Save the books.

“This was his weekly treat: to visit the bookshop, buy an overpriced caffeinated drink, read as much as he could for free, and become Obinze again. Sometimes he asked to be dropped off in central London after a delivery and he would wander about and end up in a bookshop and sink to the floor at a corner, away from the clusters of people. He read contemporary American fiction, because he hoped to find a resonance, a shaping of his longings, a sense of the America that he had imagined himself a part of. He wanted to know about day-to-day life in America, what people ate and what consumed them, what shamed them and what attracted them, but he read novel after novel and was disappointed: nothing was grave, nothing serious, nothing urgent, and most dissolved into ironic nothingness.”

—   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

“She was pleasant and direct, even warm, but there was a privacy about her, a reluctance to bare herself completely to the world, the same quality as Obinze. She had taught her son the ability to be, even in the middle of a crowd, somehow comfortably inside himself.”

—   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

“And now here she was telling him it was over. ‘Why?’ he asked. He taught ideas of nuance and complexity in his classes and yet he was asking her for a single reason, the cause. But she had not had a bold epiphany and there was no cause; it was simply that layer after layer of discontent had settled in her, and formed a mass that now propelled her. She did not tell him this, because it would hurt him to know she had felt that way for a while, that her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out.”

—   Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Americanah

“The window glows. The slow sandy light of dawn permeates the room. Everything transient and aching; everything tentative.”

—   Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

“All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”

—   Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
I read this when I couldn’t go back to sleep after the earthquake woke me up. Scary!

“He made her the glowing hot center of his life; he made her feel as if every step she took was important.”

—   Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

“Firelit rooms lined with books—these are the places in which important things happen.”

—   All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“My mother worked long hours in her studio every day, and after that she read for two or three hours, one book after another, novels, philosophy, art, and science. She kept journals and notebooks. She bought herself one of those big, heavy punching bags and hired a woman named Wanda to give her some boxing lessons. Sometimes I felt limp just looking at her.”

—   Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World

“Dealing with bureaucracies required no more than the patience of an animal and the simplicity of a saint. He could fake both, for a while.”

—   Richard Powers, Orfeo