"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."
— Emily Dickinson
"Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?"
— Haruki Murakami
"What was this compulsive need to be lovable? They both had it, were driven by it, bound by it. They would even sacrifice each other for the sake of it. But she sensed they were afflicted differently. He wanted to preserve his worthiness in the eyes of other people. It was because of losing his parents; it had to be. Parents were the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you had to earn it. And what about her? Whose love did she so compulsively doubt? She knew without thinking. From her earliest memory she had perceived the chasm between how she looked and how she felt. She knew whose love she doubted. It wasn’t her parents’ and it wasn’t her friends’. It was her own."
— Ann Brashares
"I wanted to tell the book thief many things about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant. None of those things, however, came out of my mouth. All I was able to do was turn to her and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you. I am haunted by humans."
— Markus Zusak
"Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again. I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later – because I did not belong there, did not come from there – but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month."
— Joan Didion
"I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always, so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
— Yann Martel
"One of the saddest realities is most people never know when their lives have reached the summit. Only after it is over and we have some kind of perspective do we realize how good we had it a day, a month, five years ago. The walk together in the December snow, the phone call that changed everything, that lovely evening in the bar by the Aegean. Back then you thought “this is so nice”. Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss."
— Jonathan Carroll
"My dear, I don’t know what to do today, help me decide. Should I cut myself open and pour my heart on these pages? Or should I sit here and do nothing, nobody’s asking anything of me after all. Should I jump off the cliff that has my heart beating so and develop my wings on the way down? Or should I step back from the edge, and let the others deal with this thing called courage? Should I stare back at the existential abyss that haunts me so and try desperately to grab from it a sense of self? Or should I keep walking half-asleep, only half-looking at it every now and then in times in which I can’t help doing anything but? Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee? Falsely yours."
— Albert Camus
"It broke my heart into more pieces than my heart was made of, why can’t people say what they mean at the time?"
— Jonathan Safran Foer
"Have you ever been in love?” I ask. He stares at me, taken aback. “What do you think? I’m not a starfish or a pepper tree. I’m a living, breathing human being. Of course I’ve been in love."
— Haruki Murakami
"He made lists of things he wanted to feel when he was younger, big things, small things, ice, snow, the sand at the beach, someone else’s hands holding his, feeling him feeling them, a feedback loop of feelings, which is what happens when two people make love. He wanted to feel things that made him feel safe and scared and things that ripped his heart out of his chest, things that made him want to go home and things that made him want to travel, things that made him proud and things that made him regret his choices and he, like all people, slowly ticked these things off the list in his head as he lived, as the world turned until soon, there were very few things left to feel. He believed the last thing he would feel, would be nothing, as that was nearly impossible to feel unless you were dead or hadn’t been born yet. He wondered what it’d be like to not be able to wonder. He’d once wanted to know what it felt like to be able to talk to people properly, to be normal but he’d given up on finding that feeling, figuring no one ever really found it."
— Iain S. Thomas
"When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible."
— Jonathan Safran Foer
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
— Neil Gaiman
"Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world – to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want."
— Ayn Rand