Just read: Les Liaisons Dangereuses
I won't be lengthy, but a few words seem justified as I truly enjoyed the book. I think I have a weak spot for stories of the sort: a bit dark and twisted, with a touch of conspiracy, manipulation, and decadence. Not sure what this says about me...ha, but it made for a good read nonetheless. Notable is that the translation into English was very good, not that I've read the original version in French, but you can always tell when you're reading a bad translation...
The book is made up of letters between a number of people who all have some link to each other, and they all become entagled in the cruel and selfserving schemes of the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil (whose plots and letters make out the foundation of the story, sets off the ripple effects), who out of boredom turn those in their surroundings into their pawns in games of seduction and revenge.
“Truth to tell, the longer I live, the more I'm tempted to think that the only moderately worthwhile people in the world are you and I.”
“I've distilled every thing to one single principle: win or die.”
"I should have as much difficulty in believing him to be a good man on the strength of the single circumstance you relate, as I should in considering a man of excellent reputation on the grounds of a single fault, to be vicious. Mankind is never perfect in anything, no more so in wickedness than in virtue"
"It is not a question of using the right words: one does not arrange them in the right way. Or rather one does arrange them, and that is sufficiently damning. Read your letter again. It is so beautifully composed that every phrase betrays you."
"The secrets of love, especially, are so delicate that one cannot let them out in that way on their own. If one does sometimes allow it, one should not lose sight of them; one must somehow see them safely home. Oh, come back, then, my beloved friend: you see how necessary your return is. Forget the thousand reasons that keep you where you are, or else teach me how to live where you are not."
"...let us not deceive ourselves, the charm we think we find in others exists only in ourselves, and it is love alone that confers beauty on the beloved."