QUOTE UNQUOTE

Quote Unquote Publishing aims to take what people say about their most personal experience and make it available to the public in the most relatable way possible. We want to question and analyze the human experience - to make it better for all of us. 

In Working, Studs Terkel takes to the streets and talks to people to find out one thing: how do we feel about work? Working is such an inherent part of the average American life that we forget to notice it. We fail to notice how working affects others, like the young teenage boy who serves you your breakfast sandwich every morning. Or the hotel manager who had to work the night shift. Or the garbage man who comes to get your recyclables once a week. Or the flashy paparazzi and high up doctors and lawyers. What are their jobs actually like for them? Have we ever thought about it before? Jobs can become so ingrained into our everyday lives that we forget to think about them. Terkel’s Working is a collection of oral histories about people talking about what they spend half of their life doing, which is working. Terkel has a way of speaking to people to get them to open up and tell some of their most personal thoughts and feelings. He has been able to make hundreds of people comfortable enough to reveal their most introspective thoughts about how their jobs affect themselves and the world around them. As their oral histories are shared with us, the readers, we start to think about ourselves and our interactions with the world a little differently. Let’s face it – jobs will be an integral part of our lives as far as we can see, so why should we ignore the actual people behind them? "STUDS TERKEL HAS A MAGIC WAY WITH WORDS. EVEN WHEN WE AREN'T TOLD WHAT HE HAS SAID, WE CAN TELL HOW COMFORTABLE HE MAKES HIS INTERVIEWEES BY THE PERSONAL STORIES THAT WE ARE GRACED WITH" - THE TIMES
“The war tried to kill us in the spring.” In The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers shares his experiences and knowledge of war to break down the classic war story. He uses poetic language and reveals events in a non-sequential order to create a narrative that forces readers to understand war in a new way. As Private Bartle says in The Yellow Birds, it is “like putting a puzzle together from behind: the shapes familiar, the picture quickly fading, the muted tan of the cardboard backing a tease at wholeness and completion.” The puzzle is put together, one emotional and eventful piece at a time. The puzzle is about war. It is about Private Bartle and Private Murphy. It is about friendship and loss. It is about the effects of war on mothers, families, and the human psyche. Powers is able to touch on so many themes that are relevant to this subject, which include but aren’t limited to PTSD, power struggles in war, familial ties, friendship, and questioning and changing morals. The novel allows anyone to feel a connection with any character. Each character is facing their own struggle, which is described to vividly and personally. Even if war isn’t a relatable subject, any reader will be able to relate through the characters. "KEVIN POWERS WRITES SO POETICALLY THAT I FORGOT I WAS READING A STORY ABOUT THE RAWNESS THAT IS WAR. IT MADE ME FEEL SUCH SADNESS THAT I WON'T FORGET AND I WON'T REGRET UNDERSTANDING" - KRISTEN WELSER
“Here’s what orange is. You don’t see or hear like you used to. Your brain chemistry changes…to take in everything about the next moment that might keep you alive.” Phil Klay’s Redeployment is a story about the realities of coming home from war. He writes intimately about the depression and loneliness, even though he is surrounded by people, in such a way that keeps the reader intrigued and involved in his experiences. He writes about how much he has been molded to fit the military, and now that he is out of that mold, he needs to readjust to his old everyday life, which isn’t so familiar anymore. Klay’s work is blunt and to the point, but it is artistically crafted to convey his experiences within his own journey and his friends’ journeys. Reading a work like Klay’s is important because it makes us question how we think of the military and those who have been a part of it. As we are taken through his thought processes, our minds are opened and our hearts become bigger. It is not something to miss out on. "PHIL KLAY'S STORY TELLING IS SO SUCCINCT AND TO THE POINT; IT ISN'T SUGARCOATED, AND THAT'S WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT IT" - NPR
The Most Human Human by Brian Christian is a story that questions what it really means to be a human. The Turing Test is a competition that pins artificial intelligence against humans in conversations. The judges must pick who is the computer and who is the human. This begs the question: what makes us human? What makes us unique? “Does the fact that computers are so good at mathematics in some sense take away an aerna of human activity, or does it free us from having to do a nonhuman activity, liberating us into a more human life?” This thought provoking text begs questions about how we demure, dodge questions, lighten the mood, change subjects, distract, burn time, and other facets of human conversation that we might try to program into a computer to create artificial intelligence. We attempt to figure out what makes us unique but then we must ask ourselves, why do we feel so compelled to be unique? Christian’s concepts in his writing make us think about some of the most critical questions: what makes us human? What makes us us? "THE MOST HUMAN HUMAN IS A THOUGHT PROVOKING TEXT THAT LEFT ME WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT MAKES ME HUMAN. IT MAKES ME QUESTION MY OWN ACTIONS, WORDS, IF I EVER SOUND ROBOTIC MYSELF" - MIKE ROACH
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" Richard Feynman, respected theoretical physicist, allows readers to enter the mind of the boy who simply thinks about things until they are fixed. The mind which could be a very introverted and cryptic one. Minds like these, often called the minds of geniuses, can be so hard to understand that they tend to be written off, especially when it is the mind of a child. People tend to ignore what they don’t understand, because it is easier than challenging something or changing a framework of thought in order to understand something new. Feynman realizes that the mind of a boy who thinks about things to fix them can be very cryptic. However, as a child, his mind was fed and he was allowed to be peculiar because he loved solving puzzles and others utilized to fix radios and other machines. He noticed at a young age that people didn’t understand some thoughts of his that seemed so clear to him. He simply thought differently. He shares why it’s so important to make our thoughts understandable to others. For proper communication, growth, and collaboration, we need to be able to understand each other. However, there is nothing wrong with thinking differently. Just because someone doesn’t understand you, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it just means you might need to find a new method of communication. Feynman’s writing offers comfort and consolation to anyone who may have felt like an outcast for thinking differently, or for just doing things by seemingly idle thinking. "I FOUND FEYNMAN'S ACCOUNT TO BE VERY PERSONAL. IT GAVE ME INSIGHT INTO HOW I PROCESS WHEN I'M FIGURING THINGS OUT, AND IT MADE ME THINK ABOUT HOW I COMMUNICATE WHEN TEACHING OR PROBLEM SOLVING" - KRISTEN WELSER
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison Leslie Jamison writes explores the concept of empathy throughout her stories in The Empathy Exams. She is a writer by night, but during the day she is a medical actor for medical students. She learns to feel and communicate the pain of possible patients, making sure to give the right emphasis to the nuanced feelings and situations of the patients. While she grades the empathy and care she feels from the medical students, she battles with her own medical conditions and her brother’s. She takes note of how her doctors convey (or attempt to convey) empathy. She notes her husband’s compassion and wonders if he can give her empathy without literally feeling her pains, and even further she ponders whether we need empathy. Empathy can easily come with pain, so is it worth it to feel empathetic? What does it mean to be empathetic? Does it mean to feel so strongly that we carry the burdens of others? Does it mean we make their problems ours? Leslie Jamison explores the meaning of empathy through her personal and professional journeys. In The Empathy Exams, she makes us experience and understand her struggles, perhaps giving her readers the sensation of empathy as they work through these ideas with her. "LESLIE JAMISON TRULY MADE ME FEEL EMPATHETIC FOR HER. STRUGGLING WITH HOW TO BE EMPATHETIC AND SHOW OTHERS THAT WE REALLY CARE IS A COMMON STRIFE, AND SHE DID IT JUSTICE AS SHE ANALYZES THE PURPOSE AND MEANING OF EMPATHY" - KRISTEN WELSER
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