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).

18

The Bedouin were keeping me alive for a reason. I was useful, you see. Someone there had assumed I had a skill when my plane crashed in the desert. I am a man who can recognize an unnamed town by its skeletal shape on a map. I have always had information like a sea in me. I am a person who if left alone in someone’s home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history enters us. I knew maps of the sea floor, maps that depict weaknesses in the shield of the earth, charts painted on skin that contain the various routes of the Crusades.

<3

—p.18 The Villa (1) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

The Bedouin were keeping me alive for a reason. I was useful, you see. Someone there had assumed I had a skill when my plane crashed in the desert. I am a man who can recognize an unnamed town by its skeletal shape on a map. I have always had information like a sea in me. I am a person who if left alone in someone’s home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history enters us. I knew maps of the sea floor, maps that depict weaknesses in the shield of the earth, charts painted on skin that contain the various routes of the Crusades.

<3

—p.18 The Villa (1) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
97

May 1936.

I will read you a poem, Clifton’s wife said, in her formal voice, which is how she always seems unless you are very close to her. We were all at the southern campsite, within the firelight.

I walked in a desert.
And I cried:
‘Ah, God, take me from this place!’
A voice said: ‘It is no desert.’
‘I cried: ‘Well, but -
The sand, the heat, the vacant horizon.’
A voice said: ‘It is no desert.’

No one said anything.

She said, That was by Stephen Crane, he never came to the desert.

He came to the desert, Madox said.

July 1936.

There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lover enters the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.

A love story is not about those who lose their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing – not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.

i feel like im missing some of the complexities with the stephan crane bit [is madox being literal or figurative? is she correct or misunderstanding something?] but i love the feeling of it just the same

—p.97 Sometime a Fire (67) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

May 1936.

I will read you a poem, Clifton’s wife said, in her formal voice, which is how she always seems unless you are very close to her. We were all at the southern campsite, within the firelight.

I walked in a desert.
And I cried:
‘Ah, God, take me from this place!’
A voice said: ‘It is no desert.’
‘I cried: ‘Well, but -
The sand, the heat, the vacant horizon.’
A voice said: ‘It is no desert.’

No one said anything.

She said, That was by Stephen Crane, he never came to the desert.

He came to the desert, Madox said.

July 1936.

There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lover enters the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.

A love story is not about those who lose their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing – not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.

i feel like im missing some of the complexities with the stephan crane bit [is madox being literal or figurative? is she correct or misunderstanding something?] but i love the feeling of it just the same

—p.97 Sometime a Fire (67) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
120

‘Older than Hana. Could you fall in love with her if she wasn’t smarter than you? I mean, she may not be smarter than you. But isn’t it important for you to think she is smarter than you in order to fall in love? Think now. She can be obsessed by the Englishman because he knows more. We’re in a huge field when we talk to that guy. We don’t even know if he’s English. He’s probably not. You see, I think it is easier to fall in love with him than with you. Why is that? Because we want to know things, how the pieces fit. Talkers seduce, words direct us into corners. We want more than anything to grow and change. Brave new world.’

‘I don’t think so,’ said Hana.

‘Neither do I. Let me tell you about people my age. The worst thing is others assume you have developed your character by now. The trouble with middle age is they think you are fully formed. Here.’

—p.120 Sometime a Fire (67) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

‘Older than Hana. Could you fall in love with her if she wasn’t smarter than you? I mean, she may not be smarter than you. But isn’t it important for you to think she is smarter than you in order to fall in love? Think now. She can be obsessed by the Englishman because he knows more. We’re in a huge field when we talk to that guy. We don’t even know if he’s English. He’s probably not. You see, I think it is easier to fall in love with him than with you. Why is that? Because we want to know things, how the pieces fit. Talkers seduce, words direct us into corners. We want more than anything to grow and change. Brave new world.’

‘I don’t think so,’ said Hana.

‘Neither do I. Let me tell you about people my age. The worst thing is others assume you have developed your character by now. The trouble with middle age is they think you are fully formed. Here.’

