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Quotes of the day

Published Sunday, January 27, 2013 @ 2:42 AM EST
Jan 27 2013

Quotes of the day: John Updike
John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic.

Updike's most famous work is his Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series (the novels Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and the novella Rabbit Remembered), which chronicles Rabbit's life over the course of several decades, from young adulthood to his death. Both Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit At Rest (1990) received the Pulitzer Prize. Updike is one of only three authors (the others were Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner) to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. He published more than 20 novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children's books. Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems appeared in The New Yorker, starting in 1954. He also wrote regularly for The New York Review of Books.


A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience.

A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world.

All blessings are mixed blessings.

All men are boys time is trying to outsmart.

America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.

Any decent kind of world, you wouldn't need all these rules.

Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn.

Being naked approaches being revolutionary; going barefoot is mere populism.

Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face.

Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.

Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant. Of a teacher and a learner.

Facts are generally overesteemed. For most practical purposes, a thing is what men think it is.

From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.

Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.

Halfway isn't all the way, but it's better than no way.

I imagine most stuff on the information highway is road kill anyway.

I love my government not least for the extent to which it leaves me alone.

I secretly understood: the primitive appeal of the hearth. Television is- its irresistible charm- a fire.

If God didn't want us to eat salt and fat, why did He make them taste so good?

If society is the prison, families are the cells, with no time off for good behavior. Good behavior in fact tends to lengthen the sentence.

Life is a hill that gets steeper the more you climb.

Now that I am 60, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.

School is where you go between when your parents can't take you, and industry can't take you.

Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.

That a marriage ends is less than ideal; but all things end under heaven, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds.

The great thing about the dead, they make space.

The only way to get somewhere, you know, is to figure out where you're going before you go there.

Time is our element, not a mistaken invader.

Truth should not be forced; it should simply manifest itself, like a woman who has in her privacy reflected and coolly decided to bestow herself upon a certain man.

Vagueness and procrastination are ever a comfort to the frail in spirit.

We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.

We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable.

Weeds don't know they're weeds.

What more fiendish proof of cosmic irresponsibility than a Nature which, having invented sex as a way to mix genes, then permits to arise, amid all its perfumed and hypnotic inducements to mate, a tireless tribe of spirochetes and viruses that torture and kill us for following orders?

Whenever somebody tells me to do something my instinct's always to do the opposite. It's got me into a lot of trouble, but I've had a lot of fun.

Women are an alien race of pagans set down among us.

Yes, there is a ton of information on the web, but much of it is egregiously inaccurate, unedited, unattributed and juvenile.

You can't say anything honest to women, they have minds like the FBI.

Your children's losing battle with time seems even sadder than your own.

Categories: John Updike, Quotes of the day


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