“Dreams of God and of gold (not necessarily in that order) made America possible.” Jon Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.”

“It takes three men to pull the body from the water.” Christine Mangan, Tangerine

“Cola Pesce was always playing in the sea and one day his mother said in exasperation she hoped he’d turn into a fish.” Peter Robb, Midnight in Sicily.

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

“My father, Oswald Jacoby, was an unquestioned mathematical genius.” Oswald Jacoby and James Jacoby, Jacoby on Card Games.

“The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born—we weren’t even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny, the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lily and Egg.” John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire.

“This book was born on a cold, drizzly, late spring day when I clambered over the split-rail cedar fence that surrounds my pasture and made my way through wet woods to the modest frame house where Joe Rantz lay dying.” Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

“’Now what I want is, Fact.’” Charles Dickens, Hard Times.

“The first news story appeared on the morning of April 6, 1987, when the Charlotte Observer reported that a barge filled with New York garbage had been turned away from a privately owned port near Morehead City, North Carolina.” Benjamin Miller, Fat of the Land: Garbage of New York the Last Two Hundred Years.

“In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.” Toni Morrison, Sula.

“My first indication that food was something other than a substance one stuffed in one’s face when hungry—like filling up at a gas station—came after fourth grade.” Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

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