28 February 2012

The freshman

opened a book and read a passage that struck a chord, a string of words he understood so well and so fit his mood that he took it as gospel truth.

26 February 2012

Wish and will

A very old copy of Curtain
If you were stranded on an island, what book would you want to have with you?

Any of Agatha Christie's. Why? Because a small island is a suitable place to scare and at the same time fascinate yourself. Not with thoughts of ghosts or wild beasts, but of human beings engaging their darker side.

Literature over and over again proves that man is more frightful than monster; for the former is real and, at least, with the latter, evil without mercy is expected.

In Curtain, where Hercule Poirot solves his final case, the characters are easily recognizable to win the reader's sympathy and sufficiently nuanced to earn their doubt.

Everyone can be (and often is) a murder suspect in a mystery novel, but the genius of Curtain lies in substantiating that everyone is a potential murderer—
In everyone there arises from time to time the wish to kill—though not the will to kill. How often have you not felt or heard others say: "She made me so furious I felt I could have killed her!" "I could have killed B. for saying so-and-so!" "I was so angry I could have murdered him!" and all those statements are literally true. Your mind at such moments is quite clear. You would like to kill so-and-so. But you do not do it. Your will has to assent to your desire. In young children, the brake is as yet acting imperfectly. I have known a child, annoyed by its kitten, say: "Keep still or I'll hit you on the head and kill you" and actually do so—to be stunned and horrified a moment later when it realizes that the kitten's life will not return—because, you see, really the child loves that kitten dearly. So then, we are all potential murderers. And the art of X was this: not to suggest the desire, but to break down the normal decent resistance.
Pertinent to the imperishable themes of taking the law into your own hands and the power of an idea, how that will to kill is sparked and nurtured is the crux of Curtain—making it a thrilling and ultimately a rewarding read.

19 February 2012

If you could change one of your physical characteristics, which one would it be and why?

I already have: For around 5 years since college, I wore braces to straighten my crooked teeth, and now it's all good. In my eyes, a beautiful smile is always equivalent to a beautiful face.

10 February 2012

Valentine's Day gift suggestions

If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.

—Edward Thomas (excerpt from And you, Helen)

1. Self
2. Knowing what you want
3. Wanting it when it matters
4. Happy selfish hours
5. Humor
6. Kindness

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