“When a man who is drinking neat gin starts talking about his mother he is past all argument.”

Forester, C.S. The African Queen, 1935.

“The cabman looked at the pieces of silver, which, appearing very minute in his big, grimy palm, symbolised the insignificant results which reward the ambitious courage and toil of a mankind whose day is short on this earth of evil.”

Conrad, Joseph. The Secret Agent, 1907.

“Ask them, then. ...Ask them when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them, when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You want to know something? They won't want us to ask them. They'll just want us to get it.”

Grady, James. Six Days of the Condor, 1974.

“To be in love is to see yourself as someone else sees you, it is to be in love with the falsified and exalted image of yourself. In love we are incapable of honour - the courageous act is no more than playing a part to an audience of two.”

Greene, Graham. The Quiet American, 1955.

“It has been my face. It's got older still, or course, but less, comparatively, than it would otherwise have done. It's scored with deep, dry wrinkles, the skin is cracked. But my face hasn't collapsed, as some with fine feature have done. It's kept the same contours, but its substance has been laid waste. I have a face laid waste.”

Duras, Marguerite. The Lover, 1929.

“Look... we're getting to be old men, and we've spent our lives looking for the weaknesses in one another's systems. I can see through Eastern values just as you can see through our Western ones. Both of us, I am sure, have experienced ad nauseam the technical satisfactions of this wretched war. But now your own side is going to shoot you. Don't you think it's time to recognise that there is as little worth on your side as there is on mine?”

le Carré, John . Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, 1974.

“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960.

“Her face ... was a one-of-a-kind, a surprising variation on a familiar theme - a variation that made observers think, Yes - that would be another very nice way for people to look. What Beatrice had done with her face, actually, was what any plain girl could do. She overlaid it with dignity, suffering, intelligence, and a piquant dash of bitchiness.”

Vonnegut, Kurt. The Sirens of Titan, 1959.

“Then there are some minor points that strike me as suggestive - for instance, the position of Mrs. Hubbard's sponge bag, the name of Mrs. Armstrong's mother, the detective methods of Mr. Hardman, the suggestion of Mr. MacQueen that Ratchett himself destroyed the charred note we found, Princess Dragomiroff's Christian name, and a grease spot on a Hungarian passport.”

Christie, Agatha. Murder on the Orient Express, 1934.

“When I was a kid, I really liked maps. I would spend hours looking at South America or Africa or Australia and daydreaming about being a great explorer. There were many blank spaces on the map then, and when I saw one that seemed interesting (but they all look like that), I’d put my finger on it and say, ‘When I grow up, I will go there.’ The North Pole was one of those places, I remember. Well, I haven’t been there yet and won’t try to go now. It doesn’t seem as exotic anymore. Other places were scattered all over the globe. I’ve been in some of them, and . . . well, we won’t talk about that. But there was one spot that was the biggest and blankest, and that’s where I wanted to go the most.”

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness, 1899.

“I’m not going all the way out there unless I can take the T.”

Fallon, Jay. My Portfolio, 2018.