Tag Archives: Fiction

Ulysses by James Joyce


  1. Ulysses is about a day in the life of Leopold Bloom in Dublin on June 16, 1904

Key Takeaways

  1. Wikipedia does a better job summarizing the book and its major themes than I could. 

What I got out of it

  1. A fun read before a trip to Ireland. I found it a bit hard to get into at times but it was really enjoyable

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman


  1. A variety of short stories about life, death, the afterlife, divinity, and much more. 

Key Takeaways

  1. n/a

What I got out of it

  1. A very fun book with a bunch of short stories about the after life. Gets you to think and look differently, gaining some new perspectives

Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

  1. The discovery of the Second Foundation and its impact on the Foundation and its citizens is played out
Key Takeaways
  1. The Mule is searching for the elusive Second Foundation with the intent of destroying it. The Second Foundation is far more powerful than The Mule expected. A leader of the Second Foundation, the First Speaker of the Second Foundation, telepathically modifies the Mule to make him not care about finding the Second Foundation.
  2. A few decades after the Mule’s death by natural causes, the members of the First Foundation are now fully aware that the Second Foundation is out there. The Foundation has an ongoing conflict with the Mule’s former imperial capital at Kalgan and the ensuing war is won by the Foundation
  3. After inventing a “Mind Static device” that jams telepathic abilities while simultaneously causing telepaths great pain, the Foundation finds and locates telepaths on Terminus, “at the other end of the galaxy” from the first Foundation, also at Terminus, since, as Arcadia puts it, “a circle has no end.” Thus, they declare the Second Foundation destroyed after finding roughly 50 “mentalic” agents on Terminus.
  4. The Second Foundation was actually located on Trantor, at the center of the galaxy. It was called Star’s End due to the ancient saying, “All roads lead to Trantor, and that is where all stars end.” The location was also said to fit the “other end of the galaxy” location, since the galaxy is, in fact, not a disc, but a double spiral–and from the edge, the other end of the spiral lies at the center.
What I got out of it
  1. Really enjoyed this series and would recommend to anyone who enjoys space, travel, sci-fi

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

  1. The series is about the people on these many different worlds who are all part of the ride towards the Second foundation and their worlds, lives, victories, and losses.
Key Takeaways
  1. Hari Seldon foresaw the fall of the Empire and to try to lessen the time of destruction and darkness, created two Foundations – one at each end of the Galaxy. The two would eventually merge, creating a new, stronger Foundation – the Second Foundation.
  2. Bel Riose is a soldier who only likes fighting for the Empire and travels the Galaxy in search of worlds to conquer. He finds little resistance and claims new planets for the Empire, but is told that Seldon’s Plan predicts that the Empire will not succeed. The Emperor of the Empire, Cleon II, fears that Riose is amassing troops for a civil war to overthrow the throne and hauls him home to be executed. Riose is stopped, and the Foundation “wins,” making Seldon’s prediction true
  3. The next “Seldon Crisis” occurs a century later when a scientist named Ebling Mis figures the date of Seldon’s next prediction. Seldon’s prediction includes the advice to “compromise” with the Traders who are currently in an uprising against the Foundation. A member of the Traders, Randu, is present and admits that the Traders had planned a revolt but were sidetracked when the Mule began attacking the Empire and the Foundation. As it became evident that the Mule was succeeding in his quest for Galaxy domination, the Traders put their resources into fighting the Mule instead. No sooner do the people realize that Seldon’s prediction is true than the Mule attacks Trantor where they are gathered to hear the prediction. The Mule is a mutant, able to control emotions. His forces seldom have to do battle as the Mule transfers a sense of helplessness onto the people, which causes them to typically give up without a fight.
  4. Upon a request from his father and uncle, Toran and Bayta travel to the resort planet, Kalgan, where they are to search for the Mule in an effort to join his forces with those of the Traders against the Foundation. They believe their quest fails though they take in Magnifico, a clown who was once an entertainer for the Mule. They will later learn that Magnifico is actually the Mule and that he hopes they, along with Mis, will discover the location of the hidden Second Empire so that he can defeat it and rule the Galaxy.
  5. Bayta finally puts it together, realizing that they narrowly escaped several times when the Mule’s forces were near, and that it was simply too much of a coincidence to be believed. She kills Mis before he can reveal the location of the Second Foundation and says that she’s figured out that Magnifico and the Mule are one and the same. It’s then that the Mule says that he hasn’t interfered with Bayta’s mind, because she liked him without his interference and that he relished that novelty. Because of that, he didn’t realize her intentions before she killed Mis, eliminating the possibility of the Mule finding the location of the Second Foundation from the scientist. Vowing to travel until he locates it, Magnifico leaves Bayta and Toran unharmed
What I got out of it
  1. Really fun book that I enjoyed reading

