Best Book Quotes of the Week

Best Book Lines

A little late this week, but I want to keep the quote momentum going.

 

From the late, brilliant Maya Angelou, with whose work I spent a great deal of time this week.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

I was unfamiliar with this one but saw it posted by many, many women whom I admire (obviously, for good reason).

“Does my sassiness offend you?”

I listened to Dr. Angelou recite her empowering poem Still I Rise and this one line stood out as something I long to say. I often feel the need to apologize for my “big personality” — this line reminded me that the problem might lie in others, not in me.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I heard it; I said it; I read it; I hold it in my heart.

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

I’ve followed Angelou on social media since I started using it. This was the last of her written words that I “liked.”

 

From Michael Cunningham, The Snow Queen

“Here’s the sting of livingness. He’s back after his nightly voyage of sleep, all clarity and purpose; he’s renewed his citizenship in the world of people who strive and connect, people who mean business, people who burn and want, who remember everything, who walk lucid and unafraid.

The Snow Queen wasn’t the best book I read all week, but it certainly contained the strongest writing. I can’t get the phrase “sting of livingness” out of my mind. There is a sharp bitterness that comes when you believe the rest of the world is going about their business happily and easily which Cunningham captures precisely.

 

From Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Possibilities

“I just want to know everything,” I say. We walk toward the door.

There really is nothing else to do but know the things we want to know.”

In The Possibilities, Sarah St. John is still reeling from her son’s death in an avalanche. She wants answers to everything about his unknowable life. Without being maudlin or morose, Hemmings captures that frustration of grief that the “knowing” has come to an end.

 

From Jonathan Tropper, Everything  Changes

“People brush past us on the street in endless waves…completely oblivious to the holocaust of an entire world casually imploding in their midst.”

Melodramatic? Certainly. But I do love Tropper’s way with words. His character’s self-awareness really shows in the drama of his personal holocaust imploding. It’s part of a great scene as this novel reaches a climax.

 

I’d love to know what lines have caught your attention.

I blinked

I once had three baby boys.    I blinked.

 

For years, 7:30 p.m. meant bedtime.    I blinked.

My son gently wakes me at the end of SNL. “It’s time to go to bed mom.”

My sons each played with a Fisher Price phone, animatedly chatting with Elmo and Cookie Monster.    I blinked.

They now show me shortcuts in the iPhone, out-texting me easily.

I brought juice boxes & animal crackers to share at play dates with other preschoolers.    I blinked.

I just sent my oldest for twelve hours at Great America with his friends.

In the early days I carried one boy on each hip.    I blinked.

Now I look up to one and wonder how soon the other two will tower over me.

I pushed a double stroller everywhere.    I blinked.

I have to call out for them not to get too far ahead on our bike rides.

I read Margaret Wise Brown & David Shannon aloud every single day.    I blinked.

Now I’m discussing “Fast Food Nation” with my sixth grader.

I rolled a ball back and forth across the living room floor.    I blinked.

I have to check the tournament team schedule before making weekend plans.

I controlled their schedules, their meals, their clothing, their friends.    I blinked.

I’ve lost control.

Summer 2013

Summer 2013

 

I had three baby boys.    I blinked.

I don’t have babies anymore.

Best Book Quotes of the Week

Best Book Lines

This was a great week for book quotes…

From Sebastian Barry, The Temporary Gentleman

“Just now and then, in my effort to form some sort of narrative, to touch accidentally on something rawer than a mere wound…I have evoked the gods of truth, and they will have their way with me.”

I am often mesmerized by the lyricism of Barry’s writing. Even in paper form I can almost hear the lilt of his Irish characters. I am also drawn to the idea that “truth” is found my accident, but once we stumble upon it, we are helpless to its power.

 

From Jonathan Tropper, Everything  Changes

“Somewhere there’s a therapist alone in his office staring wistfully at the door, just waiting for a patient like you.”

I’ve felt this. I’ve had moments of thinking my problems, issues, neurosis are the stuff of therapists’ dreams and that’s Tropper’s gift. I am not a 30-something Jewish man with daddy issues, but I still relate to his protagonists. Plus, he’s just funny.

 

From Christie Watson, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

I tried to close my imagination, but it stayed open like a book that has been read too often. ”

This quote came back to me when a fellow Goodreads member liked my review of this book. I was immediately taken back to when I read it and my amazement at Watson’s ability to balance both hope and horror, which seems to be all I read of Africa.

 

From W.G. Sebald, Vertigo

“It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.”

My favorite Daily Quote from Goodreads. Although I’ve never read the book or the author, it sums me up perfectly.

 

I’d love to know what lines have caught your attention.

5 stars for The Enchanted

 

Cover image from Goodreads

Cover image from Goodreads

I had no sooner closed the back cover on this astonishing novel than I wanted to flip right back to the beginning and start again.  In fact, I finished this book in one day because I simply could not put it down. From the very first page:


“I see every cinder block, every hallway and doorway…I see the chamber where the cloudy medical vines snake across the floor…I see where the small men hide with their tiny hammers, and how the flibber-gibbets dance while the oven slowly ticks.”

I knew I was hooked.

Denfeld so deftly balances the horrors of Death Row with lyrical storytelling that I often found myself breathless. How did she create something so beautiful out of people and situations so ugly? 

Most of the book is told from the perspective of an inmate who remains nameless until the end. This anonymity and mystery surrounding his story (apart from his guilt) allows the author to interweave other stories without any sense of judgement.

“York knows the truth doesn’t matter in here. Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.”

Our other nameless narrator is “The Lady” trying to gather evidence to commute a prisoner’s death sentence. Her deep issues and personal back stories come to light slowly, complicating an already complicated quandary. All of this propels the plot.

But what’s even more brilliant than the storytelling is the way Denfeld digs in to the environment of Death Row. Without preaching or excusing or solving, she lays bare this enchanted place in a way that broke my heart. I was captivated by the idea that some of these characters have seen the flight of their own souls.

“My soul left me when I was six. It flew away past a curtain over a window. I ran after it, but it never came back. It left me alone on a wet stinking mattress. It left me alone in the choking dark. It took my tongue, my heart, and my mind.”

Once the soul has flown, there’s nothing to stop the bad thoughts from taking over.

Warning: this novel contains almost unbearable scenes of violence, often against children, but the pain is worth the price of reading.

Brilliant.

 

For more thoughtful critiques of this brilliant debut, I encourage you to visit:

Worn Pages and Ink

The Writes of Woman

lauriesnottheworst

Happy Birthday Connor

Twelve years after “I don’t think I’m ready for this,” I can’t imagine a single day without Connor in our lives. From chubby, drooling babe to long, lean ‘tween, he has brought me such joy.

Today I celebrate his off-kilter humor, his fierce loyalty to the friends his loves, his competitive nature and his sweet sensitivity. My son is one-of-a-kind wonderful.

Connor Twelve

 

Related: How Can He Be 10?