—p.120 Sometime a Fire (67) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
134

John Bell, director of Desert Surveys in Egypt, asked these questions in 1927. By the 1930s the papers grew even more modest. ‘I should like to add a few remarks on some of the points raised in the interesting discussion on the “Prehistoric Geography of Kharga Oasis.”’ By the mid-1930s the lost oasis of Zerzura was found by Ladislaus de Almásy and his companions.

In 1939 the great decade of Libyan Desert expeditions came to an end, and this vast and silent pocket of the earth became one of the theatres of war.

ah!!! you really feel the loss here, the tragedy

—p.134 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

John Bell, director of Desert Surveys in Egypt, asked these questions in 1927. By the 1930s the papers grew even more modest. ‘I should like to add a few remarks on some of the points raised in the interesting discussion on the “Prehistoric Geography of Kharga Oasis.”’ By the mid-1930s the lost oasis of Zerzura was found by Ladislaus de Almásy and his companions.

In 1939 the great decade of Libyan Desert expeditions came to an end, and this vast and silent pocket of the earth became one of the theatres of war.

ah!!! you really feel the loss here, the tragedy

—p.134 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
136

We were a small clutch of a nation between the wars, mapping and re-exploring. We gathered at Dakhla and Kufra as if they were bars or cafés. An oasis society, Bagnold called it. We knew each other’s intimacies, each other’s skills and weaknesses. We forgave Bagnold everything for the way he wrote about dunes. ‘The grooves and the corrugated sand resemble the hollow of the roof of a dog’s mouth.’ That was the real Bagnold, a man who would put his inquiring hand into the jaws of a dog.

ugh i love this

—p.136 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

We were a small clutch of a nation between the wars, mapping and re-exploring. We gathered at Dakhla and Kufra as if they were bars or cafés. An oasis society, Bagnold called it. We knew each other’s intimacies, each other’s skills and weaknesses. We forgave Bagnold everything for the way he wrote about dunes. ‘The grooves and the corrugated sand resemble the hollow of the roof of a dog’s mouth.’ That was the real Bagnold, a man who would put his inquiring hand into the jaws of a dog.

ugh i love this

—p.136 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
138

By 1932, Bagnold was finished and Madox and the rest of us were everywhere. Looking for the lost army of Cambyses. Looking for Zerzura. 1932 and 1933 and 1934. Not seeing each other for months. Just the Bedouin and us, crisscrossing the Forty Days Road. There were rivers of desert tribes, the most beautiful humans I’ve met in my life. We were German, English, Hungarian, African – all of us insignificant to them. Gradually we became nationless. I came to hate nations. We are deformed by nation-states. Madox died because of nations.

The desert could not be claimed or owned – it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names long before Canterbury existed, long before battles and treaties quilted Europe and the East. Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape. Fire and sand. We left the harbours of oasis. The places water came to and touched … Ain, Bir, Wadi, Foggara, Khottara, Shaduf. I didn’t want my name against such beautiful names. Erase the family name! Erase nations! I was taught such things by the desert.

:'(

—p.138 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

By 1932, Bagnold was finished and Madox and the rest of us were everywhere. Looking for the lost army of Cambyses. Looking for Zerzura. 1932 and 1933 and 1934. Not seeing each other for months. Just the Bedouin and us, crisscrossing the Forty Days Road. There were rivers of desert tribes, the most beautiful humans I’ve met in my life. We were German, English, Hungarian, African – all of us insignificant to them. Gradually we became nationless. I came to hate nations. We are deformed by nation-states. Madox died because of nations.

The desert could not be claimed or owned – it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names long before Canterbury existed, long before battles and treaties quilted Europe and the East. Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape. Fire and sand. We left the harbours of oasis. The places water came to and touched … Ain, Bir, Wadi, Foggara, Khottara, Shaduf. I didn’t want my name against such beautiful names. Erase the family name! Erase nations! I was taught such things by the desert.

:'(

—p.138 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
141

In the desert the most loved waters, like a lover’s name, are carried blue in your hands, enter your throat. One swallows absence. A woman in Cairo curves the white length of her body up from the bed and leans out of the window into a rainstorm to allow her nakedness to receive it.

—p.141 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

In the desert the most loved waters, like a lover’s name, are carried blue in your hands, enter your throat. One swallows absence. A woman in Cairo curves the white length of her body up from the bed and leans out of the window into a rainstorm to allow her nakedness to receive it.

