Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

12

Next door, in the house just like ours, lives an actual African American grandmother, the wife of the retired postal worker. We’re getting paid to have our house made over to look like what a set designer imagines their house looks like so that Walmart can try to sell things to people who look like them. John tells all this to his friend Dan, who says, I think that’s the definition of white privilege.

if it is then it's a stupid concept. not load-bearing at all. wtf

—p.12 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

Next door, in the house just like ours, lives an actual African American grandmother, the wife of the retired postal worker. We’re getting paid to have our house made over to look like what a set designer imagines their house looks like so that Walmart can try to sell things to people who look like them. John tells all this to his friend Dan, who says, I think that’s the definition of white privilege.

if it is then it's a stupid concept. not load-bearing at all. wtf

—p.12 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
32

This woman’s grandfather built her house, I’ll learn later. She owned it outright and could have left it to her children but the property taxes kept going up in her old age. Someone selling loans convinced her to remortgage the house to pay her taxes, another neighbor tells me. And that’s how she lost it. The bank owns it now, it’s in foreclosure, but she’s ninety years old and they aren’t going to evict her. They’re waiting for her to die. In the meantime, there’s a tarp on the roof and two broken windows upstairs.

sad

—p.32 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

This woman’s grandfather built her house, I’ll learn later. She owned it outright and could have left it to her children but the property taxes kept going up in her old age. Someone selling loans convinced her to remortgage the house to pay her taxes, another neighbor tells me. And that’s how she lost it. The bank owns it now, it’s in foreclosure, but she’s ninety years old and they aren’t going to evict her. They’re waiting for her to die. In the meantime, there’s a tarp on the roof and two broken windows upstairs.

sad

—p.32 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
44

“Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive,” John Kenneth Galbraith writes in the great first sentence of The Affluent Society. “But, beyond doubt, wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding.”

this is legitimately a good quote

—p.44 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

“Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive,” John Kenneth Galbraith writes in the great first sentence of The Affluent Society. “But, beyond doubt, wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding.”

this is legitimately a good quote

—p.44 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
80

The babysitter reports that last week J asked her if she was poor and she said yes, but then she felt wrong about her answer all week. I didn’t want him to think this is what it looks like to be poor, she says, gesturing toward her North Face coat and her L.L.Bean backpack. The babysitter is a former student of mine who worked all through college, unlike most of my students. This week J asked her again if she was poor and she said no. So, you’re rich, he said. Well, it’s all relative, she said.

J was feeling rich because David had given us a tall candle, the tallest candle J had ever seen. It was a votive candle meant to bring abundance into our lives. How much more abundance, I wondered, could we absorb? I was feeling rich, too.

After the babysitter explained what relative meant, J said, I have a really tall candle, but someone else might have a taller candle than mine, so they’re rich and I’m not?

This, I tell the babysitter, is why nobody thinks they’re rich.

ok this is banal but still kinda funny

—p.80 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

The babysitter reports that last week J asked her if she was poor and she said yes, but then she felt wrong about her answer all week. I didn’t want him to think this is what it looks like to be poor, she says, gesturing toward her North Face coat and her L.L.Bean backpack. The babysitter is a former student of mine who worked all through college, unlike most of my students. This week J asked her again if she was poor and she said no. So, you’re rich, he said. Well, it’s all relative, she said.

J was feeling rich because David had given us a tall candle, the tallest candle J had ever seen. It was a votive candle meant to bring abundance into our lives. How much more abundance, I wondered, could we absorb? I was feeling rich, too.

After the babysitter explained what relative meant, J said, I have a really tall candle, but someone else might have a taller candle than mine, so they’re rich and I’m not?

This, I tell the babysitter, is why nobody thinks they’re rich.

ok this is banal but still kinda funny

—p.80 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
95

I think he’s wrong on this, but we’re talking about fossil fuels now. Oil and coal are capital, he says, and we need to leave that capital in the ground. We should not mine it, sell it, buy it, or burn it. But people already own it. A journalist recently observed, he says, that the last time we walked away from an accumulation of capital this significant was Emancipation.

this quote epitomizes everything that's both interesting and annoying about the book. on the one hand, there is kind of a good point (though made by someone else) but it's left to wilt. the author doesn't add anything. it's supposed to just stand there on its own. similar to jenny offill, but somehow more annoying. is her point that it takes a civil war to do this? that the only way to abandon capital is through violence? if so, she doesn't really support it or foreshadow it elsewhere in this section. and if not, what the hell is her point?

—p.95 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

I think he’s wrong on this, but we’re talking about fossil fuels now. Oil and coal are capital, he says, and we need to leave that capital in the ground. We should not mine it, sell it, buy it, or burn it. But people already own it. A journalist recently observed, he says, that the last time we walked away from an accumulation of capital this significant was Emancipation.

this quote epitomizes everything that's both interesting and annoying about the book. on the one hand, there is kind of a good point (though made by someone else) but it's left to wilt. the author doesn't add anything. it's supposed to just stand there on its own. similar to jenny offill, but somehow more annoying. is her point that it takes a civil war to do this? that the only way to abandon capital is through violence? if so, she doesn't really support it or foreshadow it elsewhere in this section. and if not, what the hell is her point?

