Monday, 2 January 2017

Isaac Asimov

Source of image

Isaac Asimov
Born: January 2nd, 1920 - Petrovichi, Russia
Died: April 6th, 1992 - New York City, U.S.

short story writer
non-fiction writer

Any planet is 'Earth' to those that live on it.
There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save.
Of course there are worlds. Millions of them! Every star you see has worlds, and most of those you don't see.
- Pebble in the Sky

The first problem of living is to minimize friction with the crowds that surround you on all sides.
- The Caves of Steel

You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself.
It seems to me, Golan, that the advance of civilization is nothing but an exercise in the limiting of privacy.
- Foundation's Edge

Isn't it sad that you can tell people that the ozone layer is being depleted, the forests are being cut down, the deserts are advancing steadily, that the greenhouse effect will raise the sea level 200 feet, that overpopulation is choking us, that pollution is killing us, that nuclear war may destroy us - and they yawn and settle back for a comfortable nap. But tell them that the Martians are landing, and they scream and run.
- The Secret of the Universe

You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason---if you pick the proper postulates.
- I, Robot

Sunday, 1 January 2017

J. D. Salinger

Source of image

J. D. Salinger
Born: January 1st, 1919 - New York City, U.S.
Died: January 27th, 2010 - New Hampshire, U.S.

short story writer

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.
I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.
Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.
Know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly
- Catcher in the Rye

The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.
Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They're always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
- Nine Stories

He said I was unequipped to meet life because I had no sense of humor.
- For Esme - With Love and Squalor, and Other Stories

I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.
An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.
- Franny and Zooey

I have so much I want to tell you, and nowhere to begin.

The true poet has no choice of material. The material plainly chooses him, not he it. 
- Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Justin Trudeau

(source - Montreal Gazette 15.1.16)
Justin Trudeau
Born: December 25th, 1971 - Ottawa, Canada

Published Common Ground - October 2014
Prime Minister of Canada (2015- )

My idea of freedom is that we should protect the rights of people to believe what their conscience dictates, but fight equally hard to protect people from having the beliefs of others imposed upon them.
- Common Ground

I would agree that encyclopedia’s could teach me facts, but only a great story could transport me into the mind of another person. These stories taught me about empathy, about good and evil, about love and sorrow. My tastes covered many different genres, but the books I loved most proposed the idea that ordinary people (not to mention hobbits) are born with the capability to do extraordinary, even heroic things. The realization came as a sort of code to all the lessons my parents had taught me about looking beyond wealth and appearances, and appreciating the worth of everyone I met. It’s a lesson that sticks with me to this day. No real leader can see the people around them as static creatures. If you cannot see the potential in the people around you, it’s impossible to rouse them to great things.
- Common Ground

For me, to represent people who represent the future of Canada and the great challenges we will face over the coming decades — this is where I wanted to start. … I'm a teacher; I'm a convenor; I'm a gatherer; I'm someone who reaches out to people and is deeply interested in what they have to say. And people see that I'm not faking it. I'm actually genuinely committed to this dialogue that we're opening up, and this understanding that needs to happen in order to be an effective MP. 
- speech on winning his riding nomination in Quebec, 2007

I am a feminist. I’m proud to be a feminist.
Justin Trudeau's Tweet 22.9.15

Facts may fuel a leader’s intellect. But literature fuels the soul.
- Common Ground

Monday, 31 October 2016

John Keats...

John Keats
Born: October 31st, 1795 - London, U.K.
Died: February 23rd, 1821 - Rome, Italy


Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
 Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- Ode on a Grecian Urn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness 
- Ode to Autumn

I met a lady in the meads, 
Full beautiful, a faery's child: 
Her hair was long, her foot was ligh, 
And her eyes were wild. 
- La Belle Dame Sans Merci

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood,
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm'd.
See, here it is --
I hold it towards you --
Keats scribbled the lines hastily on the back of a longer work he was writing in December 1819.
It is probably the last poem he ever wrote...
More details on this poem so connected with Halloween mysteries HERE...

I will clamber through the clouds and exist. 
- Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Oscar Wilde...

Oscar Wilde 
Born: October 16th, 1854 - Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 30th, 1900 - Paris, France


The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
- The Importance of Being Earnest

I can resist anything except temptation.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.
- Lady Windermere's Fan

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray

Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
- A Woman of No Importance

The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me.
- De Profundis

There is no sin except stupidity.
- The Critic as Artist 

A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
- source???

Friday, 7 October 2016

Thomas Keneally...

Thomas Keneally 
Born: October 7th, 1935 - Sydney, Australia

Booker Prize
Miles Franklin Award - twice
Order of Australia - 1983

non-fiction writer

Oskar showed that virtue emerged where it would, and the sort of churchy observance bishops called for was not a guarantee of genuine humanity in a person.
- Searching for Schindler: A Memoir

The afternoon is hot in this alien forest. The sunlight burrows like a worm in both eye-balls. His jacket looks pallid, the arms are rotted out of his yellowing shirt, and, under the gaiters, worn for the occasion, the canvas shoes are too light for this knobbly land. Yet, as already seen, he takes long strides, he moves with vigour. He’s on his way to Mr Commissary Blythe’s place, where his secret bride, Ann Rush, runs the kitchen and the house.
The Whales came back in white froth, and went again; back and went again. Whenever they went, they whacked the water with what looked like wrath in such big creatures. Yet perhaps it was horror. Whichever way, men disappeared amongst curds of angry water . . . the creatures did not come back the third time.
- Bring Larks and Heroes

The dogs were really keening now, like Irish widows.
- Victim of the Aurora

In the mind of a true snob there are certain limited criteria to denote the value of human existence. Jimmie's criteria were: home, hearth, wife, land. Those who possessed these had beatitude unchallengable. Other men had accidental, random life. Nothing better.
The truest crime remaining to him to commit was the waste of love. It should be bequeathed, as land is.
- The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire. 
The principle was, death should not be entered like some snug harbor. It should be an unambiguous refusal to surrender.
- Schindler's List

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Denis Diderot...

Denis Diderot
Born: October 5th, 1713 - Langres, France
Died: July 31st, 1784 - Paris, France

art critic

For me, my thoughts are my prostitutes. 
- Le neveu de Rameau 

There's a bit of testicle at the bottom of our most sublime feelings and our purest tenderness.
- Letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville (1760-11-03)

I picture the vast realm of the sciences as an immense landscape scattered with patches of dark and light. The goal towards which we must work is either to extend the boundaries of the patches of light, or to increase their number. One of these tasks falls to the creative genius; the other requires a sort of sagacity combined with perfectionism.
- Thoughts on the Interpretation of Nature and Other Philosophical Works

"Spirit of the staircase" or "Staircase inspiration"...
This phrase is a famous allusion to the witty remarks one thinks of when it is too late, as when one is leaving a meeting and going down the stairs.
- Paradoxe sur le Comédien (1773-1777)

Scepticism is the first step towards truth. 
- Pensées philosophiques 

It is better to reveal a weakness than allow oneself be suspected of a vice. 

Life is but a series of misunderstandings. 
- Jacques the Fatalist
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