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.

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.

Best Book Quotes of the Week

Best Book Lines

“You’re 12 years old and you don’t yet know that you don’t know shit.”

Jonathan Tropper, Everything Changes

I was looking for a good, engaging audio book. Saw the combo of Tropper (author) and Scott Brick (narrator) and felt pretty confident. Within minutes I heard the above line. My sons are 13, going on 12 tomorrow and 9. I feel like saying this on almost a daily basis.

 

“…to be an artist you had to run the risk of failing, you had to close your eyes and step into the dark.”

Mark Haddon, The Red House

I really, really disliked this book and felt completely frustrated by the confusing writing style, but when I read the above, I wondered if Haddon was trying to explain himself. To my mind, his risk with this novel didn’t pay off, but I was reminded that writers are artists. Without risk, we’d all be stuck in place.

 

“Now we can stand and decide. This is our first chance to choose our own unknown…As impossible as it sounds, we must keep walking.”

Dave Eggers, What is the What

I was so inspired by this book and Valentino’s story as I indicated in my review this week, but this is the quote that sealed the deal for me. No matter the circumstances, whatever the world throws at us, we have to “choose our own unknown.” It’s a great phrase.

 

“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and this is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.”

L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz

This was my favorite Goodreads Daily Quote this week. It’s never bad to be reminded of what’s truly valuable and important in this life. Ageless wisdom.

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

Best Book Quotes of the Week

Best Book Lines

Imagine how many books I could read if I didn’t stop to write down quotes as I go along? Here I present the best lines I’ve read this week.

From Emma Donoghue, Frog Music

“This is what mothers do for their babies. They bite their tongues and let the world ride them into the ground.”

 

Not sure I want to think of myself as being ridden into the ground but Donogue gets down to business in this desperate moment of motherhood.

 

From Dave Eggers, What is the What

“I do not want to think of myself as important enough the God would choose me for extraordinary punishment, but then again, the circumference of calamity that surrounds me is impossible to ignore.”

I love the image of a “circumference of calamity.” He writes so incredibly well that, despite the devastation of his topic, I can’t wait to pick up the story again.

 

From Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

“Because maybe I don’t want to leave the planet invisible. Maybe I need at least one person to remember something about me. ”

Although I’m not re-reading this favorite novel of mine this week, I was reminded of this quote by a new friend. Haven’t we all felt this way at one point, especially when we were teenagers.

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

Quotable: Angels & Demons

Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. – August Wilson (Goodread’s Daily Quote 4/27/14)

 

One of the many reasons I love using Goodreads is the Daily Quote. Not a day goes by that I don’t check my GR home page for the day’s inspiration or thought. The Wilson quote above stopped me in my tracks.

When my brother and I were children, my mom told us we had an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Each day, each moment was simply a question of which side would win out. Would I listen to my angel or my devil? This duality was a simple case of right and wrong, strength and weakness. It’s a tactic I’ve used often raising three sons.

But what struck me about Wilson’s quote was the internalization of those demons. They don’t just sit on our shoulders whispering in our ear; they live inside of us.  From his viewpoint, it’s not enough to simply listen to right over wrong.

This is the story of Wilson’s work, his plays and essays. Yes, they are a portrait of the black experience in America, but they hold the same “everyman” appeal as his fellow playwright Arthur Miller. That is why his plays and this quote have stood the test of time.

To be our best selves, we must actively engage, battle, “wrestle” our internal demons. I think he’s right.

Daily Prompt: Quote Me

 

Although I’ve followed WordPress‘s Daily Prompt for many months, I have not often jumped on board and followed up with a post. They may rattle around in the back of my mind and inspire me days, weeks or even month’s later. But this one stopped me. This is easy I thought.

I love quotes. I Pin quotes. I Google Quotes. I eagerly await the Daily Quote from Goodreads. I stop what I’m reading to copy quotes.

But a quote to which I return over and over? That challenge narrowed the field considerably. I have several quotes about reading and books, but they are not where I turn for inspiration or motivation. When I’m in a bad place, or in need of a push, I turn to the brilliant Toni Morrison.

