Gary Shteyngart quotes

  • Reading is entering into the consciousness of another human being.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Reading #Entering #Consciousness

  • My parents were kind enough to spend hours talking to me.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Talking #Parent #Kind

  • If you stop thinking, if you stop wondering, you die.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Life #Thinking #Wonder

  • Alcohol causes a lot of problems, and then to solve these problems, you drink more.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Alcohol #Causes #Problem

  • Italy has sun and tomatoes, and Russia just has real problems.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Real #Russia #Tomatoes

  • Vodka has a huge history in Russia, in that it's almost like a currency. It's the one thing that keeps the country in the dark ages and having a rollicking good time.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Country #Dark #Russia

  • You can't have a Russian household without vodka. It's just something to wash everything down with. I can't remember a time when I didn't drink vodka, either in Russia or here. I don't think there's ever a wrong time to start drinking it. My ancestors drank it, and if I ever have any children, they'll be drinking it.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Children #Drinking #Thinking

  • I was a jackass in many ways. I projected that cruelty towards others, that kid whose hand I was wringing. If I could have hurt a hundred weaklings - weaker than me, and I was already very weak - I would. I was dying to hurt somebody, to pay it forward.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Hurt #Kids #Hands

  • Russia tried to introduce beer as kind of the new vodka - and it's working with younger people in major cities - but you can have ten shots of vodka and be perfectly okay. If I had ten beers, I would be liquidated.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Beer #Russia #Cities

  • Vodka is a wonderful drink. You can drink so much of it without being as hung over as you would if you were drinking one of the brown liquors - the whiskeys and such. It's a great drink to go with appetizers.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Drinking #Whiskey #Wonderful

  • The memoirs I love are all very intense. If you're going to do a memoir and protect yourself, what the hell's the point? Just do fiction.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Fiction #Hell #Intense

  • I have some memories of certain things that happened in high school when I was stoned out of my mind, but I talked with other people about them, and I trusted the aggregated memories.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Memories #School #People

  • I have a great memory. And actually, I remember Russia in some ways better than I remember Queens.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Queens #Memories #Russia

  • Getting out of Russia was the best thing my parents did. I mean, that country will never amount to anything.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Country #Mean #Russia

  • You want to read a book? That requires introspection. It requires time away from people and time away from the constant need to communicate and to connect.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Book #People #Needs

  • I always think that good writers should be growing up on the brink of death - it really lets them see mortality very clearly.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Growing Up #Thinking #Mortality

  • I was very, very sick when I was growing up in Russia. The ambulance constantly came to our house. I had horrible asthma that is easily treated in America, but they didn't even have inhalers back in Russia.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Growing Up #Russia #America

  • I read real books. On paper. You know, those printed books? I feel like this is the last thing I do to support my industry. I think they smell great, too.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Real #Book #Thinking

  • I just want fiction to remain a vital force for entertainment and not just for contemplation. Both things can exist.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Fiction #Want #Entertainment

  • Communications devices were always used to effect change, to effect revolution. Telephone, telegraph - these all seemed like very big enhancements at the time.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Communication #Enhancement #Telephones

  • I love Paul Giamatti - God, that man is like a walking Chekhov. His connection to humanity is unbelievable, and those feelings of low self-esteem - the way that all comes together on the screen? Delicious.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Self Esteem #Men #Feelings

  • I don't have many possessions, apart from my books.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Book #Possession

  • Also, I've spent an entire week without reading any books or talking about them too loudly. I'm learning to work my apparat's screen, the colourful pulsating mosaic of it, the fact that it knows every last stinking detail about the world, whereas my books only know the minds of their authors.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Book #Reading #Talking

  • The radio station was playing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a sure sign that things were much worse than they appeared.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Lakes #Swans #Tchaikovsky

  • Forget the fountain of youth, pal of mine. You can live to be a thousand, and it won't matter. Mediocrities like you deserve immortality.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Pals #Mediocrity #Matter

  • On that night I was left with only the truth that nothing of our personality survives after death, that in the end all that was Misha Vainberg would evaporate along with the styles and delusions of his epoch, leaving behind not one flutter of his sad heavy brilliance, not one damp spot around which his successors could congregate to appreciate his life and times.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Night #Appreciate #Personality

  • In a strange way, I expected Russia to become more like America since the Soviet Union collapsed, but the reverse is true. America has become more like Russia: a kleptocratic society.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #America #Russia #Unions

  • Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it's important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Thinking #Ideas #Silence