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

  1. Gaal Dornick travels to the Galactic Empire’s capital to work with Hari Seldon on a branch of mathematics called psychohistory. Seldon predicts that the all powerful Galactic Empire will fall in three centuries, bringing with it a Dark Age
Key Takeaways
  1. The Encyclopedists – the mayor of the first Foundation, Salvor Hardin tries to convince his Board of Trustees that running the planet is more important than completing Seldon’s Encyclopedia Galactic. Hardin plans to overthrow the leadership when he receives a message from Seldon appears, revealing that the encyclopedia was a trick and Hardin has to take over the Foundation and fulfill Seldon’s real plan.
  2. The Mayors – a political group called the Action party has risen to power and is trying to impeach Hardin. Hardin outmaneuvers his enemies by convincing them that the Foundation’s religious group doesn’t support the war
  3. The Traders – Limmar Ponyets is sent to rescue Eskel Gorov and decides to trade gold instead of technology. He invents a transmutation machine and trades Eskel in exchange for the machine. Ponyets  recorded the exchange and blackmails Pherl into letting them walk away with treasures
  4. The Merchant Princes – Hober Mallow heads to Korell to investigate some missing ships but ends up establishing trade with the planet. After visiting Siwenna, Mallow returns to the Foundation, is tried for and cleared of the death of the religious missionary, and elected mayor. Korell later attacks the Foundation but Mallow anticipated this and made Korell so dependent on the Foundation that Korell’s economy collapses and the Foundation wins the war without even trying.
What I got out of it
  1. A brilliant, fun read which is hard to believe Asimov wrote up over 60 years ago

