Thursday, February 22, 2018

8 Beautiful Quotes from Anna Quindlen's "How Reading Changed My Life"



I was in first grade when I started to get hooked on books and filled up several library cards every school year from constant borrowing. In high school, I once received an anonymous note (still tucked somewhere inside a box in my childhood home) that said, "You irritate me because you're always reading!" In my mind, I simply answered, "Whoever you are, I wouldn't expect ignorant people like you to understand why I love to read!"
Anna Quindlen fan
Honestly, I was surprised to find out that famous author, Anna Quindlen, had a similar experience during her childhood. Somehow, it feels nice to know that I wasn't alone in being "persecuted" for having that insatiable urge to read. 

Although I have been a fan of her work for years, I only recently got my hands on "How Reading Changed My Life," which my son kindly borrowed for me from his school's library. Thankfully, their online catalog makes it easy to check what titles are available. 

Unfortunately, I had to leave all my books in the Philippines when we moved to California a few months ago and I am still unable to build my personal library here due to space constraints. In the meantime, I have to be content reading borrowed titles and writing down passages that deeply resonated with me instead of highlighting them on the pages of tomes that I own.
my youngest son, who loved being read to by his dad at bedtime as a toddler,

is now in senior high, writes for the school paper, and is in the honor roll :)
Here's preserving in this blog post the quotes I liked most in the book so I would be able to come back to them more easily any time I'd want to. I hope that fellow bookworms and writers reading this would also appreciate the following lovely thoughts and messages ...

"Experience, emotion, landscape. The world is as layered as the earth, life cumulative with books. The eyewitnesses die, the written word lives forever."

"We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else's mind."

"All of reading is really only finding ways to name ourselves and, perhaps, to name the others around us so that they will no longer seem like strangers ... I am not alone. I am surrounded by words that tell me who I am, why I feel what I feel." 

my second son, who's now 22, already had numerous articles 
published 
in newspapers and magazines since he was 13
"We are writers. We danced with the words, as children, in what became familiar patterns. The words became our friends and our companions, and without saying it aloud, a thought danced with them. I can do this. This is who I am."

"Perhaps it is true at base we readers are dissatisfied people, yearning to be elsewhere, to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world's greatest nomads, if only in our minds."

"This is what I like about traveling: the time on airplanes spent reading, solitary, happy. It turns out that when my younger self thought of taking wing, she wanted only to let her spirit soar. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home."

"In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself."

books as exchange gifts with fellow writers during our 
2016 Christmas party
"There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but never really a stranger."

Deeply beautiful stuff, huh? What I love most about Anna Quindlen's writings is her ability to clearly express what she wants to say in finely crafted sentences that are a delight to read. If you like what you've read here, I suggest you look for "How Reading Changed My Life" and her other titles. Although I like her novels, I love her nonfiction works more -- "Loud and Clear," "Thinking Out Loud," "Living Out Loud," "A Short Guide to a Happy Life," and "Being Perfect" -- and miss my personal copies very much.

If you're also an Anna Quindlen fan, do share in the comments section which of her works touched your heart the most. I'd love to read your stories, too!


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