One of my favorite ways to revisit books I’ve read is to look at the quotes I highlighted. Here are my favorite quotes from the books I read in 2017. Some of them feel profound outside the boundaries of the book and others capture the description of an emotion in a moving way.

“What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Not lonely, not lost, not freakish, but wise, each in his or her own way. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand; lowered their faces to tabletops, making animal noises. We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.”

“What I told you is what your grandparents tried to tell me: that this is your country, that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

“It struck me then, for the first time, how unethical anxiety is, how it voids the reality of other people by conscripting them as palliatives for your own fear.”

“Yet the truly unique feature of our language is not its ability to transmit information about men and lions. Rather, it’s the ability to transmit information about things that do not exist at all.”

“As a society, our decision to heap shame and contempt upon those who struggle and fail in a system designed to keep them locked up and locked out says far more about ourselves than it does about them.”

“Tsukuru was moved by how many people actually existed in the world.”

“He had been hiding his whole life. So he let Litvak find him again, but he regretted it right away. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to keep using. He didn’t want to stop. He didn’t want to be what he wasn’t, he didn’t know how to be what he was.”

“Although these last few years have been wrenching and difficult — sometimes almost impossible — they have also been the most beautiful and profound of my life, requiring the daily act of holding life and death, joy and pain in balance and exploring new depths of gratitude and love.”

“A professional would take years to do it, using pre-tests, trying out multiple versions, etcetera, but I didn’t know it was difficult to do.”

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

“And normality was precisely the most fearful part of that infinite war: nothing ever happened.”

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

“That’s what’s missing in my life, she thought. The celebration of every single moment, like those fucking idiots on TV.”

“I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it.”

“It has long been said that the three hardest words to say in the English language are I love you. We heartily disagree! For most people, it is much harder to say I don’t know.”

“Maybe the trouble is that the shape of life is elastic, that it can feel and be full at variable levels of fullness. Or maybe we’re poor judges of our own lives’ fullness. Or maybe the concepts of emptiness and fullness are poor metaphors for happiness, if in fact happiness is what we’re talking about.”

“All the stories go with you, Franny thought, closing her eyes. All the things I didn’t listen to, won’t remember, never got right, wasn’t around for.”

“It isn’t about overcoming a rival in these last yards, after so many hours of solitude, but rather about proving to myself that I am capable of giving my best, of telling my body that it can still run fast, that I can reach the finish line content, knowing I couldn’t have put even one more ounce of energy into it.”

“And then there was everyone’s favorite project, in the works for months now: the counting of the sands in the Sahara. Did the world need this? The utility of the project was not immediately clear, but the Wise Men had a sense of humor about it.”

I love looking back on the books I read each year and got the idea of listing them with quotes from a post by Michael Sippey.

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