Our magic is useless in hell

“For your information, I didn’t use any magic Downtown. Our magic is a joke down there. It doesn’t work. You might as well be shouting brownie recipes.” I take a calming drag off the cigarette. “I don’t even remember much of the magic we did in the Circle, but I did learn a trick or two down under. Hellion magic, and every bit of it is designed to make you cry all the way home.”

–Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim: A Novel

Slip into a shadow

It’s full-on night now and I’m surrounded by fat, ripe shadows. I cross the street and pick a plump, dark one around the side of Max Overload, next to a health food restaurant. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the street is clear, and when I’m sure I’m alone, I slip into the shadow. The key tickles inside my chest and I emerge into the Room of Thirteen Doors.

–Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim: A Novel

Breaking the cycle

Almost, they did. Lizzie wanted children; he wanted a wife with city contacts and some money behind her. They were married in weeks. Gregory arrived within the year. Bawling, strong, one hour old, plucked from the cradle: he kissed the infant’s fluffy skull and said, I shall be as tender to you as my father was not to me. For what’s the point of breeding children, if each generation does not improve on what went before?

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The tragedy of the commons

Wherein Walter Cromwell defines the tragedy of the commons, where the incentive to take advantage for one’s own good outstrips the incentive to behave for the good of all.

He tells them about the Pegasus, and about his father’s brewhouse and how Walter gets fined for bad beer at least twice a year. He tells them about how he gets fines for stealing wood, cutting down other people’s trees, and about the too-many sheep he runs on the common.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The world is a story, not an equation

I simply couldn’t hold the formulas and numbers in my head. It was a logic that made little sense to me. In my perception, the world wasn’t a graph or formula or an equation. It was a story.

–Cheryl Strayed, Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Small tasks

At foot speed, the Sierra Nevada seemed just barely surmountable. I could always take another step. It was only when I rounded a bend and glimpsed the white peaks ahead that I doubted my abilities, only when I thought how far I had yet to go that I lost faith that I would get there.

–Cheryl Strayed, Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Paying attention to how the pieces are connected

And so the size of my library—containing all that I have read and reread and aspire to read—can grow and shrink and change even as the number of books on the shelves remain the same. The shelves hold not only the books of my choosing, but also the snippets and fragments that I have plucked or added or paraphrased or argued about. They sit between each other, between you and I, bound together by the strength of our connections.

—Allen Tan The Readmill Blog