Ask the Dust by John Fante

  1. Arturo Bandini narrates his life and struggles as a writer in LA
Key Takeaways
  1. Los Angeles, give me some of you! Los Angeles come to me the way I came to you, my feet over your streets, you pretty town I loved you so much, you sad flower in the sand, you pretty town.
  2. “I just got a letter from my agent,” I told her. “My agent in New York. He says I sold another one; he doesn’t say where, but he says he’s got one sold. So don’t worry Mrs. Hargraves, don’t you fret, I’ll have it in a day or so.” But she couldn’t believe a liar like me. It wasn’t really a lie; it was a wish, not a lie, and maybe it wasn’t even a wish, maybe it was a fact, and the only way to find out was watch the mailman, watch him closely, check his mail as he laid it on the desk in the lobby, ask him point blank if he had anything for Bandini. But I didn’t have to ask after six months at that hotel. He saw me coming and he always nodded yes or no before I asked: no, three million times; yes, once.
  3. Oh for a Mexican girl! I used to think of her all the time, my Mexican girl. I didn’t have one, but the streets were full of them, the Plaza and Chinatown were afire with them, and in my fashion they were mine, this one and that one, and some day when another check came it would be a fact. Meanwhile it was free and they were Aztec princesses and Mayan princesses, the peon girls in the Grand Central Market, in the Church of Our Lady, and I even went to Mass to look at them.
  4. The lean days of determination. That was the word for it, determination: Arturo Bandini in front of his typewriter two full days in succession, determined to succeed; but it didn’t work, the longest siege of hard and fast determination in his life, and not one line done, only two words written over and over across the page, up and down, the same words: palm tree, palm tree, palm tree, a battle to the death between the palm tree and me, and the palm tree won: see it out there swaying in the blue air, creaking sweetly in the blue air.
  5. I was twenty then. What the hell, I used to say, take your time, Bandini. You got ten years to write a book, so take it easy, get out and learn about life, walk the streets. That’s your trouble: your ignorance of life. Why, my God, man, do you realize you’ve never had any experience with a woman? Oh yes I have, oh I’ve had plenty. Oh no you haven’t. You need a woman, you need a bath, you need a good swift kick, you need money.
  6. Ten dollars: it will pay the rent for two and a half weeks, it will buy me three pairs of shoes, two pair of pants, or one thousand postage stamps to send material to the editors; indeed! But you haven’t any material, your talent is dubious, your talent is pitiful, you haven’t any talent, and stop lying to yourself day after day because you know The Little Dog Laughed is no good, and it will always be no good.
  7. Here was the Church of Our Lady, very old, the adobe blackened with age. For sentimental reasons I will go inside. For sentimental reasons only. I have not read Lenin, but I have heard him quoted, religion is the opium of the people. Talking to myself on the church steps: yeah, the opium of the people. Myself, I am an atheist: I have read The Anti-Christ and I regard it as a capital piece of work. I believe in the transvaluation of values, Sir. The Church must go, it is the haven of the booboisie, of boobs and bounders and all brummagem mountebanks.
  8. A prayer. Sure, one prayer: for sentimental reasons. Almighty God, I am sorry I am now an atheist, but have You read Nietzsche? Ah, such a book!
  9. Bandini (being interviewed prior to departure for Sweden): “My advice to all young writers is quite simple. I would caution them never to evade a new experience. I would urge them to live life in the raw, to grapple with it bravely, to attack it with naked fists.”
  10. An interesting innovation, peaches and oranges. My teeth tore them to pulp, the juices skewering and whimpering at the bottom of my stomach. It was so sad down there in my stomach. There was much weeping, and little gloomy clouds of gas pinched my heart.
  11. My plight drove me to the typewriter. I sat before it, overwhelmed with grief for Arturo Bandini. Sometimes an idea floated harmlessly through the room. It was like a small white bird. It meant no ill-will. It only wanted to help me, dear little bird. But I would strike at it, hammer it out across the keyboard, and it would die on my hands.
  12. When I got back to my room I threw myself on the bed and wept from deep inside my chest. I let it flow from every part of me, and after I could not cry anymore I felt fine again. I felt truthful and clean.
  13. There was a letter from Hackmuth in my box. I knew it was from Hackmuth. I could tell a Hackmuth letter a mile away. I could feel a Hackmuth letter, and it felt like an icicle sliding down my spine.
  14. Ah, Evelyn and Vivian, I love you both, I love you for your sad lives, the empty misery of your coming home at dawn. You too are alone, but you are not like Arturo Bandini, who is neither fish, fowl nor good red herring. So have your champagne, because I love you both, and you, too Vivian, even if your mouth looks like it had been dug out with raw fingernails and your old child’s eyes swim in blood written like mad sonnets.
  15. Something was wrong with her and it was not alcohol and I wanted to find out what it was.
  16. Vera Rivken, Arturo Bandini. It was not meant that way: it was never meant that way. I was wrong. I had committed a mortal sin. I could figure it mathematically, philosophically, psychologically: I could prove it a dozen ways, but I was wrong, for there was no denying the warm even rhythm of my guilt. Sick in my soul I tried to face the ordeal of seeking forgiveness. From whom? What God, what Christ? They were myths I once believed, and now they were beliefs I felt were myths.
What I got out of it
  1. Ryan Holiday recommended this book as it is one of his favorites about Los Angeles and having just moved here wanted to see what it was all about it. Great story and so beautifully written

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

  1. Don Quixote is obsessed with what he has read about chivalry and decides to go on a knight’s errand with Sancho Panza to take on the evil and wicked
Key Takeaways
  1. Don Quixote seems like a buffoon at times and at others spouts great wisdom. Sancho is there to help him out and be his foil
  2. The book ends with Don Quixote dying and the knight’s errand ending. This was meant to show the death of chivalry in the world
What I got out of it
  1. Funny book at times but dragged out and long. Interesting narration at times and dives into worth and wealth, honor, romance and more

