Featured Quotes

rneBelow is a list of the quotes that have been featured on QuiverQuotes to date (updated weekly). They are sorted chronologically, according to year of first publication — newest first.

How are the quotes chosen?


The gods are invoked or they initiate. They are the intermittent forces, applied at the end of the lever, with a mortal at the fulcrum on whom a myth turns.
— A. S. Klein,  A Honeycomb for Aphrodite, Reflections on Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Featured in Mortal Metaphors.

The disappearing body quickly became shorthand. Anything lost was considered pocketed by our ambulatory corpse on its way home. Unexpected noises in the corridors were the incompetent creeping of the revenant.
— China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion

Featured in Ambulatory Oxymoron.


Average, that’s what I’d been, ever since I left school. … Average at life; average at truth; morally average.
— Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Featured in The Sense of Being Average.

Reading is the freeing of words, and some bonds are explosive.
— Nenad Novak Stefanović, Svetlarnik (in QQ translation)

Original quote:

Čitanje je oslobađanje reči, a neki spojevi su eksplozivni.

Featured in Reading: Quirks and Perks.


Metaphor builds on metaphor and quotation on quotation. For some, the words of others are a vocabulary of quotations in which they express their own thoughts. For others those foreign words are their own thoughts, and the very act of putting them on paper transforms those words imagined by others into something new, reimagined through a different intonation or context. Without this continuity, this purloining, this translation, there is no literature. And through these dealings, literature remains immutable, like the tired waves, while the world around it changes.
— Alberto Manguel, AIDS and the Poet, A Reader on Reading

Featured in The Written Word: Quirks and Perks.

The ideal reader wishes both to get to the end of the book and to know that the book will never end.
Alberto Manguel, A Reader on Reading

Featured in The Ideal Reader: Quirks and Perks.


Of the things we fashioned for them that they might be comforted, dawn is the one that works.
— John Banville, The Infinities

Featured in Periodic Before Dawn.

We tend to think of mental hospitals as snake pits, hells of chaos and misery, squalor and brutality. Most of them, now, are shuttered and abandoned—and we think with a shiver of the terror of those who once found themselves confined in such places. So it is salutary to hear the voice of an inmate, one Anna Agnew, judged insane in 1878 (such decisions, in those days, were made by a judge, not a physician) and “put away” in the Indiana Hospital for the Insane. Anna was admitted to the hospital after she made increasingly distraught attempts to kill herself and tried to kill one of her children with laudanum. She felt profound relief when the institution closed protectively around her, and most especially by having her madness recognized.
— Oliver Sacks, introductory essay in Asylum : Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals by Christopher Payne

Featured in Asylums as Refuge: Dispersing the Gloom.


— Russel Potter, Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the Learned Pig

To be featured in How we Bid Goodbye.


 For example, this morning for breakfast I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milkshake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea I start thinking about Coco-Pops and lemonade and porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn’t eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn’t a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn’t wearing a diving suit and so and even writing this makes me feel shaky and scared, like I do when I’m standing on the top of a very tall building and there are thousands of houses and cars and people below me and my head is so full of all the things that I’m afraid that I’m going to forget to stand up straight and hang onto the rail and I’m going to fall over and be killed.
— Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 

Featured in The Flow of Experience.


“Metaphor is the currency of knowledge.”
Luca Turin, quoted by Chandler Burr in The Emperor of Scent

Featured in Knowledge: Quirks and Perks.

The only problem [the lawyers] had, as they cruised sharkishly back and forth across the cool marble floor of the court, was in drawing the fine differences between war (mass murder of people wearing a uniform not your own), justifiable loss (mass murder of your own troops, but with substantial gains) and criminal negligence (mass murder of your own troops, without appreciable benefit).
— Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon

Featured in Murder Gradations.


For example, some authors say that thought is initially like a frothing waterfall, then like a stream with occasional eddies, then like a large river with the odd ripple running over it, and finally like the ocean, whose depths are never disturbed.
— Matthieu Richard, The Quantum and the Lotus

Featured in Similes and Smiles.


White clouds shoot out in all directions, in a dust storm of flame, a gritty, swirling Sahara, burning from gray-white to an incandescent platinum so raw it makes your eyes squint, to the radiant gold so narcotic you forget how to blink.
— Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of The Senses

Featured in Swirling Sahara and an Apricot Whoosh.


We all are rich and ignore the buried fact of accumulated wisdom.
— Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Featured in The Art of Writing: Quirks and Perks.


Sighs, groans. Shouts in the night. An old man puking up gouts of green stuff, leaning over the side of the bed, a young nurse holding his forehead. Slow, wet, coughs, like the noise of defective suction pumps ponderously labouring. In the huge, white-tiled bathrooms, little labels exhorting patients not to spit in the handbasins. Everywhere the same thick cream paint, smooth as enamel, clammy as skin. I wore a mouse-colour dressing-gown with faded red piping.
— John Banville, Mefisto 

Featured in Sciesis Onomaton Sets the Scene.


The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
— William Gibson, Neuromancer

Featured in Metaphors the Colour of Television.

— Keri Hulme, The Bone People

Featured in Seabluegreen Eyes.


He picked up Camus’ Resistance, Rebellion and Death…read some pages. Camus talked about anguish and terror and the miserable condition of Man but he talked about it in such a comfortable and flowery way…his language…that one got the feeling that things neither affected him nor his writing. In other words, things might as well have been fine. Camus wrote like a man who had just finished a large dinner of steak and French fries, salad, and had topped it with a bottle of good French wine. Humanity may have been suffering but not him. A wise man, perhaps, but Henry preferred somebody who screamed when they burned.
—Charles Bukowski, Hot Water Music

Featured in Paragraph Packing: A Short Example.

