One Great Sentence

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“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

By One Great Sentence March 1, 2018

Why is it so great? The writing in this famous passage is so good that George Orwell wrote a parody of it designed to ridicule the bloated writing of his day: “Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success … Read more

“For what are we without hope in our hearts / That someday we’ll drink from God’s blessed waters / And eat the fruit from the vine / I know love and fortune will be mine / Somewhere across the border.”

By One Great Sentence January 31, 2018

Why is it so great? Springsteen’s eternal theme of the runaway American dream runs through this song and the entire album it’s on, the Nebraska-esque “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” This song could be the immigrant’s version of any song … Read more

‘Tis.

By One Great Sentence January 17, 2018

Why is it so great? This is not only one of the best one-word sentences in a memoir, it’s also possibly the only one-word chapter in a memoir. And the final chapter, to boot. So it also ranks up there … Read more

“There is a time to write and a time to walk and a time to reflect and a time to act and I come unwillingly to this journal today, wanting to do something less reflective and feeling that I sometimes strip myself of my most reasonable attributes, bent over this machine.”

By One Great Sentence January 10, 2018

In August 1991, I read John Cheever’s journal excerpts published in The New Yorker. I was a 19-year-old college dropout, a waitress, and in the half hour before starting my shift, I sat outside my local library, electrified by this candid, … Read more

“We were taken to the ‘Oh, My God, Corner,’ a position near the escalator. People arriving see the long line and say “Oh, my God!” and it’s an elf’s job to calm them down and explain that it will take no longer than an hour to see Santa.”

By One Great Sentence December 20, 2017

It’s hard to cull just one sentence from Sedaris’ embedded reporting on being a helper at Santaland, a place he describes as “a real wonderland” with a path taking visitors through the “ten thousand sparkling lights, false snow, train sets, … Read more