Home » OPINION » Columns » THE SPIN CYCLE: Tap into the 10 best sentences from literature

THE SPIN CYCLE: Tap into the 10 best sentences from literature

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

The Spin Cycle is always on the lookout for the best turns of phrase — and how words are strung together on paper to make a lasting impact on our everyday lives. So, when publications like American Scholar focuses on the craft of writing, it sets my Wordsmith heart racing. Recently, the editors of the magazine chose the “10 Best Sentences” from literature, which gives pause to the poignant prose of the best writers of all time. Here they are:


“Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation.”

—Ernest Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms”


“Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”


“I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

—James Joyce, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”


“This private estate was far enough away from the explosion so that its bamboos, pines, laurel, and maples were still alive, and the green place invited refugees — partly because they believed that if the Americans came back, they would bomb only buildings; partly because the foliage seemed a center of coolness and life, and the estate’s exquisitely precise rock gardens, with their quiet pools and arching bridges, were very Japanese, normal, secure; and also partly (according to some who were there) because of an irresistible, atavistic urge to hide under leaves.

—John Hersey, “Hiroshima”


“It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”

—Toni Morrison, “Sula”


“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

—Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice”


“It was the United States of America in the cold late spring of 1967, and the market was steady and the G.N.P. high and a great many articulate people seemed to have a sense of high social purpose and it might have been a spring of brave hopes and national promise, but it was not, and more and more people had the uneasy apprehension that it was not.”

—Joan Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”


“There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets.”

—Charles Dickens, ”Nicholas Nickleby”


“In many ways he was like America itself, big and strong, full of good intentions, a roll of fat jiggling at his belly, slow of foot but always plodding along, always there when you needed him, a believer in the virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor.”

 —Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”


“There is nothing more atrociously cruel than an adored child.”

—Vladimir Nabokov, “Lolita”

“Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there. ”

—Truman Capote, ”In Cold Blood”

Twitter to Roll Out 15 Kinds of New Ads

Lots of new ad strategies are on the horizon for Twitter.

Hoping to win over e-commerce companies and mobile-game developers, the social platform will debut 15 types of new ad products and improved ways to target users over the next six months, according to a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal.

The first batch will be released in a few weeks and will include a product that will coax users to download apps through Twitter.

Over the past year, some consumer brands have thrown more advertising dollars toward Twitter, especially during live events such as the Super Bowl or Academy Awards. Twitter’s simple suite of promoted advertising products — a trio of ads that target select users and receive preferential placements as tweets, trends and recommended accounts — haven’t resonated with mobile game and e-commerce companies whose advertising decisions are driven by app downloads, subscriber sign-ups and purchases according to the piece.

To address advertisers’ needs, Twitter is taking a page from Facebook’s playbook. Twitter has been beta-testing a mobile-app install ad unit. It is similar to the popular product Facebook launched in late 2012 and that has fueled its mobile advertising revenue, which last quarter accounted for more than half of overall revenue for the first time.

Facebook users downloaded 245 million mobile apps after seeing ads for those apps in their news feeds last year. It essentially recommends apps for Facebook users to download.


Instagram Hits 200 Million-User Mark

It’s a testament to Instagram’s success that when Mark Zuckerberg revealed the photo-sharing service had crossed the 200-million-user milestone, it barely rated a mention.

The statistic arrived in the middle of an investor-relations phone call explaining why he had just purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion — or more than twice the price of Instagram. Zuckerberg’s rationale: Facebook said it would be happy if Instagram hit 100 million users, and now they’re at twice that. In other words, you can’t always predict where these technologies are going.


SEE ALSO: Instagram Photos With Faces Get 38% More Likes

Zuckerberg dropped the news a little early to make a point, it seems. Instagram’s Tumblr made it official about an hour after the call, and added a few juicy details, including the fact that 20 billion photos (and counting) have been uploaded to the service.

More importantly, 50 million of those users signed up in the last six months, which means Instagram grew by roughly 100% in the last year. The 200-million figure is for monthly active users, Instagram said.

Given such strong growth, and the early appearance of ads on the service, it seems that Facebook got a much better deal than anyone knew at the time — especially as the final stock-based sale price closed at $735 million, rather than the $1 billion most of us remember.


Holy Mic | Pope Francis Pedals Papal PR, Asks For Forgiveness

The Easter season is always a time to spread the good news about the resurrection of Christ. So it was refreshing and redemptive to hear Pope Francis kick off the holy week by asking for forgiveness for the Catholic Church’s worst sinners.

Pope Francis addressed an audience with members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, a Catholic group based in France known as the BICE, where he asked forgiveness and took responsibility for the sins of other priests over the years. “I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm that some priests—quite a number, but not in proportion to the total. I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children. The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church,” he said, according to a Vatican press office statement. “And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.” After many missteps in numerous priest abuse scandals in the past, Pope Francis has finally done something monumental in seeking forgiveness. He has stepped up to the mic – and given voice while proclaiming justice to all of God’s children.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!


» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.



… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *