In December 2018, I finished the notebook of quotes I’ve kept since I was nearly 16. I started filling a new moleskine as soon as I received it Christmas morning, and in this Part 2, I’ve started incorporating quotes from interviews, articles, and podcasts. Nearly a year in, the notebook is already more organized and complex than the last one, capturing my state of mind and interests at a very specific phase of life.
2019 has been the year of discovering female columnists in the UK, reading YA with a 20-something’s nostalgic view, and devouring lengthy podcasts interviewing celebrities. I’ll look at the most recent quotes in my notebook someday and link the words to these days, but as I did with my past posts on book quotes, I trekked chronologically through the last few pages of the first notebook for this addition.
“I like your kind of quiet. Your heart isn’t quiet.”
Love and Other Words, Christina Lauren
I think it’s become more difficult for naturally quiet people to thrive. So many situations require you to put your personality on display almost immediately, which sometimes sends my introverted, former-shy-kid self into a panic. Love and Other Words‘ exploration of childhood best friends revisiting their feelings for each other as adults was so tender and sweet, and remarks like this quote are exactly why.
“Both books came to me at moments that I needed them. Maybe I just never needed them again. So I didn’t return to them until recently.”
From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting A Literary Childhood, Nancy McCabe
I’m always a little reluctant to return to books I read once and absolutely loved. Exceptions tend to be stories I first read around middle school, like the Anne series and Millicent Min: Girl Genius, but when it comes to adult fiction, I think I’m so scared to re-read and not love a book as much as before. Not having the desire or energy to re-read a book is also a factor, but I totally believe in needing to return to a long-forgotten book at certain points.
“Paris is so beautiful. London is beautiful. Amsterdam is beautiful. There are so many places to see. Yet her world is shrinking to the size of a snow globe. And yet every day my world gets bigger. I want it to be huge.”
I See London, I See France, Sarah Mlynowski
Studying abroad in London taught me how fortunate I was to grow up right outside of Manhattan. Even now, I feel so lucky to live where I do because it has such easy access to a broader world, and experiencing that on a global perspective in the past really helped me resonate with this quote.
“Blame the alcohol, but this moment seems to lengthen, as if I’m consciously making a memory.”
My Oxford Year, Julia Whelan
If I’m experiencing something I sense will be important in the long run, I definitely attempt a mental snapshot. The prose in My Oxford Year is beautifully simplistic, and I adore when that style is handled well because it often sums up a point perfectly — no more, no less.
“Periodically the most intelligent species on the planet goes crazy and does truly depraved and appalling things to its own kind, with the most sophisticated tools at its disposal. Eventually, the madness clears and we all go back to walking the dog on a Sunday morning, wondering what on earth came over us. It’s like a terrible storm that sweeps across the planet until it exhausts itself. There’s nothing you can do but step back and let it pass.”
Keep the Home Fires Burning, S. Block
This is a book continuation of the TV series Home Fires, which focuses on the women of an English village during World War II. It’s easy to believe that the world has been at its bleakest in recent years, but without getting too existential, I believe every generation has experienced at least one stage of a similar worldwide mess. This too shall pass, but as the quote says, it can be a tad easy to slip back into such destructive habits.
“Also, avoid at all costs making grieving a contest. People who think grief is a contest are instant losers of said contest.”
White Hot Grief Parade, Alexandra Silber
We’ve all met someone who likes to one-up others but in a depressing way, right? I really dislike someone trying to undermine another person’s experiences or feelings by emphasizing their own pain. Everyone has a sob story that they’ve reacted to differently, so just keep that in mind when you’re trying to share your own history.
“Then again, everything in Manhattan always seemed to be of critical importance, whether it was or not.”
Girls on the Line, Aimie K. Runyan
“For hours I wandered through London — the first city I’d ever really loved — twisting through alleyways I’d never seen, around squares that ended where I started, in parks of deep green.”
Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan
So much of this book captured exactly how I felt about London and living there. Wandering around without a distinct destination was one of my favorite things to do, and I’ll still do this in New York if I have a free day and a general idea of what area to roam.
“I think that you can pick almost any place on any part of the globe and say, ‘This is where I belong’ — without feeling estranged from what has traditionally been your home. Five thousand miles is nothing; doing what you enjoy is everything.”
My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang & Seduction in the Great City on the Seine, Kate Betts
Again, once I settled into London and hit my stride, I was so content, and by the end of the semester there, I probably felt the most like myself I ever had. London was my personality’s perfect match, and it eventually soothed any homesickness into a gentle desire to have my friends and family there with me.
“I thought that, to be a writer, I had to be a collector of experiences.”
Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton
If there’s any writer who feels most equated with my newest quote book, it’s Dolly Alderton. I’m constantly scribbling down passages from her interviews and writing, and if you’re into millennial takes on love that aren’t jaded and anxiety-inducing, you should check out her work.