Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

33

Because you see these low-level foreign workers working two or three jobs, twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day, longing for home (a waiter shows me exactly how he likes to hold his two-year-old, or did like to hold her, last time he was home, eight months ago), and think: Couldn't you Haves cut loose with just a little more?

But ask the workers, in your intrusive Western way, about their Possible Feelings of Oppression, and they model a level of stoic noble determination that makes the Ayn Rand in you think, Good, good for you, sir, best of luck in your professional endeavors!

is this where Saunders gets woke and becomes a socialist

—p.33 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

Because you see these low-level foreign workers working two or three jobs, twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day, longing for home (a waiter shows me exactly how he likes to hold his two-year-old, or did like to hold her, last time he was home, eight months ago), and think: Couldn't you Haves cut loose with just a little more?

But ask the workers, in your intrusive Western way, about their Possible Feelings of Oppression, and they model a level of stoic noble determination that makes the Ayn Rand in you think, Good, good for you, sir, best of luck in your professional endeavors!

is this where Saunders gets woke and becomes a socialist

—p.33 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
41

[...] Although we must remember, said the husband to the wife, this is, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Yes, yes, of course, she said, I don't regret it for a minute! But there is a look, a certain look, about the eyes, that means: Oh God, I am gut-sick with worry about money. And these intelligent, articulate people had that look. (As, I suspect, did I.) There wasn't, she said sadly, that much to see, really, was there? And one felt rather watched, didn't one, by the help? Was there a limit on how long they could stay? They had already toured the lobby twice, been out to the ocean-overlooking pool, and were sort of lingering, trying to get their fifty bucks' worth.

nothing really special about this passage, it's just so sad and so relatable

—p.41 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] Although we must remember, said the husband to the wife, this is, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Yes, yes, of course, she said, I don't regret it for a minute! But there is a look, a certain look, about the eyes, that means: Oh God, I am gut-sick with worry about money. And these intelligent, articulate people had that look. (As, I suspect, did I.) There wasn't, she said sadly, that much to see, really, was there? And one felt rather watched, didn't one, by the help? Was there a limit on how long they could stay? They had already toured the lobby twice, been out to the ocean-overlooking pool, and were sort of lingering, trying to get their fifty bucks' worth.

nothing really special about this passage, it's just so sad and so relatable

—p.41 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
54

Part of me wants to offer to help. But that would be, of course, ridiculous, melodramatic. He washes these stairs every day. It's not my job to hand-wash stairs. It's his job to hand-wash stairs. My job is to observe him hand-washing the stairs, then go inside the air-conditioned lobby and order a cold beer and take notes about his stair-washing so I can go home and write about it, making more for writing about it than he'll make in many, many years of doing it.

—p.54 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

Part of me wants to offer to help. But that would be, of course, ridiculous, melodramatic. He washes these stairs every day. It's not my job to hand-wash stairs. It's his job to hand-wash stairs. My job is to observe him hand-washing the stairs, then go inside the air-conditioned lobby and order a cold beer and take notes about his stair-washing so I can go home and write about it, making more for writing about it than he'll make in many, many years of doing it.

—p.54 The New Mecca (21) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
89

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian genius. Our crowd consisted of approximately three hundred Margaret Atwood fans, with the remainder of the crowd being my fan. [...]

this essay kinda sucked (not subtle enough to be good satire imo) but this part was mildly funny

—p.89 A Brief Study of the British (85) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian genius. Our crowd consisted of approximately three hundred Margaret Atwood fans, with the remainder of the crowd being my fan. [...]

this essay kinda sucked (not subtle enough to be good satire imo) but this part was mildly funny

—p.89 A Brief Study of the British (85) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
102

Dear Optimist:

My husband, who knows very well that I love nothing more than wearing bonnets, recently bought a convertible. He's always doing "passive-aggressive" things like this. Like once, after I had all my teeth pulled, he bought a big box of Cracker Jack. Another time, when I had very serious burns over 90 per cent of my body, he tricked me into getting a hot oil massage, then tripped me so that I fell into a vat of hydrochloric acid. [...]