—p.141 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
141

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our name, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself.

But we were interested in how our lives could mean something to the past. We sailed into the past. We were young. We knew power and great finance were temporary things. We all slept with Herodotus. ‘For those cities that were great in earlier times must have now become small, and those that were great in my time were small in the time before … Man’s good fortune never abides in the same place.’

—p.141 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our name, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself.

But we were interested in how our lives could mean something to the past. We sailed into the past. We were young. We knew power and great finance were temporary things. We all slept with Herodotus. ‘For those cities that were great in earlier times must have now become small, and those that were great in my time were small in the time before … Man’s good fortune never abides in the same place.’

—p.141 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
143

The desert fire was between us. The Cliftons, Madox, Bell and myself. If a man leaned back a few inches he would disappear into darkness. Katharine Clifton began to recite something, and my head was no longer in the halo of the camp’s twig fire.

There was classical blood in her face. Her parents were famous, apparently, in the world of legal history. I am a man who did not enjoy poetry until I heard a woman recite it to us. And in that desert she dragged her university days into our midst to describe the stars – the way Adam tenderly taught a woman with gracious metaphors.

These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain, nor think, though men were none,
That Heav’n would want spectators, God want praise;
Millions of spiritual Creatures walk the Earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing Hill or Thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other’s note
Singing their great Creator …

That night I fell in love with a voice. Only a voice. I wanted to hear nothing more. I got up and walked away.

—p.143 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

The desert fire was between us. The Cliftons, Madox, Bell and myself. If a man leaned back a few inches he would disappear into darkness. Katharine Clifton began to recite something, and my head was no longer in the halo of the camp’s twig fire.

There was classical blood in her face. Her parents were famous, apparently, in the world of legal history. I am a man who did not enjoy poetry until I heard a woman recite it to us. And in that desert she dragged her university days into our midst to describe the stars – the way Adam tenderly taught a woman with gracious metaphors.

These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain, nor think, though men were none,
That Heav’n would want spectators, God want praise;
Millions of spiritual Creatures walk the Earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing Hill or Thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other’s note
Singing their great Creator …

That night I fell in love with a voice. Only a voice. I wanted to hear nothing more. I got up and walked away.

—p.143 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago
144

She was a willow. What would she be like in winter, at my age? I see her still, always, with the eye of Adam. She had been these awkward limbs climbing out of a plane, bending down in our midst to prod at a fire, her elbow up and pointed towards me as she drank from a canteen.

A few months later, she waltzed with me, as we danced as a group in Cairo. Though slightly drunk she wore an unconquerable face. Even now the face I believe that most revealed her was the one she had that time when we were both half drunk, not lovers.

All these years I have been trying to unearth what she was handing me with that look. It seemed to be contempt. So it appeared to me. Now I think she was studying me. She was an innocent, surprised at something in me. I was behaving the way I usually behave in bars, but this time with the wrong company. I am a man who kept the codes of my behaviour separate. I was forgetting she was younger than I.

She was studying me. Such a simple thing. And I was watching for one wrong move in her statue-like gaze, something that would give her away.

—p.144 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago

She was a willow. What would she be like in winter, at my age? I see her still, always, with the eye of Adam. She had been these awkward limbs climbing out of a plane, bending down in our midst to prod at a fire, her elbow up and pointed towards me as she drank from a canteen.

A few months later, she waltzed with me, as we danced as a group in Cairo. Though slightly drunk she wore an unconquerable face. Even now the face I believe that most revealed her was the one she had that time when we were both half drunk, not lovers.

All these years I have been trying to unearth what she was handing me with that look. It seemed to be contempt. So it appeared to me. Now I think she was studying me. She was an innocent, surprised at something in me. I was behaving the way I usually behave in bars, but this time with the wrong company. I am a man who kept the codes of my behaviour separate. I was forgetting she was younger than I.

She was studying me. Such a simple thing. And I was watching for one wrong move in her statue-like gaze, something that would give her away.

—p.144 South Cairo 1930–1938 (131) by Michael Ondaatje 1 year, 3 months ago