The Best Quotes From This Week's Most Popular Books
After working in my hometown's bookstore, I've gleaned that the best way to get a book in someone's hands is a good recommendation. We hardly turn to a book's review in the paper or to its trailer (yes, those exist) to determine whether we want to dedicate 10 hours of our time to reading it. The way books go viral--and perhaps the way anything goes viral--is through word of mouth.
And since we're talking about words, let's take a look at how well these best-sellers use them. The best line might as well be an invitation for your attention.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter:
The line: “He wished he could reassure his mother: a man wants many things in life, but when one of them is also the right thing, he would be a fool not to choose it.”
Why this line is good: Who doesn't want the whole world? No one--we all want to maximize our lives with many things, but the ability to choose one right thing is something I want to see, and I want it in writing.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
The first line: "For scientists, reality is not optional."
Why this line is good: Kingsolver strips the scientist of the stereotypical cast of linear thinking. The scientist that appears in this story will not rule life with a logical fist. Reality is going to bend.
The second line: “A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture.”
Why it's good: The "good life" may just be a label for what we have collectively deemed the "right kind" of life as a culture. Throwing all that "good" away might be unwise, but don't sit there and tell me it won't also be thrilling.
Joyland by Stephen King
The line: “Beware the dark stranger! He rides a unicycle!”
Why it's good: Like many lines I found from this book, it's delightfully absurd. I can't imagine this book will be anything less than that considering the author. (NOTE: The book has a lot of potty language. Egads).
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The line: “There's no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.”
Why it's good: I'm sure that right now, everyone--even those with air conditioning--agree wholeheartedly. The summer heat evokes desires that simply can't be met with a smartphone. We all "need" our phones, sure, but the hero in this book knows deep down the pleasure of looking up from it, just like I bet you do.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The line: “Part of the beauty of love was that you didn’t need to explain it to anyone else. You could refuse to explain. With love, apparently you didn’t necessarily feel the need to explain anything at all.”
Why it's good: It doesn't take a hopeless romantic to stab at the definition of love, and it takes no time at all to find ourselves fumbling in our descriptions. Wolitzer just said it all in three sentences, one of which is five words. This is a smart, and efficient writer, who's going to make this story easy and enlightening for you.
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
The line: “If you stepped out of the shower and saw a leprechaun standing at the base of your toilet, would you scream, or would you innately understand that he meant you no harm?”
Why it's good: It makes you stop and consider something you would never consider. How Sedaris thought of it is beyond me, and regardless, I want to ask my friends the same question. There are more observations and hypothetical prompts like this in the book. Pondering these things is the kind of quiet delight we need for a day on the porch.
Wild: From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
The line: “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves...”
Why it's good: Fear is what keeps us from living, and is the most popular tool for self-sabotage. What a relief to hear that it might be, after all, merely a figment of our tendency to stay indoors and away from failure. Non-fiction writers have a way of helping us fear less by putting their experiences down on paper. Even if they're dead now, they survived whatever it was they were scared of to write it down, which, some might say gives you at least one line of immortality.
Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Khaling
The line: “I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human world.”
Why it's good: Look at this book. You'll notice it's mostly pink and written by a woman. One look at a hard copy, and you'll see its not very long. You might therefore worry you're about to read a pamphlet on the dried-out female conundrum of shallow friendship and heartbreak. The fact that Khaling classifies romantic comedies as a sub-genre of sci-fi immediately disproves that (shame on you for thinking otherwise) and very good news for the reader that needs to laugh.
In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
The line: “Recalling his first impression of Hitler, Hanfstaengl wrote, 'Hitler looked like a suburban hairdresser on his day off.'"
Why it's good: The simple, thoughtful observation of the appearance of history's most infamous villain is more powerful than it's brevity implies. The satirically dry undertone sucks a splinter of the pain from Hitler's genocidal legacy. A suburban hairdresser on his day off? Tell me that wouldn't send steam shooting out Hitler's ears, and tell me that visual isn't fantastic.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
The line/excerpt (it was all too good to leave out): "Every year after Jeannie has her annual baby, I receive congratulations from friends and family. There’s always one person who says, “Oh, you just had a baby. Yeah, we just got a puppy.” What? In no other situation could you compare a human to an animal and people would actually be okay with it. You could never say, “Oh, you just got married? Yeah, I used to have a pig. Does your new wife like to roll around in mud, too? My pig loved that.” -Excerpt found on Esquire
Why it's good: Because we say ridiculous things for the sake of conversation momentum all the time and it's time that someone alert us to the insanity of it all. Not to mention, it's funny as hell.
All titles were found on National Indie Bestsellers list.
Think this is a lot of books to get to? You might want to think again. Take a look at the girl who read over 300 books in one year.