Reading Snapshots

“It is not often that one is watching a movie, and suddenly a wailing ghostly figure rises from the floor and scrambles past one.”~Edward Eager, Half Magic

“Tigers go woof when they are caught unawares, a short, sharp detonation of fury that would instantly make your legs jump and run away if they weren’t frozen with fear to the spot.”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“Zaphod stuck his head up for a dangerous moment.’Hey!’ he said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t want to shoot us!’
After a moment, a voice replied, ‘It isn’t easy being a cop.’
‘What did he say?’ whispered Ford in astonishment.
‘He said, “It isn’t easy being a cop.”‘
‘Well, surely that’s his problem, isn’t it?’
‘I’d have thought so.’
Ford shouted out, ‘Hey! Listen! I think we’ve got enough problems of our own, having you shooting at us! So if you could avoid laying your problems on us as well, I think we’d all find it easier to cope!'”
~Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“…But even if they could go home it would be difficult for me to tell you what the moral of the story is. In some stories, it’s easy. The moral of “The Three Bears,” for instance, is ‘Never break into someone else’s house.’ The moral of “Snow White” is ‘Never eat apples.’ The moral of World War One is ‘Never assassinate Archduke Ferdinand.'”
~Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window

“I know I played a part. I do understand that. But so much had already gone wrong before I joined in.”
~Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

“This was someone who worried that her clitoris could catch unwanted UV rays from a maxipad that had been sitting in the sun too long. As if maxipads just decided to get up in the middle of the day and walk outside for a tan.”
~Chelsea Handler, My Horizontal Life

“With every bang the animals jumped and looked alarmed, but they were not to be distracted from their main business of roaring in each others’ faces.”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“‘Well, my dear,’ said Mr. Bennett, when Elizabeth had read the note aloud, ‘If your daughter should have a dangerous fit of illness, if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.'”
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“Of course I asked you because you are white. They will take what you write more seriously because you are white. Look, the truth is that this is not your war. This is not your cause. Your government will evacuate you in a minute if you ask them to. So it is not enough to carry limp branches and shout power, power to show that you support Biafra. If you want to contribute, this is the way that you can. The world has to know the truth of what is happening, because they simply cannot remain silent while we die.”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

“Everyone was pleased with the verdict. Everyone, that is, but the brothers, who were beside themselves with anger.
“‘What good are the girls if they cannot settle an argument in someone’s favor?’ they growled, since both were more interested in their own advantage than in the truth. ‘We’ll banish them from the kingdom forever.'”
~Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

“‘”Ab” isn’t a word, of course,’ Shirley said. “Only a stupid person would say a word like “ab.”‘
‘They are stupid, aren’t they?’ Dr. Orwell agreed, as though they were talking about the weather instead of insulting young children.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill

“I swung my gaze his way a few times in a showy manner, glaring at him wide-eyed (with fear, if only he knew) long enough to give him the willies…”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“The word ‘standoffish’ is a wonderful one, but it does not describe Count Olaf’s behavior toward the children. It means ‘reluctant to associate with others,’ and it might describe somebody who, during a party, would stand in a corner and not talk to anyone. It would not describe somebody who provides one bed for three people to sleep in, forces them to do horrible chores, and strikes them across the face.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

“You can curse the dead or pray for them, but don’t expect them to do a thing for you. They’re far too interested in watching us, to see what in heaven’s name we will do next.”
~Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

“It was not uncommon for a man or a woman who regularly went forth to kill to keep a few favorite Tutsis hidden in his or her home. Later, such people sometimes pleaded that they took some lives in order not to attract attention to their efforts to save others. to their minds, it seemed, their acts of decency exonerated the guilt of their crimes. But to survivors, the fact that a killer sometimes spared lives only proved that he could not possibly be judged innocent, since it demonstrated plainly that he knew murder was wrong.”
~Philip Gourevitch, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families

“Only Violet thought of a question that seemed useful to ask.
‘I have a question, Vice Principal Nero,’ she said. ‘Where do we live?’ Nero’s response was so predictable that the Baudelaire orphans could have said it along with the miserable administrator.
‘Where do we live?’ he said in a high, mocking tone, but when he was done making fun of the children he decided to answer it.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

