The authors’ original words do their work more justice than any book review I write, and when grouped together, the quotes become atmospheric of the state they are set in. I hope you enjoy this addition of a “Favorite Quotes” series to my Andrea Reads America coverage.

Half Broke Horses:  A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls book coverFrom Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeanette Walls

“As I sat by my little fire at night, the coyotes howled just like they always had, and the huge moon turned the desert silver.”

“Arizona, with its wide open spaces and no one peering over your shoulder, had always been a haven for folks who didn’t like the law or other busybodies to know what they were up to.”

“Even women who got married should be capable of doing something, since men had such a habit of dying on you, and, from time to time, running off.”

“He was a stumpy little guy with skin the color of beef jerkey and thumbnails he left untrimmed because he used them to pry things open.”

“‘Lot of land,’ Jim said. ‘Not a lick of water.'”

“It was the height of summer, a scorching Arizona day that made the roof of the hearse too hot to touch.”

“The path wound down the sides of the camp through a series of steep switchbacks, passing walls of limestone and sandstone layered like giant stacks of old papers.”

La Maravilla by Alfredo Vea, Jr book coverFrom La Maravilla by Alfredo Véa, Jr.

“Don’t ever take sides against los desvalidos, the poor.”

“A colored shawl proudly flashed its bright red warp and green embroidered flowers; raven hair held out courses of grey; hoops of silver with turquoise stones on a single finger.”

“‘You act like you don’t understand that a marriage is not just for you. It is for la familia, too.'”

“The Arkies were kind of like Mexicans, the boy felt; they could suffer and do hard work and they always fed everybody’s kids.”

“Ghosts are like tumbleweeds. No one pays attention to the plant when it’s green. No one even knows what it’s called. But when it’s dead it receives a name and people who see the weeds rolling across open fields are suddenly stricken with sadness.”

“You know the Yaquis believe that God first reveals himself as a scent?”

“Here they throw their children out of the house and the children grow up and throw out the old ones and then everyone wonders why they’re all so lonely.”

“We know that science doesn’t make God smaller, it makes God bigger.”

“Can you think in all your World Books A through Z of one big leap of humanity that was ever accomplished by the majority, by all those people out there rushing like mad to be the same?”

“Death is the gift we must give in thanks for the bounty the world gives to us.”

“I wish I could mourn for him like those crazy Mexicanos. They bake death and eat it. They roll it in sugar and put it on sticks for the children to lick at.”

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver book coverFrom The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

“My mama said the Hardbines had kids just about as fast as they could fall down the well and drown.”

“Oklahoma made me feel like there was nothing left to hope for.”

“We crossed the Arizona state line at sunup. The clouds were pink and fat and hilarious-looking, like the hippo ballerinas in a Disney movie.”

“‘I don’t see how a body can grow no tobaccy if it don’t rain,’ Granny Logan said.
“‘They don’t grow tobacco here. No crops hardly at all, just factories and stuff, and tourists that come down here for the winter.'”

“We were flattened and sprawled across the rocks like a troop of lizards stoned on the sun.”

“You [Americans] believe that if something terrible happens to someone, they must have deserved it.”

“When people run for their lives they frequently neglect to bring along their file cabinets of evidence.”

“At three o’clock in the afternoon all the cicadas stopped buzzing at once. They left such an emptiness in the air it hurt your ears. Around four o’clock we heard thunder.”

“The air had sparks in it.”

“Everything alive had thorns.”

“To hell with them, people say, let them die, it was their fault in the first place for being poor or in trouble, or for not being white, or whatever, how dare they come into this country.”

“In Arizona things didn’t rot, not even apples. They just mummified.”

“I had come to my own terms with the desert, but my soul was thirsty.”

“It’s funny how people don’t give that much thought to what kids want, as long as they’re being quiet.”

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