The Fault In Our Stars | John Green
- Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.
- I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.
- The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.
- Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.
- Funerals, I had decided, are for the living.
- Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.
i’m gonna slam this book for being so sappy and pretty unbelievable. It was written like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. But it did suck you in, even if you had to read random spoken word poetry that wasn’t particularly brilliant. And why is a 21-year-old hottie teaching high school English? And is the Layken main character really that amazing? I just couldn’t accept a lot of the connections these people had with each other.
Should I read the sequel and third part of the series? Watch me do that just because I’ll want to know what happens…
You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen—it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.
When this happens, it’s quite a sobering reminder of your limitations as a writer.
But that’s what art is for—for both reader and writer to overcome their respective limitations and encounter something true. It seems miraculous, doesn’t it? That somebody can articulate something clearly and beautifully that exists inside you, something shrouded in impenetrable fog. Great art reaches through the fog, towards this secret heart—and it shows it to you, holds it before you. It’s a revelatory, incredibly moving experience when this happens. You feel understood. You feel heard. That’s why we come to art—we feel less alone. We are less alone. You see, through art, that others have felt the way you have—and you feel better.
Khaled Hosseini always knows what to say, even about writing
David and Goliath | Malcolm Gladwell
In his latest look at human nature, Gladwell talks about the underdog and misconceptions about power and authority.
From the Holocaust to the Civil Rights Movement in the South to class sizes at contemporary schools, Gladwell shows examples of where the weak and disadvantaged are better off than it seems.
Above is Bill Hudson’s famous photograph from a protest in Birmingham in 1963.
To sum up this book and its thesis:
Wealth contains the seeds of its own destruction.
There comes a point where the best-intentioned application of power and authority begins to backfire.
The World’s Strongest Librarian | Josh Hanagarne
This book is about so many different topics: reading, Tourette’s, Mormonism, weighlifting, love, family, careers, and other subjects. It took on a bit too much by a newbie writer, who was trying maybe a little too hard to write his memoir. But some great moments are as follows:
I also work here because I love books, because I’m inveterately curious, and because, like most librarians, I’m not well suited to anything else. As a breed, we’re the ultimate generalists. I’ll never know everything about anything, but I’ll know something about almost everything and that how I like to live.
Hanagarne is a strong advocate for libraries, making him something of a hero to me:
A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.
Let The Great World Spin | Colum McCann
I’m admittedly on a Colum McCann kick and this is by far the best piece of his writing yet. Especially after seeing the documentary “Man on Wire,” this is like the connected story or stories around that moment when everyone was looking up at what was happening between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.
Some great lines, from a slew of characters:
The only thing you need to know about war, son, is: Don’t go.
At a certain stage every single thing can be a sign.
That’s what good men do — they appreciate.
She’s always thought that one of the beauties of New York is that you can be from anywhere and within moments of landing it is yours.