Merry Christmas Eve! I just got back from a coffee date with a baby, which I think was a pretty perfect way to start the day. It's POURING here in Brooklyn, so it's entirely possible that I won't leave the house for the rest of the day (except that Madewell, which is 7 blocks away, is having a massive sale... so we'll see, we'll see).
In other news, I just finished John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Some books I don't travel with, but this one lived with me wherever I went. This prompted a new blog series (that I am 98% sure I won't keep up with): Travel Reads. So for now, let's consider this a one time thing.
To say that I was obsessed with this book would be an understatement. The characters and writing are so vivid that I found myself thinking about it in almost every free second. Steinbeck certainly has a way with words, so instead of doing some half-assed book report, I'm going to list out my favorite quotes & passages:
"All in all it was a good firm-grounded family, permanent, and successfully planted in the Salinas Valley, not poorer than many and not richer than many either. It was a well-balanced family with its conservatives and its radicals, its dreamers, and its realists."
"... to a monster the norm must be monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster, it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare to others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous."
"A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid anymore."
"Give me a used Bible and I will, I think, be able to tell you about a man by the places that are edged with the dirt of seeking fingers."
"When Liza was about seventy her elimination slowed up and her doctor told her to take a tablespoon of port wine for medicine. She forced down the first spoonful, making a crooked face, but it was not so bad. And from that moment on she never drew a completely sober breath. She always took the wine in a tablespoon, it was always medicine, but after a time she was doing over a quart a day and she was a much more relaxed and happy woman."
"In fifty years did you ever take a vacation, you little, silly, half-pint, smidgen of a wife?"
"I know why I'm going - and Tom, I know where I'm going, and I am content."
"Perhaps it takes these two kinds to make a good marriage, riveted with several kinds of strength"
"It is easy out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying 'I couldn't help it; the way was set' But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man."
"And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing - maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou Mayest'."
"Some children want to be babies and some want to be adults. Few are content with their age."
"In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty, men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love."
"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal. Vice always has a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."
"When you're a child you're the center of everything. Everything happens for you. Other people? They're only ghosts furnished for you to talk to. But when you grow up, you take your place and you're your own size and shape. Things go out of you to others and come in from other people. It's worse, but it's much better too."
“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
“There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”
“It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.”
hmmm. I could actually go on for a long time. Pretty words always get me.
Next up: Wonder by R.J. Palacio