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

  1. A bitter satire aimed at the oppressive Stalin-era Russian regime of the 1930’s. It intricately interweaves three stories which help highlight and satirize the difficult and often hypocritical situations Russians of this era had to live with
Key Takeaways
  1. Manuscripts don’t burn – “an absolute trust in the triumph of poetry, imagination, the free wore, over terror and oppression
  2. Cowardice is the most terrible of vices – “touched the inner experience of generations of Russians
  3. “Bulgakov’ gentle irony is a warning against the mistake, more common in our time than we might think, of equating artistic mastery with a sort of saintliness, or, in Kierkegaard’s terms, of confusing the aesthetic with the ethical.” – from intro
  4. “Once terror is identified with the world, it becomes invisible. Bulgakov’s portrayal of Moscow under Stalin’s terror is remarkable precisely for its weightless, circus-like theatricality and lack of pathos.”
  5. He [Pontius] waited for some time, knowing that no power could silence the crowd before it exhaled all that was pent up in it and fell silent of itself
  6. And here Styopa’s thoughts began running on twin tracks, but, as always happens in times of catastrophe, in the same direction, and, generally, the devil knows where
  7. The findirector’s position was very difficult. It was necessary at once, right on the spot, to invent ordinary explanations for extraordinary phenomena
  8. …fact is the most stubborn thing in the world
  9. She had a passion for anyone who did something top-notch
  10. ‘That’s the way!’ ‘That’s the way!’ Woland’s retinue repeated like an echo. ‘We’ve been testing you, said Woland. ‘Never ask for anything! Never for anything, and especially from those who are stronger than you. They’ll make the offer themselves, and give everything themselves.
  11. ‘Listen to the stillness,’ Margarita said to the Master, and the sand rustled under her bare feet, ‘listen and enjoy what you were not given in life – Peace. Look, there ahead is your eternal home, which you have been given as a reward. I can already see the Venetian window and the Reising vibe, it climbs right up to the roof. Here is your home, your eternal home. I know that in evenings you will be visited by those you love, those who interest you and who will never trouble you…you will fall asleep, having a smile on your lips. Sleep will strengthen you, you will reason wisely. And you will no longer be able to drive me away. I will watch over your sleep.’
What I got out of it
  1. I had to go and read an analysis of the book after I finished to pick up a lot of the nuances, allegories and satire that Bulgakov interwove. However, this novel was a fun and worthwhile read and the analysis only made it that much richer

