Monday, November 16, 2015

Top Ten Quotations I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

I wasn't sure how I was going to figure out which of my saved quotations were from books I'd read in the past year, but then I learned that Goodreads has an "Export My Quotes" feature. Using the vlookup feature in Excel I could link these with another spreadsheet of when I read each book, and narrow down my list pretty easily.

That still doesn't mean it's easy to pick just ten! Here's what I came up with.

1. "Seeing myself or my church or my denomination as "the blessing" -- like so many mission trips to help "those less fortunate than ourselves" -- can easily descend into a blend of benevolence and paternalism. We can start to see the "poor" as supporting characters in a big story about how noble, selfless, and helpful we are." - Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Nadia Bolz-Weber just kind of rains truth when she writes or speaks.

2. "When Jean Piaget lectured in the United States, he was frequently asked whether the rate at which children attained his cognitive stages could be accelerated -- in other words, whether you could train your child to be 'ahead' of other children. Piaget was bewildered by the question. In his view of development, being 'ahead' or 'behind' anyone else was meaningless. But he got the question often enough that he came to associate it with a particular worldview: he called it 'the American Question.'" - Baby Meets World by Nicholas Day
This is something I've kept in mind frequently as we watch our little guy grow and learn.

3. "You can't always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now." - Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
I don't think you need to be ignorant of how someone's acted in the past, but there should always be room for someone to change.

4. "You may have heard the talk of diversity, sensitivity training, and body cameras. These are all fine and applicable, but they understate the task and allow the citizens of this country to pretend that there is real distance between their own attitudes and those of the ones appointed to protect them. The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country's criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority." - Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book is chockfull of uncomfortable truths like this -- that we can't always point to others or "the system" as the root of all problems.

5. "Idealism easily becomes dangerous because it brings with it, almost inevitably, the belief that the ends justify the means. If you are fighting for good or for God, what matters is the outcome, not the path. People have little respect for rules; we respect the moral principles that underlie most rules. But when a moral mission and legal rules are incompatible, we usually care more about the mission." - The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
I've been thinking about this recently with this past week's events in Paris, both in how terrorists operate and in the justifications used for retaliating against them.

6. "In life you'll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it's because they're stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance... Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself." - Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This was a remark by Satrapi's grandmother, who'd lived long enough to know a thing or two about what's worth holding onto.

7. "Possibly when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority. That was what he was protecting rather hot-headedly and with too much emphasis, because it was a jewel to him of the rarest price." - A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
More than 85 years ago, Woolf was pointing to this truth: many men, even if they say they believe in gender equality, don't actually want their own slice of the pie to get any smaller.

8. "They lost Olivia at Newport Beach. The panic made Alice hyperventilate. You were meant to be watching her, Nick kept saying. As if that were the point. That Alice had made a mistake. Not that Olivia was missing, but that it was Alice's fault." - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
This exemplifies why I fell in love with Moriarty's writing in this book. She nails the way real conversations play out, especially in marriage and friendship.

9. "As a committed Christian, I have always struggled with locked doors -- doors by which we on the inside lock out "the others" -- Jews, Muslims, Mormons, liberals, doubters, agnostics, gay folks, whomever. The more we insiders succeed in shutting others out, the more I tend to feel locked in, caged, trapped." - Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? by Brian McLaren
Although I don't think McLaren ultimately resolves the paradox he presents in this book, he certainly captures well what it feels like to live in the middle of it.

10. "That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me." - Yes Please by Amy Poehler
A new classic quotation that celebrates the diversity in ways to live one's life and raise one's family.

What are some of your favorite quotations from your recent reads?

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