Adam Gopnik quotes

  • The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Scandal #Brutality #Moral

  • We breathe in our first language, and swim in our second.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Swim #Firsts #Language

  • The loneliness of the expatriate is of an odd and complicated kind, for it is inseparable from the feeling of being free, of having escaped.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Loneliness #Feelings #Being Free

  • Wit and puns aren't just decor in the mind; they're essential signs that the mind knows it's on, recognizes its own software, can spot the bugs in its own program.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Mind #Essentials #Bugs

  • Going to a restaurant is one of my keenest pleasures. Meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilised life.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Wine #Mean #Thinking

  • Love, like light, is a thing that is enacted better than defined: we know it afterward by the traces it leaves on paper.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Light #Paper

  • The special virtue of freedom is not that it makes you richer and more powerful but that it gives you more time to understand what it means to be alive.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Powerful #Mean #Giving

  • For all the years I'd spent talking about pictures, the truth was that I had no idea how to draw or what it felt like to do it. I would mistrust a poetry critic who couldn't produce a rhyming couplet. Could one write about art without knowing how to draw?
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Art #Writing #Ideas

  • All tastes have the quality of being in some way artificial and invented. The secret of life is to have enough detachment from your tastes and your values to see that they are a little bit absurd.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Secret #Quality #Littles

  • Writing is the process of finding something to distract you from writing, and of all the helpful distractions - adultery, alcohol and acedia, all of which aided our writing fathers - none can equal the Internet.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Father #Writing #Alcohol

  • There are as many attitudes to cooking as there are people cooking, of course, but I do think that cooking guys tend - I am a guilty party here - to take, or get, undue credit for domestic virtue, when in truth cooking is the most painless and, in its ways, ostentatious of the domestic chores.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Attitude #Party #Thinking

  • The World Series is played in my doubtless too-nostalgic imagination in some kind of autumn afternoon light, and seeing it exclusively in the bitter chill of midnight breaks the spell of even the best of games.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Autumn #Games #Light

  • The coffee shop is a great New York institution, but it has terrible coffee. And the more traditional coffee shops are trying to catch up with more sophisticated coffee drinkers.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #New York #Coffee #Trying

  • In the New Yorker library, I have long been shelved between Nadine Gordimer and Brendan Gill; an eerie little space nestled between high seriousness of purpose and legendary lightness of touch.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Eerie #Space #Long

  • Lose your schematic conventions by finding some surprising symbol or shape in the welter of shades, and draw that.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Drawing #Shapes #Shade

  • Nothing in a graduate degree in art history prepares you for the eloquence of the eraser.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Education #Art #Degrees

  • Daniel Levitin takes the most sophisticated ideas that exist about the brain and mind, applies them to the most emotionally direct art we have, our songs, and makes beautiful music of the two together.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Beautiful #Song #Art

  • Americans also seem to believe that the monarchy is a kind of mediaeval hangover, encumbered by premodern notions of decorum; the reality is that the British monarchy, for good or ill, is a modern political institution perhaps the first modern political institution.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Hangover #Believe #Reality

  • Dinner with water is dinner for prisoners
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Water #Dinner #Prisoner

  • Drawing need not be the bones of art, but skill must always be the skeleton of accomplishment.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Art #Skeletons #Skills

  • Music is a current of hard choices made to seem easy by the mind.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Choices #Mind #Easy

  • What drives innovation is abundance and ease, not the pressure of scarcity.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Innovation #Scarcity #Ease

  • Good editorial writing has less to do with winning an argument, since the other side is mostly not listening, than with telling the guys on your side how they ought to sound when they’re arguing.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Writing #Winning #Your Side

  • Drawing is one of those things which sit on the uneasy bending line between instinct and instruction, where seeming perversity eventually trumps pleasure as the card players and the kibitzers interact and new thrills are sought.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Player #Drawing #Risk

  • Art without accomplishment becomes a form of faith, sustained more by the intensity of its common practice than by the pleasure it gives to its adherents in private.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Faith #Art #Practice

  • Frauds master our minds; magicians, like poets and lovers, engage them in a permanent maze of possibilities.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Magic #Mind #Mazes

  • Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America-more than six million-than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #America #People #Height

  • You can't have a decent food culture without a decent coffee culture: the two things grow up together.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Growing Up #Coffee #Two

  • Protein was the most valued ingredient 250 years ago: It was the rarest thing. Now the rarest thing we have is time: time to cook and time to eat.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Years #Ingredients #Protein

