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Before Very Nobility

In the contemporary world, we think of politeness as surface behavior, like frosting - it's sweet and attractive and finishes off the cake. But 19th century nobility and the enlightened thinkers and stoics before them viewed manners in a very different way. To them, manners are an outward expression of an inward struggle.

- Amor Towles

Through Social Class

I prefer to put myself in an environment that's further afield and look through the eyes of someone who differs from me in age, ethnicity, gender, and/or social class. I think a little displacement makes me a sharper observer.

- Amor Towles

Want Nostalgia Admirable

Of course, you wouldn't want to re-create the era of aristocracy; it was a totally unfair era. The finer aspects of it were admirable, and so there's nostalgia for that: the behavior, the values, the cultural sensitivities.

- Amor Towles

Very Bay Area Boulevard

One restaurant I visit without fail, whenever I'm in the Bay Area, is the Boulevard at 1 Mission Street, a few strides from the waterfront. It has excellent food and wine very much in the modern California style, but I go there less for any one dish than for the pleasure of dining with the restaurant's chefs.

- Amor Towles

More About Tell

What can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli.

- Amor Towles

Which Read Given

I had read Harold Bloom's 'Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?' Late in his life, having read everything, Bloom asked which books had given him wisdom. I had just read a bunch of contemporary novels that had no wisdom for me.

- Amor Towles

Having Woman Grandmother

My grandmother, who was simultaneously a woman of manners and verve, fended off marriage proposals until she was 30 because she was having too much fun to settle down.

- Amor Towles

Love Survive Russian

As awful as the crimes of Stalinism were, the vast majority of the Russian population was trying to survive, to love, to have a sense of purpose.

- Amor Towles

Been Fiction Kid

I've been writing fiction since I was a kid. From the age of 15 to 25, I probably wrote more than 50 short stories, one of which was published in 'The Paris Review' in 1989.

- Amor Towles

Which Art Been

My personal challenge as an artist has been having a day job which is intellectually satisfying and fun - and thus can easily supplant the desire to make art.

- Amor Towles

Hidden 1930s Civility

While I began writing 'Rules of Civility' in 2006, the genesis of the book dates back to the early 1990s, when I happened upon a copy of 'Many Are Called,' the collection of portraits that Walker Evans took on the New York City subways in the late 1930s with a hidden camera.

- Amor Towles

Purpose Hammered Elements

All the historical elements should feel organic to the story but not hammered down to serve a purpose.

- Amor Towles

Deserve Very Nature

By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration but our reconsideration.

- Amor Towles

About Feet Instrument

Growing up, I didn't come from a musical family. Neither of my parents played an instrument, sang out loud, or listened to the radio with frequency. The record collection in the living room was only about 2 feet long - and that included 4 solid inches of Neil Diamond and Herb Alpert.

- Amor Towles

Came Revelation Boston

To a bookish boy in a Boston suburb in the mid-1970s, the lyrics of Cole Porter came as something of a revelation.

- Amor Towles

Imagined Dad Boston

Dad has worked as a banker at the same firm in Boston, living in the same suburban neighborhood for over 50 years. Later in life, when I got out of graduate school and imagined myself living the life of a writer like Hemingway or Kerouac, his practical self inevitably encouraged me to get a steady a job and raise a family, just like he did.

- Amor Towles

Always Thought Inside

I always thought I was a writer on the inside, but after a few years of not writing, you can't make that claim anymore.

- Amor Towles

Being Minutes 60 Minutes

I totally remember that: being 25 and unemployed and trying to stretch each cappuccino for 60 minutes.

- Amor Towles

Think Some I Think

I think that, every individual you invent in narrative work, you have to have some root in who that person is. That may be an aspect of yourself; it may be an aspect of something that you like, that you don't like. It may be an aspect that you wish you had. Maybe something you admire in another person.

- Amor Towles

Study Aspects Russian

We study, as Americans, the extreme aspects of repression under the Stalinist era. We're focused on them. The vast majority of Russian citizens, it was a much softer type of being disconcerted.

