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" You know you are grown sentimental when you start counting the cygnets on the duck pond in the park to be sure none has perished since you counted last. "
" Literature more often tells the story of impulses we don't act on than of ones we do. I could joke about the Cain and Abel story with my brother without expecting him to be worried, though it's always possible he was more anxious than he let on. "
" Non-conformity has always been one of the great British virtues, and that includes non-conformity to things British. "
" Things happen in 'If This is a Man' that are beyond ordinary daily experience, but it is still us to whom they are happening, and the understanding Levi seeks is no different in kind from that sought by Shakespeare in 'King Lear', or Conrad in 'The Heart of Darkness'. "
" Every time I criticize the anti-Zionists, they say, 'You are trying to silence us.' I don't deny there are some people who are critical of Israel who are not anti-Semitic. But to criticize Israel, and then criticize Zionism, is not quite the same thing. "
" Trawl through the world of blogs and tweets, and you will find readers complaining when they stumble upon a word they don't recognise, an attitude that doesn't accord with their own, a passage of thought they find hard work, a joke they don't get or of which they don't approve. "
" I always, always wanted to be a writer. "
" The terrorist isn't a problem because he doesn't conform; he's a problem because he does. It's what he conforms to that makes him dangerous. "
" Many a trivial novel has been written about an important subject, and many a profound one about nothing in particular. "
" If you want a good life, don't succeed at anything too early or too well. And don't choose a profession that attracts money or attention. The minute people want to see you doing what you do, you're finished. "
" It is no judgement of a thing outside yourself to say it makes you ill. The wise reader knows that every pronouncement is, to some degree, an act of self-exposure; the book you find too challenging might only show how ill-equipped you are to face its challenge. "
" As a young man, I wooed, unsuccessfully, with Puccini. It's important to get your operas right. "
" It's not only teenagers who think they look good in pre-holed jeans, and I doubt it's only the superannuated who are amused by Ant and Dec. "
" A writer should never allow himself to be lulled out of the vigilance native to his profession. "
" I've always felt that desire. To get a woman to throw back her head in laughter is a hot thing. "
" Of the secular mysteries to which I wake with fresh and sometimes angry amazement every day, the queue is the second-most baffling. The first is the fan. "
" Most people to whom a statue has been erected are undeserving. "
" Passionate dissent from the will of the multitude should be respected, not derided. "
" The magic word 'Shakespeare' always freezes you in your chair. "
" I've always felt as much outside the Jewish experience as in it. It astonished my family that I wrote about things Jewish. "
" If the academic community gets its way, we will soon all be speaking with a single voice. "
" That a nation's statuary will reflect beliefs and attitudes that are no longer current or congenial hardly needs arguing. In most instances, it doesn't at all imply a continuing reverence. "
" Failing to see the point is not a virtue. "
" Of my old tendency to overdo the dedication and deface the title page with florid compliments and obscure quotes which the recipient cannot read, I will say only that I learnt my lesson when I had to shell out with my own money for a hardback I'd vandalised and now limit myself to 'Good wishes.' "
" Politically it's easy to salve one's conscience, no matter that salving it rarely makes the problem go away. You join the Labour Party, write articles attacking the privileged, give the money you spend on opera tickets to homeless charities, and vow never to go to anything that can be considered elitist again. "
" I never believe any politician talking about popular culture. "
" Looking back, I realise it wasn't only gym I dreaded at school. Every class was a torment. It wasn't knowledge I objected to but instruction. Why couldn't they just tell us what books to read and leave us to get on and read them? "
" Does anyone who leaves a Baltic country ever want to return to it? Someone must, I suppose. "
" Sometimes I felt like my columns were like little novels in themselves. But I wasn't writing what I believed. I'm not interested in what I believe. "
" Rejection is the one constant of human experience. "
" I wouldn't suppose for one moment that there's a single one of Trump's voters that would be anything but confirmed in their beliefs. "