Best Book Quotes of the Week

Best Book Lines Quotes, past and current.

 

From Julian Barnes, The Lemon Table

“Geese would be beautiful if cranes did not exist.”

Julian Barnes would be the crane of literary fiction writers in this example. Not sure why my Goodreads review of this collection is suddenly getting some “likes” but I’m thrilled to be taken back this simple, but beautiful thought. I loved this collection of stories and I’m thinking I may need another Barnes fix.

From Laura Moriarty, The Chaperone

“The young can cut you with their unrounded edges…but they can also push you right up to the window of the future and push you through.”

Another old Goodreads review that popped up this week. I still haven’t figured out why this short review remains one of my most liked , but since I’ve been thinking a lot about how my sons are too quickly maturing from boys to men, this quote resonates with me. I give them much credit for pushing me right into the future.

From Ruth Ozeki,  “A Conversation with Ruth Ozeki” at the end of My Year of Meats

“I want to write novels that engage the emotions and the intellect, and that means going head to head with the chaos of evils and issues that threaten to overpower us all. And if they threaten to overpower the characters, then I have to make the characters stronger.”

No surprise that she perfectly describes why I love reading her books so much. Her books engage me on multiple levels with just the right amount of chaos, strength of character and story resolution.

From Lisa See, China Dolls

“Dreamers are born to be disappointed.”

This is such a melancholy thought and it’s the one that underlies most of the novel. It’s the flip side of my usual “dare to dream” approach to living. It just made me think.

From Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

“Let the wild rumpus start!”

My favorite Goodreads quote of the day this week. I read it and felt a whirlwind of emotional recall. I remember reading it repeatedly as a child and then sharing with my own sons. This book captured all our imaginations. (And, it’s a great quote to start the weekend!)

 

Looking for more great quotes?

Check out: Thursday Quotables at Bookshelf Fantasies or Every Day Has. You can also find bookish quotes on Book Quotes Hub.

 

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

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January books — 2013 off to a strong start

Not only is my 2013 off to a very quick start (I’ll never be able to keep up the 10 book/month pace), it’s off to a good one. Of the 10 books I completed in January, most were well above average. A couple surprised me. A couple disappointed me. And all made me glad I love to read.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

4 stars

fun homeA very quick, if mildly disturbing, read. This is my first experience with a graphic-book and I found the illustrations sometimes really added to the limited text,but in some cases stole from the sharp, crisp writing. Bechdel does not shy away from the discomfort inherent in not only her own coming out story, but the complicated back-story of her father’s closeted homosexuality. The complex father-daughter relationship was fascinating to me and I would have liked that to be fleshed out even more (in terms of text). Overall, I was impressed by this memoir.

He used his skillful artifice not to make things, but to make things appear to be what they were not.”

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

4 stars

Previously reviewed

The air would smell like taffy and drying seaweed, and they would wear white, and there would be still more happiness. So much happiness. It was almost as exhausting as this relentless February.”

With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

3.5 stars

Previously reviewed

Is it possible to have nostalgia for a time in which you never lived? I’m sure there is a word for this phenomenon in German — beautiful, absurd, and twenty letters long.”

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

3 stars

the chaperoneI really liked so much of this book (including Elizabeth McGovern’s excellent narration), but it just went on so long. I felt like it had several false endings, places where I was finished but then it kept going. Maybe the problem is just that I didn’t expect an epic when I began. The story covers almost 50 years of Cora’s life in a great deal of detail. And while I find the 20th century interesting background, I was frustrated at Moriarty’s need to touch on so many different “issues” — Prohibition, adoption, gay rights, reproductive rights, suffrage. Add to that, Cora happens to witness or read about dozens of historical events. I began to feel manipulated after a while. What a I loved was the relationship between Cora and Louise Brooks. I would have been much more satisfied had she ended the book after their summer together.

The young can cut you with their unrounded edges…but they can also push you right up to the window of the future and push you through.”

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

3.5 stars

Deceptively simple story about a Bengali woman, Amina, who meets her American husband on-line, moves to Rochester and struggles to bring her parents to America. Immigrations, marriage, family, desire, truth are the themes all tangled under the surface story.  I liked Amina a lot and thought the author brought up many interesting questions, but the other characters didn’t seem as truthful to me. I couldn’t understand their motivations or transitions,which is what prevents a higher rating. I would read more of this writer.

You thought you were a permanent part of your own experience, the net that held it all together — until you discovered that there were many selves, dissolving into one another so quickly over time that the buildings and trees and even the pavement turned out to have more substance than you did.”

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

4 stars

Reviewed previously

You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (audio)

4 stars

Another great installment of Harry Potter. I can see that the tone of these novels has really darkened considerably. There were moments when my youngest was truly afraid. It’s quite an accomplishment that, even knowing that Harry will survive, I feel the danger and fear he faces. The suspense and environment are so rich, that “spoilers” don’t even interfere with the drama. Can’t wait to start the next one.

