Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue

Some excerpts that move me…

“People don’t want to open their eyes and see the Truth because the illusion suits them. As long as they’re fed whatever lies they want to hear they’re happy, because the Truth means nothing to them. Look at my parents—they’re struggling under the weight of so many pointless pressures, but if they could ever free themselves from this self-inflicted oppression they would find genuine happiness. Instead, they continue to go down a path of achievements and accomplishments and material success and shit that means nothing because that’s what America’s all about, and now they’re trapped. And they don’t get it!””

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

Some excerpts that move me…

“I haven’t been to church in more than a month; too many newspapers. Newspapers are a bad habit, the reading equivalent of junk food. What happens to me is that I seize upon an issue in the news—the issue is the moral/philosophical, political/intellectual equivalent of a cheeseburger with everything on it; but for the duration of my interest in it, all my other interests are consumed by it, and whatever appetites and capacities I may have had for detachment and reflection are suddenly subordinate to this cheeseburger in my life! I offer this as self-criticism; but what it means to be “political” is that you welcome these obsessions with cheeseburgers—at great cost to the rest of your life.”

““THAT IS WHERE THIS COUNTRY IS HEADED—IT IS HEADED TOWARD OVERSIMPLIFICATION. YOU WANT TO SEE A PRESIDENT OF THE FUTURE? TURN ON ANY TELEVISION ON ANY SUNDAY MORNING—FIND ONE OF THOSE HOLY ROLLERS: THAT’S HIM, THAT’S THE NEW MISTER PRESIDENT! AND DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE FUTURE OF ALL THOSE KIDS WHO ARE GOING TO FALL IN THE CRACKS OF THIS GREAT, BIG, SLOPPY SOCIETY OF OURS? I JUST MET HIM; HE’S A TALL, SKINNY, FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY NAMED ‘DICK.’ HE’S PRETTY SCARY. WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM IS NOT UNLIKE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE TV EVANGELIST—OUR FUTURE PRESIDENT. WHAT’S WRONG WITH BOTH OF THEM IS THAT THEY’RE SO SURE THEY’RE RIGHT! THAT’S PRETTY SCARY—THE FUTURE, I THINK, IS PRETTY SCARY.””

Brown Girl Dreaming — Jacqueline Woodson

Some excerpts that move me…

Even the silence has a story to tell you. Just listen. Listen.

My mother tells me this as we fold laundry, white towels separated from the colored ones. Each a threat to the other and I remember the time I spilled bleach on a blue towel, dotting it forever. The pale pink towel, a memory of when it was washed with a red one.

she stops, midfold, and looks out the back window. Autumn is full on here and the sky is bright blue. I guess I believe in right now, she says.

I believe in God and evolution. I believe in the Bible and the Qur’an. I believe in Christmas and the New World. I believe that there is good in each of us no matter who we are or what we believe in. I believe in the words of my grandfather. I believe in the city and the South the past and the present. I believe in Black people and White people coming together. I believe in nonviolence and “Power to the People.” I believe in my little brother’s pale skin and my own dark brown. I believe in my sister’s brilliance and the too-easy books I love to read. I believe in my mother on a bus and Black people refusing to ride.

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Some excerpts that move me…

Who knew love could kill you?

For Werner, doubts turn up regularly.  Racial purity, political purity — Bastian speaks to a horror of any sort of corruption, and yer, Werner wonders in the dead of night, isn’t life a kind of corruption?  A child is born, and the world sets in upon it.  Taking things from it, stuffing things into it.  Each bite of food, each particle of light entering the eye — the body can never be pure.

So really , children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.

So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?

We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust.  Much smaller.  Divide. Multiply.  Add ans subtract.  Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm.  The lungs the brain the heart.  Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl.  Then the world starts in on us.

It’s embarrassingly plain how inadequate language is.

[In looking at the ocean]  Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties.  It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.

Is she happy?  For portions of every day, she is happy.

He made such a faint presence.  It was like being in the room with a feather.  But his soul glowed with some fundamental kindness, didn’t it?

Every hour she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out the the world. … We rise again in the grass.  In the flowers. In songs.

 

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin

Some excerpts that move me…

It is the secret fear that we are unlovable that isolates us.

…it is only because we are isolated that we think we are unlovable.

The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.

We are not quite novels. The analogy he is looking for is almost there. We are not quite short stories. At this point, his life is seeming closest to that. In the end, we are collected works.

We are, for as long as we are here, only love.

Girl at War by Sara Novic

Some excerpts that move me…

The country was at war, but for most people the war was more an idea than an experience, and I felt something between anger and shame that Americans—that I—could sometimes ignore its impact for days at a time. In Croatia, life in wartime had meant a loss of control, war holding sway over every thought and movement, even while you slept. It did not allow for forgetting. But America’s war did not constrain me; it did not cut my water or shrink my food supply. There was no threat of takeover with tanks or foot soldiers or cluster bombs, not here. What war meant in America was so incongruous with what had happened in Croatia—what must have been happening in Afghanistan—that it almost seemed a misuse of the word.

The more I lied, the closer I came to fitting in. Sometimes I even believed myself.

Somewhere in the dead space between house and shelter civilians became soldiers.