Welcome to Bookmarker!

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

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Bookmarker tag: inspo/self-deprecation (26 notes)

by Mary Karr

they're liberal in their politics
by Mary Karr

[...] I want to believe I'm at home with these composed individuals. They're liberal in their politics, after all. From where I sit on the low settee wedged among needlepoint pillows, I can see a whole shelf devoted to the egalitarian writings of Thomas Jefferson. Surely they recognize my native intellect. [...]

—p.83 | Flashdance | created Jun 19, 2017

I feel confident that I'll see him at the gate
by Mary Karr

I thought you wanted that party we're having, he says, with your sister coming for a week.

This party--our first--was long negotiated. He's noting the traffic to and from the airport, the hours of writing he'll lose. Should I offer to cancel the party in order to be picked up? When he hangs up, I feel confident that I'll see him at the gate.

chronicle of a divorce foretold

—p.122 | Flashdance | created Jun 19, 2017

this game of shit-eating
by Mary Karr

[...] I tell the husband I've got it because it ticks another plus sign in my column in this game of shit-eating I have composed my marriage to be. Whoever eats the biggest shit sandwich wins, and I'm playing to justify the fact that I'd rather drink than love.

—p.158 | Flashdance | created Jun 19, 2017

you live in a rich suburb and teach literature
by Mary Karr

I exhale a highway of smoke and stare down it, then say, Each day has just been about survival, just getting through, standing it.

Don't you see how savage that sounds? Like, that's the way men in prison yards think. You live in a rich suburb and teach literature.

Composition mostly, I say (Lord, was I dead then to my blessings, a self-pitying wretch if ever one was). We're the poorest in the neighborhood. . . .

—p.218 | Self Help | created Jun 19, 2017

Granta 126: Do You Remember
by Sigrid Rausing

packing so lightly I believed he would come back
by Lorrie Moore

The weekend her father left – left the house, the town, the country, everything, packing so lightly I believed he would come back – he had said, ‘You can raise Nickie by yourself. You’ll be good at it.’

And I had said, ‘Are you on crack?’

And he had replied, continuing to fold a blue twill jacket, ‘Yes, a little.’

the line in the subject kills me

—p.78 | Thank You for Having Me | created Nov 01, 2019

Granta 140: State of Mind
by Sigrid Rausing

it looks like we’re on the moon
(missing author)

The referee blew his whistle. ‘We can do this, England,’ I found myself yelling, despite my Welshness, despite my half-German mother. I was not the only player transformed by regressive instincts. Our captain, Andrew Keatley – a soft-voiced writer of brilliant, searing plays about injustice and humanity, about guilt and inheritance, an outspoken voice for the voiceless – spent the ninety minutes shouting at the Germans, shouting at the referees and linesmen, and generally sending the message that their voices were irrelevant. I had never really given much thought to the fact that Andrew had no hair until I saw him screaming in an England shirt. He was suddenly Plato’s eternal skinhead: the ideal form of the worst in our culture. Even our critically acclaimed poet, Nathan Hamilton, headed the ball with such commitment you could almost smell the poems evaporating. It became clear we all badly wanted to destroy Germany. We wanted to do it for England. I recalled the incident when the writing hand of Marcus du Sautoy, The Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, had been ruthlessly crushed, bones and all, in collision with a German writer of plays for children. I vowed to avenge his months of lost productivity. The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.

We won three-nil. We beat Germany three-nil. In the World Cup. We tonked them. We mullered them. We shellacked them. All the made-up words. We did not care that the only audience for our victory was a handful of Cypriot weightlifters, dead-lifting dumb-bells at the side of the pitch. We refused to acknowledge that the Germany B team was any worse than Germany A.

‘Germany’s Germany,’ we said.

Back at the hotel, we drank, swam, watched traditional local dancing, and told stories of our heroism, our darting runs and crisply pinged through-balls. We mythologised our best goal, how the ball had seemed to hang a moment in the sky – spinning on its axis like the earth itself – before novelist Matt Greene – never forget his name – had slammed it home, bringing to a righteous end one of the great feuds in world history.

I have since rewatched a video of this game. It is amazing how slowly we move. It looks like we’re on the moon. In order to make the game on the screen accurately reflect my self-image, I played it at three times real speed.


—p.95 | Cyprus United | created Nov 01, 2019

n+1 Issue 35: Savior Complex
by n+1

ours was a pastiche conservatism
by Dan Sinykin

In the lull before September 11, before the Iraq war and resurgent white nationalism and 4chan, we were young, upper-middle-class white men with excess energy, more than we could expend on Swedish death metal or catfishing with a 28.8 Kbps modem. Our lefty cousins, ahead of the curve, attentive already to wealth inequality and wage stagnation, fought the Battle of Seattle, smashing Starbucks windows and looting Niketown against globalization, an augury of Naomi Klein and, much later, Occupy Wall Street. Meanwhile, I wrote essays defending urban sprawl and deriding global warming as a hoax.

