Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.
If you’ve never read a William Boyd novel, this is a good one to start with.
Any Human Heart is a fictionalized journal of a fictional character, Logan Mountstuart. It is a story of a life well-lived and a journey deep into a very human heart. The book is easy to read, the chapters weren’t too long, it is powerful, realistic and a beautiful story. Logan is generous, smart, naïve and selfish which makes him so real and interesting. And like any human journeys, his life has its own ups and downs, accidents, coincidences, tragedies and triumphs.
Aging is also addressed in this book in which there are moments where it is absolutely depressing, you see Logan at his worst. But there are also moments where you’ll see how aging made him wiser. He was never envious of youth.
William Boyd was able to make it like everything is true and that it is indeed from a dead man’s journal. I don’t know if others will agree but this is such an amazing novel where it’s hard to believe that Logan Mountstuart never existed.
And in the end, we get to ask ourselves, “What defines success?” “What is a life well-lived?” Logan reassures us that, “Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary – it is the respective proportion of those two categories that make that life appear interesting or humdrum.”
“I have to start my real life soon, before I die of boredom and frustration.”
“It’s true: lives do drift apart for no obvious reason. We’re all busy people,we can’t spend our time simply trying to stay in touch. The test of a friendship is if it can weather these inevitable gaps.”
“I felt shocked and then saddened. life does this to you sometimes – leads you up a path and then drops you in the shit, to mix a metaphor.”
Rating : 5/5 stars
Death’s greatest power is not that it can make people die, but that it can make people want to stop living.
Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.
Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.
You’re not a bad person because you want to be yourself.
The principle here is that the new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.
~Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
Love can rebuild the world, they say, so everything’s possible when it comes to love.
We’re all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away–our stories. I guess that’s what I love about books–they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be.
People try to get away from it all — to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful — more free of interruptions — than your own soul. Especially if you have other things to rely on. An instant’s recollection and there it is: complete tranquility.
Third and final day of the Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge from Dwight Roth of Roth Poetry. Big thanks to you for making me a part of this challenge. 🙂
- Thank the person who nominated you.
- Post a quote for three consecutive days.
- Nominate three other bloggers each day.
You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything… affects everything.
Thanks again for this challenge, Dwight, and don’t forget to visit his blog for a world of poetry from the heart. Until the next challenge!
Happy day, homo sapiens! 🙂
A man is responsible for his ignorance.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a beautiful book which opens in 1912 and tells about the pleasures and pain of growing up through the eyes of Francie Nolan, with her family, in a large and poor immigrant neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Francie’s father, Johnny Nolan, is an attractive drunk, part-time waiter and singer in restaurants. Katie, her mother, is a determined and hardworking woman. Katie married Johnny when she was 17 and soon had Francie and afterwards, Neeley. Francie is smart, delightful in small pleasures, curious and ambitious. She loves her family, she loves reading and school. Neeley is a darling and is Katie’s apple of the eye. Sissy, Katie’s older sister, the only Rommely daughter who didn’t attend school, very loving, longs to become a mother, has (yes, has) three husbands and is my favorite character in the story.
The book mostly focuses on the hardships and sad moments people, young and old, encounter in life, however, it also shows the importance of these moments in order to appreciate the good ones. Some parts of the story were very relatable, and I’ve always enjoyed books that I can relate to. I, for one, also struggled to make ends meet at some point in my life. It’s funny remembering those days sometimes but those experiences helped me quite a lot to achieve my goals and be where I am now. Some lessons we learn as children don’t really make sense to us until we grow older. Things that we don’t really understand until we become adults.
Another point which the author, Betty Smith, was able to focus on is the sense of love, determination and hope in the family. The way she’s written the story won’t bring you to tears but will let you feel a profound connection with the Nolans.
It’s also quite notable that the women are the stars in this novel. Brilliant women packed with girl power. 🙂 They’re the strong characters in the entire story. They work mornings and evenings, they bear children one after another, they make sure to save as much money as they could even though they earn very little and sometimes not even enough to get by, and most importantly, they try their best to send their children to school and educate them and make them believe in a life that’s far much better than what they’re living at that time. Katie is very determined to send Francie and Neeley to school, she lets them read the Bible and Shakespeare every night. Her sisters, Evy and Sissy, are also smart and independent women in their own ways.
