The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything.

A book is a sneeze.

It is a miracle that New York 
works at all. The whole thing is 
implausible.

Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.

The best writing is rewriting.

All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.

Analyzing humor is like disecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

Why did you do this for me? I never did anything for you.

Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time.

Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think they will.

Tonight I heard Louis's horn. My father heard it, too. The wind was right, and I could hear the notes of taps, just as darkness fell. There is nothing in all the world I like better than the trumpet of the swan.

You goin' to get your deer? I am asked by every man I meet—and they all wait for an answer. My deer-slaying program is a matter of considerable local concern, much to my surprise. It is plain that I now reside in a friendly community of killers, and that until I open fire myself they cannot call me brother.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

In good time he was to discover that he was mistaken about Charlotte. Underneath her rather bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end.

The value of the liberal in the republic is not that he is logical but that he is inquisitive.

I find it very disturbing to be advertised, as I have noticed that it is the advertised authors that stink. I am pretty sure I am going to stink from now on, and it might just as well be in Harpers as anywhere else, I suppose. A writer is like a beanplant-he has his day and then he gets stringy.

The night seemed long. Wilbur's stomach was empty and his mind was full. And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep.

It is not possible to keep abreast of the normal tides of acquisition. A home is like a reservoir equipped with a check valve: the valve permits influx but prevents outflow.

And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep.

It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

I can still feel my old Ford nuzzling me at the curb, as though looking for an apple in my pocket.

I shall get up on Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness ... Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

The concern of a democracy is that no honest man shall feel uncomfortable, I don't care who he is, or how nutty he is.

Have you ever found anything that gives you relief?"... "Yes. A drink.

It is best to have a strong curiosity, weak affiliations.

A writer's style reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacites, his bias...it is the Self escaping into the open.

This story would seem to be for children, but I'm not fussy who reads it.

I don't understand it, and I don't like what I don't understand.

I discovered, though, that once having given a pig an enema, there is no turning back, no chance of resuming one of life's more stereotyped roles.

Familiarity is the thing—the sense of belonging. It grants exemption from all evil, all shabbiness. A farmer pauses in the doorway of his barn and he is wearing the right boots. A sheep stands under an apple tree and it wears the right look, and the tree is hung with puckered frozen fruit of the right color.

In the trees the night wind stirs, bringing the leaves to life, endowing them with speech; the electric lights illuminate the green branches from the under side, translating them into a new language.

I was sorry for her, as I am for any who are evicted from their haunts by the younger and stronger—always a sad occasion for man or beast.

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.

Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself - a lad of about 19.

Do not be afraid to seize whatever you have written and cut it to ribbons; it can always be restored to its original condition in the morning...remember, it is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is a common occurrence in all writing, and among the best writers.

At this season of the year, darkness is a more insistent thing than cold. The days are short as any dream.

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.

The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens. And I assure you that you can pick up more information when you are listening than when you are talking.

Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people-- people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

Reading is the work of the alert mind, is demanding, and under ideal conditions produces finally a sort of ecstasy.

I remember what it is like to be in love before any of love's complexities or realities or disturbances has entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

Semi-colons only prove that the author has been to college.

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon, a note of music, and the way the back of a baby's neck smells if it's mother keeps it tidy, answered Henry.

Life's accumulation is more discouraging than life itself, when stirred up.
The light strengthened, the mornings came sooner.