Quotes, Book Fair, and other

I have recently discovered that the criteria of books I like is the impression some of its paragraphs leave on me and to what degree I feel compelled to copy them or write them down somewhere. And when I return to a book after a couple of years, evidently I discover myself drawn to different quotes and indifference to other phrases I deemed interesting. Is this a sign that my mind if looking for answers to questions that I’m not consciously aware of? Or is it because I just liked the idea behind these phrases?


I went to the Book Fair at last. I was afraid that I would miss my yearly tradition. Thank God I was able to go!

I went very early (@ 9:20 am), and I was happy to find them open the gate at 9:30 instead of 10 am. I didn’t make a thorough visit, just ran around with a list and the map, which is something I didn’t do before 🙂 It was a good idea cause I saved lots of time and retunred with most of what I was looking for! And YES, I found a book I was searching for for a looooong time: نداءات إلى الشباب العربي – د. زكريا إبراهيم, I heard about this book two years ago, and I was deeply intrigued with it. Here is a glimpse I shared in April 2007:

أننا نفترض سلفا صحة بعض الأفكار, ثم نعمد من بعد ذلك إلى تبريرها. و معنى هذا أننا كثيرا ما نلتمس الحجج لتبرير ما اعتقدنا -منذ البداية- أنه صحيح, و كأن كل مهمة الفكر عندنا هي إلتماس “المبررات” أو “المسوغات” لتأييد “رأي سابق” أو تبرير “فكرة مسبقة”. ….. و المشاهد في أساليبنا التربوية أنها -في العادة- تنمي لدى أطفالنا هذه الطريقة العقيمة في التفكير: لأنها تزودهم بمجموعة من “الإكليشيهات” المحفوظة التي يرددها الأطفال ترديدا ببغاويا, دون أن يكون في وسعهم التمييز بين المواقف المختلفة التي تنطبق عليها -أو لا تنطبق- مثل هذه الإكليشيهات”. و فات أهل التربية -عندنا- أنه ليس المهم -كما قال كانت- أن نلقن أطفالنا بعض الأفكار ( الجاهزة) , بل المهم أن نعلمهم كيف يفكرون.

إن شبابنا-مع الأسف- يحيا في (تسكع عقلي)، و كثيرا ما يكون (الفراغ) الذي يشكو منه شبابنا من عجزهم عن شغله، مجرد صدى لذلك (الخواء النفسي) الذي يستشعرونه في أعماق ذواتهم، و بالتالي فإنهم قد فقدوا (مبررات وجودهم) و أسباب بقائهم، و إذا كان ثمة شيء أشد هولا و أقسى مرارة على الإنسان من ان يفقد حياته، فذلك أن يفقد مسوغات حياته و أسباب وجوده

Once I read the book, I will post more of it.

The trip to the Book Fair was nice, even though I didn’t stay much. I liked how the Azbakeya area was improved. Every year hundreds of books were smudgeed with the rain and the wind, now with the rooftop that was put, it’s much better.


Now back to the Fountainhead quotes:

“Mandatory reading for anyone aspiring to the title of intellectual.” There seemed to be a great many aspiring to that title. Readers acquired erudition without study, authority without cost, judgment without effort. p. 63

Isn’t this what happens to many best sellers?? (Note to self: be careful, don’t go this way!)

“It doesn’t say much. Only ’Howard Roark, Architect.’ But it’s like those mottoes men carved over the entrance of a castle and died for. It’s a challenge in the face of something so vast and so dark, that all the pain on earth–and do you know how much suffering there is on earth?–all the pain comes from that thing you are going to face. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why it should be unleashed against you. I know only that it will be. And I know that if you carry these words through to the end, it will be a victory, Howard, not just for you, but for something that should win, that moves the world–and never wins acknowledgment. It will vindicate so many who have fallen before you, who have suffered as you will suffer. May God bless you–or whoever it is that is alone to see the best, the highest possible to human hearts. You’re on your way into hell, Howard.” p. 112

There were moments when something rose within him, not a thought nor a feeling, but a wave of some physical violence, and then he wanted to stop, to lean back, to feel the reality of his person heightened by the frame of steel that rose dimly about the bright, outstanding existence of his body as its center. He did not stop. He went on calmly. But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: “That guy’s in love with the thing. He can’t keep his hands off.” p.113

He tried to explain and to convince. He knew, while he spoke, that it was useless, because his words sounded as if they were hitting a vacuum. There was no such person as Mrs. Wayne Wilmot; there was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends, the picture post cards she had seen, the novels of country squires she had read; it was this that he had to address, this immateriality which could not hear him or answer, deaf and impersonal like a wad of cotton. p.139

Will you tell me why, when it comes to a building, you don’t want it to look as if it had any sense or purpose, you want to choke it with trimmings, you want to sacrifice its purpose to its envelope–not knowing even why you want that kind of an envelope? You want it to look like a hybrid beast produced by crossing the bastards of ten different species until you get a creature without guts, without heart or brain, a creature all pelt, tail, claws and feathers? Why? You must tell me, because I’ve never been able to understand it.”

Peter Keating read the story. And because he knew that it was an action which he would never have committed, he admired it tremendously.
p. 190


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