Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Gems

This week I'd like to share a couple of quotes from Elizabeth Strout's My Name Is Lucy Barton. The book is not long and the writing is spare, every phrase and sentence needs to be meaningful. These were two of my favorites:
"It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere, and all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it's the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down."
I find this doesn't just apply to our daily lives but really seems to be something I'm seeing a lot of in this presidential campaign season. As she so often is, Strout is spot on with this one. Right alongside that idea of a political connection comes this:
"It has been my experience throughout life that the people who have been given the most by our government - education, food, rent subsidies - are the ones who are most apt to find fault with the whole idea of government."
Hmm, reminds me of some of my customers, who, strangely, feel we need to discuss politics sometimes when they call.

This is, I think, my favorite gem from the book:
"I have sometimes been sad that Tennessee Williams wrote that line for Blanche DuBois, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Many of us have been saved many times by the kindness of strangers, but after a while it sounds trite, like a bumper sticker. And that's what makes me sad, that a beautiful and true line comes to be used so often that it takes on the superficial sound of a bumper sticker." 
Shouldn't we always be able to count on the kindness of strangers, shouldn't that be a good thing? It's something of a way of life here, yet I know there are those that mock the kindness of people in the  Midwest.

What book gems have you come across lately?

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