Back at the Red Peacock Louie went to his favourite stool and sat down. The barkeep walked up.
“Well, Louie, how did you make out?
“Make out?”
“With the lady.”
“With the lady?”
“You left together, man. Did you get her?”
“No, not really …”
“What went wrong?”
“What went wrong?”
“Yes, what went wrong?”
“Give me a whiskey sour, Billy.”
—Charles Bukowski, Hot Water Music

Featured in A Bukowski, on the Rocks.


Language has all the suppleness of human flesh, and something of its warmth.
—Arthur Quinn, Figures of Speech: 60 Ways to Turn a Phrase.

Featured in Language: Quirks and Perks.


SARAH.  [Your timing is terrible and your signing is boring.]
JAMES.  My timing is terrible and my signing is boring. If you could hear, you’d think I was a scream.
SARAH.  [Why scream?]
JAMES.  Not literally “scream.” That’s a hearing idiom.
SARAH.  [But I’m deaf.]
JAMES.  You’re deaf. I’ll try to remember that.
SARAH.  [But you’ll keep forgetting.]
JAMES.  I’ll keep forgetting. But you’ll keep reminding me.
SARAH.  [But you’ll still forget.]
JAMES.  I’ll still forget. But you’ll still remind me.
SARAH.  [No. I’ll give up.]
JAMES.  Maybe you won’t have to give up.
SARAH.  [Why?]
JAMES.  Maybe I’ll remember.
SARAH.  [I doubt it.]
JAMES.  We’ll see.
— Mark Medoff, Children of a Lesser God

Featured in The Figure of Friends and Flirts.


I see him, again, concealed in the lowest branches of a spruce on a small island off the Maine coast—a soft, balmy night. He is observing the arrival of Leach’s petrels, whose burrows are underneath the tree—eerie, strange birds, whose chuckling and formless sounds might have been the conversation of elves.
— E. B. White, Mr. Forbush’s Friends

Featured in Avian Black Humour.


She goes into a crouch and advances on where they’re trapped in a huddle at the end of the corridor. … She’s going to tear the black bastards limb from lib, she’s so furious. She’s swelling up, swells till her back’s splitting out the white uniform and she’s let her arms section out long enough to wrap around the three of them five, six times. … she really lets herself go and her painted smile twists, stretches to an open snarl, and she blows up bigger and bigger, big as a tractor, so big I can smell the machinery inside the way you smell a motor pulling too big a load.
— Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Featured in Hiding Behind Hyperbole.


How can he see he’s got flies in his eyes if he’s got flies in his eyes?
— Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Featured in Flies in Catch-22.


It is now necessary to warn you that your concern for the reader must be pure: you must sympathize with the reader’s plight (most readers are in trouble about half the time) but never seek to know the reader’s wants. Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Start sniffing the air, or glancing at the Trend Machine, and you are as good as dead, although you may make a nice living.
— T. B. White, Approach to Style in Strunk & White

Featured in Writing: Quirks and Perks.

Style is an increment in writing. When we speak of Fitzegerald’s style, we don’t mean his command of the relative pronoun, we mean the sound his words make on paper. All writers, by the way they use language, reveal something of their spirit, their habits, their capacities, and their biases. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation—it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito.
— E. B. White, An Approach to Style in Strunk & White

Featured in Style: Quirks and Perks.


But I remembered how it felt to be a thief. It felt like living in a room without any windows. Then it felt like living in a room without any walls.
— Ross MacDonald, Find a Victim

Featured in Window’s Ain’t Walls.

The pasture pond was unruffled but had the prickly surface caused by raindrops, and it seemed bereft without geese. The sky was a gloomy grey. Two rosebuds bowed courteously to each other on the terrace.
— E. B. White, Eye of the Edna, Essays of E. B. White.

Featured in Rosebuds Bow Courteously.


There was the same red glare as far as the eye could reach, and small waves were lapping the hot sand in little, flurried gasps. As I slowly walked toward the boulders at the end of the beach I could feel my temples swelling under the impact of the light. It pressed itself on me, trying to check my progress. And each time I felt a hot blast strike my forehead, I gritted my teeth, I clenched my fists in my trouser pockets and keyed up every nerve to fend off the sun and the dark befuddlement it was pouring into me. Whenever a blade of vivid light shot upward from a bit of shell or broken glass lying on the sand, my jaws set hard. I wasn’t going to be beaten, and I walked steadily on.
— Albert Camus, The Stranger

Featured in The Sunny Absurd.


This is what I have been thinking: for the most commonplace event to become an adventure, you must — and this is all that is necessary — start recounting it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it.

But you have to choose: to live or to recount.
— Jean-Pau; Sartre, Nausea

Featured in To Live or to Recount: Quirks and Perks.


Eyes that last I saw in tears
Through division
Here in death’s dream kingdom
The golden vision reappears
I see the eyes but not the tears
This is my affliction …
— T. S. Eliot, Collected Poems 1909–1962

Featured in T. S. Eliot and the Extended Chiasmus.


His girded spirit sees agrarian unrest in the daffodil and industrial riot in a tin of preserved prunes.
— Christopher Morley, Pipefuls

Featured in The Daffodil and the Preserved Prunes.


But here let me say one thing: From the moment I entered the insane ward on the Island, I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity. I talked and acted just as I do in ordinary life. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted the crazier I was thought to be by all except one physician, whose kindness and gentle ways I shall not soon forget.
— Nellie Bly, Ten Days in a Mad-House

Featured in To Be Sane Amongst the Insane.


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Featured in Epizeuxis for Emphasis.