The Source by James Michener

  1. A historical novel by Michener is a survey of the Jewish people and the land of Israel from pre-history to the birth of Israel
Key Takeaways
  1. that work, productive work, is the salvation of man, and especially of the Jew.
  2. Symphonies and cathedrals are not built by the children of upper-middle-class families. They’re built by the units we saw tonight. You need these people very much, Cullinane, but we can’t spare them and you’re too frightened to take them.”
  3. But the fear which the family was now discovering was of another kind: it sprang from the slow-maturing apprehension regarding the relationship of man to his world, the gnawing suspicion that perhaps things were not so simple as they seemed on this average autumn day when ripening grain hid in the stalks and a rumor of deer echoed in the forest.
  4. it was a rule of life that the Family of Ur was discovering: the more committed a family becomes to a given project, the more vulnerable it also becomes. Having partially conquered nature, they were now a prey to it.
  5. It was instructive and accurate to imagine earliest man as living for most of his first two million years within an insulation of stupidity, not fully differentiating himself from the physical world, the spiritual world, or the world of the other sentient animals.
  6. A woman requires jewelry as a man requires food. Still, he thought, it was remarkable and a mystery not yet explained why contemporary men, who could watch the birds and animals and see that it was the male who was gaudy in decoration, had decided that among human beings this fundamental law should be reversed.
  7. The beauty of this new device was that its curved tip sought out the stalks of wheat and brought them to the cutting edge, as if a man’s arm had been extended enormously. Entire families from the cave came to stand and watch enviously as the boy’s mother swung her arm in extensive circles, gathering the wheat to her and cutting it with an unbroken motion. It was miraculous.
    1. NOTE: the raw power of technology. man is a tool building creature
  1. And the anguish that Ur knew that night—the mystery of death, the triumph of evil, the terrible loneliness of being alone, the discovery that self of itself is insufficient—is the anxiety that torments the world to this day.
  2. She was reluctant to think that the moral structure of a town could determine the kind of people who lived therein, but that appeared to be the case.
  3. “El has no home, for he is everywhere.” This simple idea reached Timna’s inquisitive mind like sunshine after storm, like a rainbow after a fall of cold rain. She recognized Joktan’s explanation as the concept she had been groping for: a solitary god of no form, residing in no monolith, with no specific voice.
  4. For the past three thousand years copper tools had been known in these regions, and at least two thousand years ago smithies in the towns had discovered that if they mixed one part of tin to nine parts of copper they could produce bronze, which was harder than either of the original component metals used alone.
  5. He was a most difficult god to understand. He was incorporeal, yet he spoke. He was invisible, yet he could move as a pillar of fire. He was all-powerful, yet he tolerated the lesser gods of the Canaanites. He controlled the lives of men, yet he encouraged them to exercise their own judgment. He was benevolent, yet he could command the extinction of an entire town—as he had done with the town of Timri when Zadok had been a child of seven. He lived in all places, yet he was peculiarly the god of this one group of Hebrews. He was a jealous god, yet he allowed non-Hebrews to worship whatever lesser gods they pleased.
  6. Reliance upon El-Shaddai, the unseen, the unknown, was a religion requiring the most exquisite faith, for at no point in their lives could these lonely travelers be sure;
  7. The Hebrews insisted upon the circumcision of their men for a logical reason: it not only formed a covenant between the man and El-Shaddai, an unbreakable allegiance whose mark remained forever, but it also had the practical value of indicating without question or quibble the fact that the man so marked was a Hebrew. In war against the uncircumcised the coward might want to run away and later on deny that he had been a Hebrew. His captors had only to inspect him to prove he was a liar, so the circumcised man had better fight to the death because for him there was no masking his identity.
  8. Deuteronomy was a living book and to the living Jew it had contemporary force.
  9. Makor now contained more than one hundred and eighty houses and the greatest internal population it would know—nearly fourteen hundred persons. Another five hundred farmers lived outside the walls, which were broken by two large gates built of oak imported from Tyre.
    1. NOTE: reminds me of my recent trip to fort city Jaisalmer
  1. The Hebrews, on the other hand, beginning with the same god having the same attributes, had freed him of limiting characteristics, launching a process that would ultimately transform him into an infinite god of infinite power. Each modification the Hebrews introduced in the desert years intensified the abstract powers of El. They called him Elohim, all the gods; or Elyon, the most high; or El-Shaddai, the god almighty. And soon they would end by dropping the El altogether and calling him by no name at all, representing him only by the mysterious, unpronounceable letters YHWH, whereupon his transformation would be complete. But later generations would back away from the austere Hebrew apotheosis and would once more give him a name: God.
  2. The complaisant town of Makor with its amiable gods could never have produced Yahweh; that transformation required the captivity in Egypt, the conflict with the Pharaohs, the exodus, the years of hunger and thirst in the desert, the longing for a settled home and the spiritual yearning for a known god … these were the things required for the forging of Yahweh.
  3. Most of all, he could see that Greek life centered on the temple of Zeus, which no one took seriously, and on the gymnasium, which everyone did, whereas the Jews clung to their plain old synagogue; but he did not appreciate the fact that these differences were fundamental.