Ours was a pastiche conservatism, rooted in our belief that we were smarter and more deserving of success than anyone else. Because we lacked evidence for this belief, we adopted an ethos of quotidian domination; we were debased Nietzscheans for whom cruelty signaled strength. We convinced the school to let us do an independent study on Ayn Rand. We called it “Philosophy.” Because we had already read Rand’s full oeuvre, we spent our time creating an elaborate joke, a series of intricately illustrated posters for made-up clubs—the John Stamos Society, the Council of Elders—vehicles for coded slander and eerie absurdism expressed through Simpsons and South Park quotes, lampooning a classmate’s mother’s alleged sexual habits or depicting two clowns discussing an abusive father over a water cooler. We had a mentor, a young social studies teacher who was named Branden after Rand’s acolyte and lover, Nathaniel Branden. But he was a liberal, for which we mocked him to his face.

—p.117 | White Voice | created May 09, 2020

The Baffler No. 41: Mind Cures
by Lehmann, Chris

the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from
(missing author)

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who did a fair amount of traveling, criticized it as a “fool’s paradise.” “I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe” for art or study, he wrote. But he wondered if travel led to individual growth. “I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples; and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.” A lighter, updated version of this idea can be found in a >New Yorker cartoon in which one woman recounts her travels—not Naples this time, but Tuscany. “Florence was fabulous!” she is saying to an acquaintance. “Wi-Fi to die for!”

wow i really like that quote

—p.72 | Diversity for What? | created Dec 03, 2019

Days of Distraction
by Alexandra Chang

do I enjoy it?
by Alexandra Chang

Do I enjoy it? It is easy and mindless work. I’ll have a source of income as soon as we get to Ithaca. All of this gives me a sense of peace and direction. So sure! I really enjoy it. Sign me up.

—p.128 | created Jun 15, 2020

Freeman's: Power
by John Freeman

I have an enduring terror of photos
by Josephine Rowe

I am not an overly confident person. Not physically. It's all I can do to stand my full height. I have an enduring terror of photos. There are many photographs of me trying to escape the camera, or looking tense and unhappy at having been caught in frame. [...]

i like this

—p.206 | Ways of Being Seen | created May 04, 2020

Memoirs of a Revolutionary
by Adam Hochschild, George Paizis, Peter Sedgwick, Richard Greeman, Victor Serge

behind us, all Europe is ablaze
by Victor Serge

It was a fine voyage, in first-class berths. A destroyer escorted our steamer, and now and then took long shots at floating mines. A dark gush would rise from the waves and the child hostages applauded. From mist and sea there emerged the massive outline of Elsinore’s gray stone castle, with its roofs of dull emerald. Weak Prince Hamlet, you faltered in that fog of crimes, but you put the question well. “To be or not to be,” for the men of our age, means free will or servitude, and they have only to choose. We are leaving the void, and entering the kingdom of the w ill. This, perhaps, is the imaginary frontier. A land awaits us where life is beginning anew, where conscious will, intelligence and an inexorable love of mankind are in action. Behind us, all Europe is ablaze, having choked almost to death in the fog of its own massacres. Barcelona’s flame smolders on. Germany is in the thick of revolution, Austro-Hungary is splitting into free nations. Italy is spread with red flags. .. this is only the beginning. We are being born into violence: not only you and I, who are fairly unimportant, but all those to whom, unknown to themselves, we belong, down to this tin-hatted Senegalese freezing under his fur on his dismal watch at the foot of the officers’ gangway. Outbursts of idealism like this, if truth be known, kept getting mixed up with our heated discussions on points of doctrine. [...]

—p.78 | 2. Live to Prevail: 1912-1919 | created Jun 07, 2020

Granta 89: The Factory
by Alec Soth, Andrew Martin, Des Barry, Ian Jack, Isabel Hilton, James Lasdun, Joe Sacco, Liz Jobey, Luc Sante, Neil Steinberg, Tessa Hadley

very near to praising my brief performance
by Andrew Martin

The last time I performed in their theatre—the Jo Ro, opposite the factory—I played Abdullah, a street urchin in Tennessee Williams strange, static play, Camino Real. I was thirteen years old. As Abdullah, I was photographed by the Yorkshire Evening Press, and the accompanying caption came very near to praising my brief performance. I would read this caption over and over in the hope that unequivocal praise for my acting talent might somehow emerge from it.

