Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two by Marisa de los Santos

May brought an incredible back-to-back reading experience for me with Love Walked In and Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I have a few passages of note on both books, but as for reviews, I am going to direct you to Lesley's Book Nook for her reviews of Love Walked In and Belong to Me--Les has captured the essence of both these books in her wonderful reviews!

Love Walked In

Words to live by:
I've always been more than a little proud of myself for having been fourteen and deeply benighted about almost everything, but having had the sense to recognize what is surely a universal truth: Jimmy Stewart is always and indisputably the best man in the world, unless Cary Grant should happen to show up.

How a story "feels" (haven't you lovingly stroked a book?):
On the third day, just before they went home, the kids in Clare's class took the holiday gifts they'd made for their parents off the walls and out of the cases in which they'd been displayed. Clare took down "Annike and the Bears" and slid her palm lightly across the cover. A story is only words living inside a person's head, she thought, floating and invisible. But she'd written the words down and make a book, an object that took its place in the world of objects.

On self-help books:
...the question turned me into a first-name-only, hypothetical character in the pages of a self-help book. Exactly the kind of book we all disdain because it reduces to formulae our irreducible human selves, but which we at least think about buying (thus abetting the book's piranhalike devouring of the New York Times bestseller list). That time we had a terrible cold and were listlessly switching channels on the tiny television we hardly ever watch and even forget we have, we happened upon Oprah discussing such a book and found that, as much as we hated to admit it, the book rang true--at least some it rang somewhat true, truer than we'd ever expected.
On love:
There's a kind of holiness to love, requited or not, and those people who don't receive it with gratitude are arrogant beyond saving.

On journal writing:
Getting the word right mattered, but so did describing his voice when he talked and capturing the feeling that filled her as he spoke and after he spoke. She thought about that word "capture," how it put a writer on par with a fur trapper or big-game hunter, and how it implied that stories were whole and roaming around loose in the world, and a writer's job was to catch them. Except of course that a writer didn't kill what she caught, didn't stuff it and hang it on a wall; the point was to keep the stores alive.

Belong To Me

On the first (real) day of fall:
The next day turned out to be the first day of fall, one of my favorite days of the year. I'm not talking about the actual autumnal equinox, which had come and gone a week earlier and had felt pretty much like all the summer days preceeding it. What I mean by the first day of fall is that day when you suddenly understand with your whole body that the season has changed. When the air feels snappier against our skin and the sky's blueness turns wistful, and the humming of insects shifts pitch, and you just know like you know your own name that summer is over.

On cell phones: admittedly old-ladyish uneasiness with cell phone culture (you know what I mean, it blurs the boundaries between the public/private realms, discourages quiet introspection, results in abominable driving, fills the world with silly noises, et cetera)....

On the action of love:
"What are we going to do?" As soon as I said it, I understood its power, this single, simple question, what I had spent the last two days stumbling toward. I asked the question, and what had frightened me so much was suddenly no longer a threat. It was something for us to do together, to make part of us.... Everything turned on the word "we," a synonym for love, the thing that saves us all.

On brain vacations: could get used to the not-thinking, the haphazard floating through days, your brain lounging around like a tourist in a loud shirt, grasping nothing heavier than a magazine and a drink (umbrellaed, water beaded, pineaple hanging off its rim like an elephant ear), lulled by the sound of seagulls and ocean waves.

Love Walked In
4.5/5 (General Fiction scale)
Plume [Penguin Group imprint] (2005)
Trade Paperback
307 pages
Finished: June 2008

Dedication: For David Teague: You;re the Nile, You're the Tower of Pisa

Belong To Me
4/5 (General Fiction scale)
Wm. Morrow (2008)
388 pages

Dedication: For Charles and Annabel, my sleek brown otters

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