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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

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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Sonnet Each Time Imagined

Even if you walk exactly the same route each time - as with a sonnet - the events along the route cannot be imagined to be the same from day to day, as the poet's health, sight, his anticipations, moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.

- A. R. Ammons

Been Music Dad

I asked my daughter when she was 16, What's the buzz on the street with the kids? She's going, to be honest, Dad, most of my friends aren't into Kiss. But they've all been told that it's the greatest show on Earth.

- Ace Frehley

Always Kid Dad

I always wanted to be a stand-up comedian, even as a kid. Me and my dad would watch 'Evening at the Improv' on A&E.

- Adam DeVine

Bad Dad Rules

When I was a teenager, I was an umpire for a competitive league for 8- to 9-year-olds. I was really bad at it because I didn't know all the rules, and all these kids were better athletes than me. I made a bad call, and this dad snapped on me. Then he dumped his trash from his cooler, and I had to kick him out of the stands.

- Adam DeVine

Dad Teams Coached

Growing up, dad coached my footy and cricket teams, but that's all he could do for me.

- Adam Elliott

Love Dad London

I love all kinds of music. My dad's from London, so he loves David Bowie, the Stones, The Clash. I grew up with that influence while loving poetry and loving all kinds of current music.

- Adam Hicks

Mom Dad Jersey

My dad is a Deadhead, my mom's a Jewish-American princess from Jersey.

- Adam Lambert

About Dad Hall

I went to the Hall of Fame with my dad. I can't say I really remember too much about it.

- Adam Oates

Love Boston Pets

The number one mistake is giving pets table scraps. I made the mistake thinking I was showing my dog love by giving her food and treats. You see a tiny 4 oz. piece of cheese, but for a Boston Terrier like mine, that's like one and a half hamburgers. That's unhealthy.

- Alison Sweeney

Took Measured Boston

We did experiments with the Boston Symphony for many years where we measured the angles of incidence of sound arriving at the ears of the audience, then took the measurements back to MIT and analyzed them.

- Amar Bose

Business Area Boston

There was a time when I was wondering about this business of going public, so I visited about a half-dozen companies in the Boston area, all of them formed by MIT faculty and all had gone public.

- Amar Bose

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

Small Reasons Boston

Strangely enough, my favorite airport is Logan Airport in Boston - but largely for sentimental reasons. My first real summer job was working as a journeyman for the airport's resident maintenance crew - a small army of union electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.

- Amor Towles

Some My Life Boston

Boston was incredible. I had some of the best experiences of my life there at Berklee because I met a bunch of other people who were at the exact same stage in life and interest as me. There were American and international students all wrapped up in the Berklee environment, where you basically did nothing but music 24/7.

- Anat Cohen

Death Believe Imagined

Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.

- Andre Breton

Death Imagined Him

Job was the greatest of all the children of the east, and his afflictions were well-nigh more than he could bear; but even if we imagined them wearing him to death, that would not make his story tragic.

- Andrew Coyle Bradley

About Became Imagined

When I was younger, humans went to the moon when I was about 4 years old, and I imagined that as I got older and became an adult that traveling in space was going to be fairly common and something that we all did. So I grew up believing that I'll be an astronaut just like these guys were that were going to the moon.

- Andrew J. Feustel

Imagined Out Observed

What I've observed and what I've imagined - and definitely what I'm hoping - happens as you get older is that there's a mellowing, an acceptance that comes with time. I guess that I'll find out.

- Anne Hathaway

Been Feel Imagined

My biggest problem with organized religion is that God has been imagined as a human being with emotions. I feel if you let go of that, then it's possible to see God as a force, to connect to him or her spiritually.

- Christopher Durang