  • In bookstores, my stuff is usually filed in the out-of-the-way, additional interest sections.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Bookstores #Stuff #Way

  • Writing well isn't just a question of winsome expression, but of having found something big and true to say and having found the right words to say it in, of having seen something large and having found the right words to say it small, small enough to enter an individual mind so that the strong ideas of what the words are saying sound like sweet reason.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Sweet #Strong #Writing

  • Leafing through Forbes or Fortune [magazine]s is like reading the operating manual of a strangely sanctimonious pirate ship
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Reading #Pirate #Magazines

  • There are two kinds of travelers. There is the kind who goes to see what there is to see, and the kind who has an image in his head and goes out to accomplish it. The first visitor has an easier time, but I think the second visitor sees more.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Thinking #Two #Firsts

  • Of all the unexpected things in contemporary literature, this is among the oddest: that kids have an inordinate appetite for very long, very tricky, very strange books about places that don’t exist.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Book #Kids #Long

  • Paris, on the other hand, looked exactly as it was supposed to look. It wore its heart on its sleeve, and the strange thing was that the heart it wore so openly was in other ways so closed-mysterious, uninviting.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Heart #Hands #Paris

  • The French believe that all errors are distant, someone else's fault. Americans believe that there is no distance, no difference, and therefore that there are no errors, that any troubles are simple misunderstandings, consequent on your not yet having spoken English loudly enough.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Distance #Believe #Simple

  • American long for a closed society in which everything can be bought, where laborers are either hidden away or dressed up as nonhumans, so as not to be disconcerting. This place is called Disney World
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Long #World #Dressed Up

  • After all, spinning is its own reward. There wouldn't be carousels if it weren't so.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Rewards #Spinning #Carousels

  • The past is so often unknowable not because it is befogged now but because it was befogged then, too, back when it was still the present. If we had been there listening, we still might not have been able to determine exactly what Stanton said. All we know for sure is that everyone was weeping, and the room was full.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Past #Listening #Might

  • The future will be like the past, in the sense that, no matter how amazing or technologically advanced a society becomes, the basic human rhythm of petty malevolence, sordid moneygrubbing, and official violence, illuminated by occasional bursts of loyalty or desire or tenderness, will go on.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Loyalty #Past #Desire

  • Whatever sense of professional competence we feel in adult life is less the sum of accomplishment than the absence of impossibility: it's really our relief at no longer having to do things we were never good at doing in the first place - relief at never again having to dissect a frog or memorize the periodic table.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Accomplishment #Tables #Frogs

  • I think that we're always drawn - particularly sophisticated people - are always drawn to the idea of simplicity.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Thinking #Ideas #People

  • I still think the best classic meal in New York is a coffee-shop breakfast - you sort of can't skip it.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #New York #Coffee #Thinking

  • I rush to add that I find the Web infinitely useful for rustling up information, settling arguments or locating the legends of rock stars.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Stars #Rocks #Information

  • Cooking is the showy side of domesticity.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Cooking #Sides #Showy

  • Of all the alchemies of human connection-sex and childbirth and marriage and friendship-the strangest is this: You can stand up and tell a story that is made entirely, embarrassingly, of "I's," and a listening audience somehow turns each "I" into a "me." This alchemy, of self-absorption into shared experience, is the alchemy of all literature.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Sex #Writing #Self

  • Big writers become a kind of shared climate.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Writing #Climate #Kind

  • The relentless note of incipient hysteria, the invitation to panic, the ungrounded scenarios - the overwhelming and underlying desire for something truly terrible to happen so that you could have something really hot to talk about - was still startling. We call disasters unimaginable, but all we do is imagine such things. That, you could conclude mordantly, is the real soundtrack of our time: the amplification of the self-evident toward the creation of paralyzing, preëmptive paranoia.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Fear #Real #Self

  • We don't know that we've lost half a minute from our lives but we feel it somehow, we feel its absence. Something is missing, we think. And so we long for the thing we've missed and can't name, and out of that wanting - well, everything else rises, good and bad. What do you think leads us to the windows in the first place? The light in your eyes shines because of the longing in your soul. And the longing in your souls rises because you are looking for the lost half minute.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Eye #Thinking #Light

  • Men choose Hamlet because every man sees himself as a disinherited monarch. Women choose Alice [in Wonderland] because every woman sees herself as the only reasonable creature among crazy people who think they are disinherited monarchs.
    -- Adam Gopnik

    #Crazy #Men #Thinking