Francie is smart and observant. A combination of her parents — a dreamer like her father, realistic and determined like her mother. She’s a keen observer, always sees the good in people and she loves reading. She has rich imagination and a good storyteller. She longs for more attention from her mother but she also knows that Neeley has always been her mother’s favorite. Her ability to deal with adversity along with being hard working and taking every opportunity she gets to better herself is very admirable of her and was indeed very essential as she turns out to be “the tree that grew in Brooklyn.”
This is a gorgeous coming of age book. A book I can easily recommend to everyone and make them understand why I read. To be entangled with the characters in a beautiful, remarkable but also terrible and painful story in time or places we, too, experienced or never once imagined.
“I know that’s what people say– you’ll get over it. I’d say it, too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him”
“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing,” thought Francie, “something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”
“She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library. She was the flower in the brown bowl. Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie’s secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father stumbling home drunk. She was all of these things and of something more…It was what God or whatever is His equivalent puts into each soul that is given life – the one different thing such as that which makes no two fingerprints on the face of the earth alike.”
“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words.”
“Sometimes I think it’s better to suffer bitter unhappiness and to fight and to scream out, and even to suffer that terrible pain, than to just be… safe. At least she knows she’s living.”
Rating: 5/5 stars
When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it. There may be a superficial escape – into different countries, mores, speech patterns – but what you are essentially doing is furthering your understanding of life’s subtleties, paradoxes, joys, pains and truths. Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic.
Music has that power to revive memories, sometimes so intensely that they hurt.
-Haruki Murakami, Men Without Women (Yesterday)
And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does, too.
Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.
True compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect.
This is a beautifully written novella about a man’s love for his wife, his son and his grandson. He is slowly losing his memory while loving the things he’s losing. A very short read that will make you sit back and appreciate life more.
Fredrik Backman had me in tears while reading this and he’s definitely one of my favorite authors now even though I’ve only read A Man Called Ove and this.
I absolutely recommend this to everyone because it’s a gem that will truly touch your heart. It will take very little of your time but a time well spent.
Quotable Quotes :
“That’s one good thing about forgetting things. You forget the things that hurt, too.”
“You never became ordinary to me, my love. You were electric shocks and fire.”
“I didn’t care why you said yes. Just that you stayed.”
“Humans are a strange breed in the way our fear of getting old seems to be even greater than our fear of dying.”
“You were never easy, darling difficult sulky you, never diplomatic. You might even have been easy to dislike at times. But no one, absolutely no one, would dare tell me you were hard to love.”
Rating : 5/5 stars
Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.
I think it happens to everyone when they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. And so you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on.
People don’t always send messages in order to communicate the truth… just as people don’t always meet others in order to reveal their true selves.
-Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Book #22. I am not a runner but picking a Murakami book is not unusual for me.
This is a memoir of Murakami’s affair with long-distance running. He talks about the joy running brings to him, the places he visits and the things he do in preparation for the events, as well as the ups and downs of running. Moreover, he talked about the change running has done to him and how it helped in his writing.
I’ve read several books by Murakami and I love every single one of them. So reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is refreshing because I get to know more about the man behind all the madness! I didn’t know that he is a dedicated runner, joined 25 marathons and also entered the world of triathlon. He runs not to win events/races, he runs to stay healthy and active. He runs because he wants to. And through running, he developed endurance, dedication and focus which we can clearly see mirrored in his writing.
So whether you are a runner or not, a Murakami fan or not, I recommend you give some time to read this. Whatever your passion is, the book will in one way or the other motivate and inspire you.
Quotable Quotes :
“I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change.”
“When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.”
“In other words, let’s face it: Life is basically unfair. But even in a situation that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness. Of course, that might take time and effort. And maybe it won’t seem to be worth all that. It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not it is.”
“The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.”
“It doesn’t matter how old I get, but as long as I continue to live I’ll always discover something new about myself.”
Rating : 4/5
The book is about Rachel Watson, an alcoholic who forgets things including what happened on that one crucial night. The night when Megan disappeared. Megan lives near Rachel’s previous home which she happens to pass by everyday on a train.
