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1 Challenge Books 003

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

William Shakespeare  As You Like It  Act II, scene i

So many of the phrases that we use in life come from Shakespeare’s plays.  They are internal prompts when we think about things.  They have informed us and we find the words useful to repeat and to explain how we feel.  The Bible, Oscar Wilde, Ben Franklin, and poets such as Keats and Whitman have also given us words to live by.  We have internalized them.  We use them to steer a course by, to imagine who we are, and to create the platform of thoughts that we live by.


“Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?”

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The power of words to teach us and to make us what we are is discussed by Diane Ackerman who is a poet and writer whose husband, also a writer, had a stroke and lost his ability to speak. In her book One Hundred Names for Love she says:

Pg. 139

We imagine the possible through words. We use words to help us remember who and what we are.  We refine how we love in words.  We use words to solve problems-partly because a language that offers the word problem by necessity must include the word solution.

Both words include the absorbing idea that a human is an animal who can act upon the world in such a way as to solve a problem.  Using those words teaches us that we can master the world by understanding it.  The more complex our words, the more layered our story, the more refined our understanding.  Some grains of knowing are only possible when passed through the sieve of carefully arranged words.


Words and phrases from famous authors contribute to our ability to understand the world and its nuances.


Powerful words are flaring through clouds
Whimsy, satire, elegy, sonnet
As fires in reflections, grief given speech
Leviathan crying in sonorous deeps
Pursue us, engage us, draw playful maps for us.

Piratical words climb mountainous seas
Daring us bridge an abyss of reason
Mining our thoughts and trimming our sails
Midnight dreams lure us to siren’s dark lairs
Stern winds scour dunes on welcoming beaches.

Dragon words spill as dangerous flames
Stars, bellow, vanilla, lavender, dry, shame
Desert, crash, wintergreen, fragrant, soft, pain
Rivers, echo, oranges, cinnamon, sharp, rage
Shadow senses, rival choices, black beauty and rain.  

Wild wolf running words invade ruinous mirrors
Demanding, deafening, crunching, menacing
Radiating, branding, scorning, stirring
Coals on a prophet's tongue, redeeming and yearning
White labyrinth torches raised high, burning, burning
Risk, flourish, forgive us, promise, provide.

cfk 8-26-13

Shakespeare quotations

A few of my favorites from the lists above:


To be, or not to be: that is the question. - (Act III, Scene I).

This above all: to thine own self be true. - (Act I, Scene III).

Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.. - (Act II, Scene II).

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions. - (Act IV, Scene V).

As You Like It
All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts. - (Act II, Scene VII).

Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude.(Act II, Scene VII).

Julius Caesar
Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. - (Act I, Scene II).

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come. - (Act II, Scene II).

Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep,’ the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast. 2.2.46-51

Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."- (Act V, Scene V).

Antony and Cleopatra
"My salad days, when I was green in judgment." - (Act I, Scene V).
Twelfth Night
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. - (Act II, Scene V).

Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better. - (Act III, Scene I).

A Midsummer Night's Dream
The course of true love never did run smooth. - (Act I, Scene I).

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. - (Act I, Scene I).

Thou remember’st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.  2.1.153-9

King Lear
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O! I have ta’en
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.   3.4.33
All's Well that Ends Well
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky
Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.  1.1.209
The Tempest
Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d
I cried to dream again.  3.2.135-43

 O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
    That has such people in't!
Act 5, scene 1, 181–184

2 Henry IV
O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea! and, other times, to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune's hips; how chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors!   3.1.46
Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Sonnet XXIX  
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Oscar Wilde

Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.

Who, being loved, is poor?

The only good thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.

I don’t say we all ought to misbehave. But we ought to look as if we could.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all
Is never to feel the burning light.

When good Americans die, they go to Paris.

John Keats
From Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness, -
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease…


Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain -
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: -do I wake or sleep?

Dorothy Dunnett

And the English army, wheeling, started south at a gallop over the hill pass into Ettrick, followed by twenty men and eight hundred sheep in steel helmets.
― The Disorderly Knights

It was one of the occasions when Lymond asleep wrecked the peace of mind of more people than Lymond awake.
― Queens' Play

"There are twenty thousand men, women and children in the bagnios of Algiers alone. I am not going to make it twenty thousand and one because your mother didn't allow you to keep rabbits, or whatever is at the root of your unshakable fixation."  (Lymond)

"I had weasels instead," said Philippa shortly.

"Good God," said Lymond, looking at her. "That explains a lot.”
― Pawn in Frankincense

Bring on your favorite quotations…Rilke, Pratchett, Benjamin Franklin, Dickens, Walt Whitman…

Diaries of the week:

Write On! Failure.
by SensibleShoes

Contemporary Fiction Views: Time and beings
by bookgirl

Five new J.D. Salinger books to be published?

Robert Fuller says:

The Rowan Tree saga continues with Adam contemplating the disaster in Somalia (still relevant today):

His father returns from Dakar prepared to reveal secrets and give timely advice.

Chapter 21:

The Goodreads Giveaway is still going on for anyone who wants to try for a free copy of the paperback:

The audiobook is also now available at:

Still looking for feedback and reviews! This is all new territory for me.

wonderful world says:
In honor of Dragon-Con, HERO FOR HIRE is now .99, on Amazon, B&N and Kobo. While the Gods watch the Trojan War, a dark threat casts a shadow over all of Greece. Only one man can stop the evil power of Hekate, Witch-Queen from the Underworld. Even while Eno the Thracian seeks to defeat her, Hekate wants him for her own, dead or alive.

Hero for Hire


I didn't know about this list, but I am passing it on:

Daily Kos Reading List

h/t to hopeful

NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


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