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- I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign. I'm not lying. He got stuck up there. About nineteen people congregated during the time it took for Norman Strick to walk up to the Courthouse and blow the whistle for the volunteer fire department. They eventually did come with the ladder and haul him down, and he wasn't dead but lost his hearing and in many other ways was never the same afterward. They said he overfilled the tire.
- The Bean Trees (1988).
- A wife is the earth itself, changing hands, bearing scars.
- The Poisonwood Bible (1998).
- Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.
- Prodigal Summer (2000).
Animal Dreams (1990)
- The march of human progress seemed mainly a matter of getting over that initial shock of being here.
- At some point in my life I'd honestly hoped love would rescue me from the cold, drafty castle I lived in. But at another point, much earlier I think, I'd quietly begun to hope for nothing at all in the way of love, so as not to be disappointed. It works. It gets to be a habit.
- Codi Noline, Animal Dreams.
- He was wounded. I suppose some sharp thing in me wanted to sting him, for making me need him now. After he'd once cut me to the edge of what a soul will bear. But that was senseless.... I looked at this grown-up Loyd and tried to make sense of him, seeing clearly that he was too sweet to survive around me. I would go to my grave expecting the weapon in the empty hand.
- Codi Noline, Animal Dreams.
- Libraries are the one American institution you shouldn't rip off.
- Hallie Noline, Animal Dreams.
- Every minute with a child takes seven minutes off your life.
- It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.
- Emelina, Animal Dreams.
- We're animals. We're born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.
- Animal Dreams, page 118.
- The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
Flight Behavior (2012)
- A flock is nothing but the put-together of all your past choices.
- Even the most recalcitrant climate scientists agree now, the place is heating up. pretty much every one of the lot. Unless some other outcome is written on the subject line of his paycheck. [...] If you were here to get information, Tina, you would not be standing in my laboratory telling me what scientists think.
- Cub retreated to the familiar grounds of remorse and insufficiency, the terms of his existence, ratified by marriage. He could construct defeat from any available material and live inside it, but for once Dellarobia didn't go there with him. she was going ahead.
- There is some kind of juice in our brains that makes us only care about what's in front of us right this minute. Even if we know something different will happen later and we should think about that too. [...] If I could teach you one thing, Preston, that's it. Think about what's coming at you later on.
- I also thank Bill McKibben and his 350.org colleagues for the most important work in the world, and the most unending.