  • I reveled in the smallness, the coziness of an upstairs bedroom in a traditional American Cape Cod house the half-floor that forces you to duck, to feel small and naive again, ready for anything, dying for love, your body a chimney filled with odd, black smoke. These square, squat, awkward rooms are like a fifty-square-foot paean to teenage-hood, to ripeness, to the first and last taste of youth.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Teenage #Love You #Ducks

  • American fiction is good. It would be nice if somebody read it.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Nice #Would Be #Fiction

  • The best thing about the iPhone is this that tells me where I am all the time. Theres never a need to feel lost anymore.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Iphone #Needs #Lost

  • Good fiction makes me turn off all the other parts of my brain, so that I become quiet and submissive, entirely at the mercy of the work at hand.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Hands #Brain #Fiction

  • I write almost entirely in bed or on a couch with my feet up on the coffee table. I feel most creative when Im looking out the window, and my bed and couch have nice views of the New York skyline.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #New York #Nice #Coffee

  • It is a capital insult in this country not to make love to a naked woman, even if she is related to you.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Country #Making Love #Naked

  • If I still lived in Russia, I'd be dead... or a really effective oligarch.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Russia #Stills

  • A lot of the ways of advertising a book - the cover, whether somebody sees it on a subway or sees it in a bookstore - those things are going to rapidly diminish as we move to an electronic model.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Moving #Book #Way

  • I am born hungry. Ravenous. I want to eat the world, and I can never be satiated.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #World #Want #Hungry

  • That's what I always liked about science fiction - you can make the world end. Humour is my multiple warhead delivery system.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Fiction #World #Ends

  • We're people of the Orient. We know everything. And what we don't know, we can sense.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #People

  • In America, the distance between wanting something and having it delivered to your living room is not terribly great.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Distance #America #Rooms

  • Don't be pretentious is my first advice to young writers. This is the big problem - just because you're getting an MFA doesn't mean you have to write for the Academy. Be true to your personality. Don't temper your personality down with words. Don't build defensive fortresses around yourself with words - words are your friends.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Writing #Mean #Advice

  • America should treasure its rare, true original voices and Mark Leyner is one of them. So treasure him already, you bastards!
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Voice #America #Treasure

  • I feel safe with him because he is so not my ideal and I feel like I can be myself because I'm not in love with him.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Safe #Feels

  • Do not throw away your heart. Keep your heart. Your heart is all that matters ... Throw away your ancestors! ... Throw away your shyness and the anger that lies just a few inches beneath ... Accept the truth! And if there is more than one truth, then learn to do the difficult work -- learn to choose. You are good enough, you are HUMAN ENOUGH, to choose!
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Lying #Heart #Matter

  • My mother cranes her neck. Her ability to be fascinated by things is her best gift to me.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Mother #Necks #Cranes

  • A writer or any suffering artist-to-be is just an instrument too finely set to the human condition [...]
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Artist #Suffering #Instruments

  • freedom is anathema to dreams nurtured in captivity.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Dream #Captivity #Anathema

  • The fading light is us, and we are, for a moment so brief (...) beautiful.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Beautiful #Light #Fading

  • I felt the weakness of these books, their immateriality, how they had failed to change the world, and I didn't want to sully myself with their weakness anymore.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Book #Weakness #World

  • By reading this message you are denying its existence and implying consent.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Reading #Messages #Existence

  • That's what tyrants do, I guess. They make you covet their attention; they make you confuse attention for mercy.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Tyrants #Attention #Mercy

  • Remember this... develop a sense of nostalgia for something, or you'll never figure out what's important.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Important #Nostalgia #Remember

  • I wish I were stronger and more secure in myself so that I could really spend my life with a guy like Lenny. Because he has a different kind of strength than Joshie. He has the strength of his sweet tuna arms. He has the strength of putting his nose in my hair and calling it home. He has the strength to cry when I go down on him. Who IS Lenny? Who DOES that? Who will ever open up to me like that again? No one. Because it's too dangerous. Lenny is a dangerous man. Joshie is more powerful, but Lenny is much more dangerous.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Sweet #Powerful #Home

  • ... I'm the fortieth-ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what! What if someday she lets me kiss each one of her freckles again? She has like a million. But every one of them means something to me. Isn't this how people used to fall in love? I know we're living in Rubenstein's America, like you keep saying. But doesn't that just make us even more responsible for each other's fates? I mean, what if Eunice and I just said no to all this. To this bar. To this FACing. The two of us. What if we just went home and read books to each other?
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Falling In Love #Book #Mean

