Quotes from books, Part V

Continuing my series of quotes from books I’ve read semi-recently (this batch is November 2015-April 2016), originally inspired by The Broke and the Bookish and Three Good Rats. Here are quotes from three YA novels, three nonfiction books, one etiquette book, one book of essays, and two adult novels.

  1.  “When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies.” 
    1. b. “Oh, the world is full of things you don’t see.”The Neverending Story, Michael Ende
  2.  “Peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet.” –Small Victories, Anne Lamott
  3.  “It is surely a premise of democracy that the rules apply equally to everyone.” –Common Courtesy, Judith Martin
  4.  “The big problem doesn’t lie in differences between what men and women want out of life and love. The big problem is how hard it is to achieve equal relationships in a society whose work policies, school schedules, and social programs were constructed on the assumption that male breadwinner families would always be the norm.” –Marriage, a History, Stephanie Coontz
  5. “When you don’t know what made someone leave once, you also don’t know what might make him do it again.” –Conviction, Kelly Loy Gilbert
  6.   “The biggest difference between boys and girls is how people treat them.”None of the Above, I.W. Gregorio
  7.  “What redemption there is in being loved: we are always our best selves when loved by another. Nothing can replace this.” –This Must Be the Place, Maggie O’Farrell
  8.  “God is a human invention.”Gretel and the Dark, Eliza Granville
  9.  “We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point….We might call this the “rubber band theory” of personality….We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.” –Quiet, Susan Cain
  10.  “The first rule of a successful getaway is not to look as if you’re trying to get away.” –A Burglar’s Guide to the City, Geoff Manaugh

Previously:

Part I (August-November 2015)

Part II (June-September 2015)

Part III (January-June 2015)

Part IV (some all-time favorites, no particular order)

Quotes from books, IV

After more than a year, I’m picking this up again (see Part III here, with links to Parts I & II). The quotes below are some of my longtime favorites.

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It occurs to her that there is one thing about people you can never understand well enough: how entirely inside themselves they are.Pigs in Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver

She’ll be okay without me, I think as I watch her, but I know that she will not. –The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

“I love my children. No one will tell you otherwise, but just between the two of us I have to say I admire you for not having any. The ways they break your heart, Jesus, and it never stops. I mean it, it simply does not stop.” –The Magician’s Assistant, Ann Patchett

People had their natural habitats, after all, demarcated not in ecologies but in ages. He’d been perfectly adapted to being nineteen, and she was better at being thirty-two. –Gold, Chris Cleave

The shelves were supposed to be loaded with books – but they were, of course, really doors….A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination….They are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead. -“Alma Mater,” Caitlin Moran (anthologized in The Library Book)

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Arlington Reads Together: Becoming Nicole

Last fall, I was on the selection committee that chose Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt as the 2017 Arlington Reads Together book. Last Saturday, I got to be in the audience to hear Nicole herself, and her father Wayne, speak to the Arlington community for the A.R.T. kickoff event in our beautiful old Town Hall building.

In the weeks leading up to this event, as we have had library displays announcing the book and the related programs this month, I have been pleasantly surprised how many people have shown so much enthusiasm for the book and for the topic. (Transgender issues, unfortunately, have been in the news again lately as the federal government has just revoked protections for transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.)

I encourage everyone to read Becoming Nicole, if you haven’t already. My brief review and quotes from the book from when I read it last year are on LibraryThing; I’ll use this space to recap the event.

Nicole’s talk emphasized the need to educate people on transgender issues. When kids know what “transgender” means, they are less likely to bully other trans students; when adults know, they are more likely to support trans people’s rights. She called the recent rollback of federal protections for trans students an “unnecessary backward step” because “people don’t put a face to the trans movement. Who actually is this affecting?” In the Q&A after the talk, Nicole said, “It’s harder to marginalize a human being than a foreign idea.”

Nicole also emphasized the importance of education because “kids know their gender identity early….Parents need to get on board early so kids can get medical treatment.” She spoke about “the importance of having adults support you”; her mother Kelly supported her from the beginning, and her father Wayne eventually got on board as well. Her elementary school supported her at first, but later things deteriorated to the point where the Maines family had to move. Nicole also mentioned Camp Aranu’tiq as a wonderful, inclusive summer camp experience for trans kids.

Though Nicole and Wayne appreciated the supportive Arlington audience, Nicole said, “We can’t keep preaching to the choir”; we have to have conversations with people who don’t understand. “The people in power don’t get it, and they need to.”

During the Q&A, one preschool teacher and one middle school teacher asked for advice. For the preschool teacher, Nicole suggested specific books (including I Am Jazz; there is also Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen), and suggested not enforcing a gender binary (e.g. allowing children to play with any toys in the classroom, not identifying some as “girls’ toys” and some as “boys’ toys”). She mentioned the need to educate parents as well, though she acknowledged the balancing act that might take. For the high school teacher, she said that being available for students to come talk to is important.

This was a wonderful event, and we were so lucky to hear directly from Wayne and Nicole, who were both well-prepared, entertaining, sympathetic, and humorous speakers. You can see photos of the event (taken by librarian/photographer Rob Lorino) on the library blog.