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 2013
great lines
other years, other lines: 2014 or 2015 or 2016 or 2017
My book journals are full of great lines from the books I have read, lines that caught my mind's eye. So, I throw them out here for you to read. Try them on. Take them for a spin. If they don't work for you, no problem, you're sure to find your own. My hope is that some of these words will draw you into some of these fine books. Sharing is good.
John



nib
from
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (Dec '13)
“I pulled you over ‘cause you’ve got a couple ‘a tail lights out back there.” He said the old chief’s eyes twinkled, and he petted Lucian’s arm that rested on the car.
“Oh, that’s okay. I thought you were pulling me over ‘cause I didn’t have no license.”
“Don’t pay no attention to him, Sheriff. He don’t know what he’s sayin’ when he’s been drinkin’.”

I looked over at her; if women knew how good they looked in the dash light of oversized pickup trucks, they’d never get out of them.

Her fingers were light, and a shiver went through me; the coolness of her spread like a welcome cloud on an overly sunny day.
_____

nib
from
The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell (Dec '13)
Memory is like glass, she thought. A person who has died is still visible, very close. But we can no longer contact each other. Death is mute; it excludes conversations, only allows silence.
_____

nib from
Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace (Dec '13)
Almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the men’s tour on television has, over the last few years, had what might be termed Federer Moments. These are times, watching the young Swiss at play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re OK. The Moments are more intense if you’ve played enough tennis to understand the impossibility of what you just saw him do.

If you get down close enough to a pro court, you can hear an actual sound coming off the ball in flight, a kind of liquid hiss, from the combination of pace and spin.
_____

nib
from
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas (Dec '13)
Will was staring into the doughnut display case, as though they were his only friends in the world.
_____

nib
from
Zazen by Vanessa Veselka (Dec '13)
Walking home it occurred to me that the great thing about a bomb threat is how much it leaves to the imagination. Like your mom saying you’re in trouble but not telling you why, you go over everything it could be in your mind.
_____

nib
from
The Dinner by Herman Koch (Nov '13)
But his tongue would feel thick and useless, and they’d be the pulsing ache of his head because he’d so dehydrated himself with alcohol there was no longer enough fluid in his skull to float his brain.
_____

nibfrom
Ratlines by Stuart Neville (Nov '13)
Ryan carried the souls of the dead with him, just as every killer does. However gentlemanly the exterior, no matter how kind the man might appear, those souls will watch from behind his eyes.
_____

nib
from
Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III (Nov '13)
After two months of dating, she invited him to spend the night in her room, and as they made love, Robert moved carefully, as if he were trying on new clothes he didn't want to spoil in case they had to be returned.
_____

nib
from
Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart (Nov '13)
The television set is an object of great consternation among Soviet citizens because it regularly explodes. At one point, 60 percent of the house fires in Moscow are said to be caused by poorly assembled television sets. The next year I got the present every boy wants. A circumcision.
_____

nib
from
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield (Nov '13)
A rook is a familiar enough creature until you actually look at him. His plumage is among the most extravagantly beautiful things nature can produce. As the boys saw that day, a rook’s feathers can shimmer with dazzling peacock colours yet factually seeking there is no more blue or purple or green pigments in a rook. Satin black on his back and head, on his front and towards his legs, his blackness softens and deepens to velvet black. He is not just black, he is blacker than that. His is a luxurious super abundance of blackness never seen in any other creature. He is the essence of blackness.

A pair of ragged rooks flew airily overhead, talking philosophy and laughing
_____

nib
from
Report From the Interior by Paul Auster (Oct '13)
Your earliest thoughts, remnants of how you lived inside yourself as a small boy. You can remember only some of it, isolated bits and pieces, brief flashes of recognition that savage up in you unexpectedly at random moments—brought on by the smell of something, or the touch of something, or the way the light falls on something in the here and now of adulthood. At least you think you can remember, you believe you remember, but perhaps you are not remembering at all, or remembering only a later remembrance of what you think you thought in that distant time which is all but lost to you now.
_____

nib
from
Object Lessons: The Art of the Short Story by the Paris Review (Oct '13)
                             (Jeffrey Eugenides on the short story, "Car Crash While Hitchhiking", by Denis Johnson)

