Monday, March 5, 2018

Top Ten Quotations From the Past Year's Reading

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This was a Top Ten Tuesday topic back in 2015, and I decided to take the same approach I did then — export my saved quotations from Goodreads and then look at just what I read in the past year.

1. "We love films because they make us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. They tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken. Remember about death and suffering and the complexities of living. Remember what it is like to love someone. Remember how it is to be loved. Remember what you feel in this moment. Remember this. Remember this." - Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
This is one of my favorite moments in the book, when the main character realizes she doesn't need her life to play out like a movie script because all movies are trying to do is capture the best parts of living anyway.

2. "That's the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?" - The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This is a great moment, when Starr and her Asian friend realize they've both let their white friend get away with saying offensive things because they were each too uncomfortable to make a scene, and they make a pact not to let it happen again.

3. "Fear is good. In the right degree it prevents us from making fools of ourselves. But in the wrong measure it prevents us from fully living. Fear is our boon companion but never our master." - Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
This is advice given to a character who's afraid of breaking rules, even ones that are imposed on her without good reason — a feeling I can relate to as a rigid rule-follower.

4. "In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don't. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color 'criminals' and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you're labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." - The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
I could fill a whole post with passages from this book (go read it!) but this one kind of sums up the book's thesis, with a nice jab at the problem of "colorblindness" as well. A close second would be the part where she blows apart the idea that individual choice plays the largest role in who gets locked up.

5. "'You're not alone, and you're not the one in charge,' Mother said gently. 'Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can. I think that is how we serve God—and each other and ourselves—in times as dark as these.'" - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I read this book soon after Trump's inauguration, and it was a helpful reminder for me of what I have control over and what are and are not my responsibilities right now.

6. "Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future." - The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
I've heard many variations on this theme over the years, but it's always nice to have a well-worded reminder.

7. "Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy — in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other." - Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
I think this leaves out a key piece — you can love a person but not trust them — but the general idea is solid, that a healthy, loving relationship between two people is characterized by less jealousy, not more.

8. "'But you know, there's an upside here. Because when you spend so much time just intensely wanting something, and then you actually get the thing? It's magic.' All of a sudden, I feel like crying. In a good way. In the best way. Because I know exactly what she means. It's butterflies and haziness and heart eyes, but underneath all that, there's this bass line of I can't believe this. I can't believe this is me. I can't quite articulate the sweetness of that feeling. It's finding out the door you were banging on is finally unlocked. Maybe it was unlocked the whole time." - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I related hardcore to this book's protagonist, and especially this idea that inspired the book's title: Once you finally find someone who loves you, you realize that your lack of success in love before didn't actually mean there was something fundamentally wrong with you, and that's an amazing feeling.

9. "Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women." - We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
See also: Why we say "Black Lives Matter."

10. "There's no 'should' or 'should not' when it comes to having feelings. They're part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings." - The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers
There are a lot of quotations I could have pulled from this book — I literally got a desk calendar full of them after reading it — but much of Mister Rogers' wisdom centers around feelings, and this is a nice overall reminder about the role feelings (should) play in our lives.

Which are some of your favorite book quotations?

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