Sunday, February 05, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Favorite Quotes from Cloud Atlas

Happy Sunday! Sorry the blog has been so quiet this week, but things have been hectic (and exhausting) here. Every day has been a blur of activity so that I am wiped out every evening - you know how that goes. My two sons, 19 and 22, move back to college today (that's one reason for much of the busy-ness this week), so I have one more hectic day today, helping them get out the door, cooking, refilling meds, etc. and then...total silence and solitude tomorrow morning! Whew - I'm going to need it to recuperate and recover.

So, that is part of why I am running behind on blogging (as usual!), but last week, I finally managed to write a summary post on my book blog of what I read n 2016 and which books were my favorites last year. If you enjoy reading, please check out my list; my book blog also includes a complete list of all the books I have read n the past two years, with links to reviews. If you have trouble concentrating and regular books are tough for you to manage, consider audio books (I love audios!) and/or teen/young adult or middle-grade books. They are usually shorter and easier to read, but there are still many excellent ones that are of high quality for adults to enjoy, in all sorts of genres. My summary and books list include those, too.

My favorite novel of the year was Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (my review at the link - no spoilers!). It was my first Mitchell novel, and I loved the way the separate stories all overlapped and gradually came together in unexpected ways. Also, the writing in Cloud Atlas was amazing - I filled my Quote Journal with all kinds of quotes from the different stories in the book - some deep and thoughtful, some clever, and some just funny!

Here are some of my favorites:

Clever, Funny, or just plain Beautifully Written:
"Faith, the least exclusive club on Earth, has the craftiest doorman. Every time I've stepped through its wide-open doorway, I find myself stepping out on the street again."
- From Letters from Zedelghem
A very true comment on the slipperiness of faith, using a clever metaphor.

"I refought old arguments, then fought arguments that have never even existed."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
Wow, could I relate to this one! I tend to get obsessive thoughts exactly like this - fighting imaginary arguments in my head - especially when I get badly crashed. I completely understand what he's talking about and hate when it happens to me.

"Sometimes the fluffy bunny of incredulity zooms around the bend so rapidly that the greyhound of language is left, agog, in the starting gate."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
Another brilliant metaphor! I've never actually seen a greyhound race, but he paints a vivid picture and certainly gets the point across. This is an amazing sentence.

Thoughtful, Thought-provoking, and Especially Relevant Given World Events Lately
"Rights are susceptible to subversion, as even granite is susceptible to erosion. My fifth Declaration posits how, in a cycle as old as tribalism, ignorance of the Other engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence; violence engenders further violence until the only "rights," the only law, are whatever is willed by the most powerful."
- An Orison of Sonmi-451
This one is taken from a dystopian story of the future - scary how relevant it seems to our own world today, isn't it?

"In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction."
- from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Another shiver-inducing and thought-provoking prophetic quote (this one from the past).

"If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth and claw, if we believe diverse races and creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence must be muzzled, power accountable and the riches of the Earth and its oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president's pen or a vainglorious general's sword."
- from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Though that last sentence is chilling in its prescience, this quote at least provides some hope. We just need enough people to believe in such a world.

On Books as Escape
"Mother used to say escape is never further than the nearest book. Well, Mumsy, no, not really. Your beloved large-print sagas of rags, riches, and heartbreak were no camouflage against the miseries trained on you by the tennis ball launcher of life, were they? But, yes, Mum, there again, you have a point. Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
I love his writing! The metaphors are killer! Don't you just love that - "the tennis ball launcher of life"? ha ha Perfectly apt description of life with an ever-changing chronic illness, don't you think? And I love that last line, too, about how books can "stop a mind scratching itself raw." Perfectly put. That's why I turn to reading on my worst days (and my best days, too - I love to read).


So, those are just a few of my favorite brief excerpts from this amazing book. There are more in my Quote Journal and many more in the novel itself.

Can you relate to these quotes, too?

Do you depend on books for escape?

What was your favorite book read last year?

2 comments:

  1. David Mitchell is a brilliant writer - not one for reading when too brain fogged though. Definitely get his other works, very satisfying indeed. Highly recommend Jeannette Winterson, another contemporary British writer.

    Yes, I very much depend on reading for escape, although I've always been a bookworm (say hello to full bookcases in almost every room of the house). ME/CFS has made it *interesting* as my concentration is often shot, so I need small, light works a lot of the time. But it remains one of the few things I can still do

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    1. Yes, you are right - his books are brilliant, but complex & clever! Takes a bit of brain power :)

      I am the same as you - we have bookcases in every room!

      Thanks for the recommendations! I need to read more from David Mitchell, too.

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