from "Normal People"

July 5, 2019
Quotes from Sally Rooney's "Normal People":
He shrugged. Idly he wandered over to the bed and sat down. She was sitting cross-legged, holding her ankles. They sat there in silence for a few moments. Then he got onto the bed with her. He touched her leg and she lay back against the pillow. Boldly she asked if he was going to kiss her again. He said: What do you think? This struck her as a highly cryptic and sophisticated thing to say. Anyway he did start to kiss her.
Her breath sounded ragged then. He pulled her hips back against his body and then released her slightly. She made a noise like she was choking. He did it again and she told him she was going to come. That’s good, he said. He said this like nothing could be more ordinary to him. His decision to drive to Marianne’s house that afternoon suddenly seemed very correct and intelligent, maybe the only intelligent thing he had ever done in his life.
He told Marianne once that he'd been writing stories, and now she keeps asking to read them. If they're as good as your emails they must be superb, she wrote. That was a nice thing to read, though he responded honestly: They're not as good as my emails.
By now the unspoken consensus is that Helen and Marianne don’t like each other very much. They’re different people. Connell thinks the aspects of himself that are most compatible with Helen are his best aspects: his loyalty, his basically practical outlook, his desire to be thought of as a good guy.
Not for the first time Marianne thinks cruelty does not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and more permanently. You learn nothing very profound about yourself simply by being bullied; but by bullying someone else you learn something you can never forget.
Sally Rooney, "Normal People"
A terrific fast read, and it's easy to place bits of one's own weird high school and college experiences of on-again, off-again romance into it - I certainly have had the feeling that the email I was writing to try and woo was better than any of the stuff I made for my fiction or poetry class, and I recognize that the desire to be seen as a good guy is a big driver in my life. (For me it's a sign that I am most likely a good guy, objectively, since I trust people's opinions.)

The book was recommended by kottke who did a better job of with excerpts from it than I have here.
Bummed MAD magazine is becoming a zombie. I've fallen off the bandwagon, but when I buy the occasional issue I appreciate the work they seemed to be doing with indie comic strips.

MAD introduced a lot of kids to a lot of pop-culture, and had a terrific mistrust of authority stance.

Never woulda thought the Cracked brand would have become more vibrant (though I think the connection to the old faux-MAD print version was tenuous.)