Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.

— John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"Don’t you ever form judgments on things?" he asked with some exasperation.

She shook her head and her eyes wandered back to the dancers as she answered:

"I don’t know. I don’t know anything about—what you should do, or what anybody should do."

She confused him and hindered the flow of his ideas. Self-expression had never seemed at once so desirable and so impossible.

"Well," he admitted apologetically, "neither do I, of course, but—"

"I just think of people," she continued, "whether they seem right where they are and fit into the picture. I don’t mind if they don’t do anything. I don’t see why they should; in fact it always astonishes me when anybody does anything."

"You don’t want to do anything?"

"I want to sleep."

For a second he was startled, almost as though she had meant this literally.


"Sort of. I want to just be lazy and I want some of the people around me to be doing things, because that makes me feel comfortable and safe—and I want some of them to be doing nothing at all, because they can be graceful and companionable for me. But I never want to change people or get excited over them."

"You’re a quaint little determinist," laughed Anthony. "It’s your world, isn’t it?"

"Well—" she said with a quick upward glance, "isn’t it? As long as I’m—young."

She had paused slightly before the last word and Anthony suspected that she had started to say “beautiful.” It was undeniably what she had intended.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned