Here are a few of my favorite quotes from my "quote book"--yes, I have a quote book, where I scribble down sentences from books that speak to me. It's inspiration-in-a-notebook, and Lord knows, I need some inspiration and self-discipline right now, right QUICK...for the next year or so.
"We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all."
-Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
"Every day of our lives, we see far more than we can comprehend, and because the failure to comprehend disquiets us, we lie to ourselves about what we see. We want a simple world, but we live in one that is magnificently complex. Rather than acknowledge the exquisite roundness of creation, we take it in thin slices, and we view each slice through tinted, distorting lenses that further diminish its beauty and obscure truths that await recognition. Complexity implies meaning, and we are afraid of meaning."
-Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life
"You are well habituated to be passed by as a shadow in Life's sunshine: it is a new thing to see one testily lifting his hand to screen his eyes, because you tease him with an obtrusive ray."
-Charlotte Bronte, Villette
In books, we actively engage with the writer and her/his characters on an intellectual and emotional level; it's almost as if we are actually conversing with the writer, attempting to grasp her/his theories and morals, internalizing them, and then comparing them with our own. The solitary act of reading, then, is replaced with internal, critical thought as a form of conversation with ourselves, beyond ourselves.