30 Days of Books: Day Twenty-Four
Posted by Jen Moore
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Aral Vorkosigan’s advice to Miles in A Civil Campaign. It’s a whole scene, not just a quote, but I think I can extract the essence of it with judicious ellipses.
“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. … There is no more hollow feeling than to stand with your honor shattered at your feet while soaring public reputation wraps you in rewards. That’s soul-destroying. The other way around is merely very, very irritating.”
Miles stared away for a minute into the middle distance. “So what you’re telling me boils down to the same thing Galeni said. I have to stand here and eat this, and smile.”
“No,” said his father, “you don’t have to smile. But if you’re really asking for advice from my accumulated experience, I’m saying, Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.”
There’s a lot to be said for that kind of attitude. For one thing, it allows you to tell the difference between embarrassment or shame that really matters and the kind that’s just uncomfortable. And it does so while acknowledging that the uncomfortable parts are not good — they’re just less not good than the other kind. I would like to be as wise as Aral Vorkosigan some day. Then again, I would hate to go through everything he did in order to get there…
(The joy of ebooks: I was able to search, copy & paste that in less than two minutes. Okay, they do have their benefits. But I’m buying the hardcovers, anyway.)
About Jen MooreI'm a recent library school graduate in Madison, Wisconsin, looking for a full-time professional job and trying to manage a fulfilling life in the meantime. Oh, and I read. A lot.
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