Well, friends, I finished my February book pick and was left in awe.
February Pick: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I recently read this review of the book on The New York Times website, and really don’t think I could say any better. As someone who’s struggled with anxiety for pretty much my entire life, this book really resonated with me. I love this paragraph from the article: “I still wasn’t prepared for the ending of this novel. It’s so surprising and moving and true that I became completely unstrung, incapable of reading it to my husband without breaking down. One needn’t be suffering like Aza to identify with it. One need only be human. Everyone, at some point, knows what it’s like when the mind develops a mind of its own.”
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“”I swum up out of the depths and said, “it’s bold.” “I know, right? It says, ‘Ladies and gentlemen and also people who do not identify as ladies or gentlemen, Daisy Ramirez won’t break her promises, but she will break your heart.” Daisy’s self-proclaimed life motto was “Break Hearts, Not Promises.””
“Holmesy, everything’s working out. Our destiny is coming into focus. We are about to live the American Dream, which is, of course, to benefit from someone else’s misfortune.”
“I guess I just don’t like having to live inside of a body? If that makes sense. And I think maybe deep down I am just an instrument that exists to turn oxygen into carbon dioxide, just merely an organism in this . . . vastness. And it’s kind of terrifying to me that what I think of as like, my quote unquote self isn’t really under my control? Like, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, my hand is sweating right now, even though it’s too cold for sweating, and I really hate that once I start sweating I can’t stop, and then I can’t think about anything else except for how I’m sweating. And if you can’t pick what you do or think about, then maybe you aren’t really real, you know? Maybe I’m just a lie that I’m whispering to myself.”
“We always say that we are beneath the stars. We aren’t, of course – there is no up or down, and anyway the stars surround us. But we say we are beneath them, which is nice. So often English glorifies the human – we are whos, other animals are thats – but English puts us beneath the stars, at least.”
“The words used to describe it – despair, fear, anxiety, obsession – do so little to communicate it. Maybe we invented metaphor as a response to pain. Maybe we needed to give shape to the opaque, deep-down pain that evades both sense and senses.”
“”God, a lot has happened since you lost your mind. Is that rude to say?” “Actually, the problem is that I can’t lose my mind,” I said. “It’s inescapable.” “That’s precisely how I feel about my virginity,” Daisy said.”
“”You just, like, hate yourself? You hate being yourself?” “There’s no self to hate. It’s like, when I look into myself, there’s no actual me – just a bunch of thoughts and behaviors and circumstances. And a lot of them just don’t feel like they’re mine. They’re not things I want to think or do or whatever. And when I look for the, like, Real Me, I never find it.””
“We settled into a silence, and I felt the sky’s bigness above me, the unimaginable vastness of it all – looking at Polaris and realizing the light I was seeing was 425 years old, and then looking at Jupiter, less than a light-hour from us. In the moonless darkness, we were just witnesses to light, and I felt a sliver of what must have driven Davis to astronomy. There was a kind of relief in having your own smallness laid bare before you, and I realized something Davis must have already known: Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.”
“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.”
Ah, I wish it hadn’t ended. Have you read this book before? If so, what did you think?
For March, I think I’m going to read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I was leaning toward reading something non-fiction since I just finished a fiction book, but I’ve been reading You Are a Badass between finishing this book and starting my March pick, so I’m ready for another fiction novel at this point.
You can check out my January reading pick and review here.