  4. “Wisdom is still the only thing, if with wisdom you also get understanding.”
  5. Thus the greatest of gods was called YHWH, which had no pronunciation; he was known to ordinary Jews as Adonai, which was purely arbitrary; and he would conquer the world as Jehovah, a name which had never belonged to him or to anything else.
  6. Men who had never played games would not have recognized this smile, but anyone who, like the gymnasiarch, had engaged in athletic contests most of his life would observe it with respect, because it was from such self-confidence that victory was built.
  7. When I was your age I fought like a warrior, but I also studied and the time came when the empire needed a governor, and I was chosen. But I had won the office long before.
  8. “We must be prudent, for he that is slow to anger is stronger than the mighty, and he who controls his temper is more powerful than he who rules a city.”
  9. It is ironic that I should now be imprisoned in this temple, but if it is true that each man in this life builds his own prison, and inhabits it the way crawling fish inhabit shells along the beach at Caesarea, then I have built for myself an exquisite jail, exactly suited to the kind of man I have always wanted to be.
  10. “A man is never old if he can still be moved emotionally by a woman of his own age.”
  11. “Where do these Jews find their arrogance?” “They’ve always been stubborn,” Trajan said. “They want few things, but those few they insist upon.”
  12. began a sequence of events which, involving
  13. “You children may live your lives as slaves in some far country,” he said with little outward emotion, “and it may be difficult for you to remain Jews. But if you remember only two things it will be easy to be faithful. There is but one God. He has no assistants, no separations, no form, no personality. He is God, one and alone. The second thing never to forget is that God has chosen Israel for special duties and responsibilities. Perform them well.”
  14. “Deal leniently with others but strictly with yourself.”
  15. For what the rabbis were doing, in part consciously and in part unconsciously, was to create a body of law that would bind the Jews together as they went into exile to the Diaspora.
  16. Without a homeland the Jews would live within their law and become a nation mightier than those which had oppressed them.
  17. Gentiles, observing their homelessness, would construct the myth of the Wandering Jew, but in reality this phrase was meaningless, for no matter where the Jew wandered, if he took with him the Talmud he was home.
  18. A man who laughs is more to be cherished than one who weeps; a woman who sings, than one who wails. And God is very close to the child who dances for reasons which he cannot explain.”
  19. Humbly the Roman asked, ‘Then what is the law?’ And Gimzo said quietly, ‘It’s doing the best we can to ascertain God’s intention, for there were indeed two men on a roof, and they did climb down the same chimney. The first man emerged completely clean while it was the second who was covered with soot, and neither man washed his face, because you forgot to ask me whether there was any water in the basin. There was none.’
  20. And Menahem, who at twenty-five had been driven to consider truth for himself, threw back what would become the timeless answer of the Christian: “God intended salvation to be within the reach of anyone: even me.
  21. “The money we’ll find somehow,” he promised, and John experienced what he had not known before: men who loved beauty as an enhancement of life.
  22. He stopped and buried his face in his hands, like an animal that has been wounded from an unknown quarter, and he knew then that he would never be free to leave Makor, since he was now as firmly bound to the basilica as he had been to the synagogue, for when a man builds a place of worship he walls himself inside.
  23. The difference between Christian law and Jewish would be this: to enforce their law the Jews, who would never be in supreme political control, would be limited to public opinion including such punishments as ostracism, as great minds like Baruch Spinoza would discover; but the Christians, to enforce theirs, would be free, since they would enjoy supreme power, to use strangulation, burning and the extirpation of entire provinces.
  24. The destruction could not be halted, for the hatred of the imperial troops was directed against abstract ideas: not Jews but the places where they worshiped, the homes where they lived.
  25. For the Prophet had said that when God created men he lifted dust from all parts of the earth, and some was black and some red and some white, but all men were made of that dust and all were therefore brothers.
  26. And so as Muslim troops approached from the east on that mighty conquest which would terminate the power of Byzantium in the Galilee, the citizens of that contentious area continued their bitter arguments over the nature of Christ, not realizing that they were engaged in an extension of the same argument that had agitated Makor in the days when the young Jew Menahem ben Yohanan joined the new church as Mark, and the debate was no more trivial now than it had been then: it was an effort to build a base from which Christianity could conquer the world. If one considered Jesus to be all man, His divinity was rendered meaningless, while the miracle of Mary as the Mother of God vanished; on the other hand, if one argued that He was all God, the significance of human redemption was diminished and the crucifixion could be interpreted merely as a device adopted by God to prove a point: no human suffering or agony need be involved. However, if a concept of Jesus could be evolved whereby His substance, His nature and His will could all be accepted as both divine and human, then Christianity would have acquired a subtle unifying principle upon which enormous structures of faith and philosophies of life could be built.
  1. “If a man asks for fifteen pieces, give him sixteen … if you expect to do business with him again.”
What I got out of it
  1. A pretty good book which gives a lot of great historical context in a fictional setting in a way only Michener can do

