How to Save Your Favorite Quotes from Books

I’ve been rereading Bird by Bird the past few weeks, and I’m remembering how many underline-worthy sentences there are in it. I love those sorts of books—the ones that make you pause every few pages to dwell on and soak up a sentence that hits a vein of truth.

The problem is, we soak up the sentence but then forget it a few pages later when a new little gem emerges. I don’t know about you, but I have the worst memory. Jarrett has always had a knack for remembering quotes and favorite lines, but I would draw the longest “uhhhhhh….” if you asked me to name my favorite line from a book. It’s sad, really. And no matter how many times I read and reread a sentence, hoping to imprint it on my memory, it slips right through my fingers when I try to think of it later.

What to do, what to do? Outsource it!

That’s right–I’ve given up trying to stockpile favorite quotes in my brain, and now I just hoard them in places I can easily access anytime. Here are my two favorite ways to build a library of favorite quotes from books:

1. Evernote

Do you use Evernote? It’s life-changing. I know that sounds dramatic, but seriously: it’s my new deep memory.

I use it for everything: lists of what to get at Costco, favorite quotes, monthly reviews, recipes, ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts, links for my weekly roundups, workflow checklists, everything. I don’t know how I remembered any of this stuff before Evernote. Did I save it in separate Word files? Stick it in forgotten journals? I don’t know. My memory is so bad that I literally don’t remember how I used to remember things. (Wait, maybe I just didn’t remember things back then…)

But Evernote is now the external hard drive for my brain, and it’s one of my favorite ways to squirrel away the little gems I find in my reading.

I keep one Evernote notebook titled “Life,” and that’s where all my favorite passages go. There’s favorite lines from Anne Lamott, of course, but also plenty of snippets of things I’ve read or heard anywhere: in an article, from a song, in yoga class, at church, in magazines, and even a few sayings from my Yayo that I want to hold on to.

I like to think of it as my library of thought, which is a phrase I’ve cribbed from someone or other, and whose origin I would know if I had kept better notes on quotations from the very start. But anyway, a “Life” notebook is the perfect place to stick your nose into when you need to give yourself a pep talk or shake a little bit of perspective into your mind.

2. Art prints

Anyone who’s a very visual thinker like me will love saving their favorite quotes as art! Every once in a while, I get an itch to turn one of my favorite quotes into an art print, so that I can really see and put into images what a quote feels like to me. Isn’t it fun to close your eyes sometimes and visualize words? It’s what makes reading so magical.

I have a whole collection of book-inspired art prints here, but you should totally try making your own sometime! It’s a lot of fun, and there’s nothing better than having truly custom, meaningful-to-you art hanging around your home or talking sweetly to you by your writing desk.

I use InDesign or Illustrator for art prints, but you could use whatever design program gets you the look you want. And you might be surprised by how much fun you have thinking in images rather than words every once in awhile.

As I was reading Bird by Bird this week, I picked up this quote:

“Maybe all we can do is make our remaining time here full of gentleness and good humor.”

In the book, it’s just a little sentence tucked into a parenthetical, but it jumped out to me right away.

To me, this quote felt like The Little Prince: soft and whimsical yet panoramic.



Anne Lamott quote art print

So here it is for you: a free Anne Lamott quote art print!

Download this art print for free here!

Hang it by your writing desk, frame it and place it on your nightstand, or just print it and tape it anywhere it might make you smile. 🙂

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of one copy of Add a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics is…

Cathy Baker! Cathy says:

“I’m a HUGE Robyn Stone fan! I cook many of her dishes but my favorite is her Honey Soy Pork loin but my favorite Southern recipe is mac and cheese, like my grandmother made.

Also, I enjoyed this post on generosity and marketing. I launched my first book Tuesday and struggle to find my voice when it comes to marketing. I don’t have the budget to offer mixers and other expensive things to my readers but I do desire to be generous so I’ll need to find more practical ways. One thing I love about Robyn’s site is her willingness to share herself with the readers and if that’s not generous, I’m not sure what is. :)”


Thank you so much for reading and entering the giveaway, Cathy–we’re all sending positive thoughts your way for your first book launch!

What I’m Reading This Week:

The Therapeutic Benefits of Writing a Novel (Jessica Lourey for The Write Life): I’m a big believer in the healing power of writing (and reading!), and Jessica has such a powerful story of how writing helped her overcome her husband’s sudden suicide. I also completely agree that writing doesn’t have to be published to have meaning. No one–not me, not another literary agent, not a publisher–can decide whether your writing is worthwhile. As long as it helps you, it matters.

Writing Groups 101: How to Find Your Perfect Match (Kristen Pope on The Write Life): Make this summer the summer you get out of the house and actually meet some writers in your neighborhood!

Q&A: Jump Into Video and Make Mistakes, Says David Lebovitz (David Lebovitz on Video. You can’t escape it. So why not play around with it, pressure-free, and see how much fun you might be able to have? Here’s my guide for how introverted writers can dip their toes into video.

