Readers,

We have finally waved goodbye to 2020. After filling in 366 pages, a fresh set of 365 days has been given to us. With the conclusion of a year is the commencement of a new one. 2020 has been eventful and filled with uncertainty. The future is also filled with uncertainty but hope still springs eternal. Staying true to what has become my annual tradition, I am kicking off the new year by looking back to the previous year, its hits, and of course, its mishits. It is also an opportunity to take a glimpse on how the coming year is going to shape up.

This book wrap up is a part of a mini-series which will feature the following:

  1. 2020 Top Ten Not-So Favorite Reads
  2. 2020 Top Ten Favorite Books
  3. 2020 Book Wrap Up
  4. 2020 Most Memorable Book Quotes (Part I)
  5. 2020 Most Memorable Book Quotes (Part II)
  6. 2020 New Favorite Authors
  7. 2021 Books I Look Forward To List
  8. 2021 Top 21 Reading List

Because of the pandemic, 2020 is my best year in terms of reading. I managed to complete 93 books, the third time I ended a reading year with at least 90 books (or maybe second, LOL). It was also one of my most diverse as I have read the works of various nationalities, from Japanese, Korean, Russian, Nigerian, Egyptian, Turkish to a couple more. In fact, nearly 30 of the books I have read are translations. Another thing that characterized 2020 is the number of “new books” I have read. As you might already know, I am the backlist type of reader but I ended 2020 with 26 “new books”, a personal best. It was, to say the least, a groundbreaking year on many fronts.

These 93 books were all wells of memorable and impressionable book quotes. Since there were too many quotes to choose from, I decided to pick way beyond the normal number I choose for this annual post. For my 2020 Most Memorable Quotes, I have picked a whopping 40 quotes from various books. Without further ado, here’s the second batch of my favorite quotes from my 2020 reads.


“Speaking frankly and speaking the truth are two different things entirely. Honesty is to truth as prow is to stern. Honesty appears first and truth appears last. The interval between varies in direct proportion to the size of ship. With anything of size, truth takes a long time in coming. Sometimes it only manifests itself posthumously. Therefore, should I impart you with no truth at this juncture, that is through no fault of mine. Nor yours.”
~ Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase


“Why my memory weave in and out of death and love, or why I wept over the enemy as my hair grew, its red and black strands shooting from all ventricles up to the scalp, to declare that the heartspace is not just the size of a fist, because each encounter threads a million others. The capillaries of love and war flow into each other, into a hand span of hair.”
~ Merlinda Bobis, Fish-Hair Woman


“Love is our main cause after all; whatever, whoever it is we love or do not love, and whether they can love us back. Allow me to write this slogan for you. No, it does not have any official badge. But I shall write it on this page anyhow, weave it with strands of hair to leave you with something that will not stop growing from both sides of the heart. I should know. Its left and right ventricles are one in this cause, even when it is breaking.”
~ Merlinda Bobis, Fish-Hair Woman


“There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they’ve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything to others, but lose nothing of yourself.”
~ Ian McEwan, Saturday


“All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other’s soul and flesh; but there we were, unable even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do so.”
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita


“We had been everywhere. We had really seen nothing. And I catch myself thinking today that our long journey had only defiled with a sinuous trail of slime the lovely, trustful, dreamy, enormous country that by then, in retrospect, was no more to us than a collection of dog-eared maps, ruined tour books, old tires, and her sobs in the night — every night, every night — the moment I feigned sleep.”
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita


“The human psyche evolved in order to defend itself against seeing the truth. To prevent us from catching sight of the mechanism. The psyche is our defense system – it makes sure we’ll never understand what’s going on around us. Its main task is to filter information, even though the capabilities of our brains are enormous. For it would be impossible for us to carry the weight of this knowledge. Because every tiny particle of the world is made of suffering.”
~ Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead


“I held my breath, but it didn’t feel like I was holding my breath, it felt like there should never have been breath. It felt like the entire concept of breath had been something I imagined. After all, my body was never meant to move like this. These lungs had to have been built for show. They should never have expanded and I should never have been alive.”
~ Akwaeki Emezi, Freshwater