The story switches between three narrators: Rachel, Megan and Anna. All cleverly flawed characters! Rachel, a divorced alcoholic in her early thirties, obsessed with her husband and living with her friend (who doesn’t know Rachel got fired and is unemployed). Megan, the woman who disappeared, the woman Rachel sees everyday from the train. And Anna, the new wife of Tom, Rachel’s ex-husband.
The author, Paula Hawkins, without a doubt understands psychology and suspense. And she did a great job to make her readers despise the characters, I think! I’m not sure if everyone will agree with me, but yes, I despise them all. However, I still have to say that I like the way the book was written, it just wasn’t enough for me.
So this isn’t exactly a book I’d recommend but maybe for people who wants to try suspense and psychological drama, this ain’t a bad choice.
Quotable Quotes :
“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”
“The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”
“Life is not a paragraph, and death is no parenthesis.”
“They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.”
“Nobody warned me it would break us. But it did. Or rather, it broke me, and then I broke us.”
Rating : 3/5
Book #19. A story of hope and incredible strength.
This is a story about one family who were one night suddenly taken from their home in Lithuania and became victims of the mass deportations in 1941 to Soviet labor camps.
I found this very interesting because it was written according to a 15-year old Lithuanian girl named Lina. She is just like other 15-year olds and she loves to draw.
That night when the Soviet soldiers came to their home, Lina, together with her mother and younger brother, were taken to a dirty train car with other people. Her father still wasn’t home that night and so they were separated since then.
Throughout the story, Lina felt the need to draw everything she sees in whatever piece of material is available. She drew almost everything that happens about the people around her, during the long years of journey, who were all just trying to survive in that extraordinary time. It is through great love, incredible strength and hope that Lina survives.
This is my first book from Ruta Sepetys and I loved it. I liked the way the book was written. I personally found it very powerful. I had tears in my eyes at some point.
So if you haven’t read it yet, please do. It’s krasivaya!
Quotable Quotes :
“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
“Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness.”
“Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?”
“Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy—love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.”
“I planted a seed of hatred in my heart. I swore it would grow to be a massive tree whose roots would strangle them all.”
Rating : 5/5
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
The measure of hell you’re able to endure is the measure of your love.
There is no such thing as bad people.
We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.
–Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us
Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.
-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Hell is the absence of the people you long for.
-Emily St. John Mandel
Answerless questions can destroy you. Move on.
David Levithan, Every Day
Another achingly sweet, cute, light read from Stephanie Perkins!
I liked Cricket Bell! Truly the boy next door — shy, caring, sweet. But St. Clair still comes first. 🙂 I liked Lola in the beginning then started not to like her towards the middle then liked her again towards the end. I can’t relate much to her personally but I still find her character interesting. I loved the gay dads, too!
I can’t say I liked this as much as Anna and the French Kiss but I’m giving it 4 stars just the same. I’m really liking Ms. Perkins’ writing style and though there were things I didn’t like about this book (same with the first one), I still adore it. It’s predictable but if you just read it as it is, you’ll really enjoy it.
“I love his laugh. It’s rare, so whenever I hear it, I know I’ve earned it.”
“I just want to be a part of your life. Again.”
“Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.“ I smile. “You don’t think I’m perfect?” “No. You’re delightfully screwy, and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
“Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.”
“Sometimes a mistake isn’t a what. It’s a who.”
Rating : 4/5 stars
Memories warm you up in the inside. But they also tear you apart.
Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.
This book really blew me away! I didn’t expect this to be so good! This is my first Colleen Hoover read and I really, really loved it! From the beginning of the book, you will love the characters and the storyline right away. It’s one of those books that can make you feel so much and talk about it all day with anyone.
I felt happy, I felt sad. I fell in love, I got my heartbroken. I felt angry. I felt betrayed. But I loved how it all came together in the end. I had major butterflies the whole time I was reading this — so cheesy here and there! 🙂
I liked reading from both of the main characters’ perspective. It seemed like these two were just talking right in front of me and it just felt so natural. The chemistry between them was just there.
I don’t know what else to say, I just really, seriously, loved this book a lot! It still makes me smile every time I’m reminded of it. It’s been a while since a book made me roll when it starts becoming cheesy and experiencing that again while reading November 9 was truly a wonderful feeling! I’m really glad I picked this up the moment I saw it in the shelves.
