"Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition. At first, the victim of excusitis knows his alibi is more or less a lie. But the more frequently he repeats it, the more convinced he becomes that it is completely true, that the alibi is the real reason for his not being the success he should be."

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

"'Nobody can stay in the garden of Eden,' Jacques said. And then: 'I wonder why.'...I have thought about Jacques' question since. The question is banal but one of the real troubles with living is that living is so banal."

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

"...stunned by how much he wants her now, so much of her, a quantity of woman nearly equal, if it were possible, to his need to possess it, physically, in every way imaginable. Though in fact at this moment that need seems infinite."

All That Man Is by David Szalay

"I felt suddenly older, even as the puma also, in her effect on me, made me more like a very young human in one particular way, which was that all the banal (or not) objects and experiences around me were reenchanted."

Little Labors by Rivka Galchen

"This is not what we want; there is nothing more tedious, puerile and inhumane than this; yet it is also beautiful and necessary."

To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf

"Human history, Glover contends, can be thought of as a contest between cruelty and compassion."

Born to be Good by Dacher Keltner

"He concentrated not only on the objects themselves but also, critically, on the atmosphere that surrounded them, the erratically shifting phantoms of light and color that he called the enveloppe...But freezing the appearance of objects...was no easy task. 'I am chasing a dream,' he admitted in 1895. 'I want the impossible.'" 

Mad Enchantment by Ross King

"Why have the confessions of a Norwegian Everyman become a literary phenomenon? The arrival of My Struggle has coincided with a growing intolerance, expressed more by writers and critics than by average readers, towards the shapely, plot-led, made-up novel, and the made-up American novel in particular."

My Struggle 3: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

"But this was the idea that had led to the systematised existence we had now, where unpredictability had vanished and you could go from nursery to school to university and into working life as if it were a tunnel, convinced that your choices had been made of your own free will, while in reality you had been sieved through like grains of sand right from your first school day."

My Struggle 2: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

"Toronto's skyline has literally come to resemble a series of nondescript columnar extrusions, much like the ones that characterize a Microsoft Excel grid. Effectively, we are building spreadsheets in the sky."

Rise and Sprawl by Hans Ibelings and Partisans