“This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on.”
~ Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing


“The true state of a man is when he is alone. For when he is alone, some of all that has come to constitute his being – the profound emotions, and the profound motives of the heart – rise from deep within him up to the surface of his being. This is why when a man is alone, his face wears a look that is distinct from anything there is. This is a face no one will ever see or encounter. For when another comes to him, that face retracts like a tentacle and presents the other with something else, something akin to a new face.” 
~ Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities


“One’s goal is the shedding of mental obstacles that prevent one from being flooded with the glorious universal, love as being. It is a goal, therefore, that requires of us the absolute and irreversible abandonment of reason, for love is without reason, above it and beyond it, it also comes without rational explanation and lives on where there is no reason for it to survive.”
~ Salman Rushdie, Quichotte


“But it seems to me that maybe it is because there are so many problems in the world, many of which are out of control. People want to feel like they can do something, so they pray to saints. I can understand that. And even if there are not actual magical spirits listening and waiting to fulfill our wishes, maybe just the act of thinking about these things changes us in some way.”
~ Randy Ribay, Patron Saints of Nothing


“And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps.”
~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove


“I understand how a word others use every day can become something whispered in the dark to soothe a wound that just won’t heal. I remember thinking I would never hear it spoken without unravelling a little, wondering if I would ever get to say it in the light. So I recognise the gift in this simple pronouncement, the promise of a beginning in this one word.”
~ Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Stay With Me


“What is given may be taken away, at any time. Cruelty and devastation wait for you around corners, inside coffers, behind doors: they can leap out at you at any time, like a thief or brigand. The trick is never to let down your guard. Never think you are safe. Never take for granted that your children’s hearts beat, that they sup milk, that they draw breath, that they walk and speak and smile and argue and play. Never for a moment forget they may be gone, snatched from you, in the blink of an eye, borne away from you like thistledown.”
― Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet


“But at the same time, I’m guilty, too. Guilty of playing this role. Letting it define me. Internalizing the role so completely that I’ve lost track of where reality starts and the performance begins. And letting that define how I see other people. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. Fetishizing Black people and their coolness. Romanticizing White women. Wishing I were a White man. Putting myself into this category.”
― Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown


“You must take care to light the matches one at a time. If a powerful emotion should ignite them all at once, they would produce a splendor so dazzling that it would illuminate far beyond what we can normally see; and then a brilliant tunnel would appear before our eyes, revealing the path we forgot the moment we were born, and summoning us to regain the divine origins we had lost. The soul ever longs to return to the place from which it came, leaving the body lifeless.”
― Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate


“This was the first time that he has ever looked into the labyrinth of the human soul. He was very far from understanding what he saw. But what was of more value, he felt and suffered with her. In years that were yet to come, he relived this memory in song, in the most beautiful song this world has known. For the understanding of the soul’s defencelessness, of the conflict between the two poles, is not the source of the greatest song. The source of the greatest song is sympathy.”
― Halldor Laxness, Independent People


“But he could not help it. No one can help it. One is a realist. One has put up with it all ever since childhood; one has had the courage to look it full in the eye, possibly courage enough to look it in the eye all one’s life long. Then one day the distances beckon with their floating possibilities, and in one’s hands are the admission tickets, two slips of blue paper. One is a realist no longer. One has finished putting up with it all, one no longer has the courage to look it in the eye, one is in the power of beckoning hospitable distances, floating possibilities, perhaps forever afterwards. Perhaps one’s life is over.”
― Halldor Laxness, Independent People


“But the real fierceness of desire, the real heat of a passion long continued and withering up the soul of a man, is the craving for identity with the woman that he loves. He desires to see with the same eyes, to touch with the same sense of touch, to hear with the same ears, to lose his identity, to be enveloped, to be supported. For, whatever may be said of the relation of the sexes, there is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her. We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.”
― Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier