The beauty of highlighting: life quotes from recent reads

Al Woodworth on May 20, 2020

The beauty of highlighting: quotes from recent reads

I am reading on my Kindle more than ever these days, and I am loving it. I mean, yes, I miss the physical world of turning pages, but here’s the thing: the highlighting feature is my new jam. I can go back and see all of my highlighted passages together, and boom! Beautiful sentences that reduce me to tears in three seconds flat, or a bouquet of sparky phrases that makes me belly laugh with abandon. (I’m looking at you, Becoming Duchess Goldblatt.)

Anyway, since I’m riding this high of tech’s functionality, I thought I’d share some of my favorite highlights on life from some of the books I’ve enjoyed recently.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir by Anonymous

"[TWEET] Enlightenment is not a state, friends. It's an unincorporated US territory about the size of Guam. I vacation there some afternoons.”

For those who don’t know Duchess Goldblatt, let me catch you up to speed: she’s a fictional character around the age of 81, a beloved writer, "not just a beauty, but a world-class sexpot and cultural icon," that a person made up to engage in social media. She says delightful things like the tweet above, and this memoir is the story of her creator discovering humor, camaraderie, and community through D.G. as she deals with a divorce, partial custody of her kid, unemployment, and the loss of her friends. This book is a highlighter's dream and it’s coming out July 7, 2020.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

“That is how my life is going forward—some insult in my face, some sweet in my mouth.”

Set in the slums of India, the commuter trains that pass through them, and a prison, Megha Majumdar's novel, A Burning (June 2), offers the story of three intersecting lives in the wake of a train station terrorist attack. Confronting notions of class, fate, corruption, and justice, Majumdar's ambitious novel is alive with humanity and well worth highlighting.

Sad Janet by Lucie Britsch

"People are really into this happiness thing, though. They really want me to be happy, and I’m really not that fussed. I’ve dabbled with happiness, I want to tell them, but it never stuck."

A truly comic exposition of one woman’s life—including her sadness, her state of independence, and deciding whether or not she should go on medication to turn her frown upside down, as they say. Filled with brilliantly astute observations about the world we live in, Sad Janet made me laugh, cry, and want to share Lucie Britsch’s sentences, which will be publishing June 16, 2020.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

“Who knows what else tomorrow will bring? So, I nod my head yes, because it is true, the future is always working, always busy unfolding better things, and even if it doesn’t seem so sometimes, we have hope of it.”

In her Best Book of the Month review, Erin Kodicek called Daré's debut “a rousing tale of courage and pluck…unexpectedly charming.” This novel follows a young woman in Nigeria who is sold (for lack of a better word) to her husband and is determined to find her “louding” voice amidst the patriarchy. Let’s just say, I’m hearing the might and endurance of her “louding” words loud and clear.

Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett

“I don’t have the words inside me, the blank white like ice at the bottom of my throat. I want her to tell it to me, to see it and help me name it. Do feelings exist if no one sees them? Did I imagine it?”

Mikel Jollett, the lead man for the band the Airborne Toxic Event, grew up in a cult. And, not just any cult, a dangerous and violent one that separated children from their parents, so that Jollett grew up not understanding what a mother or father do. The memoir is one of our Best Books of May, and it’s a searing and unforgettable portrait of finding your own beat amidst the noise, poverty, violence, and challenges of a youth lived differently.

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore

“That a day could be so bittersweet. That a day could be so cynical. That life could be so cruel, so vicious. I dropped the phone and tilted my head back. I clenched my dress, unable to breathe, and I screamed into the morning, screamed from my depths, from the ends of my fingers, screamed into the morning that a day could be so merciless, that a year could be so cold. Screamed into the morning until I had nothing left.”

During Wayétu Moore’s fifth birthday party, the Liberian Civil War broke out. Instead of blowing out candles and opening presents, she and her family fled their home and never returned. From the small town of Lai to Sierra Leone to Texas, Moore recounts her transient childhood on the run and coming of age as an immigrant in America—which is filled with poetic sentences like the one above.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

“It’s a particular kind of pleasure, of intimacy, loving a book with someone.”

Writers & Lovers was a Best Book of the Month, and we named Lily King’s previous novel, Euphoria, a Best Book of 2014. In her latest, a young woman wrestles with the death of her mother, the desire to write a novel while paying the bills, and dating. There is sadness in this novel but also the great leaps of faith that make us human. Not to mention, it's funny.

And if you want to share your favorite quote (and image) from your Kindle book, you can. Go to your Kindle iOS app, just highlight the text, choose from font and background options, and share it via social media or text. Use the hashtag #kindlequotes to see what others are sharing on social media. Learn more at

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