A very special thanks to the writers whose books changed this writer's world. 

Junot Díaz




Denis Johnson


Joan didion


Yusef Komunyakaa


Flannery O'Connor


YiYun Li



Alejandro Zambra


John Fante


Amy Hempel 


Frank O'Connor 


David Halberstam


Phil Klay


Grace Paley


José Saramago


Jim shepard 


Isaac Babel



Vladimir Nabokov


john Updike  


George Saunders 


Michael Herr


Vivian gornick


nuala O'Faolain


Gabriel García Márquez







"But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in."  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"Flaubert's lamp burned with such regularity late at night in his workroom at Croisset that pilots on the Seine were able to take their bearings from it." ― David Markson, Reader's Block

“Maybe, when you hear the name 'Beverly,' you think of Beverly Hillspeople wandering the streets with their heads shot off by money.”  Jesus' Son 

"Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." ― The Year of Magical Thinking 

"The cry I bring down from the hills / belongs to a girl still burning / inside my head. At daybreak / she burns like a piece of paper." ― Neon Vernacular

"Bevel had never seen a real pig but he had seen a pig in a book and knew they were small fat pink animals with curly tails and round grinning faces and bow ties." ― The River 

"She wonders if this is what people call falling in love, the desire to be with someone for every minute of the rest of her life so strong that sometimes she is frightened of herself." ― A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

"The first lie Julio told Emilia was that he had read Marcel Proust." ― Bonsai

"But she was very good, my Harriet, she had stuck it out with me for twenty-five years and given me three sons and a daughter, any one of whom, or indeed all four, I would have gladly exchanged for a new Porsche, or even an MGGT '70." ― West of Rome 

"After a while these things add up to enough weight to wear a person down. I am wearing down." ― And Lead Us Not Into Penn Station

"I distrusted Mother, though I had the consolation of believing that the only person who could contradict me was now somewhere up by the North Pole."  Christmas Morning

"He sometimes used big words that he had not yet quiet mastered, and a favorite expression of his was to say of something that he did not like or that he feared was a bit trendy, that it was 'avant-garde'which somehow came out as advent guard." Firehouse

"[Prayer] will not protect you. It will help your soul. It's for while you're alive." Redeployment

"He had a habit throughout the twenty-seven years of making a narrow remark which, like a plumber's snake, could work its way through the ear down the throat, halfway to my heart." Wants 

"The others gave a wan smile and one said, It wouldn't be so bad if it's true that when the horse dies, it doesn't know it's going to die." Blindness

"Here's the story of my life: whatever I did wasn't good enough, anything I figured out I figured out too late, and whenever I tried to help I made things worse." Boys Town 

"I wanted to run away from it all, and yet I wanted to stay there forever. The darkening room, Grandmother's yellow eyes, her tiny body wrapped in a shawl silent and hunched over in the corner, the hot air, the closed door, and the clout of the whip, and that piercing whistleonly now do I realize how strange it all was, how much it meant to me." ― You Must Know Everything 

"Here was Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, and cancerous growths until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about." Symbols and Signs 

"All of a sudden I slid right down her voice into her living room." ― A & P 

"Why was she going into church on a weekday? Maybe she had a problem. Maybe she was knocked up. Maybe if he followed her into the church and told her he knew a little about problems, having been born with no toes, she'd have coffee with him." ― The Barber's Unhappiness

"'Boy, you got offered some shitty choices,' a Marine once said to me, and I couldn't help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn't get offered any at all." Dispatches

"To be 'in tragedy' was to be saved from what I took to be the pedestrian pains of my own life. These seemed meaningless. To be saved from meaninglessness, I knew, was everything." Fierce Attachments

"They throw sugar on the fire, to get it to light, and wipe surfaces with an old rag that smells, and they are forever sending children to the shops. They question me, half censorious, half wistful: 'And did you never want to get married yourself?'" Are You Somebody? 

"A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs . . . and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack 36 eggs to make bread." One Hundred Years of Solitude 

"We asked the captain what course of action he proposed to take toward a beast so large, terrifying, and unpredictable. He hesitated to answer and then said judiciously: 'I think I shall praise it.'" Praise