One of my goals for 2018 was to read 36 books. I’ve read 12 so far. Some of them were incredible. The others were…not. Here are some quotes from the books I fell in love with this year –
She was like a star, always so distant. Even the light she shone on me was always cold. – The Three-Body Problem
Buddy, when I work at night, if I look up at the sky, the suspect is going to escape. – The Three-Body Problem
For father and son, the silence conveyed more information than words. – The Dark Forest
He didn’t want to sleep, but to wake up from his dream.- The Dark Forest
“When twilight fades, you can see the stars. When dawn fades, all that’s left is…”
“All that’s left is the harsh light of reality.”
– The Dark Forest
Once we know where we are, then the world becomes as narrow as a map. When we don’t know, the world feels unlimited.
– The Dark Forest
The only constant in a world of tremendous change is the swift passage of time.
– The Dark Forest
Maybe she’ll remember that in the sea of stars, there’s one that belongs to her. – Death’s End
It’s stupid. There are maps to show you how to get to the place where you want to be but no maps that show you how to get to the time when you want to be. – A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
She was just perfect, without trying. – Space Opera
The giant panda eats bamboo. The wormhole eats regret. – Space Opera
The universe is a very large and very complicated demonstration of having one’s cake and eating it too. – Space Opera
Where wood has burned, there will be ash. – Space Opera
Oort’s microwave chimed. Their docking procedures had finished defrosting. – Space Opera
People are mostly happiest when they think they’re just about to get the thing the want most. Before and after, they’re all monsters. – Space Opera
I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in Q1 2017:
Everything that happens doesn’t mean something else. – The Sunset Limited
She had heard it said that humans are supposed only to use about a tenth of their brains, and that no one was very clear what the other nine tenths were for, but she had certainly never heard it suggested that they were using for storing penguins. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Dirk hardly liked to think. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
She found him exactly where he was not supposed to be. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
No private detective looks like a private detective. That’s one of the first rules of private detection. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
It was his subconscious which told him this – that infuriating part of a person’s brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
The music stopped abruptly, with the air of having delivered exactly five cents worth of joy. – Player Piano
“Tell me about today.” “Nothing about today. One more, like all the rest.” – Player Piano
The two were inseparable, though their personalities met at almost no point. Together, they made an approximately whole man. – Player Piano
Yeah, it’s tough – like anything else. Tough to be the best. – Player Piano
The television cameras dollied and panned around him like curious, friendly dinosaurs, sniffing and peering. – Player Piano
I do know that it’s far easier to ask questions than to answer them. – Player Piano
“I want a stronger word than happy.” – Player Piano
The truth can never be spoken without someone getting hurt, John. – Player Piano
Jimmy, I.Q. isn’t everything. Some of the unhappiest people in this world are the smartest ones. – Player Piano
Here you are at a crossroads, my boy. You’re lucky. Not many crossroads left for people. Nothing but one-way streets with cliffs on both sides. – Player Piano
We’ll rediscover the two greatest wonders of the world, the human mind and hand. – Player Piano
One of my goals of 2016 was to read 24 books over the course of the year. According to Goodreads, I ended up reading 33 books. This makes me happy.
Here are (in no particular order) some of my favorite books that I read last year:
It’s quite hard for me to pick one book as “Karan’s Book of the Year” for 2016. Each the books above had great stories, were well written, made me experience a smorgasbord of emotions, and had something that stuck to my soul long after the book was over. If I was forced to pick one, I would have to say that book would be The Nightingale. I felt that this book was pure literary perfection. As I said about the book in September —
I LOVED this book! It’s beautifully written, with an engaging story, a haunting backdrop, and well developed characters. It made me cry quite a bit. This is one of my favorite books of all time
(why yes, I did just quote myself)
This simplistic review doesn’t even come close to describing how breathtakingly sublime The Nightingale is. Please read this book.
I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in December:
Time devours all. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
All life is an experiment. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
In the face of the inevitable, the only choice is to adapt. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
What’s the point of jumping onto a reef just a few steps from shore? — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
There are many ways to say I love you in this cold, dark, silent universe, as many as the twinkling stars. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
He said nothing, either in her mind or aloud, which was his way of saying all that he needed to say. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
“The fading sunlight holds infinite beauty
Though it is so close to the day’s end.”
