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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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Behavior Study Had

My theory was that what I had to do was make a study of human behavior.

- A. E. van Vogt

Had Faith Lost

I had lost faith in biography.

- A. N. Wilson

Had Obstacles Hidden

When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.

- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Over Had Dearest

Over the years, I had nurtured the hope to be able to fly; to handle a machine as it rose higher and higher in the stratosphere was my dearest dream.

- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Had Die The History Of

I don't ever remember a single day of hopelessness. I knew from the history of the labor movement, especially of the black people, that it was an undertaking of great trial. That, live or die, I had to stick with it, and we had to win.

- A. Philip Randolph

About Nothing Had

I hated being a novelist when I was 20 - I had nothing to write about.

- A. S. Byatt

Had Harry Moods

Harry S. Truman had his moods. His birthplace is the only tourist attraction in America where you don't see Japanese with cameras.

- A. Whitney Brown

Back Angry Wrote

When the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989, I was angry. I even wrote on the back of my car, Boycott Exxon!

- Alexandra Paul

Back Our Paragraph

We're well past the end of the century when time, for the first time, curved, bent, slipped, flash forwarded, and flashed back yet still kept rolling along. We know it all now, with our thoughts traveling at the speed of a tweet, our 140 characters in search of a paragraph. We're post-history. We're post-mystery.

- Ali Smith

Quick Back Engaged

The relationship with the words someone uses is more intimate and integrated than just a quick read and a blurb can ever be. This intimacy - the words on the page being sent back and forth from engaged editor to open author - is unique in my experience.

- Alice Sebold

Part Back Country

At one point I learned transcendental meditation. This was 30-something years ago. It took me back to the way that I naturally was as a child growing up way in the country, rarely seeing people. I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn't exist except as a part of everything.

- Alice Walker

Been Back Injustice

It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put - without delay, and with tenderness - back on the head of the Palestinian child. It will be imperfect justice and respect because the injustice and disrespect have been so severe. But I believe we are right to try.

- Alice Walker

My Life Back One Day

I was worried that one day, 40 years from now, I would look back and wouldn't be able to remember the details of my life, so I've written them all down.

- Alicia Keys

Through Back I Write

When I was younger, my mother and I, we'd have these crazy, crazy fights. Everyone would storm out mad, and the only way that I'd be able to express myself was to write her. We would write letters back and forth for days. When I'm writing, I feel uninterrupted. I write what I'm going through and how I see it.

- Alicia Keys

Been Learn Learning

It has been said that 80% of what people learn is visual.

- Allen Klein

Mankind Learning Destroy

All mankind is now learning that these nuclear weapons can only serve to destroy, never become beneficial.

- Alva Myrdal

Abroad Studying Learning

Cross-cultural learning and studying abroad can be transformative.

- Amal Clooney

Like Fact Learning

Learning how to have 'healthy' attachments sounds easy, but in fact, for someone like me who had damaged early relationships, it's like learning to be fluent in Chinese.

- Amanda de Cadenet

More Deal Learning

I'm learning to deal with my loneliness because then nobody can muck me around any more.

- Amanda Eliasch

Had Back Learning

In 1989, I had a fellowship to teach for Yale in China for two years. I came back from California to New Haven to spend the summer learning Chinese, but because of Tiananmen Square, Yale cancelled the program.

- Amor Towles

I Remember Learning Upset

I remember learning new words, trying to figure out what common things like cider, finding myself upset that my parents couldn't help me understand this new culture, that it was up to me to interpret for them as well as myself.

- An Na