Polly felt questing eyes boring into her. She was embarrassed, of course. But not for the obvious reason. It was for the other one, the little lesson that life sometimes rams home with a stick: you are not the only one watching the world, Other people are people; while you watch them they watch you, and they think about you while you think about them. The world isn’t just about you.
Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett
In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance… always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
And when is it necessary to kill, she asked herself as she headed in the direction of the hallway, and she herself answered the question, When what is still alive is already dead.
Blindness - José Saramogo

Once a reading of a book is under way, and we sink into the experience, a performance of a sort begins…

We perform a book – we perform a reading of a book. We perform a book, and we attend the performance.

(As readers, we are both the conductor and the orchestra, as well as the audience.)

What We See When We Read - Peter Mendelsund
Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.
Plato’s Cave - On Photography - Susan Sontag
The girl was still young; she still had to be pushed. We all have to be pushed, he thought. It doesn’t end.
The Orchardist - Amanda Coplin
People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
Keep the Aspidistra Flying - George Orwell
'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland.'
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Because by now she’d begun to forget that inside of her were two souls, and these souls kept quite and cried without tears in the dark prison of her powerful body. In their place there grew inside Marilena’s body a whole new soul, fat and gluttonous, obnoxious and fun-loving, greedy and tactless, charming when this was advantageous to her and grim when it wasn’t.

It’s no secret, of course, that souls sometimes die within a person and are replaced by others - especially with age.

Marilena’s Secret - Ludmilla Petrushevskaya