East of Eden
John Steinbeck 

“And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt – and there is the story of mankind…Therefore I think this old and terrible story is important because it is a chart of the soul – the secret, rejected, guilty soul” (271)

“Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only youself as audience” (295)

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel – ‘Thou mayest” – that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man” (303)

“Show me the man who isn’t interested in discussing himself” (307)

“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love…try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world. We have only one story. All novels, all poetry , are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil…Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is” (415)

“I am incomparably, incredibly, overwhelmingly glad to be home. I’ve never been so goddam lonesome in my life” (417)

“We turn inward and watch ourselves with horror. But that’s not the worst. We think everybody is seeing into us. Then dirt is very dirty and purity is shining white…Wait a little while and it will be over. Try to believe that things are neither so good nor so bad as they seem to you now” (493)

“All colors and blends of Americans have somewhat the same tendencies…And so we’re overbrave and overfearful-we’re kind and cruel as children. We’re over-friendly and at the same time frightened of strangers. We boast and are impressed. We’re over sentimental and realistic. We are mundane and materialistic” (570)

The Bell-jar
Sylvia Plath

“I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo” (3)

“This kind of detail impressed me. It suggested a whole life of marvelous, elaborate decadence that attracted me like a magnet” (5)

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out” (40)

“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet” (41)

“Then he would lean back in his chair and match the tips of his fingers together in a little steeple and tell me why I couldn’t sleep and why I couldn’t read and why I couldn’t eat and why everything people did seemed so silly, because they only died in the end” (68)

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream” (124)

“For the few little outward successes I may seem to have, there are acres of misgivings and self-doubt” (130)

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong
Johann Hari

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection”

Living in the Gradient 
Ruby Browne 

“Live in the gradient. Those small and gentle spaces in between. Where everything counts for credit. Where as long as you’re still conscious in your movements you’re doing everything you should be doing.Where as long as you’ve picked a direction and you’re taking steps you are successful. Where distance traveled is measured in something other than, “Are you there? Yes or no?”

Because we never will be. But we are still moving.”

Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde 

“You know how I love secrecy. It is the only thing that can make modern life wonderful or mysterious to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life.” (6)

“The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown with it the secret of my own soul…But the world might guess it; and I will not bare my soul to their shallow, prying eyes. My heart shall never be put under their microscope. There is too much of myself in the thing, Harry,—too much of myself!” (18)

“The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly,—that is what each of us is here for” (28)

“They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words? ” (31)

“There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.” (108)

“Besides, nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.”  (117)

CS Lewis

“When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. if you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. if you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less”

Encourage our affections.

The Swan 
Charles Baudelaire, 1927 

“Of all those who have lost something they may not find
Ever, ever again! who steep themselves in tears
And suck a bitter milk from that good she-wolf, grief!
Of orphans, skin and bones, dry and wasted blooms!”



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