—p.95 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
116

But that was Didion before Salvador, before Miami, before Political Fictions. Before most of her work. Before “New York: Sentimental Journeys,” in which she concludes that the reason the rape of one white investment banker in Central Park captured more attention than any of the other 3,254 rapes reported in New York City in 1989 was that it seemed to be the story the city wanted to tell itself. That story, an upper-class fantasy, “was of a city systematically ruined, violated, raped by its underclass.” It was a story, she observes, that reversed reality. The rich of the city wanted to believe that the poor made them unsafe, not the other way around.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live” was printed triumphantly across a banner at a writing conference I once attended. Had they read the rest of that paragraph, I wondered. Because what she means is not that stories are the stuff of life, but that we lie to ourselves. Self-deception has always been her subject. And this is why she follows me in a minivan.

ok this is useful context for that quote

—p.116 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

But that was Didion before Salvador, before Miami, before Political Fictions. Before most of her work. Before “New York: Sentimental Journeys,” in which she concludes that the reason the rape of one white investment banker in Central Park captured more attention than any of the other 3,254 rapes reported in New York City in 1989 was that it seemed to be the story the city wanted to tell itself. That story, an upper-class fantasy, “was of a city systematically ruined, violated, raped by its underclass.” It was a story, she observes, that reversed reality. The rich of the city wanted to believe that the poor made them unsafe, not the other way around.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live” was printed triumphantly across a banner at a writing conference I once attended. Had they read the rest of that paragraph, I wondered. Because what she means is not that stories are the stuff of life, but that we lie to ourselves. Self-deception has always been her subject. And this is why she follows me in a minivan.

ok this is useful context for that quote

—p.116 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
148

The vote to unionize—which was won by a narrow margin, contested by the university, and then overturned in court—probably wouldn’t have increased his pay or mine. We make too much already. The people it would have helped most are the teachers who are paid by the class, as adjuncts. Both he and I hold the highest rank available to the lowest-ranking faculty, meaning that we’re at the top of the bottom. Or the bottom of the top, if we consider the office staff and the computer technicians and the food-service workers and the unseen cleaners who vacuum the rugs and empty the trash cans in our offices at night. We’re the upper-middle class of the university. And so we can, in our minds, align ourselves with the tenured professors and the deans at the top. But that serves them, I think, more than it serves anyone else.

can't disagree here

—p.148 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

The vote to unionize—which was won by a narrow margin, contested by the university, and then overturned in court—probably wouldn’t have increased his pay or mine. We make too much already. The people it would have helped most are the teachers who are paid by the class, as adjuncts. Both he and I hold the highest rank available to the lowest-ranking faculty, meaning that we’re at the top of the bottom. Or the bottom of the top, if we consider the office staff and the computer technicians and the food-service workers and the unseen cleaners who vacuum the rugs and empty the trash cans in our offices at night. We’re the upper-middle class of the university. And so we can, in our minds, align ourselves with the tenured professors and the deans at the top. But that serves them, I think, more than it serves anyone else.

can't disagree here

—p.148 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
150

A study of job satisfaction among hospital janitors found that the janitors who reported the greatest satisfaction were the ones who thought of their work as caring for the sick, though their job description was a list of duties like “collect and dispose of soiled linens” and “stock restroom supplies.” When these janitors described their work, they talked of visiting the patients who had the least visitors, joking with patients to cheer them up, writing letters to patients who had gone home and might be lonely, and carefully cleaning the rooms of the patients who were most vulnerable to infection. Without changing jobs, without joining a union, the janitors improved their work life by caring for people. Part of what makes a job good, they understood, is the sense that what you do matters.

—p.150 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

A study of job satisfaction among hospital janitors found that the janitors who reported the greatest satisfaction were the ones who thought of their work as caring for the sick, though their job description was a list of duties like “collect and dispose of soiled linens” and “stock restroom supplies.” When these janitors described their work, they talked of visiting the patients who had the least visitors, joking with patients to cheer them up, writing letters to patients who had gone home and might be lonely, and carefully cleaning the rooms of the patients who were most vulnerable to infection. Without changing jobs, without joining a union, the janitors improved their work life by caring for people. Part of what makes a job good, they understood, is the sense that what you do matters.

—p.150 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
180

The adviser is assuring me now that even if the market dips, even if it crashes, it will come back up again. Given time, he says, it always comes back. I ask him if he can imagine this system of investment coming to an end. No, he says, your money is safe. But that’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking if there’s any way out of this.

—p.180 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

The adviser is assuring me now that even if the market dips, even if it crashes, it will come back up again. Given time, he says, it always comes back. I ask him if he can imagine this system of investment coming to an end. No, he says, your money is safe. But that’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking if there’s any way out of this.

—p.180 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago
193

I sip my tea, imagining rich people drowning in the very water I’m drinking, though most of the dead, I know, were third class. I think of the odd pleasure I took in that scene in the movie where water floods the ballroom and roils up the grand staircase. It was the pleasure of seeing wealth come to ruin. A pleasure that lives, strangely, right next to the pleasures of wealth.

another section that pisses me off. like why can't she be more strident and interesting here? why can't she advance an actual point? are we supposed to just assume that she has said something novel or thoughtful?

—p.193 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago

I sip my tea, imagining rich people drowning in the very water I’m drinking, though most of the dead, I know, were third class. I think of the odd pleasure I took in that scene in the movie where water floods the ballroom and roils up the grand staircase. It was the pleasure of seeing wealth come to ruin. A pleasure that lives, strangely, right next to the pleasures of wealth.

another section that pisses me off. like why can't she be more strident and interesting here? why can't she advance an actual point? are we supposed to just assume that she has said something novel or thoughtful?

—p.193 by Eula Biss 2 years, 10 months ago