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

  1. A story based in India which unfolds while the conflict between Russia and Britain unfolds in Central Asia
Key Takeaways
  1. All India is full of holy men stammering gospels in strange tongues; shaken and consumed in the fires of their own zeal; dreamers, babblers, and visionaries: as it has been from the beginning and will continue to the end.
  2. ‘Give a woman an old wife’s tale and a weaver-bird a leaf and a thread, they will weave wonderful things,’ said the Sikh.
  3. ‘There is no pride,’ said the lama, after a pause, ‘there is no pride among such as follow the Middle Way.’
  4. “Abide a little and the wind turns.
  5. ‘Let the Gods order it. I have never pestered Them with prayers. I do not think They will pester me. Look you, I have noticed in my long life that those who eternally break in upon Those Above with complaints and reports and bellowings and weepings are presently sent for in haste, as our Colonel used to send for slack-jawed down-country men who talked too much. No, I have never wearied the Gods. They will remember this, and give me a quiet place where I can drive my lance in the shade, and wait to welcome my sons:
  6. Many wear the Robe, but few keep the Way.’
  7. ‘But why not sit and rest?’ said one of the escort. ‘Only the devils and the English walk to and fro without reason.’
  8. ‘What is to do now?’ ‘Wait. Let us wait.’
  9. ‘Never speak to a white man till he is fed,’ said Kim, quoting a well-known proverb.
  10. ‘That is not well. These men follow desire and come to emptiness. Thou must not be of their sort.’
  11. Injia’s a wild land for a God-fearin’ man.
  12. We can only walk one step at a time in this world, praise God!
  13. Trousers and jacket crippled body and mind alike, so he abandoned the project and fell back, Oriental-fashion, on time and chance.
  14. ‘The more one knows about natives the less can one say what they will or won’t do.’
  15. ‘As regards that young horse,’ said Mahbub, ‘I say that when a colt is born to be a polo-pony, closely following the ball without teaching—when such a colt knows the game by divination—then I say it is a great wrong to break that colt to a heavy cart, Sahib!’
  16. No man could be a fool who knew the language so intimately, who moved so gently and silently, and whose eyes were so different from the dull fat eyes of other Sahibs.
  17. ‘Yes, and thou must learn how to make pictures of roads and mountains and rivers—to carry these pictures in thine eye till a suitable time comes to set them upon paper.
  18. I know the price that will be paid for the answer, but I do not know why the question is asked.’
  19. Their pay was cut for ignorance. There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.’
  20. ‘Much is gained by forgetting, little brother,’
  21. ‘Men are like horses. At certain times they need salt, and if that salt is not in the mangers they will lick it up from the earth.
  22. ‘Learn first—teach later,’ said Lurgan Sahib. ‘Is he thy master?’ ‘Truly. But how is it done?’ ‘By doing it many times over till it is done perfectly—for it is worth doing.’
  23. Lurgan Sahib had a hawk’s eye to detect the least flaw in the make-up; and lying on a worn teak-wood couch, would explain by the half-hour together how such and such a caste talked, or walked, or coughed, or spat, or sneezed, and, since ‘hows’ matter little in this world, the ‘why’ of everything.
  24. ‘There is no holding the young pony from the game,’ said the horse-dealer when the Colonel pointed out that vagabonding over India in holiday time was absurd. ‘If permission be refused to go and come as he chooses, he will make light of the refusal. Then who is to catch him? Colonel Sahib, only once in a thousand years is a horse born so well fitted for the game as this our colt. And we need men.
What I got out of it
  1. Read it to prepare for India but stopped half way through. Didn’t feel it was worth the commitment