If you wanna fly

A November Reading Wrap-Up

I did post an individual review of my favorite book in November (actually my favorite book I read this year), Tell the Wolves I’m Home, but I managed to complete quite a few more novels. Here’s a wrap-up of what I read in November.

Harry Potter Prisoner of AzkabanHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (audio)

4 stars

My sons and I have been listening to the Jim Dale audio versions of the Harry Potter series and this one did not disappoint us. I love how Rowling tackles the trials and tribulations of a boy growing up. Of course Harry’s world is fantastic and dangerous and full of wizards and magic, but at its core, this entire series is a coming-of-age saga. The four of us experience the books each in our own way. That’s an achievement in itself – the fact that my sons want to sit in the car just to listen to more is astonishing.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

GoldGold by Chris Cleave

3.5 stars

I was so eager to read Cleave’s follow-up to Little Bee that it’s no wonder I was slightly disappointed. I loved the high stakes world of Olympic cyclists and I have to say that Cleave really understands how to write broken, wounded women, but I was never 100% invested in either of the protagonists. Gripping while it lasted, but didn’t stay with me long.

“Love wasn’t supposed to require the constant reassurance. But then again, love wasn’t supposed to sit watching its own reflection in a dead TV while temptation rode a blazing path to glory.”

LLots of Candlesots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (audio)

4 stars

Listening to Quindlen read her own essays was an easy pleasure. I admit there were moments when I felt “too young” to totally identify with her, but how can I complain about a book that makes me feel too young? Seriously though, I loved the prompt to think about where I am in my life — both what’s behind me and what’s ahead. Quindlen has a remarkable way of bringing me in tune with myself. There are no huge revelations of life-changers in this collection, just an interesting collection of thoughts from a very strong writer, woman and mother. I’m a little jealous.

“One of the useful things about age is realizing conventional wisdom is often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.”

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

4 stars

I almost feel bad about how much I liked this coming-of-age novel because it’s all so obvious and melodramatic, but I loved it. I fell right into this dysfunctional world of overwrought and seriously damaged teenagers and didn’t want to come out. Nothing subtle about Chbosky’s writing, but I didn’t expect anything else from YA. What he did successfully was capture that very particular moment in teenage-dom when you are both cynical and naïve.

“I guess what I’m saying is it all feels familiar. But it’s not mine to be familiar about. I just know another kid has felt this…all the books you’ve read have been read by other people. The songs you love have been heard by other people. The girl that’s pretty to you is pretty to other people. You know that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing “unity.””

taftTaft by Ann Patchett

3 stars

Definitely not my favorite Patchett. As I expected she sets an incredible scene (in this case Memphis) and gives the readers a multitude of interesting characters, both black and white, trying to balance life’s joys and challenges. There are peaks of drama and a whole lot of internal monologues. All typical Patchett stuff. But this story, this setting, these characters never really captured my interest. Looking back on the body of her fiction work, I can say that her books just keep getting better and better.

“As a state, Tennessee was nearly as screwed up as Texas, in that a man’s allegiance wasn’t to the whole state, just that little part he comes from. People got stuck in the mountains. But in Memphis there’s a river running through the middle of things. It takes people out, brings other ones in. That’s why mountain people kept to themselves and delta people make love in alleyways.”

 

Flight BehaviorFlight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

4 stars

Kingsolver returns to the citizens of rural Appalachia, which she writes so well. Still socially responsible (and even a little preachy at times) she still drew me in to Dellarobia’s world. From the very beginning with its description of a flame-haired woman ready to throw away her life for a moment of rapture, I was hooked. Dellarobia’s natural intelligence and wit, combined with her desire for something more out of life, was a winning combination. Add to that a thought-provoking treatment of the global warming crisis, and I had a winning book.

“…and understood that he had become himself, in the presence of his wife. With the sense of a great weight settling, she recognized marriage. Not the precarious risk she’d balanced for years against forbidden fruits, something easily lost in a brittle moment by flying away or jumping a train to ride off on someone else’s steam. She was not about to lose it. She’d never had it.”