"She was capable, at certain times, of imagining the direct reverse of her most cherished beliefs, with a vividness more intense than that of conviction."

— Henry James, The American

"People are proud only when they have something to lose, and humble when they have something to gain."

— Henry James, The American

"Rome was doubtless a very amusing place in the days of Caligula, but it has sadly fallen off since."

— Henry James, The American

"There was something in his quick, light brown eye which assured you that he was not economizing his consciousness. He was not living in a corner to spare the furniture of the rest. He was squarely encamped in the centre and he was keeping open house."

— Henry James, The American

"…that tone of simple deliberateness which frequently marked his utterance, and which an observer would not have known whether to pronounce a somewhat mysteriously humorous affectation of ignorance or a modest aspiration to knowledge…"

— Henry James, The American

"Newman led his usual life, made acquaintances, took his ease in the galleries and churches, spent an unconscionable amount of time in strolling the Piazza San Marco, bought a great many bad pictures, and for a fortnight enjoyed Venice grossly."

— Henry James, The American

"A beauty has no faults in her face; the face of a beautiful woman may have faults that only deepen its charm."

— Henry James, The American

"It was only twenty minutes before that he had bought the first picture of his life, and now he was already thinking of art patronage as a fascinating pursuit."

— Henry James, The American

I really hate this column by David Brooks.

How do guys like this—Brooks, Tom Friedman—get away with it? I mean, these guys are multimillionaires writing for what is supposed to be the most important paper in the world, and they routinely turn in book reports? This is literally stuff that eighth graders do. There is not a sentence of analysis in this column. It is pure summary. He even writes sentences like an eighth grader.

To Tom Friedman’s credit—I never thought I’d say that phrase—at least he usually reports on books that have come out recently, or if he spends his whole column quoting some person he’s talked to, then at least he talks to them about something that is actually going on. What is David Brooks doing? This is an almost six-year-old academic book about religion. Did it really take him that long to read “nearly 800 pages of dense, jargon-filled prose”? And he doesn’t even include a crummy sentence about why he’s bringing it up. He could have just said something like, “The recent events in Egypt are in large part a debate over secularism.” I AM DOING YOUR JOB FOR YOU, DAVID BROOKS. Why does the New York Times put up with this? Do they really think people are going to stop reading their paper if it has fewer book reports?

I think he has to write like two of these a week—1,000 words every seven days. Is it really that hard? I can’t figure out whether these guys are lazy or just dumb. It’s not that I’m jealous of them and think I could do their job better (though I do think that)—it’s that I think anyone, or at least anyone who finished the eighth grade, could probably do their job better.
"Technology had begun for him to mostly only indicate the inevitability and vicinity of nothingness. Instead of postponing death… technology seemed more likely to permanently eliminate life by uncontrollably fulfilling its only function: to indiscriminately convert matter, animate or inanimate, into computerized matter, for the sole purpose, it seemed, of increased functioning, until the universe was one computer."

— Tao Lin, Taipei