Top Ten Tuesday: Great Quotes from Books I Read this Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic was to pick some of our favorite quotes from books we’ve read this year. So I went back through some of the books I read this year, and here’s what I came up with. Some books were hard to find quotes for, and others jumped out. It only made sense that all the quotes turned out to be about books/words/writing/stories. The first was an accident, the second was inevitable, and the third quote sealed the deal.

  • From George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil “We learn words by rote, but not their meaning; that must be paid for with our life-blood, and printed in the subtle fibres of our nerves.” 
  • From Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry “You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the questionWhat is your favorite book?” 
  • From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah “Why did people ask “What is it about?” as if a novel had to be about only one thing.”
  • From Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”
  • From Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea “Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too.”
  • From Donna Tartt’s  The Secret History “I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.”
  • From Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
  • From Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn “After all, every story has a story.”
  • From Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens “No one can tell a story without transforming it in some way; it is part of the magic of storytelling. Like the troubadors of the past, who hid their messages in poems, songs and fairy tales, I too would hide my true purpose [ … ]
    It was by telling stories that I would save myself.”
  • From Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.” 

 

I haven’t written up reviews on a couple of these, but those will be forthcoming, I promise.

Do you have a favorite quote about the power of words? Put that quote in the comments.

Baking for Bookworms: Chapatis from I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

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There’s not too much mention of food in Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, except in passing. For the most part, foods are either associated with the familiar smells and tastes of Pakistan, or they are associated with the alienness of England. This breakfast though is mentioned twice, first in Pakistan and then in England as a way to bridge the gap between the two.

This passage comes from the first mention of the breakfast, in Pakistan, where it is associated with a familiar and comforting routine:

“In the morning my parents came to my room as usual and woke me up. I don’t remember a single school day on which I woke up early by myself. My mother made our usual breakfast of sugary tea, chapatis, and fried egg. We all had breakfast together–me, my mother, my father, Khishal and Atal.”                                                                                     239

Chapatis are a flat bread, making them is similar to making a tortilla. They are fast, easy, and a relatively nutritious bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (plus more for dusting) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water (but you’ll probably use less, drizzle it in slowly)
  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter (this is optional, but I love the flavor it adds, you can also use a little oil or omit it entirely)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, I didn’t use salt in mine)

Melt butter and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, measure out two cups flour and the cup of water.

When the butter is cool, drizzle in the butter and a little of the water. Combine the mixture with your hands, adding water until you create a dry dough and all the flour is incorporated.

At this point you can use the dough immediately or leave it to rest for several hours on the counter or refrigerate it for several days.

Divide the dough into six to eight balls, depending on the size of your skillet. Press the dough onto a generously floured surface and roll to desired size, the thinner the better. I like to turn the dough slowly to make it more evenly round.

If you decide to stack your chapatis, make sure you put something between them like wax or parchment paper.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn to medium high heat. Cook the chapatis on both sides until they puff up and get nice dark spots (about 30 seconds a side). Remove to a plate and cover with a dish towel until ready to serve.

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These would be great with breakfast, as mentioned in the book, and they’re also a great accompaniment for savory dishes. I served mine with an improvised aloo gobi. Use them as you would any flatbread, as a wrap, toasted and thrown into soup–you can even paint them with melted butter, dust them with cinnamon sugar, and throw them into the toaster oven or regular oven for a few minutes.

What breakfast foods remind you of your childhood? I will always remember my mom’s banana pancakes and my dad’s waffles, as well as the ubiquitous Lucky Charms cereal, with the milk in a glass on the side (I hated soggy cereal).

2015 Women Writers Reading Challenge–Book #8: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

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There are books that touch your heart, but there are also people who touch your heart. I read this book because I heard really great things about it. I thought the book would be powerful and leave me with feelings of gratitude and a call to action on behalf of the rights of women (both of which I already feel by the way). What I didn’t expect was this amazing young woman, strong and intelligent and vivacious, worthy of admiration not only for what she has done and achieved, but for who she is.

The full title I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, goes a long way to explaining the premise of the book. Malala describes her family and life as well as the political situation in Pakistan, concentrating on her home region of Swat, that led up to her shooting and beyond. The book is written simply, honestly, but there are little spurts of joy and zest for life that I found refreshing in a memoir, which are often written by older perspective and have a more retrospective tone. There’s curiosity and confusion as well as understanding.

I definitely recommend this book, an inspiring look at a family that stands up for what they believe in and who have an amazing connection to each other, their community, and their religion. If you’re interested in current events, especially work for women’s rights and education in the Middle East and beyond, I think you’ll be inspired by this young woman, the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.