50 Books to Read Before You Die

words to inspire before you expire

Tag: Age

” . . . everybody knows life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living—and for thousands of years. In fact, nothing could be clearer. Whether it was now or twenty years from now, I would still be the one dying. At that point, what would disturb my train of thought was the terrifying leap I would feel my heart take at the idea of having twenty more years of life ahead of me. But I simply had to stifle it by imagining what I’d be thinking in twenty years when it would all come down to the same thing anyway. Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter.”

—from The Stranger by Albert Camus

“[O]ut of my great pain, I had an illumination. It didn’t come in words; the words I attempted to fit to it were confused and caused the illumination itself to vanish. It seemed to me that men were born only to grow old, to live out their span, to acquire experience. Men lived to acquire experience; the quality of the experience was immaterial; pleasure and pain—and above all, pain—had no meaning; to possess pain was as meaningless as to chase pleasure.”

—from A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

“This portrait would be to him the most magical of mirrors.  As it had revealed to him his own body, so it would reveal to him his own soul.  And when winter came upon it, he would would still be standing where spring trembles on the verge of summer.  When the blood crept from its face, and left behind a pallid mask of chalk with leaden eyes, he would keep the glamour of boyhood.  Not one blossom of his loveliness would ever fade.  Not one pulse of his life would ever weaken.  Like the gods of the Greeks, he would be strong, and fleet, and joyous.  What did it matter what happened to the coloured image on the canvas?  He would be safe.  That was everything.”

–from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde