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Tag: recommended reading (Page 2 of 8)

Heaven’s Coast by Mark Doty

Heaven's Coast by Mark Doty

 

Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir  

 

by Mark Doty

 

I read this book nearly 20 years ago. I was a freshman at a Catholic college and it was selected as the required reading for all incoming freshmen. Heaven’s Coast is a memoir of Mark Doty’s experience learning his partner has tested positive for HIV and the slow, heartbreaking time leading to his partner’s death.

As you can probably imagine, there was considerable uproar from the local Catholic community that this book was selected as required reading. I like to think that Catholic’s in U.S. are more humble and open in the two decades since that freshman year, especially given the amount of pain and suffering some leaders in our communities have caused. I like to think that Jesus’ charge to give freely and to judge-not have created a more accepting Catholic community in recent years. I like to think that our ever-loving Pope Francis has become an emblematic figure for the acceptance that the Catholic faith calls us too. I like to think those things, but I’m also no fool.

I’m not sure if it was the raucous raised locally with the selection of this book as required reading or the beautifully poetic words that lie within Heaven’s Coast, but this book has stuck with me 20 years later. It’s high time I pick it up again.

 

 

“Being in grief, it turns out, is not unlike being in love. In both states, the imagination’s entirely occupied with one person. The beloved dwells at the heart of the world, and becomes a Rome: the roads of feeling all lead to him, all proceed from him. Everything that touches us seems to relate back to that center: there is no other emotional life, no place outside the universe of feeling centered on its pivotal figure.”

 

“Christmas Eve, I give him packages which I open for him, since the bows and paper represent more labor than he could manage: music videos by the Nashville singers he thinks particularly sexy, fleece-lined slippers decorated with images of bacon and eggs, and a book about breeds of dogs. He says he wishes he had something for me to open, but I don’t want anything except to have him here. There’s nothing more he could give me than his life, right now, his being with me.”

 

“I used to walk out, at night, to the breakwater which divides the end of the harbor from the broad moor of the salt marsh. There was nothing to block the wind that had picked up speed and vigor from its Atlantic crossing. I’d study the stars in their brilliant blazing, the diaphanous swath of the milk Way, the distant glow of Boston backlighting the clouds on the horizon as if they’d been drawn there in smudgy charcoal. I felt, perhaps for the first time, particularly American, embedded in American history, here at the nation’s slender tip. Here our westering impulse, having flooded the continent and turned back, finds itself face to face with the originating Atlantic, November’s chill, salt expanses, what Hart Crane called the “unfettered leewardings,” here at the end of the world.”

 

“Desire I think has less to do with possession than with participation, the will to involve oneself in the body of the world, in the principle of things expressing itself in splendid specificity, a handful of images: a lover’s irreplaceable body, the roil and shimmer of the sea overshot with sunlight, a handful of cherries, the texture and weight of a word. The word that seems most apt is partake… We can say we partake of something but we may just as accurately say we take part in something’ we are implicated in another being, which is always the beginning of wisdom, isn’t it- that involvement which enlarges us, which engages the heart, which takes out of the routine limitations of self?”

 

“After he died, there was a deep calm to his face; he seemed a kind of unfathomable, still well which opened on and down beneath the suddenly smooth surface of his skin…The heat in him lasted a long time. I loved that heat. I don’t know how long I held his face and his shoulders and stroked him; as he began to cool I kept my hands on his belly, where the last of his warmth seemed to pool and concentrate. Here the fire of the body came to rest, smoldering longest, down to the last embers.”

 

“I don’t know anything different about death than I ever have, but I feel differently. I inhabit this difference in feeling- or does it live in me?- at the same time as I’m sorrowing. The possibility of consolation, of joy even, does not dispel the sorrow. Sorrow is the cathedral, the immense architecture; in its interior there’s room for almost everything; for desire, for flashes of happiness, for making plans for the future…”

 

 

Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
 

Endurance by Alfred Lansing

Endurance Shackleton

 

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage  

 

by Alfred Lansing

 

Our first Sticky Book of 2017!! It’s here! 

If you are unfamiliar with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team’s attempt to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, the story is wonderful and harrowing and beautiful and devastating. Alfred Lansing does an exceptional job recounting the struggle that Shackleton and his 28-man crew endured for nearly two years. Originally published in 1959, the book is a classic you should definitely pick up in 2017. 

 

“In some ways they had come to know themselves better. In this lonely world of ice and emptiness, they had achieved at least a limited kind of contentment. They had been tested and found not wanting.”

 

“Of all their enemies — the cold, the ice, the sea — he feared none more than demoralization.”

 

“In that instant they felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Though they had failed dismally even to come close to the expedition’s original objective, they knew now that somehow they had done much, much more than ever they set out to do.”

 

“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”

 

“Unlike the land, where courage and the simple will to endure can often see a man through, the struggle against the sea is an act of physical combat, and there is no escape. It is a battle against a tireless enemy in which man never actually wins; the most that he can hope for is not to be defeated.”

 

 

“In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age— no warmth, no life, no movement. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether, and it has driven some men mad.”

 

“The rapidity with which one can completely change one’s ideas . . . and accommodate ourselves to a state of barbarism is wonderful.”

 

“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”

 

 

Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.
 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
 

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Devil in the White City quotes

 

The Devil in the White City 

 

by Erik Larson

 

This will be our final Sticky Book of 2016. Never fear my friends, we will begin a new list in 2017. 

For our 35th Sticky Book of 2016, we have the brilliant and impeccably detailed “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson. This book is fascinating, funny, and insanely researched by Larson. A film adaptation is in the works with Martin Scorcese directing and Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead. Color me intrigued.  I highly recommend reading this book before it comes out, whenever that is year(s) from now. 

 

“Beneath the gore and smoke and loam, this book is about the evanescence of life, and why some men choose to fill their brief allotment of time engaging the impossible, others in the manufacture of sorrow. In the end it is a story of the ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the White City and the Black.”

 

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”

 

“Why should the wealth of the country be stored in banks and elevators while the idle workman wanders homeless about the streets and the idle loafers who hoard the gold only to spend it in riotous living are rolling about in fine carriages from which they look out on peaceful meetings and call them riots?”

 

“I was born with the devil in me,’ [Holmes] wrote. ‘I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing.”

 

“It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so very easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history.”

 

“This prolonging of a man’s life doesn’t interest me when he’s done his work and has done it pretty well.”

 

“His weakness was his belief that evil had boundaries.”

 

“Beside his own person and his own interests, nothing is sacred to the psychopath.”

 

“Leaves hung in the stillness like hands of the newly dead.”

 

Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

Shane by Jack Schaefer

quotes from shane

Shane 

by Jack Schaefer

 

This is my mother’s favorite book of all time. She absolutely loves this book. She is an English teacher and it is apart of her curriculum every year. It’s a classic and worth a read.

 

“What a man knows isn’t important. It’s what he is that counts”

 

“A man who watches what is going on around him will make his mark.”

 

“Listen, Bob. A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel- or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good- and as bad- as the man who carries it. Remember that.”

 

“When there’s noise, you know where to look and what’s happening. When things are quiet, you’ve got to be most careful.”

 

“They did not look at each other. They did not say a word to each other… They knew that talk is meaningless when a common knowledge is already there. The silence bound them as no words ever could.”

 

“A man is what he is, Bob, and there’s no breaking the mold. I tried that and I’ve lost.”

 

 

Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

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