—p.111 | Chocolate Empires | created Jun 14, 2020

by Percival Everett

as apolitical then as I was at this moment
by Percival Everett

[...] The students were apparently demanding many resignations because the president and his administrator were insensitive to the needs of students of color. It sounded like my college days twenty-five years earlier, when we were asking for essentially the same things. I was sadly as apolitical then as I was at this moment. I dealt with fossils. I crawled through caves and measured the bones of birds long dead. [...]


—p.62 | created Jun 16, 2020

n+1 Issue 37: Transmission
by n+1

I suffer like an office clerk
by Francesco Pacifico

But where people could relate to Alessandro’s novel, they couldn’t relate to mine. There’s a clunkiness to my writing that comes from a loneliness so extreme it never manages to warm up. I don’t suffer like a poet, I suffer like an office clerk. The second part of the novel offered no comforting hugs to anyone, nor did it provide any explanation of or knowledge about the impotent, Catholic anti-Semite at its center. The flamboyance of the style was an implicit promise to the publisher—and the foreign publishers—that their money would be earned back. But it was only style, and style is never enough.

i kind of love this

—p.113 | American Dream | created Mar 15, 2021

n+1 Issue 27: Deep End
by n+1

even though I am a film critic
by A S Hamrah

Before and during the festival, about fifty films are screened during the day for the press. I saw forty of them. I missed one because of a therapy appointment. (Even though I am a film critic, I hope to be able to have normal relationships someday.) I missed another because I had a hangover and couldn’t face the hour-long trip to Lincoln Center from my apartment in Brooklyn. Two I paid to see, and went on Sunday afternoons after buying tickets using the festival’s complicated and anxiety-inducing website, with its countdown clock.

i love him

—p.184 | On the New York Film Festival | created Sep 20, 2020

The Paris Review Issue 232
by The Paris Review

I think in some ways I have gained the cat’s respect
by Jesse Ball

Thursday, 17 December.

The cat is sitting by the door. Evidently it wants to go out. I sit by the door also, watching it. It is as if our hostilities (the hostilities of cat and mouse) have already begun. This is a feline that I purchased at a fair. A charismatic man was giving kittens away. You didn’t dare look at him because . . . oh but you looked at him and now he’s calling you over, he’s smiling, he’s touching your arm a bit. He remembers you from somewhere. He’s telling you about kittens and then you’re in the car on the way home and everyone is cooing stupidly and passing the thing around.

When my wife comes home I am still sitting there. The cat is still sitting there. Nothing has changed. At least two hours have passed. I think in some ways I have gained the cat’s respect, although of course the gain in that regard is counterbalanced by my wife’s dismay. What are you doing on the floor? I begin to tell her but think better of it.

the same vibe that i get in kafka, dostoevsky, baudrillard's diaries

—p.87 | Diary of a Country Mouse | created Jan 25, 2021

The Committed
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

the aroma of our own contradictions
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I met Bon on the other side of passport control. We had at last stepped foot on la Gaule, as my father had taught me to call France in his parish school. It was fitting, then, that the airport was named after Charles de Gaulle, the greatest of great Frenchmen in recent memory. The hero who had liberated France from the Nazis while continuing to enslave us Vietnamese. Ah, contradiction! The perpetual body odor of humanity! No one was spared, not even the Americans or the Vietnamese, who bathed daily, or the French, who bathed less than daily. No matter our nationality, we all become accustomed to the aroma of our own contradictions.

What’s wrong? he said. Are you crying again?

I’m not crying, I sobbed. I’m just so overcome to be home at last.

—p.4 | created May 09, 2022

my neighbor got up and moved to another seat
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I was in no condition to talk about plans or think about them, and yet an hour later there I was thinking as I sat in an RER train car rumbling toward a northern suburb. While I stared out at the grim prison blocks of apartment buildings and tried to hold myself together, I wondered if it was true, if the Eiffel Tower was just a Gallic erection thrusting forth from the supine French body, shooting off bursts of clouds, seen and invisible at the same time.

Was it so obvious that it was not obvious?

Was the French empire simply exposing itself for all to see?

Was the Eiffel Tower any different from the Washington Monument, the white missile erupting from the American capital, foreshadowing all the nuclear missiles buried in silos across the American landscape?


My neighbor got up and moved to another seat.

—p.99 | created May 09, 2022

The Book of Embraces
by Eduardo Galeano

barbers humiliate me by charging half-price
by Eduardo Galeano

Barbers humiliate me by charging half-price.

Twenty years ago, the mirror exposed the first bare spots concealed under my mop of hair. Nowadays, I shudder with horror at the reflection of my luminous, bald pate in windows and glass storefronts.

Every hair that falls, every single strand, is a fallen comrade who before falling had a name, or at least a number.

