“Currently Reading” Archive

2017

 

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

“Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” Pg. 36

 

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

“You spend your life avoiding these things; you end up seeking them out.” Pg. 21

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living.”

 

2016

 

 

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

“Jestine had told me never to rush something I was creating, but instead to let it come into being as if it had a soul of its own.” Pg. 193

 

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

“She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.” Pg. 148

 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“‘If you speak the truth,’ the monster whispered in his ear, ‘you will be able to face whatever comes.’”

 

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

“The place had its hold on him. He went on bird walks; he read; he talked and talked and talked.” Pg. 47

 

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

“‘You can do anything you believe you can do.’” Pg. 132

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“For humans – trapped in biology – there was no mercy: we lived a while, we fussed around for a bit and died, we rotted in the ground like garbage. Time destroyed us all soon enough. But to destroy, or lose, a deathless thing – to break bonds stronger than the temporal – was a metaphysical uncoupling all its own, a startling new flavor of despair.” Pg. 695

 

Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

“He’s lived the life he’s lived. He’s loved the woman he’s loved. No one ever has or ever will travel quite the same path on this earth, and that’s all right by him.” Pg. 342

 

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

“Einar felt lonely, and he wondered if anybody in the world would ever know him.”

 

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

“Maybe we’re all like that with our mothers. They seem ordinary until one day they’re extraordinary.”

 

The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

“Only in this madness was it possible to feel such purpose.”

 

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

“Sometimes too we turn out to be captives or our ideas. Salem is in part the story of what happens when a set of unanswerable questions meets a set of unquestioned answers.” Pg. 9

 

2015

 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

“His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.” Pg. 34

 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

“You just have to learn how to trust it.” Pg. 245

 

Astoria by Peter Stark

“What might have come as a startling revelation about striking out into the unknown is that though the questions confronting one are often mundane – this route or that, this river drainage or another – the implications are profound, and sometimes fatal.” Pg. 11

 

The Martian by Andy Weir

“They say no plan survives first contact with implementation. I’d have to agree.” Pg. 41

 

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

“He’d blindly believed in love.” Pg. 297

 

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

“In that moment, he doubted if there could be any mental state more relentlessly cruel than the desiring of real meaning from circumstances that lacked useful or definitive answers.” Pg. 238

 

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer

“Why, Morgaine wondered, should this be so? It had to do with the knowledge that the world was as it was because of what men believed it was.” Pg. 749

 

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

“In making even horizontal and clear inspections we colour and mould according to the wants within us whatever our eyes bring in.” Pg. 23

 

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

“You go find out.” Pg. 311

 

Serena by Ron Rash

“’I done explained the science behind it, same as I explained what darksomeness can do to a man,” Snipes said, sighing deeply. “It’s ever been the way of the man of science or philosophy. Many folks stay in the dark and then complain they can’t see nothing’.” Pg. 185

 

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

“…the difference between waking and dreaming. Some never learn that.” Pg. 81

 

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

“But they are willing to redefine themselves, and life, and okayness. Redefinition is a nightmare – we think we’ve arrived, in our nice Pottery Barn boxes, and that this or that is true. Then something happens that totally sucks, and we are in a new box, and it is like changing into clothes that don’t fit, that we hate. Yet the essence remains. Essence is malleable, fluid.” Pg. 10

 

2014

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“For Susan and Libby. Because there is no map for where we are going.” Dedication

 

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” Pg. 2

 

Looking for Alaska by John Green

“Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.” Pg. 218

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

“They believed in him. They had looked at him in his yachting shoes, and listened to what he said, and they had made a decision in their hearts and minds to ignore the evidence and to imagine something bigger and infinitely more beautiful than the obvious.” Pg. 37

 

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

“There is no one to tell this to and yet it seems very important to get this right. The reality and what it is like to escape it. That even now it is sometimes too beautiful to bear.” Pg. 50

 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

“The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them.” Pg. 1

 

The Key-Lock Man by Louis L’Amour

“‘I love the stillness,” she said. ‘Somehow it seems to soak through me, smoothing out all the rough places, making all my troubles seem as nothing.'”

 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

“Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates.” Pg. 148

 

The Best American Essays 2013 edited by Cheryl Strayed

“Trying, attempting, and testing are what writers do in every form, of course – the making of literature is always an experiment – but I think those words convey something essential and particular about the art of the essay. Behind every good essay there’s an author with a savage desire to know more about what is already known. A good essay isn’t a report about what happened. It’s a reach for the stuff beyond and beneath … The essay’s engine is curiosity; its territory is the open road.” Cheryl Strayed, pg. xvi-xvii

 

Volt by Alan Heathcock

“But the grace of Krafton came with the seasons, sowing, reaping, breeding an understanding that last year has no bearing on this one; this crop might be better, or worse, and regardless there’ll be another and then another.” Pg. 33

 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” Pg. 75

 

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

“But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition.” Pg. 2

 