- Amor Towles

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Think Myself Still

I still think of myself as from Illinois.

- Alison Krauss

Making Grateful Still

I'm continuing to learn more about music - it's an ocean, and you can never really say that you know everything. I'm grateful that I'm still living and making music among the greats.

- A. R. Rahman

Think I Think Still

I think it is important for readers to know that it is possible to bring intellectualism and idealism to the White House and still be political enough to advance an agenda.

- A. Scott Berg

College Became Boredom

After I dropped out of college at the age of 19, I became a mortgage broker, and when I went back to school I thought about going into real estate law. I probably would have made a lot more money and died of boredom by now.

- Alice Dreger

College Became Law

After I dropped out of college at the age of 19, I became a mortgage broker, and when I went back to school I thought about going into real estate law.

- Alice Dreger

My Life Through Became

All through my life, I didn't really consider my eyes at all, and then I became an actress. It's great, I guess. They're just in my face, and one is green and one is blue. It's different, and I'm definitely a proponent of being different in any way you can in life, so I guess if you're born a bit different that's a good thing.

- Alice Eve

Hands Became Breathing

From the first I became convinced that what I must look for was lead dust and lead fumes, that men were poisoned by breathing poisoned air, not by handling their food with unwashed hands.

- Alice Hamilton

Had By The Time Became

When I was into my 30s, I became increasingly depressed by rejection letters. I had had the feeling that by the time I was 30, I would be established. But I was not at all. By the time of 'Lives of Girls and Women,' I was into my 40s and I had become more thin-skinned.

- Alice Munro

Been Became Couple

In the summer of 1966, I went to Mississippi to be in the heart of the civil-rights movement, helping people who had been thrown off the farms or taken off the welfare roles for registering to vote. While working there, I met the civil-rights lawyer I later married - we became an interracial couple.

- Alice Walker

Became Shy Muse

For me, I used to be shy towards journalism because it wasn't poetry. And then I realized that the events that I covered in essays that became journalism were actually great because they inspired me, and they became my muse.

- Alice Walker

Before Though Still

I still get really nervous, though, before each performance. It kind of hits about 15 minutes before we go onstage - sometimes I don't even want to go on. But once I'm onstage I'm fine.

- Alison Lohman

Still Young Mum

When I was really young, my mum used to make my clothes - I hated that. I liked the way boys dressed - I still do. I wanted to wear what they wore.

- Alison Mosshart

Some Wear Still

Record covers still inspire me in terms of clothes, some bands just look sharp. But I still wear stuff I owned when I was 16.

- Alison Mosshart

Stories Still Constant

Human nature stays the same, the one thing that stays constant, like death and taxes. And people still want good stories!

- Alison Owen

Still Became Seller

I published 'Rules of Civility' while I was still working. It became a best seller. I was working on this book, and then I decided to retire.

- Amor Towles

Entitled Seller Hats

The buyer is entitled to a bargain. The seller is entitled to a profit. So there is a fine margin in between where the price is right. I have found this to be true to this day whether dealing in paper hats, winter underwear or hotels.

- Conrad Hilton

Read Badly Seller

Of course I want to be a best seller because I'm in the business and I want to be read, but there is no money in the world that can compensate for writing badly.

- David Lagercrantz

However Decision Seller

In a recent decision of the Supreme Court, not made, however, by the full court, and concurred in by only four justices, it was held that the seller of a patented mimeograph could bind the purchaser to use only his ink in the machine, though the ink was not patented.

- John Bates Clark

Think Sold Seller

I don't think the English like me. I sold a colossal best seller in America, and they never really forgave me.

- John Fowles

Small Seller Durable

Conspiracy is a small but durable seller, retooled every year or so.

- John Gregory Dunne

Think Country Seller

We want to be a consolidator, not a seller, and we want to continue to explore the kind of targeted entertainment, targeted audiences, that I think are happening and emerging in every country in the world.

- Jon Feltheimer