—p.222 | created Jan 16, 2022

The Earth Dies Streaming
by A S Hamrah

that was a lesson in the artist-critic divide
by A S Hamrah

The cashier looked at the picture, then at me, then back to Welles in the magazine. She looked up again at my young, beardless face and my full head of black hair, which was clearly visible because I was not wearing a hat or a cape. “Is that you?” she asked, pointing at the photo.

“No!” I blurted out. “That’s Orson Welles!”

“Oh,” she said, scanning a can of pinto beans. I put the magazine back on the rack where I found it, gathered my grocery bags, and left through the automatic doors. Wow, I thought, that was a lesson in the artist-critic divide.


—p.xiv | Introduction | created Jul 20, 2023

Fake Accounts
by Lauren Oyler

my skincare regimen
by Lauren Oyler

My skincare regimen is more extensive than I’m proud of. I’d recently learned it was important to let each product “fully” absorb before applying the next, and while I did not spend forty-five minutes each night sitting in the bathroom awaiting transcendence, the layering approach I couldn’t unlearn did give me plenty of time to consider my options. After a swipe of special water supposedly popular in France, I thought, I won’t do it. After I cleansed a second time, with cleanser, per the recommendation of Korea, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t. After I used a dropper designed to look scientific to apply serum to my nose to decrease redness and “purify,” I thought, Great social revolutions are impossible without feminine ferment. After a pat of stinging, very expensive foam, the effects of which I was not convinced, I thought, Ha, that’s funny. By the stroke of moisturizer I was dewy and resolved: I had nothing to lose but my chains.

—p.9 | created May 28, 2022

I was shut out of the conversation
by Lauren Oyler

You had to hand it to her. You really did. I was shut out of the conversation, both physically and in that I had no idea what exhibition she was talking about. Having by that point only nodded along to tedious study-abroad stories, I looked like a hanger-on. The back three-quarters of her head had the same uniformly beige quality as her face, plus a tattoo of a treble clef behind her ear, pierced several times, but impressed by her savvy I reassessed the blandness as confident, unconcerned, maybe even elevated, indicative of something like the humility of an excellent classical pianist trying to make ends meet in the gig economy, and myself as perhaps a little Polonophobic. I took a moment to reflect on my biases and then, though Felix had already begun to speak, put one of my long elegant hands out in a sort of questioning gesture over Kasia’s shoulder and asked, “What exhibition?”

—p.26 | created May 28, 2022

these people just wanted to talk about themselves
by Lauren Oyler

I WAS STARTING TO GET ANNOYED. THESE PEOPLE JUST WANTED to talk about themselves. They weren’t giving me a chance to talk about my characters.

—p.168 | created May 28, 2022

Pitch Dark
by Renata Adler

this German pretending to be a Dane
by Renata Adler

Well, I called the Danish baron, and his accent seemed instantly recognizable to me. I thought, What is this German pretending to be a Dane doing on an American island, six hundred miles from Vancouver, which is the nearest outpost to Siberia. I thought, a war criminal. My state of mind. I still resolved to go. [...]


—p.106 | III. HOME | created Apr 27, 2023

Slow Learner: Early Stories
by Thomas Pynchon

except to mention how distressed I am
by Thomas Pynchon

Such considerations were largely absent when I wrote "Entropy." I was more concerned with committing on paper a variety of abuses, such as overwriting. I will spare everybody a detailed discussion of all the overwriting that occurs in these stories, except to mention how distressed I am at the number of tendrils that keep showing up. I still don't even know for sure what a tendril is. I think I took the word from T. S. Eliot. I have nothing against tendrils personally, but my overuse of the word is a good example of what can happen when you spend too much time and energy on words alone. This advice has been given often and more compellingly elsewhere, but my specific piece of wrong procedure back then was, incredibly, to browse through the thesaurus and note words that sounded cool, hip, or likely to produce an effect, usually that of making me look good, without then taking the trouble to go and find out in the dictionary what they meant. If this sounds stupid, it is. I mention it only on the chance that others" may be doing it even as we speak, and be able to profit from my error.


—p.15 | Introduction | created Apr 10, 2023

by Benjamin Kunkel

what are you looking at everywhere?
by Benjamin Kunkel

I chewed my toast, considering this, and between glances at Brigid looked all around the room with equal attentiveness, just so it wouldn’t seem like I was particularly fixated on her face (so sharp-boned and precise, but with a pleasant suggestion of former plumpness everywhere smudging it faintly with voluptuous life) and happily analogous body. Certainly she would make a welcome addition to any threesome.

“Is there a mosquito?” she asked. “Or what are you looking at everywhere?”


—p.104 | created Jul 17, 2023