this was like the only letter that was mildly funny. the rest was like falling into a vat of hydrochloric acid

—p.102 Nostalgia (97) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

Dear Optimist:

My husband, who knows very well that I love nothing more than wearing bonnets, recently bought a convertible. He's always doing "passive-aggressive" things like this. Like once, after I had all my teeth pulled, he bought a big box of Cracker Jack. Another time, when I had very serious burns over 90 per cent of my body, he tricked me into getting a hot oil massage, then tripped me so that I fell into a vat of hydrochloric acid. [...]

this was like the only letter that was mildly funny. the rest was like falling into a vat of hydrochloric acid

—p.102 Nostalgia (97) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
130

And what will you do if we let you go? I ask him in my mind. Will you try to get in here again? Next time, you could be looking at five years.

He hesitates, averts his eyes.

Seriously? I say. My God, is it worth it? Are things really that bad where you live?

And he just looks at me, as if to say: Would I keep trying if it didn't make sense to keep trying, if the possible reward didn't justify possibly getting caught? Do I look stupid?

He doesn't look stupid. He looks handsome and sad and ashamed.

But mostly what he looks is: busted.

Busted, and waiting to pay the price.

about a Mexican guy who gets caught crossing the border

this is one of the best moments in the essay (maybe the entire book)

—p.130 The Great Divider (127) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

And what will you do if we let you go? I ask him in my mind. Will you try to get in here again? Next time, you could be looking at five years.

He hesitates, averts his eyes.

Seriously? I say. My God, is it worth it? Are things really that bad where you live?

And he just looks at me, as if to say: Would I keep trying if it didn't make sense to keep trying, if the possible reward didn't justify possibly getting caught? Do I look stupid?

He doesn't look stupid. He looks handsome and sad and ashamed.

But mostly what he looks is: busted.

Busted, and waiting to pay the price.

about a Mexican guy who gets caught crossing the border

this is one of the best moments in the essay (maybe the entire book)

—p.130 The Great Divider (127) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
172

If, at the moment when someone cuts us off in traffic or breaks our heart or begins bombing our ancestral village, we could withdraw from judging mode, and enter this other, more accepting mode, we would, paradoxically, make ourselves more powerful. By resisting the urge to reduce, in order to subsequently destroy, we keep alive--if only for a few seconds more--the possibility of transformation.

very This Is Water, though not as well-written tbh

—p.172 Thought Experiment (169) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

If, at the moment when someone cuts us off in traffic or breaks our heart or begins bombing our ancestral village, we could withdraw from judging mode, and enter this other, more accepting mode, we would, paradoxically, make ourselves more powerful. By resisting the urge to reduce, in order to subsequently destroy, we keep alive--if only for a few seconds more--the possibility of transformation.

very This Is Water, though not as well-written tbh

—p.172 Thought Experiment (169) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
203

[...] Huck and Tom represent two viable models of the American Character. They exist side by side in every American and every American action. America is, and always has been, undecided about whether it will be the United States of Tom or the United States of Huck. The United States of Tom looks at misery and says: Hey, I didn't do it. It looks at inequity and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get where I am, so don't come crying to me. Tom likes kings, codified nobility, unquestioned privilege. Huck likes people, fair play, spreading the truck around. Whereas Tom knows, Huck wonders. Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes. Whereas Huck cares, Tom denies. These two parts of the American Psyche have been at war since the beginning of the nation, and come to think of it, these two parts of the World Psyche have been at war since the beginning of the world, and the hope of the nation and of the world is to embrace the Huck part and send the Tom part back up the river, where it belongs.

