Welcome to my take on another great Top Ten Tuesday list theme! This post is a part of Stepping Stones Book Reviews' Week of Book Memes, the week-long event where I get to participate in a bunch of the Internet's most popular book blogger memes. (Find my first Monday meme HERE.)
This month I decided to do something different with my Top Ten Tuesday list. Instead of putting together a list and doing a "mini-review" of all the books included, I've decided to only concentrate on each quote, whether it's from a book or about books, and note why I liked it. If you find a book on here that you'd like to know more about, let me know in the comments and I'll answer with a summary of any issues a day or so after the comment is posted. When I list a book's title, I'll also include an Amazon link, and a link to my review of the book if I've written one already.
There are spoilers for one book that's listed here, but other than that this post is spoiler-free!
To view all my Top Ten Tuesday lists, click HERE.
(in no particular order)
1. There Is No Frigate Like a Book by Emily Dickinson
There is no Frigate like a Book
Why It's My Favorite: I don't know about other book bloggers, but when I put together Top Ten Tuesday lists, they're usually mixed together, not put in a "most favorite to least favorite" way. But this poem is my exception. Every word in it perfectly describes the way I feel about books. The books I love, the books I lose myself in, and books in general. I know I'll never quote the first two lines of this verse without thinking about my favorite series over the years, and how I've been able to travel through worlds through the key to imagination that books bring to me.
2. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
"That's just it, Laura. I've only baked bread and pieced quilts and taken care of children. But some women have to, don't they?...But I've dreamed dreams, Laura. All the time while I was cooking and patching and washing, I dreamed dreams. And I think I dreamed them into the children...and the children are carrying them out...doing all the things I wanted to and couldn't.
..."And we old pioneers dreamed other things too, Laura. We dreamed dreams into the country...They [the old pioneers] were like the foundation stones underneath the capitol...not decorative, but strong. They were not well-educated. They were not sophisticated. They were not cultured. But they had innate refinement and courage. And they could see visions and dream dreams."
Why It's My Favorite: Ever since I read it, A Lantern in Her Hand grabbed me by the heart through its poignant scenes and emotional saga I can only describe as bittersweet. This quote especially reminded me to remember and thank all of the brave pioneers that came and settled this country. It also gave me a greater sense of Abbie Deal's own self-sacrifice throughout the book, and how, even though she could never chase any of the "dreams" she desired, they were still worthwhile. Still fulfilled.
3. The Key To Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
I touched the small zigzag scar above my mouth. "When I was born, my mouth looked different. It's called a cleft lip. I had surgery to fix it when I was a baby. But it still looked different in school. You don't remember it?"
He [Earl] shook his head. He watched my mouth as I spoke. My fingers itched with a desire to cover it. "...My scar's not as obvious now. But when we were little kids, Beretta used to push up one side of her lip and pretend to be me, and her friends laughed at her doing it. And then they'd all smile goofy and say, 'Look—I'm Emma!' because that's how it looked when I smiled, I guess. She still does it. You'd think it wouldn't hurt anymore, but it hurts just as much. And it hurts because I know she'll never stop. She'll always make fun of me."
...Earl reached for the notebook again and turned to a blank page.
Your smile is what made me want to talk to you. Because it's nice.
...He chewed on his lip as he snatched the page back to write something else. Then he passed it to me.
I like your smile because it's different. Cool different. Your smile is pretty.
My face felt sunburnt as I read the page. 'Thank you,' I said shyly. And I smiled back at him. Really smiled. I didn't try to hide my face or cover my smile. I just grinned. I couldn't stop smiling after that. My cheeks hurt from smiling so hard.
Why It's My Favorite: Not only is this a sweet scene, but it made me smile, too. I was born with a cleft lip, and, like Emma, I understand what it's like to go through life with it marking you as "different". Second, this illustrated for me in a new way the power of words and actions. Beretta and her friends didn't necessarily have to "act out" or bully her to cause Emma to feel like her cleft lip was a bad thing. In the same way, the words Earl wrote made Emma see herself in a different way. Earl's words proved to Emma that she was someone special because of her cleft lip. Like Emma, people around us need to feel like they're seen and loved because of whatever makes them different.
4. The Well-Wishers by Edward Eager
(Note: Find my review of Half Magic, the first book in the Tales of Magic series, HERE.)
All the same, as I sat by the living-room fire yesterday and thought of...how much wonderful the summer and fall had been...and as I looked out at the bare trees and thought of how James had changed and how we hardly see him anymore and how pretty soon the others will probably start changing, too, I couldn't help feeling sad, as I say. And rebellious at life, and the way it is.
But this morning I got up, and everything was different...I looked at the world, and suddenly I felt as if magic were surely going to happen any minute...
I couldn't think for a minute why I was smiling. But then I remembered. It wasn't magic in the air. It was something else.
Today is December first.
And Christmas is coming.
Why It's My Favorite: I'm more inclined here to let Edward Eager's masterful words speak for themselves. All I have to say is that I think this is an absolutely perfect way to highlight the issue of change and growing up. How it can be exciting, but sometimes scary, too, especially from a kid's perspective. I was close to tears myself as I read these last few paragraphs.
5. Rematch by Erynn Mangum
"First," I start, "Ryan is not my boyfriend. Second–"
"He's not?" Shawn interrupts.
"I'm not?" Ryan asks.
I blink repeatedly at him. "You are?"
"He is?" Shawn asks.
