The 13 Clocks by James Thurber


“He wore an indescribable hat, his eyes were wide and astonished, as if everything were happening for the first time, and he had a dark, describable beard.”

“The brambles and the thorns grew thick and thicker in a ticking thicket of bickering crickets. Farther along and stronger, bonged the gongs of a throng of frogs, green and vivid on their lily pads. From the sky came the crying of flies, and the pilgrims leaped over a bleating sheep creeping knee-deep in a sleepy stream, in which swift and slippery snakes slid and slithered silkily, whispering sinful secrets.”

“Something very much like nothing anyone had ever seen before came trotting down the stairs and crossed the room. ‘What is that?’ the Duke asked, palely. ‘I don’t know what it is,’ said Hark, ‘but it’s the only one there ever was.'”

some quotes I loved from Thurber’s The 13 Clocks

Henri Duchemin and His Shadows by Emmanuel Bove


“She had the white, unattractive skin of women who never blush.”

“I prefer English gardens to French gardens. It’s not that order and harmony are distasteful to me, nor that the imitation of nature delights me. I simply like not knowing exactly where I am. English gardens are mysterious with their waterfalls and secret alleyways. Though you quickly end up where you began, for a few moments you have the wonderful illusion of being lost. Most of all, you don’t have to walk across vast open spaces where so many people look at you.”

“I was so on edge that, although I was not laughing, my face was contracted as if I were.”

“They were black, the way all birds are in the late afternoon.”

“As for my gaze, even though it was full of compassion, I felt it was not honest. As hard as I tried to open my eyes wide to see more clearly, it was hopeless.”

some quotes I loved from Bove’s stories

One Hundred Poems from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth


[on pivot words] “The word matsu, for example, is often used in the sense of ‘pine’ and ‘long for’ exactly as in the English ‘pine’ and ‘pine.’ Naku is  used in the double sense of ‘cry’ and ‘without.'”

“Classical Japanese poetry is read in a slow drone, usually a low falsetto; that is, the voice is kept lower and more resonant than its normal pitch, with equal time and stress on each syllable.”

[on “Murasaki”] “Roughly it means ‘purple’ or purple-dyed.’ Actually it is the name of the Lithospermum erythromrhizon, a purple rooted plant of the borage or forget-me-not family. A related species is called ‘puccoon’ in the USA, and was once used as a rather fugitive dye.”

some interesting information from the intro to Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Japanese

The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr


“[Higginson] quickly learned that Dickinson’s desire in composing poems resembled that of a scrupulous gardener cultivating new plants: she wanted them to be vital, symmetrical, well-established, and likely to survive.”

“Todd called the manuscripts ‘fascicles,’ a nineteenth-century synonym for bunches of flowers”

“The extent to which gardening was honored among nineteenth-century creative artists is illustrated  by the fact that a distraught, impoverished, but flower-loving Edgar A. Poe regularly weeded the cramped grounds of his Fordham cottage–his only wholesome entertainment while is teenage wife Virginia lay dying.”

some interesting information I found in Farr’s The Gardens of Emily Dickinson

Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki


“Ichimura is known as ‘puppet-town,’ and its theater goes back, one hardly knows how many centuries, to a certain court nobleman who was banished from Kyoto and came to live in Ichimura, and who in his boredom with country life took to making puppets and to manipulating them for his own amusement. The famous Aawaji Gennojo family descends from him, it is said.”

“With the heart of Kyoto changing so rapidly, one has to go to Wakayama, Sakai, Himeji, Nishinomiya, to find the old cities as they have always been.”

“A pure white bath or toilet is a piece of Western foolishness. It matters little, you may say, because no one is around to see, but a device that sets your own sewage out in front of your eyes is highly offensive to good taste. How much more proper to dispose of it modestly in as dark and out-of-the-way a corner as you can find.”

some quotes I enjoyed from Tanizaki’s Some Prefer Nettles

Dandelions by Yasunari Kawabata


“Can you imagine a baby being so adorable, so utterly adorable that you just keep staring and staring until it dissolves away, and you don’t see it anymore?” asked Kuno.

“To enter the Buddha world is easy; to enter the world of demons is difficult.” (Ikkyu)

“You used to feel sorry for the camellia blossoms when they dropped, so you would gather them up. Put them in envelopes, between the pages of a book. I never once saw you sweep the flowers up and throw them away.”

some quotes I loved from Dandelions, the unfinished novel by Kawabata

Château d’Argol by Julien Gracq

chateau dargol

“So many curious tastes enjoyed in common, ritualistic perversions of a language of their own, mutually taught, ideas fashioned by the repeated shock of their rapier-like minds, signals given by an inflection of the voice too often exchanged, a reference to a book, a melody, a name bringing with it a whole throng of common recollections, had in the end created between them a dangerous, intoxicating, vibratile atmosphere, dissipated and reborn by their contact like the withdrawal and approach of the plates of an electric condenser.”

“But in all this an initiated mind would see only a refinement of fate which lavished these treacherous consolations upon them just as wine is mixed with aromatic spices to fortify bodies under torture, in order to intensify the sharpness of fresh torments and make the victim feel to the full the excruciating bliss.”

some quotes I enjoyed from Château d’Argol by Gracq


An Illustrated Dictionary of Japanese Onomatopoeic Expressions by Taro Gomi

An Illustrated Dictionary of Japanese Onomatopoeic Expressions

“This dictionary covers only those expressions that are formed by repeating the same sound twice, such as ijiiji and appuappu. In Japanese such words are called kasanekotoba (repeated words).”

uja uja: Describes many small things gathered together and moving, such as a swarm of insects or a crowd of people seen from a distance.”

uzu uzu: Describes someone itching to do something”

gami gami: Describes someone nagging. Griping.”

gun gun: Describes something progressing or growing very rapidly.”

wan wan: Describes a dog’s bark. Bowwow. A child’s word for dog. *Incidentally, a cat mews nya nya, a cow moos mo mo, a pig oinks bu bu, a goat bleat me me, a crow caws ka ka, a sparrow tweets chun chun, and a frog croaks kero kero…”

some info I liked from Taro Gomi’s book on Japanese onomatopoeia 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”

“… and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”

“Absorbed in the new life he was entering upon, intoxicated with the sparkle, the ripple, the scents and the sounds and the sunlight, he trailed a paw in the water and dreamed long waking dreams.”

some quotes I loved from The Wind in the Willows