Maria Popova On Chance and Choice

Maria Popova (July 28, 1984 -) Chance and choice converge to make us who we are, and although we may mistake chance for choice, our choices are the cobblestones, hard and uneven, that pave our destiny. They are ultimately all we can answer for and point to in the architecture of our character.

Carl Edward Sagan On Expectations

Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) Once we leave those domains of human experience, there’s no reason to expect the laws of nature to continue to obey our expectations, since our expectations are dependent on a limited set of experiences.

Langston Hughes On Books

Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas.

New York Times On Existence

New York Times December 31, 1999 Even those of us who have not filled the bathtub with emergency water, withdrawn extra cash from the bank and stocked up on food will be entering the new millennium sobered by the awareness that unknown problems of our own making are an enduring part of existence.

Oliver Sacks On Thinking

Oliver Sacks (July 09, 1933 - August 30, 2015) I say I love writing but really it is thinking I love — the rush of thoughts — new connections in the brain being made. And it comes out of the blue…In such moments: I feel such love of the world, love of thinking.  

Naomi Shihab Nye On Poetry

Naomi Shihab Nye (March 12, 1952 -) To me the world of poetry is a house with thousands of glittering windows. Our words and images, land to land, era to era, shed light on one another. Our words dissolve the shadows we imagine fall between.

John Cheever On Living

John  Cheever (May 27, 1912 – June 18, 1982) But I awoke at three, feeling terribly sad, and feeling rebelliously that I didn't want to study sadness, madness, melancholy, and despair. I wanted to study triumphs, the rediscoveries of love, all that I know in the world to be decent, radiant, and clear.