The story hasn’t been told you about an experience so much as made that experience your own. Which is a good definition of fiction writing as I can think of.
_____

nib
from
The Lowland by Jhumpha Lahiri (Oct '13)
When he woke in the morning she was already gone. Part of him knew she would be, that the only way to keep her in the house after what he’d told her would be to tie her to it.
_____

nib
from
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes (Oct '13)
There is the question of anger. Some are angry with the person who has died, who has abandoned them, betrayed them by losing life. What could be more irrational than that? Few die willingly, not even most suicides. Some of the grief struck are angry with God, but if He doesn't exist, that too is irrational.
_____

nib
from
Big Fish by Daniel Wallace (Oct '13)
I looked at this old man, my old man with his old white feet in his clear-running stream, these moments among the very last in his life, and I thought of him suddenly and simply, as a boy, a child, a youth, with his whole life ahead of him, much as mine was ahead of me.
_____

nib
from
The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach (Sep '13)
His wife had been dead for fifteen years, but all the same he still reached out for her every morning, half asleep, and he almost always woke with a start because she wasn’t there.
_____

nib
from
The Missing Ink by Philip Hensher (Sep '13)
At some point in recent years, handwriting has stopped being a necessary and inevitable intermediary between people—something by which individuals communicate, putting a little bit of their personality into the form of their message as they press the ink-bearing point into the paper.
_____

nib
from
Goat Mountain by David Vann (Sep '13)
Eyes trained to let background fall away, eyes trained to disappear the world and leave only the target.
_____

nib
from
Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge (Aug '13)
In my hurry to leave San Francisco I'd packed only one book, Murakami's Norwegian Wood, which I'd been meaning to read for months: but as soon as I started it I realized that I was not in the mood. Reading a novel, especially a contemporary novel, with its small stock of characters and situations, felt like being stuffed into a sleeping bag head-first: it was warm and dark and there wasn't a lot of room to move around.

...been there. — John
_____

nib from
Legend of a Suicide by David Vann (Aug '13)
Although my mother had dated one man steadily for several years after the divorce, she didn't keep any man around for long after my father killed himself. The men she dated then were a lot like the circuses that passed through our town. They'd move in quickly and unpack everything they owned, as if they had come to stay.
_____

nib
from
Arcadia by Lauren Groff (Aug '13)
The icicles in the window are shot with such read light of dawn that Bit goes barefoot over the snow to pull one with his hand. Inside again, he licks it down to nothing, eating winters itself, the captured wood smoke and sleepy hush and aching cleanness of ice.

The teeth of the comb are so gentle on his scalp: it feels like crying. He had forgotten this small pleasure.
_____

nib from 419 by Will Ferguson (Aug '13)
He lost consciousness soon after, as though consciousness were a balloon that had been let go, the string slipping from between fingers, trailing away.

_____

nib
from
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper (Jul '13)
"You OK?" she says, raising her eyebrows. "You're teetering." He nods and steadies himself against the wall. "Aren't we all," he says.
_____

nib
from
Let Him Go by Larry Watson (Jul '13)
...dusk has finally let loose its long hold on the day. Darkness has fallen from the apex of the sky and risen from the rooftops and tall trees, taking over all but a streak of the western horizon.
_____


nib
from Remarkable Reads: 34 Writers and Their Adventures in Reading edited by J. Peder Zane (Jul '13)
I think it's fair to say that, in a manner familiar to many parents, I was losing my mind. In those days I would open a book and the words would bounce against my eyes like gravel against a windshield.
_____

nib
from The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock ( 7.1.13 )
Fires are energy made visible.
_____

nib
from
The Odds by Stewart O'Nan (Jun '13)
He'd always considered himself capable, but what skills did he really have? He couldn't weld, he didn't have his Class B driver's license. Maintenance people needed for apartment building in the city. Applicant will be responsible for basic plumbing repairs. There, he couldn't even be a janitor.
_____

nib
from The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Jun '13)
And then his father took a deep breath and began again. "The foghorn," he said, "blasts every thirty seconds."
"Do you know," Futh heard his mother say, "how much you bore me?"

_____

nib
from
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Jun '13)
Chinese proverb "A fish never knows when it's pissing."

_____

nib
from
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates (May '13)
She knew that she had lived for eleven years and yet her memory was a windowpane covered in cobwebs.

_____


nib
from
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (May '13)
"Aren't I happy?" Ursula puzzled. "What do you think?" Ursula didn't know, she wasn't sure that she had a yardstick against which to measure happiness or unhappiness.

After his death Hugh's clothes were so very real it seemed absurd that the man who had worn them had disappeared.


     other years, other lines: 2014 or 2015 or 2016 or 2017



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