Quote for the Day: October 13th, 2021

The End of Loneliness: A Novel by Benedict Wells and Charlotte Collins (Translator)

From the moment we’re born we’re on the Titanic. We’re going down, we won’t survive this, it’s already been decided. Nothing can change that. But we can choose whether we’re going to run around screaming in panic, or whether we’re like the musicians who play on, bravely and with dignity, although the ship is sinking.

Benedict Wells and Charlotte Collins (Translator), The End of Loneliness: A Novel

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 11th, 2021

Lie With Me: A Novel by Philippe Besson and Molly Ringwald (Translator)

I discover that absence has a consistency, like the dark water of a river, like oil, some kind of sticky dirty liquid that you can struggle and perhaps drown in. It has a thickness like night, an indefinite space with no landmarks, nothing to bang against, where you search for a light, some small glimmer, something to hang on to and guide you. But absence is, first and foremost, silence. A vast, enveloping silence that weighs you down and puts you in a state where any unforeseeable, unidentifiable sounds can make you jump.

Philippe Besson and Molly Ringwald (Translator), Lie With Me: A Novel

Lie With Me was one of the best books I read in 2019. It first came to my attention months before it was released in English, lauded as the next Call Me by Your Name. Side note: Can we stop doing this? By this, I mean using one work of LGBT art as the reference for its successors ad nauseam until something else captures the attention of the mainstream crowd. Okay? Thank you! Anyway, I was immediately attracted to the gorgeous black-and-white cover and when I saw that it was translated from the French by Molly Ringwald (yes, that one!), I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Even in 2021, even in progressive areas of the world, the simple fact of existing as an LGBT person can invite stigma, ostracism, and violence.

Luckily, it did not disappoint. No spoilers, but Besson’s novel is not an easy read. Because of the world LGBT people are forced to inhabit, so much of our lives are lived under a veil of secrecy, which engenders both shame and repression, neither of which are healthy. If not for love, we would all perish. Even in 2021, even in progressive areas of the world, the simple fact of existing as an LGBT person can invite stigma, ostracism, and violence. My hope is that one day everyone will wake up and realize that love is valid and should be celebrated in whatever configuration it expresses itself.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 9th, 2021

Call Me by Your Name: A Novel by André Aciman

Is it better to speak or die?

Call Me by Your Name: A Novel by André Aciman

Note: Even though I took today’s quote from Aciman’s novel, most of my commentary references the film adaptation of the same name. But you know how things go here at The Voracious Bibliophile—we start off on one path together and end up taking another road entirely. Enjoy!

This is, in my opinion, one of the best quotes from CMBYN. I can’t remember exactly how the scene plays out in the novel (time for a re-read), but in the film, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is being counseled and comforted by his parents, Samuel and Annella (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar, respectively), about his love troubles. Now, Elio never really comes out and says exactly what (who) is troubling him, but they are not fools. That aside, anyone living in the same house with Elio and Oliver (Armie Hammer), their gorgeous summer house guest, would have to be completely oblivious not to notice the mutual sexual attraction that practically crackles every time they’re in the same room together.

I mean, is there any delicate way to tell your parents not only that you like boys but that you’re both enjoying and being tortured by a once-in-a-lifetime summer love affair with their houseguest?

This scene in particular is as heartwarming as it is awkward. I mean, is there any delicate way to tell your parents not only that you like boys but that you’re both enjoying and being tortured by a once-in-a-lifetime summer love affair with their houseguest? Now, don’t misread me. The Perlmans are highly-educated and cosmopolitan. They have same-sex couple friends and wouldn’t think twice about their son becoming involved with another man. No, their concern stems from that basic parental instinct that kicks in when you know your child is in pain. Annella caresses her son’s hair while he lies in his father’s lap, and she reads from the book containing the line which provides us with today’s quote.

In that moment, you become part of the scene, and a feeling of exposure, of becoming emotionally naked, surrounds you and fills you up. Returning to reality feels not unlike leaving Eden, filled with a beautiful and terrible knowledge.

Anyone who can watch this scene and not ache with longing must have their soul stripped of all feeling. The world around you disappears and the wall that separates the performers from the spectators crumbles. In that moment, you become part of the scene, and a feeling of exposure, of becoming emotionally naked, surrounds you and fills you up. Returning to reality feels not unlike leaving Eden, filled with a beautiful and terrible knowledge.

Bonus: I found a YouTube clip of the scene where this line is spoken, and it’s just as powerful after repeat viewings.

Double Bonus: The entire soundtrack to CMBYN is sublime, but Sufjan Stevens’s “Mystery of Love” is on another plane entirely. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 8th, 2021

Call Me by Your Name: A Novel by André Aciman

We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.

André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name: A Novel

Call me basic if you want to, but I love CMBYN (both the book and the film adaptation). It is full of passion, angst, remembrance, and regret—all the hallmarks of a devastating love story. You can’t really pigeonhole Aciman’s novel, though; it is just as much a philosophical treatise as it is a story of love and heartache.

Forewarning: I’m cheating because for the next several days I’ll have multiple quotes from the same book/work. Quotes are like potato chips—it’s hard to just pick one.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.