Highly recommended! 🙂
Favorite quotes :
“It’s as if the world chooses this moment to go silent.”
“A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside.”
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”
“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”
“If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.”
Rating : 5/5 stars
I have now read all three of Gillian Flynn’s books and sometimes I can’t help but wonder what happened to her while growing up? 🙂 She’s probably the master of dark mysteries.
So in Dark Places, when Libby Day was seven years old, her mother and two sisters were murdered and his brother, Ben Day, was blamed for killing them and so he was jailed and sentenced to life imprisonment. More than twenty years later, Libby will reconnect with the people involved that night the murders happened.
Gillian Flynn is definitely a very talented writer and she knows very well how to create tortured souls and crazy women. The opening sentence in the book hooked me right away:
“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
Then not far from it comes this:
“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
Ms. Flynn is one of my favorite authors/writers since I’ve read Gone Girl. All of her novels are great and quite dark in different ways but I really enjoy them and in Dark Places I liked how the uncertainty of it made the story and characters turned out so well.
So for people looking for dark themes — lies, secrets, devil worship, desperation — read this. And all of Gillian Flynn’s books. You will never be disappointed.
“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”
“Worries find you easily enough without inviting them.”
“It’s a good enough life for me… can’t imagine wanting anything different.”
“I appreciate a straightforward apology the way a tone-deaf person enjoys a fine piece of music.”
“There were a lot of people who deserved a lesson, deserved to really understand, that nothing came easy, that most things were going to go sour.”
Rating : 5/5 stars
The first time I started reading Station Eleven, I closed and returned it back to my shelf when I reached page 3. I tried it again a few days back and I’m glad I persisted.
The story loops around the past and the present and then back again. The very skillful plotting of Station Eleven gave way to knowing each character more and what the characters think of the others. It’s how these characters are related that made this book really interesting for me (and no zombie in sight!). Their stories fit together perfectly and it’s really fascinating to see them all fall into place.
This is an amazing read that I finished it asking myself do people ever realize life while they live it? Hmmm…
Station Eleven may have started in darkness but it ended with a beam of hope.
“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”
“Survival is insufficient.”
“The more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”
“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”
“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”
Rating : 5/5 stars
This novel spans the 80-year life of Rachel Kalama, who was born in Honolulu where when she was seven, she was taken away from her family and lived most of her life in involuntary exile on Moloka’i as a leper. In this island where lives are supposed to end, Rachel’s life begins.
I enjoyed Rachel’s character and everyone else’s in this book. Rachel refuses to let her condition get in the way of a life well-lived. Seeing her grow up with leprosy along with her new-found family and friends made it an interesting read though I teared up here and there.
Alan Brennert evidently researched quite well since a lot of historical facts intertwines with the story which gave me a snapshot of Hawaii in the past.
Given its rich history and well-developed characters, this story will stay with me for a long time.
Favorite quotes: “There’s only one disadvantage, really, to having two mothers… You know twice the love… but you grieve twice as much.”
“With wonder and a growing absence of fear she realized, I am more than I was an hour ago.”
“But there was still a bottomless hole inside her, and she began to think that there always would be.”
“I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death….is the true measure of the Divine within us.”
“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.”
Rating : 5/5 stars
Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.
-Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Another book that will stay with me for a long time… Book #48 for my 2015 Reading Challenge…
Stoner is a book that has nothing to do with marijuana or a drug addict. 🙂 It is actually the name of the book’s protagonist. 🙂
On the surface, it looks like a very simple tale. However, the simplicity of it masks the depth and brilliance that runs throughout the story. I personally enjoy books with real, believable characters and situations and this is certainly one of them. I can’t express well why I found this to be such a page-turner because it lacks that “excitement” most people look for in a book nowadays, but it is so deep, significant and captivating.
Being one of the finest books I’ve ever read, I hope you readers can get a chance to read it as well. It’s not that big, life-changing kind of book but it might be a good reminder to everyone that people are important and that your contribution to the world doesn’t have to be something huge, it just have to be relevant and meaningful.
Favorite quotes :
“Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.”
“…the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.”
“You must remember what you are and what you have chosen to become, and the significance of what you are doing. There are wars and defeats and victories of the human race that are not military and that are not recorded in the annals of history. Remember that while you’re trying to decide what to do.”
Rating : 5/5 stars