I don't think I've read either but even so, this is an interesting analysis of the two characters

—p.203 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] Huck and Tom represent two viable models of the American Character. They exist side by side in every American and every American action. America is, and always has been, undecided about whether it will be the United States of Tom or the United States of Huck. The United States of Tom looks at misery and says: Hey, I didn't do it. It looks at inequity and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get where I am, so don't come crying to me. Tom likes kings, codified nobility, unquestioned privilege. Huck likes people, fair play, spreading the truck around. Whereas Tom knows, Huck wonders. Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes. Whereas Huck cares, Tom denies. These two parts of the American Psyche have been at war since the beginning of the nation, and come to think of it, these two parts of the World Psyche have been at war since the beginning of the world, and the hope of the nation and of the world is to embrace the Huck part and send the Tom part back up the river, where it belongs.

I don't think I've read either but even so, this is an interesting analysis of the two characters

—p.203 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
206

The questions about race in Huck Finn tend to center around the presence in the book of the word "nigger", but my guess is that, if the book were free of the types of missteps described above, and if the ending weren't such a fiasco, that word might not be such a problem. That is, if our wishful dream of the book (in which Jim is always fully human and three-dimensional, and in which Huck steadily and then definitively comes to understand this) had been perfectly realized, I think most readers would tolerate the n-word as an important and even essential indicator of character. It is crucial that we understand Huck as a possible nascent racist, and so he had better talk like one. [...]

[...] Can we ever really know to what extent this man or his book was, or is, racist? When we identify racism in the book, aren't we really just identifying racism in the culture out of which it came? Is it fair to expect Twain to have vaulted himself out of his own time and place and arrive, clean-booted and upright, in our own? Isn't the book still funny and deep? Aren't I actually enjoying it? How does one do the complicated math of Ultimate Racism: If we determine that, relative to our time, Twain was a 40 percent racist, while relative to his own, he was only a 12 percent racist, or was in fact a 0 percent racist--what do we know, really?

good point--it's not a blanket judgment, but it has to do with sensitivity, and so it's very case-by-case (a point that a lot of "omg free speech" people ignore)

though tbh I'm still annoyed when people use "racist" to refer to individuals as concentrating on cultural and systemic factors (maybe it's a spectrum not a binary idk)

—p.206 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

The questions about race in Huck Finn tend to center around the presence in the book of the word "nigger", but my guess is that, if the book were free of the types of missteps described above, and if the ending weren't such a fiasco, that word might not be such a problem. That is, if our wishful dream of the book (in which Jim is always fully human and three-dimensional, and in which Huck steadily and then definitively comes to understand this) had been perfectly realized, I think most readers would tolerate the n-word as an important and even essential indicator of character. It is crucial that we understand Huck as a possible nascent racist, and so he had better talk like one. [...]

[...] Can we ever really know to what extent this man or his book was, or is, racist? When we identify racism in the book, aren't we really just identifying racism in the culture out of which it came? Is it fair to expect Twain to have vaulted himself out of his own time and place and arrive, clean-booted and upright, in our own? Isn't the book still funny and deep? Aren't I actually enjoying it? How does one do the complicated math of Ultimate Racism: If we determine that, relative to our time, Twain was a 40 percent racist, while relative to his own, he was only a 12 percent racist, or was in fact a 0 percent racist--what do we know, really?

good point--it's not a blanket judgment, but it has to do with sensitivity, and so it's very case-by-case (a point that a lot of "omg free speech" people ignore)

though tbh I'm still annoyed when people use "racist" to refer to individuals as concentrating on cultural and systemic factors (maybe it's a spectrum not a binary idk)

—p.206 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago
210

[...] Huck Finn is a great book because it tells the truth about the human condition in a way that delights us. It is a great work of our national literature because, more than any book before or since, it locates itself squarely on our National Dilemma, which is: How can anyone be truly free in a country as violent and stupid as ours? The book still lives, because the question does.

the perfect ending to a great essay

—p.210 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] Huck Finn is a great book because it tells the truth about the human condition in a way that delights us. It is a great work of our national literature because, more than any book before or since, it locates itself squarely on our National Dilemma, which is: How can anyone be truly free in a country as violent and stupid as ours? The book still lives, because the question does.

the perfect ending to a great essay

—p.210 The United States of Huck: Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (187) by George Saunders 1 year, 2 months ago