My beloved book club is called “Get Lit.” We’ve been reading and drinking together for over a decade now (we do both quite well, hence the name). The women in that club are some of my best friends: brilliant professionals, world travelers, great mothers, and just amazing people I am proud to know.
Reading is a habit for me. I’m honestly not sure I can fall asleep without a book in my bed, because I haven’t thought to try since I was about 14. Nor do I want to; my bedtime reading is among my favorite times of day. I must admit, I don’t read nearly as much since Thing 1 and Thing 2 came along. I still eagerly curl up with a book each evening, but I average about five pages before I start drooling on the pillow.
That’s why it’s such a treat when a book keeps me up all night, flipping pages by the dim light on my bedside table. Sometimes these blessings happen on a weekend, when time is free and meaningless. But if a book grabs my soul on a weeknight, then the looming morning alarm seems a small price to pay. I take these blessings when they come.
I can’t help but savor books with two lenses: one as the reader, along for the ride and enjoying the story. But also as a dreamer: someone who loves to write, and with that lens I frequently stumble upon lines that are so brilliant I wish I’d written them myself.
So this page is dedicated to the lens of envy! From here on out, I pledge to document all the brilliant lines in literature that make me drool… and not in the “on my pillow” sleepy way!
LINES I LOVE:
January 2013: From Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
“Never trust biographies. Too many events in a man’s life are invisible. Unknown to others as our dreams.” Pg. 141
“I don’t know what the soul is. But I imagine that somehow our bodies surround what has always been.”
“The memories we elude catch up to us, overtake us like a shadow. A truth appears suddenly in the middle of a thought, a hair on a lens.” Pg. 213
“Loss is an edge…” Pg. 223
“Most discover absence for themselves; trees are ripped out and sorrow floods the clearing. Then we know what we loved. But I was born into absence. History had left a space already fetid with undergrowth, worms chewing soil abandoned by roots. Rains had made the lowest parts swampy, the green melancholia of bog with its swaying carpet of pollen. I lived there with my parents. A hiding place, rotted out by grief.” Pg. 233
“The past is desperate energy, live, an electric field. It chooses a single moment, a chance so domestic we don’t know we’ve missed it, a moment that crashes into us from behind and changes all that follows.”
“When we married, Naomi said: Sometimes we need both hands to climb out of a place. Sometimes there are steep places, where one has to walk ahead of the other. If I can’t find you, I’ll look deeper in myself. If I can’t keep up, if you’re far ahead, look back. Look back.”
5/29/12: From re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to the kids. Page 333, Dumbledore speaking to Harry:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
3/27/12: From Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – page 34. Mabel is describing her first impressions of Alaska as she arrived here as a homesteader in the 1920’s.
“So this was Alaska – raw, austere. A cabin of freshly peeled logs cut from the land, a patch of dirt and stumps for a yard, mountains that serrated the sky.”
“Mountains that serrated the sky” – brilliant!
2/15/12: From Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Page 105. The narrator is trying to move a large steamer trunk in an old, abandoned orphanage.
“I grabbed it by the sides and pulled. It didn’t move. I pulled again, harder, but it wouldn’t give an inch. I wasn’t sure if it was just that heavy, or if generations of accumulated moisture and dust had somehow fused it to the floor. I stood up and kicked it a few times, which seemed to jar things loose, and then managed to move it by pulling on it one side at a time, shimmying it forward the way you might move a stove or a fridge, until it had come out all the way from under the bed, leaving a trail of parenthetical scars on the floor.”
“Parenthetical scars” – seriously? Brilliant!