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" My parents were born into a secular country. They met in Turkey's top medical school, moved to America in the nineteen-seventies, and became researchers and professors. "
" I love the novelist's freedom of going into different people's subjectivity and being able to work with them as characters. "
" By the time I got to college, the Cold War was basically over. "
" Every time a meteor comes close to the earth, we all think about the end of the world - but our internal soundtrack doesn't turn off. We're also thinking about pizza or passing a slow tractor or making a turn, and for a magical instant, our lives seem to be in conversation with the stars. "
" If, for a moment, it seemed that September 11th could be identified with Iraq, the illusion was short-lived. "
" The first time I held an African drum in my hands was at Koc University in a forest in the northern suburbs of Istanbul. "
" One of the stories that really impressed me was 'Anna Karenina.' As a novel, that made an impression on me, showing me what the novel can do. "
" I actually really wish I had written 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying' as an unreliably narrated novel that is also a self-help book. "
" Many books have changed my life, but only one has the word 'life-changing' in the title: Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.' "
" At the beginning of 'A Christmas Carol,' Scrooge embodies one of the central tenets of depression: that one has always been this way - and always will be. "
" Everyone has a certain amount of bad writing to get out of their system. "
" No time you spend writing will be wasted - even if you write something that's bad. "
" Imagination is really dependent on memory and observation, these things that we think of as part of nonfiction writing, actually. "
" Even when I was very small, my mother treated me like a great novelist. She was like: 'Oh, I'm sitting at the breakfast table with Flaubert,' and would say, if she burned some food or was late arriving, 'Don't put this in your novel!' "
" Why is there an end of the year? Because the calendar imposes numerical order on time. There is a natural fitness in the celebration of the New Year, a holiday of numbers imposed on things, with lists, as well as with Advent calendars and songs like 'The Twelve Days of Christmas.' "
" I like to think that I know a lot of words, but I definitely don't know all of them. "
" When I was growing up, many of my relatives had never seen a black person before. Today, hundreds, maybe thousands of Africans live in Istanbul's old city alone. It's hard to imagine their lives in their human totality. "
" I've developed this love of trashy Russian literature. There's a women's detective series that I was obsessed with for a while, written by Aleksandra Marinina, the former chief of police. "
" As a novelist, you write about social mores, but not everything can be explained. "
" My parents were educated in the Turkish system and went straight from high school to medical school; my mom, who had skipped a grade, was dissecting corpses at age seventeen. Growing up in America, I think I envied my parents' education. By comparison, everything I did in school seemed so sort of low-stakes and infantilizing. "
" There's a lot to be said for an American-style liberal-arts education, which prevents young people from professionalizing right away. "
" The novel is like a melancholy form. It's about some kind of disillusionment with the way things are versus the idea of how they could be or how they used to be. "
" It's important not to censor yourself and not to get upset or demoralized when you write bad stuff. "
" The problems in the Russian novel are quite similar to the problems of Turkish nationalism and Turkish culture, which was something that I grew up thinking didn't affect me very much because my parents didn't really talk about it. "
" A lot of what I write is very personal. "
" A lot of fiction doesn't answer a question that any reasonable person would ever ask. "
" I have always known my mother as an agnostic, less certain than my father that the universe hadn't been created by some great intelligence. But she would get even more annoyed than my father did when she thought that people were invoking God to do their jobs for them - for example, when she saw a bus with a sticker saying 'Allah Protect Us.' "
" Read enough about the dung beetle, and a picture of its character emerges: patient, optimistic, uncomplaining. "
" Most Americans have probably heard the song 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' about a billion times in the supermarket alone. "
" It's kind of an embarrassing story - that's why it's called 'The Idiot.' But looking back at your past self, you see that this person had reasons for everything she did. There's a whole lot of awkwardness, but really, what should one be embarrassed about? "
" Awkwardness comes from the realization that, when you look around the world, it's difficult to identify anyone who isn't either the victim or the beneficiary of injustice. "