"I think I am," Ryan says.
"He does," Shawn says.
"I do," Ryan says.
I press my lips together, trying not to laugh. Ryan's eyes twinkle dangerously. Shawn still looks from me to Ryan, confused.
"You know what?" Shawn says finally. "I think I'll just leave."
"Probably safest," Ryan says, looking at me.
Why It's My Favorite: If you've hung around my blog for a couple of posts, checked out my About Me page, or looked at my favorite authors on Goodreads, you know that I've declared Erynn Mangum as my all-time favorite. In my opinion, her great writing skills are on display here, providing me with a quick, snappy, and hilarious conversation I've failed to get out of my head ever since I read Rematch for the first time.
6. The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser
(Notes: This quote includes major spoilers for The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found.
You can find my full review of the book HERE.)
"I don't want to go to the funeral," Laney said as she started to cry again. "It's just going to make me really sad."
Papa gathered her in his arms. "I know, honey. But do you know what? All these feelings we're having are so strong because we loved him so much. And that says a lot about how amazing he was."
Why It's My Favorite: The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found is quickly becoming one of my new favorites, with its powerful message and emotional themes. As the Vanderbeekers and their neighborhood loses a generous, loving friend, they all go through a season of bittersweet memories. But, like Papa reminds Laney, the reason they're so sad is because their friend was such a good person, and impacted them so much...a message I'll definitely want to hold onto during more grief-filled periods of my life.
7. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The books belonged to the rabbi of Haarlem. He had brought them to Father more than a year before: "Just in case I should not be able to care for them—ah—indefinitely." He had waved a bit apologetically at the procession of small boys behind him, each staggering under the weight of several huge volumes. "My little hobby. Book collecting. And yet...books do not age as you and I do. They will still speak when we are gone, to generations we will never see. Yes, the books must survive."
The rabbi had been one of the first to vanish from Haarlem.
Why It's My Favorite: There are a ton of quote-worthy thoughts and memories in ten Boom's much-loved autobiography, but I chose this one because of the Top Ten Tuesday list's theme. I fully agree with the rabbi's view on books, and am made both happy and sad by this paragraph and the implied future of the kind, literature-loving rabbi.
8. The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird
Since there are six boys and only two girls in our family, my younger brothers have to help with the dishes. At first they stormed and cried and insisted that washing dishes was girls' work. Then I began telling stories while they helped.
In the beginning I told fairy stories, and "Beauty and the Beast" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" proved so exciting that dishwashing became a pleasure.
When I had told all the stories I'd read, I began to make up my own. Fairy stories are simplest to invent because it's only natural for princes to do impossible things.
Next I tried continued stories. I've discovered that if Sir What'shisname is lost in a dark, musty dungeon, and left there until after supper, the boys will be grabbing towels and urging me to "Hurry up and start telling!"
Now, after several years' experience I can invent such fascinating tales that my nine-year-old brother actually begs me to let him help.
-More Fun In Dishes (Minnesota, December 1938)
Why It's My Favorite: Originally published as a part of a collection of letters from the Farmer's Wife magazine, my imagination was captured by this clever young woman's way to change her brothers' perspectives on a simple, boring-sounding chore. I wish I could be there one night with the family described in this letter, listening to this girl spin tales of wonder and whimsy among the soap suds! I wonder if this farmer's daughter ever grew up to be an author?
9. Room for Cream by Erynn Mangum
"The other day, at the ocean, I realized it. I have spent my entire life expecting to have children. And I've spent all this time thinking that if I don't have kids, I'm somehow less than. Like, I won't live a full life if that doesn't include children. Maybe even that my existence will have no meaning, if there isn't a child in there too."
She huffs her breath and looks at me. "So, God kind of not so gently reminded me that I don't get to base my self-worth on a child. That even if I never have a baby, even if Jack and I never have kids, my worth is found in who He is, not in what I am."
Why It's My Favorite: I couldn't help but include another Erynn Mangum book, this time a more recently-released one. The struggles and joys of the main character, Maya, as she comes to terms with the fact that she can't have kids the normal way, is powerful and heartbreaking all at the same time. This quote reminds me that like Maya, my identity isn't in what I am or what I can do. It's in who He is.
For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life. There is a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself foot to foot in the darkness against the fatal invasion of necessity and of baseness. Noble and mysterious triumphs which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of triumph salutes. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.
Why It's My Favorite: Detailing Marius' trials as he makes a life for himself outside his old grandfather's world, this paragraph was a sobering reminder of all the determination demonstrated by people all throughout history, especially those whose names never made it into the books. It reminds me of the inner strength Marius must find as he works, and of Valjean as he wrestles with the ghosts of his past. Like Hugo's eloquent words state, there are many ordinary men and women who are and will be heroes, whether that's in wartime, in situations like 9/11, and in the tough spots of life.
Thanks for checking out this Top Ten Tuesday list! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I had a ton of fun going through all of the books and bookish quotes I've read throughout the years, and picking which quotes stood out to me the most.
Which books have you read from this list? Were there any you haven't? Was there one quote that particularly caught your attention? Which book(ish) quotes are close to your heart?
Would you like a more in-depth look at one of the books on this list? Let me know, and I'll consider posting a review in the future. To request a different book for me to review, check out my Review Policy and then let me know which book you'd like to see.
The Week of Book Memes continues! Join me tomorrow to discover what I'm Waiting on Wednesday for...