Some of my favourite book quotes of 2017

In no particular order, highlights from the last 12 months of reading.

“‘Marie-Laure.’ His voice is low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers.”

All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

“The colored sands in their patterns, the fluted and scalloped canyon walls, the volcanoes rising right through the sky, the rubbled rock of the chaotic terrain, the infinity of craters, ringed emblems of the planet’s beginning … Beautiful, or harsher than that: spare, austere, stripped down, silent, stoic, rocky, changeless. Sublime. The visible language of nature’s mineral existence.”

Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

“It was not a rain cloud. . . . It was not a twister. It was thick like coarse animal hair; it was alive. People close to it described a feeling of being in a blizzard—a black blizzard, they called it—with an edge like steel wool.”

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food – Dan Barber

“Any character who goes after a desire and is impeded is forced to struggle (otherwise the story is over). And that struggle makes him change. So the ultimate goal of the dramatic code, and of the storyteller, is to present a change in a character or to illustrate why that change did not occur.”

The Anatomy of Story – John Truby

“I spoke some hopeful and unconsoling words to her, but I don’t think she heard me. My voice had gotten so soft by then as to be inaudible to anyone but myself.”

The Sportswriter – Richard Ford

“When we are inspired, the decisions we make have more to do with who we are and less to do with the companies or the products we’re buying.”

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

“You are simply not lonely enough when you travel with companions … Spells of acute loneliness are an essential part of travel. Loneliness makes things happen.”

The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road – Paul Theroux

“Removing her brassiere on the last note, she held it above her head, displaying her meagre body with its three tawdry patches of tinsel hanging from it like old Christmas decorations.”

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John le Carré

“As he looked, a bird flew out of the grass with a cry and wrote a fast, jagged, exuberant message with its sharp-pointed wings across the sky.”

Strangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith

“So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever.”

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

“I had reached the age of six hundred and fifty miles.”

Inverted World – Christopher Priest

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