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

2.5 stars

I really, really wanted to like this book but I couldn’t. In fact, I cared so little about it when it was over that I didn’t write any sort of review or notes and now I can only remember a disabled teenager, a grieving loser-ish thirty-something and a trip in a van where they pick up all sorts of oddballs. It sounds like a premise I’d love (kind of Little Miss Sunshine), but it never came together.

I know I’ve lost my mind. But I’m not concerned, because it’s the first thing I’ve lost in a long time that actually feels good.”

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories byLudmila Petrushevskaya, Anna Summers (translation)

Dozens of short stories, most about people whose lives are not going to work out no matter what they do or hope for. I’m sure they are a reflection of the author’s Soviet reality, but, not only were they depressing, I never found any one or any moment to hold on to. Reading this was like skipping stones over a very flat, dark, lake. Ultimately unfulfilling. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Penguin Books in exchange for my honest review.

A Red Herring Without Mustard (A Flavia de Luce Mystery #3) by Alan Bradley

4 stars

A Red Herring without MustardWhile other books were failing me, Flavia was there to bring a smile to my face. As usual, this precocious 11 year-old amateur chemist/detective found herself embroiled in murder and mayhem. While there is a certain formula to all these books, Bradley wisely goes deeper into each character with the succession of novels. We learn more about Flavia each time and get to know more about her long-lost mother Harriet, who posthumously plays a huge role in the emotional undercurrent of this book. The “Buckshaw Chronicles” are a smart, entertaining, emotionally fulfilling series of mysteries. I’m so grateful their interesting titles drew my eye a couple of years ago.

Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little.  Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.”

W…W…W…Wednesday

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Another Wednesday has arrived. (Does this week seem endless to anyone else?) At least it’s an excuse to talk books (as if I need one). Feel free to play along. Just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? Learning a lot about Bangladesh and the immigrant experience in The Newlyweds, a good suggestion from a good friend. Just started to listen to A Red Herring without Mustard, #3 in the Flavia de Luce series. I adore Flavia and the audio version is perfect for the car – I only wish I had a longer commute.

What did you recently finish reading? Finally finished the audio version of The Chaperone. There is so much to like about this book, but ultimately it was too much for me. I wanted a more narrow focus and more about Cora & Louise instead of mentioning every historical touchstone in the 20th Century. Loved The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. Just a beautiful, thoughtful book. It too spans much of the century, but to much greater effect.

What do you think you’ll read next? Just received noticed that The Casual Vacancy has finally arrived for me at the library. That will have to be next. My friends and critics I trust are evenly divided on this novel so I look forward to adding my two cents.

What are your W…W…W… titles?

W…W…W…Wednesday

It’s the first Wednesday of 2013. You know what that means? (Really, it means back to work and the end of vacation for me, but it’s also a great day for a book post). Feel free to play along. Just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? I’m half-way through The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. The book was a Christmas gift, well-chosen and very engaging. Still trying to finish the audio version of Laura Moriarty‘s The Chaperone. This is a LONG book — really good, but I’m ready for it to be over.

What did you recently finish reading? Finished Michael Chabon‘s Telegraph Avenue, which I wanted to love, but didn’t. Despite his often brilliant prose, I found the details and cultural references bogged the narrative down and prevented me from really engaging with the characters. On the other hand, I kicked off 2013 with a graphic-style memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. I love a good memoir and Alison Bechdel‘s coming-out story fit the bill, although I’m not sure about the comic-strip approach.

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m determined to read Kate Morton soon. I also have an ARC of With or Without You. being released on February 26, that I should read and review. It’s so great to feel like 2013 is wide open with book possibilities.

What are your W…W…W… titles?

W…W…W…Wednesday

Wednesday is back again. Gee it feels like just a week ago when I was working on this particular Q & A. Feel free to play along. Just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? I just started Molly Ringwald‘s short story collection, When It Happens to You. It was a very impulsive choice when I saw it on the shelf at the library. I’ve only read the first story, but it’s pretty good so far. For my audio choice I needed an author whose name starts with “M” for a book group challenge. I was hoping for Kate Morton but couldn’t find anything, so I settled on Laura Moriarty‘s The Chaperone. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’m pleased to listen to Elizabeth Montgomery reading the novel.

What did you recently finish reading? Over the weekend I finished Sebastian Barry‘s On Canaan’s Side, which is just a terrific novel. Thoughtful, intelligent and evocative.  Also finished Dennis Lehane‘s Live by Night on audio. Great escape into Prohibition era gangster-controlled Tampa.

What do you think you’ll read next? Now that I’ve met my 90-book goal for 2012, I feel like the pressure is off my reading choices. I haven’t put anything on hold, but I may try Telegraph Avenue next. I also want to read Stone Diaries since Carol Shields made my Best of 2012 reading list.

What are your W…W…W… titles?