“Richard Parker fell back down, opened his mouth wide and full-out roared…But a shark is deaf, conventionally speaking, so while I, who wouldn’t think of pinching a tiger’s paw, let alone try to swallow one, received a volcanic roar full in the face and quaked and trembled and turned liquid with fear and collapsed, the shark perceived only a dull vibration.”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“‘Are you the fattest thin man in the world?’ asked Tock.
‘Do you know one that’s fatter?’ he asked impatiently.
‘I think you’re all the same man,’ said Milo emphatically.
‘S–S-S-S-S-H-H-H-H-H-H-H,’ he cautioned, putting his finger up to his lips and drawing Milo closer. ‘Do you want to ruin everything? You see, to tall men I’m a midget, and to short men I’m a giant; to the skinny ones I’m a fat man, and to the fat ones I’m a thin man. As you can see, though, I’m neither tall nor short nor fat nor thin. In fact, I’m quite ordinary, but there are so many ordinary men that no one asks their opinion about anything.'”
~Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

“Mr. Darcy said very little, and Mr. Hurst nothing at all. The former was divided between admiration…and doubt… The latter was thinking only of his breakfast.”
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“I was forty-three, a chef…and owned thirty-three percent of a house. The other sixty-seven percent belonged to my sister Shana and her family. The obvious benefit of living together was that Shana’s son Russell had a head that looked exactly like mine, and this caused a few awkward moments when we were introduced to new people.”
~Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me

“When you listen to a piece of classical music, it is often amusing to try and guess what inspired the composer to write those particular notes. Sometimes a composer will be inspired by nature and will write a symphony imitating the sounds of birds and trees. Other times a composer will be inspired by the city and will write a concerto inspired by the sounds of traffic and sidewalks. In the case of this sonata, Nero had apparently been inspired by somebody beating up a cat, because the music was loud and screechy and made it quite easy to talk during the performance.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

“At that precise instant there was a vibration in the air and we were struck by a school of flying fish.”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“Ikejide was still running and, in the moment that Richard glanced away and back, Ikejide’s head was gone. The body was running, arched slightly forward, arms flying around, but there was no head. There was only a bloodied neck. Kainene screamed. The body crashed down near her long American car, the planes receded and disappeared into the distance, and they all lay still for long minutes, until Harrison got up and said, ‘I am getting bag.'”
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

“The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, being run away with by his feelings made Elizabeth so near laughing that she could not use the short pause he allowed in any attempt to stop him farther…”
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“…The pygmy took no notice. ‘I have a principle,’ he announced. ‘I believe in the principle of Homo sapiens. You get me?’
I took a guess. ‘You mean that all humanity is one?’
‘That is my theory,’ the pygmy said. ‘That is my principle. But I have a problem. I must marry a white woman.’
‘Why not?’ I said. Then, after a moment, I said, ‘But why, if we’re all the same? Who cares what color your wife is?’
‘She must be a white woman,’ the pygmy said. ‘Only a white woman can understand my universal principle of Homo sapiens. I must not marry a Negro.’ The unalloyed disgust with which he spoke this last word inclined me to agree, for the future wife’s sake.”
~Philip Gourevitch, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families

“I was both afraid and indignant. To survive for so long in a lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal tiger only to die up a tree at the hands of two-pound meerkats struck me as a tragedy too unfair and too ridiculous to bear.”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“Tock and the Humbug turned away in fright, but Milo, who had learned by now that people are not always what they say they are, reached for his telescope and took a long look for himself. And there at the rim of the hole, instead of what he’d expected, stood a small furry creature with very worried eyes and a rather sheepish grin…
‘I’m the demon of insincerity,’ he sobbed. ‘I don’t mean what I say, I don’t mean what I do, and I don’t mean what I am. Most people who believe what I say go the wrong way, and stay there, but you and your awful telescope have spoiled everything. I’m going home.’ And, crying hysterically, he stamped off in a huff.”
~Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

“‘This is precious ointment,’ the old man said. ‘Very difficult to come by.’
It was a dusty, battered tube of ordinary antiseptic cream, such as Will could have bought in any pharmacy in his world. The old man was handling it as if it were made of myrrh.”
~Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife

“Each day, Shukumar noticed, her beauty, which had once overwhelmed him, seemed to fade. The cosmetics that had seemed superfluous were necessary now, not to improve her but to define her somehow.”
~Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpretor of Maladies

“‘Hey!’ Klaus said. ‘You tripped me!’
One of the most annoying aspects of this sort of trick is that the person who does it usually pretends not to know what you’re talking about. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Foreman Flacutono said.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill

“‘Where did that come from? What else does he have under his bedsheet?'”
~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“‘But what of the Castle in the Air?’ the bug objected, not very pleased with the arrangement.
‘Let it drift away,’ said Rhyme.
‘And good riddance,’ added Reason, ‘for no matter how beautiful it seems, it’s still nothing but a prison.'”
~Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


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