- It is books that are a key to the wide world; if you can't do anything else, read all that you can.
- I've found it takes at least two and generally three things to alter the course of a life: You slip around the truth once, and then again, and one more time, and there you are, feeling, for a moment, that it was sudden, your arrival at the bottom of the heap.
- All I hope, selfishly, is that there will be real books until the day I draw my last breath.
- We're only passers-by, and all you can do is love what you have in your life. A person has to fight the meanness that sometimes comes with you when you're born, sometimes grows if you aren't in lucky surroundings. It's our challenge to fend it off, leave it behind us choking and gasping for breath in the mud.
- People want to be artists but don't want to do the ground work.
- There were so many miracles at work: that a blossom might become a peach, that a bee could make honey in its thorax, that rain might someday fall.
- As a species, we would not have survived without humour.
- In the larger world, tribalism is an enormous problem, as it ever has been: both strength and idiocy borne from belonging.
- Ordinary life was laced with miracles, I knew that, had read enough poetry to understand that we are elevated with the knowing, and yet it was difficult to notice and be grateful when one was continually fatigued and irritated. I suppose that unquenchable sense of wonder is what separates us dolts from the saints and the poets.
- She read books quickly and compulsively, paperback after paperback, as if she might drift away without the anchor of the printed page.
Hamilton is an American novelist. She is best known for The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World.
Photograph: Larry D. Moore
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