Because by now Elinor had understood this, too: A longing for books was nothing compared with what you could feel for human beings. The books told you about that feeling. The books spoke of love, and it was wonderful to listen to them, but they were no substitute for love itself. They couldn't kiss her like Meggie, they couldn't hug her like Resa, they couldn't laugh like Mortimer. Poor books, poor Elinor.
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And there stood Basta with his foot already on another dead body, smiling. Why not? He had hit his target, and it was the target he had been aiming for all along: Dustfinger's heart, his stupid heart. It broke in two as he held Farid in his arms, it simply broke in two, although he had taken such good care of it all these years.
For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his last punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever. Curse on book thieves, from the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain
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The world was a terrible place, cruel, pitiless, dark as a bad dream. Not a good place to live. Only in books could you find pity, comfort, happiness - and love. Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn't ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly.
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Look at your daughter, ' she whispered. 'As brave as... as.." She wanted to compare Meggie to a hero in some story but all the heroes she could think of were men, and anyway none of them seemed to her brave enough for comparison to the girl standing there, perfectly straight, scrutinizing Capricorn's Black Jackets, with her chin jutting out defiantly.
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If you take a book with you on a journey, " Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, "an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it... yes, books are like flypaper-memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.
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There was another reason [she] took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful friends - daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had traveled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored.
So Mo began filling the silence with words. He lured them out of the pages as if they had only been waiting for his voice, words long and short, words sharp and soft, cooing, purring words. They danced through the room, painting stained glass pictures, tickling the skin. Even when Meggie nodded off she could still hear them, although Mo had closed the book long ago. Words that explained the world to her, its dark side and its light side, words that built a wall to keep out bad dreams. And not a single bad dream came over that wall for the rest of the night.
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Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said... "As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells... and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower... both strange and familiar.
He saw so many emotions mingled on her face: anger disappointment, fear - and defiance. Like her daughter, thought Fenoglio again. So uncompromising, so strong. Women were different, no doubt about it. Men broke so much more quickly. Grief didn't break women. Instead it wore them down, it hollowed them out, very slowly.
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What was this yearning, tearing at her insides like hunger and thirst? It couldn't be love. Love was warm and soft, like a bed of leaves. But this was dark, like the shade under a poisonous shrub, and it was hungry. So hungry. It must have some other name, just as there couldn't be the same word for life and death, or for moon and sun