A collection of passages from books.

Norwegian Wood

Every now and then as I walked along I would stop and turn and heave a sigh for no particular reason. I felt almost as if I had come to a planet where the gravity was a little different. Yes, of course, I told myself, feeling sad: I was in the outside world now.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Is it possible, finally, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?

We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close are we able to come to that person's essence? We convince ourself that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?'

I started thinking seriously about such things a week after I quit my job at the law firm. Never until then—never in the whole course of my life—had I grappled with questions like this. And why not? Probably because my hands had been full just living. I had simply been too busy to think about myself.


Ayumi was no longer in this world. She was now a cold corpse that was probably being sent for forensic dissection. When that ended, they would sew her back together, probably give her a simple funeral, send her to the crematorium, and burn her. She would turn into smoke, rise up into the sky, and mix with the clouds. Then she would come done to the earth again as rain, and nuture some nameless patch of grass with no story to tell.

The clouds continued to scud off toward the south. No matter how many were blown away, others appeared to take their place. There was an inexhaustible source of clouds in some land far to the north. Decisive people, minds fixed on the task, clothed in thick, gray uniforms, working silently from morning to night to make clouds, like bees make honey, spiders make webs, and war makes widows.

The Three Musketeers

"HOLA, Aramis! What the devil are you doing there?" cried the two friends.

"Ah, is that you, d'Artagnan, and you, Athos?" said the young man. "I was reflecting upon the rapidity with which the blessings of this world leave us. My English horse, which has just disappeared amid a cloud of dust, has furnished me with a living image of the fragility of the things of the earth. Life itself may be resolved into three words: ERAT, EST, FUIT."

"Which means--" said d'Artagnan, who began to suspect the truth.

"Which means that I have just been duped-sixty louis for a horse which by the manner of his gait can do at least five leagues an hour."

One Hundred Years Of Solitude

Taciturn, silent, insensible to the new breath of vitality that was shaking the house, Colonel Aureliano Buendía could understand only that the secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude. He would get up at five in the morning after a light sleep, have his eternal mug of bitter coffee in the kitchen, shut himself up all day in the workshop, and at four in the afternoon he would go along the porch dragging a stool, not even noticing the fire of the rose bushes or the brightness of the hour or the persistence of Amaranta, whose melancholy made the noise of a boiling pot, which was perfectly perceptible at dusk, and he would sit in the street door as long as the mosquitoes would allow him to.

New York Mining Disaster

A poet might die at twenty-one, a revolutionary or a rock star at twenty-four. But after that you assume everything's going to be all right. You've made it past Dead Man's Curve and you're out of the tunnel, cruising straight for your destination down a six-lane highway—whether you want to be or not. You get your hair cut; every morning you shave. You aren't a poet anymore, or a revolutionary or a rock star. You don't pass out drunk in phone booths or blast out the Doors at four in the morning. Instead, you buy life insurance from your friend's company, drink in hotel bars, and hold on to your dental bills for tax deductions. At twenty-eight, that's normal.