Every Day A Word Surprises Me


Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire. (Geoff Dyer)

Uncomplicate yourself (Seneca)

Follow the accident. fear the fixed plans – that’s the rule. (John Fowles)

Make glorious, amazing mistakes. (Neil Gaiman)

Talk to strangers (Austin Kleon)

See other skies and seas (Gustave Flaubert)

What I’m really concerned about is reaching one person (Jorge Louis Borges).

I never had an audience until I was past fifty. But I wrote all the time anyway. I had to (William Carlos Williams)

My alma mater was books (Malcom X)

There are a few books I have read that I’ve never been the same after (David Forster Wallace)

There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than books (Patti Smith)

No. I have not read Wittgenstein (Samuel Beckett)

I must always write my books twice (D. H. Lawrence)

A great deal of my poetry has been written while I have been out walking  (Wallace Stevens)

I sort of collage things; i write in shorter episodic passages— set pieces. i find that when i write fiction it comes to me not quite in episodes but in instances. (paul harding)


I always loved books made exclusively of quotes. And I discovered this passion with a Foscolo’s one, at the age of 10. I also compiled a book myself when I was 14 and printed and sold to my classmates. 

Every Day a Word Surprises Me is a book issued by Phaidon editors (Sara Bader for the quotes and Elana Schlenker for the typesetting, among the others) to uncover the human and creative realm, the secrets, the fears of very famous writers of possibly any age – from Seneca to nowadays ones including poets/singers and other kind of thinkers forging amazing words (as Patti Smith, for instance).

Over 700 outstanding quotes by writers which have been sourced thank to an exclusive research discovered in little-known letters, notebooks, memoirs, and other original sources: the selection includes a wide variety of subjects, feelings, and experiences. The book itself is organized into chapters, as: ’Criticism’, ‘Originality’, ‘Discipline’, ‘Advice’, ‘Rejection’, ‘Self-Doubt’, ‘Writer’s Block’, ‘Love’, ‘Sex’, ‘Childhood’,‘Truth’. 

For readers who are curious to read the quotes in their original context, all the sources are completely noted in the back of the book – that section is ‘a book in the book’ which is incredibly inspiring, especially for researchers and students.

“Every day a word surprises me”, the title, is itself a quotation coming by the British neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. 

This volume is not the first book of quotes by the London and NY City based publisher Phaidon. It’s written in a very studied typographical approach so any quote is differing in font, lettering and spacing from the previous one. 

This is the perfect coffee table or bedside table book: to take and give, or to borrow, to re-read often and without a precise scheme. It is either perfect for avid readers and for those are not, because they could start to suffer of this compulsive habit by being carried away from the uncommon graphic form of the publication (it is also like a book of posters; any quote is perfect to be sent via WhatsApp to your loved being of the day).

Every chapter is enlightening in deep ways the reader, especially the most intimate ones telling about the unique work any writer carries and the multiple ways they carry it in their countries and cultures. A writer is often a secluded and shy human who can be also scared to speak in public, as Borges admitted for himself (and is, of course, quoted in the volume).


Every Day A Word Surprises Me & Other Quotes by Writers
By Phaidon Editors
Published by Phaidon
release: 16 March 2018

Hardback £14.95
336 pages
203 x 137 mm
ISBN: 978 071487 5811


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