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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

Feels Allowed Rooms

You can build a place that is beautiful, but nobody feels comfortable sitting in it, and the kids aren't allowed to go into many of the rooms. Or a place can look lived in, but it doesn't please the eye.

- 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

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

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

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Pretty Bad Lucky

I'm pretty lucky to work on both 'CSI: NY' and 'Supernatural.' Not bad gigs!

- A. J. Buckley

Which Living Green

A living tree is a changing, sleeve shape, a wet, thin, bright green creature that survives in the thin layer between heartwood and bark. It stands waiting for light, which it catches in the close-woven sieves of its leaves.

- Alice Oswald

Living Cares Emotions

If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it.

- Alice Walker

Here Very Living

I feel very happy to be living in Berkeley because there are a lot of people who are politically active here.

- Alice Walker

Always Been Living

For me, writing has always come out of living a fairly to-the-bone kind of life, just really being present to a lot of life. The writing has been really a byproduct of that.

- Alice Walker

Lives Living Still

I'm still living at least five parallel lives, honestly! I wonder about it. I have no idea how that happens.

- Alice Walker

Like Cost Living

I do feel like food should cost more, because we aren't paying farmers a living wage. It has to cost more.

- Alice Waters

Living Similar Amount

All of those art-based fields are similar in that they're all hard to make a living in and they all require an intense amount of training and discipline.

- Alicia Witt

Nothing Lucky Worry

I mean, God, I'm so lucky right now with the opportunities that I've had. There's nothing to worry about.

- Alison Lohman

Very Lucky Perfectly

I know most Americans don't have this luxury, but we are in Los Angeles and are lucky enough to be able to grill outside almost all year long. It's my favorite way of preparation because it's so clean and it gives it such a great flavor. You need very little oil and the protein can be really cleanly prepared and perfectly cooked.

- Alison Sweeney

Lunch Which Lucky

I was lucky enough to go to a school which gave flexibility around education and sport. We had a 1-hour, 30-minute lunch break, and were able to train during this time.

- Alistair Brownlee

Been Very Lucky

I have been waiting to win a world championship since 1985. I've had three cracks at a world title - in karting, I finished third at Le Mans; that hurt because it was very close, but then in Formula One there wasn't really an opportunity to finally crack it, so it's third time lucky.

- Allan McNish

Love Lucky Dangers

I just feel we are extremely lucky that when we wake up, we get to go to work and do something we love. Honestly, we can't call it work. We're living the dream, really. If you start thinking about the dangers too much, it's time to stop.

- Allan McNish

Lucky Constant Feels

The most important thing in convoluted families, I learnt as I wrote, is that the child feels loved. I knew from a young age that I was a problem which required constant solving; but I never felt unloved. I was lucky.

- Allegra Huston

Lucky Living Traveler

As a traveler, I should probably count myself fortunate to be living in the jet age, and as an author, I know I am lucky to have a book tour at all.

- Amor Towles

Works Tireless Traveler

Everyone finds their own version of Charles Dickens. The child-victim, the irrepressibly ambitious young man, the reporter, the demonic worker, the tireless walker. The radical, the protector of orphans, helper of the needy, man of good works, the republican. The hater and the lover of America. The giver of parties, the magician, the traveler.

- Claire Tomalin

Happen Travel Traveler

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes 'sight-seeing.'

- Daniel J. Boorstin

Studio King Traveler

If you can sell that you're the King of Scotland, or Henry V on a tiny stage in a studio theater somewhere, then you can probably sell that you're a starship captain or a time traveler.

- David Tennant

Some Traveler Needles

Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we came from the woods originally. But in some of nature's forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears and stinging needles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.

- John Muir

Like Actor Traveler

Being an actor is well paid, but it's a bit like being a circus traveler.

- Ben Chaplin

Other Sometimes Traveler

Sometimes just being on a beach with my loved ones is all the adventure I need. I am a happy camper and continue to be a citizen of the world. I have yet to discover other cultures, other peoples' dreams and treasures. I will always be a traveler who is discovering beautiful Gaia.

- Guy Laliberte