I used to post a lot of first lines and final lines, but have fallen off since last year. I’m finally accepting that– for me– attempting to update on preset days (see also Poetry Ptuesday, which doesn’t even alliterate for real) won’t get me to blog consistently.

But, I do still dearly love sharing what I’m reading. So I’m going to start catching y’all up with some lines from each book I read in 2020. I’ll also revisit maybe the top ten books from last year, since that was when I stopped updating my ‘currently reading’.


We begin with The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok, a memoir of her mother’s schizophrenia and final days.

“For every memory about her there is a melody hidden inside my brain.”

“There are fleeting pictures in twisted hallways of my palace, improbable stairs, like an Escher print, leading to doors that do not open, rooms too dark to see. This is how the memory of trauma works, how we glimpse forgotten years trapped inside the amygdala, that almond-shaped center of fear in our brain.”

“At sixteen, I vow to hold on to beauty, no matter what– to sitting in a rich carpet of grass, a concert hall, a museum full of art– in a place that has nothing to do with the unbearable glare of grief.”

“Afterward, I go to the church and light a candle for my mother. Not that I believe it would do any good; it’s just to remind myself that she is still lost in the world.”

“I have always known deep down there is a great love and sweetness inside her, her true self she had at birth, but schizophrenia devours it every day.”

“I think about what people say about the dead, how they’re always with us. But what exactly do they mean? Do they mean that they turn into ghosts, that their souls become part of our body? Or do they mean the rustle of a blue jay’s blue-gray wings in winter? How the sound makes you turn so quick and hold your breath?”

And, from her mother’s writing contained within the book:

“Presently I draw only when I feel very acutely my muteness.”


Next up is Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, which y’all might’ve remembered peeping from January 2nd. Be back soon!

A snippet from every book I read so far in 2020
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