Quotes from books, part VI

This batch of quotes is from books I read between April and August 2016. The tenth quote was hard to choose because nearly every sentence in The Gap of Time was so knockout beautiful.

  1.  “Mostly I’m just trying to get it right, whatever that means.”The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen
  2.  But, of course, the hardest shells hid the most fragile selves. The Expatriates, Janice Y.K. Lee
  3.  He made a whole city full of windows. -Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
  4.  “You can’t compare one person’s coping capacity to another, hon.”The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater
  5.  He considered how memories hold our lives in place but weigh nothing and cannot be seen or touched.Father’s Day, Simon Van Booy
  6.  “And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.”The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, Neil Gaiman
  7.  There are pockets of time, she thinks, where every sense rings like a bell, where the world brims with fleeting grace.The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, Dominic Smith
  8.  Unlike the world of technology, where rapid innovation produces improvements, innovation in fashion just produces arbitrary stylistic changes. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth Cline
  9.  It’s impossible, what I’m trying to do. To say good-bye without telling them I’m leaving.Imagine Me Gone, Adam HaslettCover image of The Gap of Time
  10.  Forgiveness is a word like tiger – there’s footage of it and verifiably it exists but few of us have seen it close and wild or known it for what it is. The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson

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.

HIGHLY anticipating

Cover of Northern LightsAt the end of my 2016 wrap-up I started to look ahead into 2017 for books to look forward to, but didn’t have any specific titles at the time. This morning (I went to bed even earlier than usual last night) I woke up to the good news that Philip Pullman is publishing another trilogy, The Book of Dust, and that the first one comes out this fall – specifically, on my daughter’s birthday. (She will be thrilled about being dragged to a bookstore first thing in the morning and then being ignored all day while her mama reads. Best birthday ever!)(Kidding, of course. She will be in daycare that day and I will probably take a vacation day. Or just read during her naps and after she goes to sleep, like a normal person.)

So anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to that one. Sometimes when an author of a beloved book or series announces a new book or series, I am a little nervous that it won’t measure up, but I have faith that this one will.

Cover image (not yet final) of All the Crooked SaintsAnd because October is always a big month for publishing, Maggie Stiefvater’s novel All the Crooked Saints comes out then too, another one I’m looking forward to, but not with quite the insane devotion, because I haven’t been reading and re-reading her since I was twelve.

Still waiting on Audrey Niffenegger for Alba, Continued.

2016 Year-End Reading Wrap-Up

Number of books read in 2016: 201

Picture books: 90

Partially read books: 8

Books read in 2015 minus picture books and partially read books: 103

YA/children’s books read: 40

Average number of books read per month (including YA, excluding picture books and partially read books): 8.58

Audiobooks: 11

Nonfiction (adult/YA): 22

Total page count: 27,536 (This seems suspiciously low, given that the last two years my page count was just over 50,000, but exporting the data I want from LibraryThing is frustrating, and honestly I don’t have the patience to dig into this. It’s still a pretty good chunk.)

Male or

Female/male authors: Tipping female for the second year in a row but still pretty close to 50-50.

Five-star ratings: 23, including re-reads; lots of childhood favorite re-reads this year, including The View From Saturday and Ella Enchanted. And Greenglass House, again.

Previously: 2015 Year-End Reading Wrap-Up

Again, no specific reading resolutions for the year. I have continued to winnow down my book collection at home, and have just a few books on the shelf that I’ve been meaning to read; one of these is The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, which I suppose would be appropriate to check off the list.

I have enjoyed reading without the lurking feeling of each book being part of a “to do” list. I’ve discovered (and revisited) many, many picture books, from my own childhood copies (One Woolly Wombat!) to the brand new and delightful (too many to name). I’ve ventured more into children’s chapter books and met Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine.

Like many others, I’m also trying to read a broader variety of perspectives: books by women and people of color and other minorities, books whose subjects or main characters are something other than straight, white, middle-class Americans. There have been some spectacular collections of scathingly funny and serious feminist essays (Lindy West, Caitlin Moran, Mindy Kaling), and Rebecca Solnit has a new book coming out in March). And YA authors have been at the forefront of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks charge from the beginning, which means we’re growing a generation more open-minded than any before it.

“And so to read is, in truth, to be in the constant act of creation.” -Caitlin Moran, Moranifesto

Best books I read in 2016

There were many books published this year that I was looking forward to eagerly, and which I devoured as soon as I could get them. Other books sneaked up on me (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!), some were recommended by friends or librarian-friends, others discovered serendipitously (my toddler pulling them off the library shelf), some a combination of the above. Links go to my LibraryThing reviews.

Cover image of My Real ChildrenAdult Fiction

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and J.K. Rowling

My Real Children by Jo Walton

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

“And we can’t know the lives of others. And we can’t know our own lives beyond the details we can manage. And the things that change us forever happen without us knowing they would happen. And the moment that looks like the rest is the one where hearts are broken or healed. And time that runs so steady and sure runs wild outside of the clocks. It takes so little time to change a lifetime and it takes a lifetime to understand the change.” -Jeanette Winterson, The Gap of Time

Adult Nonfiction

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

“Shame is a tool of oppression, not change….You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.” -Lindy West, Shrill

Teen/YA

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

My True Love Gave to Me (short stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins)

Cover of I Am the Wolf...And Here I ComeChildren’s board books and picture books

Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

There Is A Bird On Your Head by Mo Willems

I Am the Wolf…And Here I Come! by Benedicte Guettier

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

One Was Johnny by Maurice Sendak – I can’t believe I missed this one as a kid. It is the perfect counting book for introverts.

How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Children’s chapter books/series

Cover image of ClementineThe Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker – I listened to all seven of these audiobooks (narrated by Jessica Almasy) and loved every single one. Clementine reminds me of Ramona Quimby (especially when adults tell her to “pay attention” and she says that she was paying attention…to something else. Perfect kid logic). The parents are great characters too.

Coming soon…2017

I haven’t looked too far ahead into 2017, publishing-wise. The book I am most anticipating, of course, is the sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife, but there is no new news about it, as far as I can tell, and the last I heard, it was looking like ballpark 2018. I’d be excited to read anything new by David Mitchell or Nick Hornby, but they each had books out in 2015 (Slade House and Funny Girl, respectively). I’d love to read whatever Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) is cooking up next, too. I’m sure plenty of wonderful new books will come along while I’m waiting for these…what are you excited to read this coming year?