
Marquis de Sade Either kill me or take me as I am, because I’ll be damned if I ever change.
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 Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
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.
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.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man It’s the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy – and hence boredom – is not human. He’s insane.
Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.
Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes
Guy Portman, Charles Middleworth She only wears black now and she’s umm; well she’s threatening to become a vampire.
Marquis de Sade It is only by way of pain one arrives at pleasure
Osamu Dazai, The Setting Sun This I want to believe implicitly: Man was born for love and revolution.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations
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 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.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.
A C Weisbecker If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
Arthur Koestler Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
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.
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.
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.
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.
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries they’re fucking up minds they do not own.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild I’m a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Franz Kafka Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
Franz Kafka The meaning of life is that it stops.
Marquis de Sade In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.
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.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
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 I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
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.
Graham Greene Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.
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 And if all womankind banded together and took the male path, the world would turn into one huge brothel.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas Disappear, she says. I love that word.
Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas And my life went to pieces, like a love letter in the rain.
Jim Thompson Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.
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.
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin Though surely to avoid attachments for fear of loss is to avoid life.
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.
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
Niccolò Machiavelli Never was anything great achieved without danger.
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.
Paul Neilan, Apathy and Other Small Victories The world is your oyster…
…too bad you’re allergic to shellfish.
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.
Paul Neilan Nobody knows how to just shut the fuck up and look out the window anymore.
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.
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.
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.
Will Self, Grey Area How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?
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.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
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.
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.
Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Four Uncle Eric holding court, proud the only time he ever left Yorkshire was to kill Germans.
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.
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?
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 All language is but a poor translation.
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.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon The principle that the end justifies the means is and remains the only rule of political ethics; anything else is just a vague chatter and melts away between one’s fingers.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle.
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.
David Peace, The Damned Utd You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.