Tuesday, March 20, 2012

crossing to safety.

"When you remember today, what will you remember best, the spring countryside, and the company of friends, or Piero's Christ and that workman with the mangled hand?"

She thought a minute. "All of it," she said. "It wouldn't be complete or real if you left out any part of it, would it?"

"Go to the head of the class," I said.


If anyone were ever to ask me why I love books and reading the way that I do, I think I might direct them to Crossing to Safety. I can't tell you why or how or what Wallace Stegner's words did to move me so, but I think that's okay.

The Tiger's Wife taught me: That's magic. Crossing to Safety was magic. 

I had typed up some of my very favorite quotes from the book, thoughts that I'd underlined and read outloud to Jordan (and some which I'd kept to myself), thoughts that I, in turn, wanted to share with you. But the truth is, it just felt silly to give you a collection of quotes that, out of context, simply don't pack the punch that they do when surrounded by characters and story and meaning. They just looked lonely on the computer screen, swimming through a sea of white without their equally-important counterparts.

About 100 pages into the book, Stegner offers up this quote by Henry James: "If you have to make notes on how a thing has struck you, it probably hasn't struck you." My hope is that these days, I am missing my own words because Crossing to Safety really, truly struck me, and the magic is that I can't even begin to tell you how.

I guess what I'm saying is, read Crossing to Safety. I'll try my best to offer a review later this month, but really, you should just read it yourself. It is the very, very best kind of book.


brie. said...

oh thank you for this kind of recommendation! i'm reading a book that's just wonderful and i was worried what i'd do when it ended. now i have a plan.

currently reading the rules of civility by amor towles, it's a well written story.

Sydney said...

I have been on the hunt for a good book and this sounds perfect! I know exactly what you mean about putting down quotations and then realizing that don't quite pack the same punch that they do for you because they just look, well, naked. Great post!

Erin said...

Adding it to my list right now! :)

Kari said...

When I read this, I did the exact same thing--left tons of post-its in the book but then wasn't sure what to say about it because the quotes really ought to be in context. Such a good book!

mary kate said...

you've convinced me to read crossing to safety! I've been looking for a non-food memoir book because I've been on a kick lately with them. This book looks like the perfect break from all of the food memoirs. Thanks for always sharing excellent books!

Cara said...

Annie - you must know. I had a Barnes & Noble date with my husband last night, and I bought this book mainly out of your incredible review on it. So thank you. I am excited to reap what you've reaped.