— The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
We are defined by the places we hold in the web of others’ lives. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Every night, when you stand outside and gaze upon the stars, you are bathing in time as well as light. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Our lives are ruled by these small, seemingly ordinary moments that turn out to have improbably large effects. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
It’s one of the central paradoxes of archaeology that in order to excavate a site so as to study it, we must consume and destroy it in the process. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Somehow, though, and I’m sure you’ve met people like this, he was able to appear as merely part of the background, even if he was standing at the front of a line. — The Book Thief
A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. — The Book Thief
She closed her eyes and her ears held the notes. — The Book Thief
Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness. — The Book Thief
There were not many people who could say that their education had been paid for with cigarettes. — The Book Thief
It was a style not of perfection, but warmth. Even mistakes had a good feeling about them. — The Book Thief
You can do all manner of underhanded nice things when you have a caustic reputation. — The Book Thief
“His hair,” she told him, “is like feathers.” — The Book Thief
How do you give someone a piece of sky? — The Book Thief
“I am stupid,” Hans Hubermann told his foster daughter. “And kind. Which makes the biggest idiot in the world.” — The Book Thief
She heard his stomach growl — and he was giving people bread. — The Book Thief
“I love you.” He says this quietly, the way he has always done, as if it were the sound of breathing and heartbeat. — The Algorithms for Love
I started crying again. This understanding, this pain. Was this what love was about? — The Algorithms for Love
I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in November:
His own age was on the older side of completely indeterminate. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
It seems odd, don’t you think, that the quality of food should vary inversely with the brightness of the lighting. Makes you wonder what culinary heights the kitchen staff could rise to if you confined them to perpetual darkness. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
He seemed more like a succession of extraordinary events than a person. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
I’ve certainly never come across any irreversible mathematics involving sofas. Could be a new field. Have you spoken to any spatial geometricians? — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Well no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
I told you that coincidences are strange and dangerous things. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
“Ah,” said Dirk, “it is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto nonexistent blindingly obvious.” — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Will I ever feel better? If you’re reading this, I guess the answer is no. — When I’m Gone
His cheeks hurt from smiling so much, or maybe his facial muscles were out of practice. — When I’m Gone
I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in October:
If you’d take your head out of the clouds and look around you now and then you’d be surprised at what you see. — Asterios Polyp
Life is stressful dear. That’s why they say “rest in peace.” — Asterios Polyp
After all, folks aren’t so hard to figure out, y’know — you just ignore what they say and watch what they do. — Asterios Polyp
How can we call death — about which we know nothing — the opposite of life, when we barely comprehend life itself? — Asterios Polyp
I am the hero of my own story. — Asterios Polyp
Her breath is wine-sweet, and she has one of those smiles that seem architecturally impossible. It still slays me. — Dark Matter
He laughs. Beautifully. — Dark Matter
Perfect in their imperfection and asymmetry, like a range of mountains. Or the shape of a river. — Dark Matter
I’ve always been an ardent fan of physical books, refusing to read e-books as much as possible. There’s something about the feel of a non-electronic book, of how you can feel the weight and texture of a physical tome, and how the book smells, and how the pages rustle when the wind blows fiercely (San Francisco is surprisingly windy at times), that I find irresistible.
But the times are changing, and I decided to give e-books a try. This had nothing to do with Amazon adding free e-books as a Prime benefit. That was simply a coincidence.
I’ve been reading my first e-book on my iPhone for the past 10 days now. Here’s how I feel about e-books so far:
- I miss everything I wrote in the first paragraph of this post about physical books.
- Having a book pretty much always with you (since I was reading this book on my phone) is excellent. I find it hard to carry a book with me unless I’m also carrying a backpack, but when the book is on your phone this is a non-issue. I’ve found myself reading much more as a result of this. Previous moments of solitary, aimless waiting have now been transformed into consumption of passages of an e-book.
- I typically read 2-3 books at a time, and having the ability to carry all of them with me always will be great.
- I have a (bad) habit of folding down the corners of pages of books. I do this when the page has a nice line (or lines) that I would like write down at some point. With e-books this is another non-issue — I simply highlight the lines in the app. Though this does take out the fun of going back to a page I folded and trying to figure out which line caught my attention in the first place.
- Reading in between sets at the gym is fun. Though sometimes I lose track of time and end up with unintentionally long breaks.
- One of the more interesting things about having physical books on display, say on a book shelf, or lying untidily in a pile by your bed, is that they are a great conversation starter. Or even a conversation killer. With e-books this facet of reading is lost.
Overall I’ve quite enjoyed my first encounter with an e-book. I don’t see it ever replacing physical books for me, but I do see it augmenting my reading experience moving forward.