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz

“Our egos, Austen was telling me, prevent us from owning up to our errors and flaws, and so our egos must be broken down – exactly what humiliation does, and why it makes us feel so worthless. “Humiliation,” after all, comes from “humility.” It humbles us, makes us properly humble. So just as Pride and Prejudice taught be that it’s ok to make mistakes, it also told me that it’s okay to feel bad about them. Austen understood that growing up hurts – that it has to hurt, because otherwise it won’t happen.” Pg. 62

 

The Free by Willy Vlautin

“As hard as all that was, he [a homeless dog] said he knew if he could hang on long enough he would meet us, and then he would be able to disappear into us when he died. That is if he could just make it until then he would never be lonely again…Maybe that’s how things work.” Pg. 273

 

Demon Camp by Jennifer Percy

“Physical pain is corporeal and so wounds feel like evidence. We point to bloodied knees. We cough in napkins because yellowed phlegm means sick lungs. We stick lights down our throat to illuminate a gathering of strep.

If the existence of pain is always, if possible, confirmed through the flesh, then the pain of the mind – psychic pain, tragic pain, the pain of broken hearts – must also desire such confirmation.” Pg. 199

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“I would have done anything to feel real again.” Pg. 73

 

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

“There is no why. you don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding. And, dear one, you and I both were granted a mighty generous hand.” Pg. 205

 

 

2013

 

 

Julia Child Rules by Karen Karbo

“Instead, learn to be amused, and find things that give you pleasure. It feels like an old-fashioned concept – to spend time doing things that have no self-improving component, that are done simply for the pleasure of doing them.” Pg. 59

 

The Christmas Box Miracle by Richard Paul Evans

“For one precious, fleeting moment, to hold the child in my arms, and would that time stood still.” Kindle 715

 

Lit by Mary Karr

“Mock that experience as random chance if you like, but from then on, I start to arrive in the instant as never before, standing up in it as if pushed from behind like a wave, for it feels as if I was made – from all the possible shapes a human might take – not to prove myself worthy but to refine the worth I’m formed from, acknowledge it, own it, spend it on others.” Pg. 384

 

Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle

“…but anything worth doing is worth failing at.” Pg. 8

 

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Some of these differences are significant, others not so much, but all of them are inalterable. In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love…” Pg. 133

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

“It’s a good country for myths. Things seem to take root here.” Pg. 10

 

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

“‘A man has to make a stand in his life, at least once,’ he said. ‘That’s what happened here. They knew they’d lose but they were going down defiant, right here on the land where they lived.” Pg. 263

 

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

“My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s liberating.” Pg. 510

 

Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake

“Lieutenant Dunbar had fallen in love. He had fallen in love with this wild, beautiful country and everything it contained. It was the kind of love people dream of having with other people: selfless and free of doubt, reverent and everlasting.” Pg. 2

 

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

“Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.” Pg. 189

 

The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy

“…I need to step back and stake turf, for D, for my kids, for myself. And so I’m going on these journeys, not to escape the commitment I recently made – but quite the opposite, I’m going to use them the way I have always used travel: to find answers. I’m setting out in order to gain the insight necessary to bring me home.” Pg. 26

 

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

“…it was actually kind of cool in retrospect, although really not at all at the time. Much like life. Also, you wish Lion-O Thundercat would call you, but instead you spend a lot of time unnecessarily worrying about gerbils getting stuck inside of you. Which is also kind of a metaphor for life. A really, really bad one.” Pg. 79

 

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

“Things have their shape in time, not space alone. Some marble blocks have statues within them, embedded in their future.” Book 3, Pg. 24

 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“It took all I had to cover nine miles a day. To cover nine miles a day was a physical achievement far beyond anything I’d ever done. Every part of my body hurt. Except my heart. I longed for nothing but food and water and to be able to put my backpack down. I kept carrying my backpack anyway.” Pg. 70

 

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

“To step out of this story is to fall off the edge of the world. There’s no way out of it except through death.” Pg. 37

 

Call of the Mild by Lily Raff McCaulou

“Shooting my first pheasant gave me the same exhilaration that I got from reading my favorite chapter books when I was nine or ten years old: The world around me suddenly became bigger than I had ever imagined and, at the same time, it moved closer within my reach.” Pg. 116

 

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“There was no solution, but that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insoluble. That answer is: one must live in the needs of the day – that is, forget oneself.” Pg. 7

“He suddenly felt that the very thing that was the source of his sufferings had become the source of his joy; that what had seemed insoluble while he was judging, blaming, and hating, had become clear and simple when he forgave and loved.” Pg. 389

 

2012

 

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

“Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception – especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean, little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they are scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.” Pg. 56

 

In Morocco by Edith Wharton

“It is a good thing to begin with such a mishap … because it lets one at once into the mysterious heart of the country, a country so deeply conditioned by its miles and miles of uncitied wilderness that until one has known the wilderness one cannot begin to understand the cities.”      Pg. 12

 

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner:

“You need experience …. Recording life is a poor substitute for living it. So for the next twenty minutes I sit on that terrace, listening to the roar of the river and doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. No notebook, no camera, or tape recorder. Just me and life. And a vicious swarm of killer Bhutanese mosquitoes. That’s enough experience for now.”           Pg. 86


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