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December 6, 2023

Collecting Quotes: A Year in Books

As this year winds down, I challenge you for 2024 to collect quotes as you read or listen. Here are my top 10 one-liners from 10 of my favorite books I’ve read in 2023.


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I love quotes. Like, really, really love them. I savor them, and I wish I had said them. I devour them, allowing the quotes to feed my soul and help me grow. I also love to read; but a while ago, I discovered that unless I were to completely change my life, I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like (see my recent self-care blog here). Instead, I listen to audiobooks. (Is it really reading? Check out my thoughts on that debate here.) I put them on while cleaning, driving and during my free moments at school. I generally get through one a week. I jot down quotes in my notebook, and I can snap back to a book at any time, just by the voice that is captured. My only rule for myself is that I only choose one-liners. I love this plan because it is kind of like collecting bumper stickers, which I also love. 

As this year winds down, I challenge you for 2024 to collect quotes as you read or listen. Pick ones that resonate with you, or pick ones that are funny or inspiring. That’s up to you. As a writing teacher, I’m thinking about having my students collect quotes in 2024 from their independent reading books and create a slideshow—a lot like our playlist assignment (read the blog here). If students were to create a slideshow, it would be a really cool culminating project. It would make kiddos reflect while also acting as a sort of book talk to hook their classmates for recommendations for summer. 

Here are my top 10 one-liners from 10 of my favorite books I’ve read in 2023. I’ve added a little blurb after each that will give you the vibe of the book, and perhaps catch your attention for your 2024 “must read” book lists.

the seven husbands

No. 1—Taylor Jenkins Reid: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.

This book simply overtook my life. I couldn’t stop listening. It is love story, woman’s journey story, and also a really honest portrayal of what it is like to be a woman on the rise. 

Learn more about the book
ask again

No. 2—Mary Beth Keane: Ask Again, Yes

We repeat what we don’t repair.

This book’s characters became people I knew. Their story swept over me, and I was better from having known all of them. 

Learn more about the book
mad honey

No. 3—Jodi Picoult: Mad Honey

Sometimes, making the world a better place just involves creating space for the people who are already in it.

Being a mom is exhausting and exhilarating, and it is the greatest accomplishment of my life. As always, Jodi Picoult delivers her always-twisting-turning moral dilemmas in a breathtaking way

Learn more about the book
The weight of water

No. 4—Anita Shreve: The Weight of Water

I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?

Loosely based on real events, this story resonates as it takes on topics like isolation, mental illness, and the chaos of reckless love. 

Learn more about the book
the surgeons daughter

No. 5—Audrey Blake: The Surgeon’s Daughter

God came through a woman’s body.

Historical fiction at its best because it helps us to live vicariously; in this book, the protagonist experiences the thrill of being a surgeon while simultaneously having to protect herself from prosecution because women weren’t allowed to be surgeons.

Learn more about the book
the house of eve

No. 6—Sadeqa Johnson: The House of Eve

Can’t let nobody steal your joy, sweetness, or you goin’ live a miserable life.

This book is an excellent foray into topics like “passing” and racial/ economic profiling. The narrative is engrossing, but it really made me think about the games we play by both necessity and, at times, for our own ego. 

Learn more about the book
Love does

No. 7—Bob Goff: Love Does

Love relentlessly pursues the good of others and never gives up.

I’m not a huge nonfiction lover, but I do enjoy an inspirational/ how-to/ self-help book every now and again. Bob Goff is a master storyteller, and he reads the book with a charming drawl. 

Learn more about the book

No. 8—Matthew McConaughey: Greenlights

Don’t walk into a place like you wanna buy it, walk in like you own it.

Speaking of charming drawls, there’s always room in my life for Matthew McConaughey. This book is part autobiography, part challenge and part self-help book. It checks all the boxes for a great New Year’s read. 

Learn more about the book
the rose code

No. 9—Kate Quinn: The Rose Code

No one should tell their mother more than one-third of anything they get up to.

More historical fiction, but it is so much more than a story within a time frame. Instead, it shows us how we are all impacted by the times we live in. 

Learn more about the book
Hello beautiful

No. 10—Ann Napolitano: Hello Beautiful

She was no longer who she used to be, and she wasn’t yet whoever she was becoming.

Finally, this book was simply captivating. Who can’t relate to the story of “always becoming” that permeates most coming-of-age books? As I near age 50, I was struck with the notion that we are always in the process of reinventing. 

Learn more about the book

I’d love to know what your “must reads” are as well as some one-liners that have stayed with you. You can share with me on X (@MsAmberChandler), Instagram (@amberrainchandler), Threads (@amberrainchandler), or in the comments. I’m looking to create my list for 2024, so send them my way. 

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Amber Chandler

Amber Chandler is a National Board Certified middle school ELA teacher in Hamburg, New York with a Master’s Degree in Literature, as well as a School Building Leader certification.

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