  • We know summer is the height of of being alive. We don't believe in God or the prospect of an afterlife mostly, so we know that we're only given eighty summers or so per lifetime, and each one has to be better then the last, has to encompass a trip to that arts center up at Bard, a seemingly mellow game of badminton over at some yahoo's Vermont cottage, and a cool, wet, slightly dangerous kayak trip down an unforgiving river. Otherwise, how would you know that you have lived your summertime best? What is you missed out on some morsel of shaded nirvana?
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Summer #Art #Believe

  • Every returning New Yorker asks the question: Is this still my city? I have a ready answer, cloaked in obstinate despair: It is. And if it's not, I will love it all the more. I will love it to the point where it becomes mine again.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Cities #Despair #Answers

  • I have my own dying empire to contend with, and I do not wish for any other.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Wish #Dying #Empires

  • We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Giants #Machines #Opinion

  • Life for young American college graduates is a festive affair. Free of having to support their families, they mostly have gay parties on rooftops where they reflect at length upon their quirky electronic childhoods and sometimes kiss each other on the lips and neck.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Party #Gay #Kissing

  • Summer is a Latvian chicken. We make foolish choices. We think we’re young again. We run with outstretched arms toward an object of love and it pecks us and pecks us until we’re standing there snot-nosed and teary in the middle of Astor Place and the sun sets fire to our Penguin shirts and all that is left to do is go to our air-conditioned homes and ponder the cruelty of our finest season.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Summer #Running #Home

  • Reading is difficult. People just aren't meant to read anymore. We're in a post-literate age. You know, a visual age. How many years after the fall of Rome did it take for a Dante to appear? Many, many years.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Fall #Reading #Rome

  • The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons -- it was systemic and it was complete.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Moon #Orange #Sullen

  • In the first few pages, Kundera discusses several abstract historical figures: Robespierre, Nietzsche, Hitler. For Eunice's sake, I wanted him to get to the plot, to introduce actual "living" characters - I recalled this was a love story - and to leave the world of ideas behind. Here we were, two people lying in bed, Eunice's worried head propped on my collarbone, and I wanted us to feel something in common. I wanted this complex language, this surge of intellect, to be processed into love. Isn't that how they used to do it a century ago, people reading poetry to one another?
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Love #Lying #Reading

  • She was clothed entirely in two large swatches of leather, the leather fake and shiny in a self-mocking way, absolutely correct for 1993, the first year when mocking the mainstream had become the mainstream.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Self #Years #Two

  • Satire always benefits when evil and stupidity collide.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Evil #Stupidity #Benefits

  • She took my hand and pulled me after her, her shoulders giving off a sweet peppermint concoction that the bodies of young women sometimes produce to make my life more difficult.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Sweet #Hands #Giving

  • I'm the fortieth ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what!... Isn't this how people used to fall in love?
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Falling In Love #Men #People

  • In contravention of my belief that any life ending in death is essentially pointless, I needed my friends to open up that plastic bag and take one last look at me. Someone had to remember me, if only for a few more minutes in the vast silent waiting room of time.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Waiting #Lasts #Rooms

  • My hair would continue to gray, and then one day, it would fall out entirely, and then, on a day meaninglessly close to the present one, meaninglessly like the present one, I would disappear from the earth. And all these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data, if that helps to clinch the enormity of what I'm talking about, would be gone. And that's what immortality means. It means selfishness. My generations belief that each one of us matters more than you or anyone else would think.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Fall #Mean #Thinking

  • You could drown a kitten in her blue eyes.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Eye #Blue #Blue Eyes

  • Let's see if I can write about something other than my heart.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Writing #Heart #My Heart

  • Then I celebrated my Wall of Books. I counted the volumes on my twenty-foot-long modernist bookshelf to make sure none had been misplaced or used as kindling by my subtenant. “You’re my sacred ones,” I told the books. “No one but me still cares about you. But I’m going to keep you with me forever. And one day I’ll make you important again.” I thought about that terrible calumny of the new generation: that books smell.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Wall #Book #Smell

  • I love librarians more than any other people in the world. When I was an immigrant kid, they’ve made me feel like a human being and they gave me books that taught me English.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Book #Kids #People

  • Michigan, with its delicious American name. How lucky one must be to live there.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Names #Lucky #Michigan

  • You are not what you want. You are what wants you back.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Want #What You Want

  • If you read only one memoir by a disaffected, urban, 20-something Jewish girl this year, make it this one. Shukert rocks the lulav.
    -- Gary Shteyngart

    #Girl #Rocks #Years