I’ve come to the later half of my notebook of quotes from stories, picking excerpts for this post that are from my last year or so of reading. I’ve even almost reached the end of the physical notebook that I started writing in right before my junior year of high school. Only a few blank pages remain, and soon a collection seven years in the making will be complete. I’ll definitely be on the hunt for a book from the same company so the next edition will last just as long. Still, thinking about that girl who began the notebook and where she was in life is bittersweet.
This particular post is also special because it includes an quote that sums up why I scribble down the pieces of writing that stick out to me. I love when a book perfectly explains the way I feel about something, and the list below are just a few that have really captured the phase of life I’ve experienced during the past year.
“The next time she tried a stage door, she wouldn’t place her trust in someone else. It was always the same old story. You can only rely on yourself.”
London Belongs to Me, Jacquelyn Middleton
While I don’t like the extremity of this thinking, this quote’s special to me because it’s a lesson I came to terms with in London. Although I ended up loving the people in my study abroad program, specifically my four flatmates, it took me time to adjust and warm up to so many new people. In the meantime, I learned that you should never rely on others to ensure a good experience — trust yourself to pull that off! I went on so many solo excursions that semester, seeking out the exact opportunities I wanted to and leaving London with a strong sense of independence I didn’t have before.
“Brute, raw masculinity contrasted with gentleness is the most attractive thing on earth.”
The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
LOL, count this as yet another notch on my list of books the internet loved and I just didn’t get. While I didn’t understand the hype about The Hating Game, I did appreciate the banter between the narrator and her love interest, as well as her observations about him. This snippet is pretty self-explanatory — who doesn’t love those type of men?
“Please, just do it. If you’re waiting for someone else to come along before beginning your life, you risk never leaving the gate.”
The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life From a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook, Ellen McCarthy
Similar to my reasoning for the London Belongs to Me quote, I don’t think you should wait around for someone, romantic or platonic, before chasing a feat you aspire toward. Just do your thing and see where it leads you. My love of this saying from McCarthy’s nonfiction book really stems from one of my all-time favorite quotes about love and finding the one, which is found in Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance.
“I’ve always been a bit of an old-fashioned girl. I feel good in old places.”
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes, Elizabeth Bard
I like to think I’m an old soul. I’ve never felt more content than when I was living in London, surrounded by centuries of history, and have a special affinity for the culture of the mid-20th century (racism, sexism, and all horrible -ism’s aside, of course). I don’t understand a lot of quirks about modern technology and communication, and I’m ready for the day when time travel becomes legit. Until then, I’ll read historical fiction and travelogues.
“He gave me a look full of meaning, and it struck me that maybe flirting was not so hard if you were doing it with the right person.”
The Jane Austen Project, Kathleen A. Flynn
No surprise, but this time-travel story is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2018. In regards to the quote, I lean on the shyer side, and basic conversation, let alone flirting, can sometimes frazzle me. Maybe the complexities of love were just on my mind this year, but this quote reassured me so much.
“Then suddenly you tap into something where ideas take off and fly, almost on their own. And you hang on for dear life.”
Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Prime Suspect, Cranford, Upstairs Downstairs, and Other Great Shows, Rebecca Eaton
I loved this book about PBS’s Masterpiece programming, and this year I even had a starstruck moment when I saw the author speak on a Tribeca Film Festival panel about the recent PBS/BBC version of Little Women. Having done some news video production in college, I related so much to Eaton’s love of documentary filmmaking, and I loved the above take on experiencing bursts of creativity. I’m currently working on a slightly daunting, slightly wonderful creative project in my free time, and the original idea literally just burst out of nowhere, beckoning me to follow.
“For years now I have been keeping small, special notebooks into which I write passages that strike me hard as I read the work of others. Perhaps these are another form of diary. Certainly, they are deeply personal…The criterion is that the words must pierce me, stop me, so that I can go no further until I write them down — until I make them mine. You could say these are a record of my life.”
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, Dani Shapiro
Ding, ding, ding! I adored this memoir about the author’s marriage, and her writing was just delicious. Plus, Shapiro is just like me and scribbles down the excerpts of books that grab her and refuse to let go until she preserves them for later. My pet peeve lately is books with subpar writing. A book’s plot could be great, but if its writing is stiff and unmemorable, I’ll probably end up abandoning the entire book. Basically, Shapiro appreciates some worthwhile nourishment while reading, and I feel the same way.
“But sometimes I think people need to hear someone likes them, even if it’s not true. It’s good for the soul. You carry yourself differently.”
I Remember You, Harriet Evans
Harriet Evans’ books are a great example of contemporary women’s fiction set in the U.K. I loved the point she made here about just experiencing an inner boost when you know that someone likes you. I’m no stranger to running into piles of self-doubt and insecurity, and even just having visceral proof of being loved by friends or family works wonders sometimes.
“There’s something magical about returning to a city you love. It’s a special rush to be back in the streets that hold such distinct memories, visiting favorite restaurants, bakeries, and chocolatiers. Your body remembers, and your psyche comes alive. It’s like coming home and hugging your mom after not seeing her for months and months — a primal form of comfort and joy.”
Brooklyn in Love: A Delicious Memoir of Food, Family and Finding Yourself, Amy Thomas
This captures exactly how I feel about London. While I haven’t returned yet, my writing project is set there, and working on it and describing some of my favorite places in the city have inspired the kind of rush Thomas describes here.
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The writing style of this story reminded me so much of the Anne of Green Gables series, which are some of my most beloved reads ever. While I wasn’t crazy about the overall book, I lapped up the writing. Like I said before about Hourglass, the more exceptional books you read, the more often you just can’t bear anything that isn’t clicking with you.