Sunday, June 21, 2015

Spring-Summer Reading Quotes

I've read a few thought-provoking books that I found some lovely quotes in, and I thought I'd share them with you :-)

(Warning: the quotes may not be that thought-provoking, but I liked them- I hope you do, too!)

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"At noon I disconnected the phone in order to take refuge in an exquisite program of music: Wagner's Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra, Debussy's Rhapsody for Saxophone, and Bruckner's String Quintet, which is an edenic oasis in the cataclysm of his work.  And all at once I found myself enveloped in the darkness of the study.  Under the table I felt something slip by that did not seem like a living body but a supernatural presence brushing past my feet, and I jumped up with a shout.  It was the cat with its beautiful plumed tail, mysterious languor, and mythic ancestry, and I could not help shuddering at being alone in the house with a living being that was not human."

What an excellent way to describe the creepiness of being home alone with a cat in the house.  -shudder-

"As I was reading The Ides of March, I ran across an ominous sentence that the author attributes to Julius Caesar: In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are...  I did not have a moment's peace, I almost stopped eating, and I lost so much weight my trousers were loose around my waist.  I had erratic pains in my bones, my mood would change for no reason, I spent my nights in a dazzled state that did not allow me to read or listen to music, while I wasted the days nodding in a stupefied somnolence that did not lead to sleep." (He is speaking about writing/remembering the love of Delgadina.)
"The certainty of being mortal, on the other hand, had taken me by surprise a short while before my fiftieth birthday on a similar occasion, a night during carnival when I danced an apache tango with a phenomenal woman whose face I never saw, heavier than me by forty pounds and taller by about a foot, yet who let herself be led like a feather in the wind.  We danced so close together I could feel her blood circulating through her veins, and I was lulled by pleasure at her hard breathing, her ammoniac odor, her astronomical breasts, when I was shaken for the first time and almost knocked to the ground by the roar of death.  It was like a brutal oracle in my ear; No matter what you do, this year or in the next hundred, you will be dead forever.  She pulled away in fright: What's the matter?  Nothing, I said, trying to control my heart:
"I'm trembling because of you."
From then on, I began to measure my life not by years but by decades.  The decade of my fifties had been decisive because I became aware that almost everybody was younger than I.  The decade of my sixties was the most intense because of the suspicion that I no longer had the time to make mistakes.  My seventies were frightening because of a certain possibility that the decade might be the last.  Still, when I woke alive on the first morning of my nineties in the happy bed of Delgadina, I was transfixed by the agreeable idea that life was not something that passes by like Heraclitus' ever-changing river but a unique opportunity to turn over on the grill and keep broiling on the other side for another ninety years."

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

"She {Franny} liked to think of herself as average size, though the averages had of course changed over time, Marilyn Monroe's size twelve being something like a modern size six, and so on.  Yes, it was true that Franny had gotten thicker in the last decade, but that was what happened unless you were a high-functioning psychotic, and she had other things to think about.  Franny knew plenty of women who had chosen to prioritize the eternal youth of their bodies, and they were all miserable creatures, their taut triceps unable to conceal their dissatisfaction with their empty stomachs and unfulfilling lives.  Franny liked to eat, and to feed people, and she wasn't embarrassed that her body displayed such proclivities.  She'd gone to one horrible Overeaters Anonymous meeting in her early forties, in a stuffy room in the basement of a church, and the degree to which she recognized herself in the other men and women sitting on the folding chairs had scared her away for good.  It might be a problem, but it was her problem, thank you very much.  Some people smoked crack in alleyways.  Franny ate chocolate.  On the scale of things, it seemed entirely reasonable."

"Jim's fingers began to prune, but he didn't mind.  From the dep end of the pool, he could see mountains and trees and the back face of their little pink house.  An airplane flew overhead, and both Sylvia and Jim were grateful not to be on it, not to be leaving anytime soon.  A good swimming pool could do that- make the rest of the world seem impossibly insignificant, as far away as the surface of the moon."

"The plan had been to use the trip as a celebration for their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, too, but that idea, that it was to be in some way a celebration of their marriage, now seemed like a joke with a terrible punch line.  Once Charles arrived {Franny's best friend}, Franny would start laughing the way she had when she was twenty-four, and the rest of them could start setting one another on fire for all she cared.  That's what best friends did: ruin people for everyone else."

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

"Pella felt a return of that same urge she'd felt at the baseball diamond- the urge to protect her father from onrushing garm.  He was so naive, so boyish.  She remembered how he looked while talking to Owen by the fence: Like the thousand other people in the park didn't exist.  Like if they existed, they couldn't see how he felt about Owen.  Like if they could see how he felt about Owen, they'd condone or forgive him.  But people didn't forgive you for doing what felt right- that was the last thing they forgave you for."

"He wasn't old but he looked it now, his arms limp at his sides, deep lines of worry scored into his forehead beneath his mussed gray-silver hair, his expression sad and beseeching.  Why was the younger person always the prize, the older person always the striver?  Ever since adolescence Pella had been gathering experience in the role of the younger person, the clung-to one, the beloved.  That was the idiot hopefulness of humans, always to love what was unformed.  Really it made no sense.  What were the old hoping the young would become?  Something other than old?  It hadn't happened yet.  But the old kept trying
By the old she meant everyone who loved something younger...  Everyone always reaching back through the past, past their own mistakes.  You could say that young people were desired because they had smooth bodies and excellent reproductive chances, but you'd mostly be missing the point.  There was something much sadder in it than that.  Something like constant regret, the sense that your whole life was an error, a mistake, that you were desperate to redo."

(Referring to "'The Lee Shore,' the short chapter of Moby-Dick that was Pella's father's favorite piece of writing)  "When her dad recited it in lecture he did so with a stage actor's vigor, shouting his way through the exclamation points, as if to remind students that old books contained strong feelings."

So... those are a few quotes I quite enjoyed from my spring-into-summer reading this year...  I highly recommend The Art of Fielding and also The Vacationers, although both are slightly sad in their realism, they are both quality books with turns that are unexpected and interesting.  Now I've just picked up a Carl Hiaasen novel Star Island, so I'm off to more reading!  :)