The Optimist’s Daughter (Eudora Welty): We’re off to Greece for our honeymoon next week, so I dug into my “To Read” list (which yes, lives on Evernote!) and pulled up this novella by Eudora Welty. I’m not sure you could call it a beach read, but read it on a beach I will.

What We’re Eating This Week:

Half the week in DC, half the week in NYC, then taking off for Greece = utter meal confusion.

Monday: One Pot Harissa and Beef Penne (adapted from SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow). I’ll be sharing this recipe with you all next week, dispatched from Greece where I will be blissfully off #TheGreeceDiet!

Tuesday: ??? Can question marks be a meal? Sometimes they’re all that comes to mind when I think about dinner.

Wednesday: Taking my mom out to dinner for Mother’s Day! I’m thinking salads. “Yes, salad. Right…” she murmured as she dreamed about linguine with clams.

Thursday: Drinks out with an editor and nibbling on whatever I can scavenge in the city.

Friday: I’ll be taking pitches at the Literary Speed Dating event at Food Book Fair, so come by and say hello! Also tell me what I should eat for dinner, because the imagination deficit is REAL this week. Wish me godspeed and a full belly.


10 book art prints to inspire you to read more

Jarrett and I watched The Little Prince last week, and I am smitten. Why had no one told me how cute this movie was when it first came out?!

I loved every bit of it: the gorgeous paper cut-out animation, the thoughtfully done adaptation and expansion of the storyline, the themes of finding adventure and wonder in books. The movie did a great job of keeping the ethereal and delicate tone of the book yet overlaying the struggles of modern life: how the cult of productivity and busyness has made for less spontaneous and unscheduled childhoods (and adulthoods!).

It made me feel like a little kid again–it’s that same happy, giddy feeling you get when you read a great book. So, in honor of The Little Prince, the start of spring, and the very cutest Google doodle (did you catch it on Monday?), I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite reading illustrations and art prints.

Reading and book art prints

I have a whole board of reading and book art prints on Pinterest, and sometimes I just open them up to smile and remember what it is that I love so much in books. (Follow me there, if you want more!)

10 Reading Art Prints to Remind You to Believe in Books

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Simini Blocker)

Reading and book art prints 7

(Source: Doodlemum)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: part of a WPA series)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Monica Castanys)

   Reading and book art prints 5

(Source: Book/Shop)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Book Geek Confessions)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Sarah Wilkins)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)

What I’m Reading This Week

Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use (Andrea Dunlop on This is such great advice–I see follower count trip up so many authors, yet it just isn’t an accurate predictor of the success of your book. Instead, focus on these 5 goals to stay motivated as you grow your author platform.

Writing the review in advance (Seth Godin): “The last click someone clicks before they buy something isn’t the moment they made up their mind. … We lay clues. That’s what it takes to change the culture and to cause action. The thing we make matters (a lot). But the breadcrumbs leading up to that thing, the conversations we hear, the experiences that are shared, the shadow we cast–we start doing that days, months and years before.”

The business of posting recipes online (Dreena Burton of Plant-Powered Kitchen): There isn’t a blogger out there who hasn’t had to work through this same emotional mire of seeing their work copied without credit, so it’s great to see a blogger discuss this so openly and yet so positively.

5 Scientifically Verified Reasons You’ll Hate Yourself if You Stop Writing (Chad Allen): “So much of winning at the writing game can be summarized succinctly in the immemorial words of Dory in Finding Nemo: Just keep swimming.”

How I Won 12 Book Awards for My Memoir (Judith Newton on Dianne Jacob’s blog):  Memoir can be a tough category to break-out in, so start here if you’re looking for ways to build buzz for your work!

10 Empowering Writer’s Retreats for Women (Ellen Turner on The Write Life): Feeling a little blah or overwhelmed in your writing life? Sounds like you need a retreat!

What We’re Eating This Week

What’s for dinner? Why, I thought you’d never ask!

Monday: Grilled shrimp greek salads, because Monday.

Tuesday: Chicken fajitas, made with a recipe by my author Robyn of Add a Pinch (Have you preordered her gorgeous book yet? It’s a weeknight lifesaver!)

Wednesday: Spaghetti with salumi and endives, adapted from Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry. Lordy, I love that book.

Thursday: The notes in my phone say: “Asian slow-cooked beef and mushrooms with rice and broccoli and snow peas.” AKA throw everything in the fridge in a pot, cover in sauce, cook, and serve over rice. #fancy

Friday: Last weekend Jarrett and I went to this fabulous event at the Museum of American History about the women behind America’s first cookbooks, and they demoed chicken croquettes and tomato butter sauce from The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph. All I had to hear was “add a stick of butter to the tomato sauce” and, boom, it was added to the meal plan. I’m powerful like that. (But actually, please say a little prayer for me in executing these–I’m cooking them as a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law and want them not to be, as Mary Randolph would put it, intolerable.)