This immediately popped into my mind:
1. "Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." (From Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.)
I may have gasped when I read this line the first time. So many books in which the characters' gorgeousness is focused on--but being beautiful isn't the point. Eleanor made Park feel something and her looks were irrelevant to his love.
But then I was stuck, because I don't really track quotes as I read, and nothing else was leaping to mind like that. I turned to my good friend Goodreads, and started looking at the quotes other readers had pulled from books I've enjoyed in the last several months. I found a bunch of good ones, but only two that I distinctly remember appreciating greatly as I read the book.
The first, from Anne Fadiman's bookish memoir, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.
2. “I'd rather have a book, but in a pinch I'll settle for a set of Water Pik instructions.”
Oh, Anne. I hear you. I can't not-read something that is in front of me. I used to read my parents' AARP magazine cover to cover. Or flip through the dictionary when I was bored. (Remember dictionaries?) Just--let me read.
The next quote that I recognized immediately was from Gayle Forman's I Was Here. I didn't really buy it as something Cody's mom would actually say; it seems too poetic to just pop out in conversation. But it is a beautiful description of the dogged Cody and her talented, dead friend. The fact that it is maybe a little unfair to Meg and her depression tells us something about Cody's mom and her perspective on her daughter and her daughter's BFF. Plus, it's just a great metaphor.
3. “You had a pile of rocks, and you cleaned them up pretty and made a necklace. Meg got jewels, and she hung herself with them”
So now I was up to three quotes I liked. And then I hit the motherlode. When I read Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races this summer, one of the many ways it enchanted me was with the pithy island turns of speech. So the remaining seven quotes are all from the same source.
4. “Do you know how to wrap a leg?'
'I was born wrapping legs,' I say stiffly, because I'm insulted.
'Must've been a challenging delivery,' Sean notes.”
Hee hee hee. I love it when Sean actually has a sense of humor.
5. “Mum liked to say that some things happen for a reason, that sometimes obstacles were there to stop you from doing something stupid. She said this to me a lot. But when she said it to Gabe, Dad told him that sometimes it just means you need to try harder.”
Oh, I love this. At first glance, it's a wise little saying, leavened with humor. At second glance, it's a quick sketch of a family's personalities and relationships with each other. But in retrospect, it's a summary of Puck's trajectory as a character, and of the book's themes.
6. “The truth is, until you know any different, the island is enough.
Actually, I know different. And it's still enough.”
Achingly beautiful. Puck can never leave Thisby. She just can't. And neither can Sean. MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.
7. “Dory is what Mum used to call a "strong-looking woman," which means that, from the back, she looked like a man, and, from the front, you preferred the back”
That's just funny. Mean, but funny. And I'm pretty sure Dory could dish it back just fine, so I won't get too offended on her behalf.
8. “There doesn't seem like there should be an artful way to butcher a cow, but there is, and this is not it.”
When I read this section aloud to my class last month, that line snuck up on me. Such wry humor.
9. “I say, "I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick."
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, "It's too late for that, Puck." He leaves me standing at the counter looking into the sink, trying to remember what I was supposed to do next.”
And of course:
10. “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”