My Commonplace Book


For centuries, authors and thinkers have kept commonplace books: journals that are kept to collect thoughts, quotes, moments of introspection, transcribed passages from reading — anything of purpose worth reviewing later. This is mine.


"If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don’t know how to read, you don’t know how to decide. That’s the great thing about our country — we’re a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way.”

—Ray Bradbury


“That which hurts, instructs.”

—Benjamin Franklin


“If the Constitution was a movie, the Preamble would be the trailer, the First Amendment the establishing shot, the 13th the crowd pleaser and the 14th the ultimate hero scene.”

—Henry Rollins


“Maybe the knowledge is too great and maybe men are growing too small. Maybe, kneeling down to atoms, they’re becoming atom-sized in their souls. Maybe a specialist is only a coward, afraid to look out of his little cage. And think what any specialist misses—the whole world over his fence.”

—John Steinbeck, East of Eden


“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

—James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son