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.


Cozy Printable Bookmarks for Fall

As I write this, I’m sitting in my favorite armchair (this one) in my favorite socks (these) about to pick up and read my newest book (reading this after receiving the recommendation from a fellow blogger!).

best socks for reading

In fact, those socks are so fantastic that I wrote a long ode to them on Instagram. You know that feeling you get when you’ve got all your favorite things surrounding you, and you finally settle in to work? It’s bliss.

So today let’s celebrate cozy fall favorites.

A favorite blanket. A favorite armchair. A favorite sweater. A favorite coffee mug. All of these come together to make what we around here call Peak Fall. Peak Fall is that moment when you’re head-over-heels for basic fall favorites, and you don’t give a flying foliage who knows it.

That’s why today I want to give you guys the one accessory you’re probably missing for getting cozified (Is that a word? Should we care?).  It’s for that moment when you’re nestled up in your book nest, wrapped in your favorite blanket, hands around a warm mug and feet inside the perfect pair of socks.

It’s a bookmark!

free printable bookmark

How else will you mark your spot between sips of warm cider? We have to think of the practicalities here, you know.

I wanted to make this bookmark as pretty + practical as possible, so I designed it with a few little reminders of what else you need for the perfect reading session.

free printable bookmark

So if you love books + blankets + hot coffee + warm socks as much as I do (and I know you do!) then go ahead and download this free bookmark.

free printable bookmark


I loaded it up with all the cozy fall essentials you’ll need, as well as one of my favorite John Green quotes:

“Reading forces you be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.” — John Green

free printable bookmark

I hope this bookmark helps you mark out a few minutes each day to get lost in a book, surrounded by all your cozy fall favorites.

Click here to download this free printable bookmark!

By the way, did you know I also have a free printable summer-themed bookmark? You betcha. Grab it here!

What I’m Reading This Week:

New York Times Company Buys The Wirecutter (Sydney Ember for The New York Times): This is a fascinating new development in the world of online affiliate marketing, where media sources of any kind can receive commissions for products sold through their links. This is already incredibly popular with bloggers, and publishers are also revamping their sites to allow for both affiliate sales and direct-to-consumer sales. But to see a big media outlet like the NYT make an acquisition around affiliate sales–now that says a lot.

The Unusual Eating Habits of Successful People (Unum): Guess who ate carrots for weeks at a time because he thought it prevented body odor and allowed him to shower just once a week? (If you guessed Jarrett, I’m laughing right along with you!)

Honoring the Commander Herself (CJ Lotz for Garden & Gun): “Behind the talents of chefs from Emeril Lagasse to Tory McPhail to the late Jamie Shannon and Paul Prudhomme stands one woman—the New Orleans restaurateur Ella Brennan.”

Which Indie Bookstore Are You? (Lauren Friedlander for Glommable): I usually never take these silly online quizzes, but this one was short and I couldn’t resist. It turns out I’m Powell’s Books in Portland, although I’m convinced that’s just because Omnivore wasn’t one of the results!

What We’re Cooking This Week:

Monday: No-recipe Monday (ahem, not quite in sync with the NYT’s No-Recipe Wednesday). But we were at a wedding in NYC all weekend and had nary a minute to menu plan until it was too late! So Trader Joe’s brats and roasted cauliflower with lemon and olive oil it was. Oh, the glamorous life of a cookbook agent.

Tuesday: One-Pan Lemon Garlic Pasta, recommended to me by one of my authors. This got thumbs up from both of us, especially with extra basil and some broccoli on the side.

Wednesday: Grilled Steak over Greek Salad (with extra olives and chickpeas, of course).

Thursday: Canal House Lentils with more cauliflower. I’ve got it bad for cauli these days.

Friday: Panic and dismay. Or maybe eggs for dinner? Yeah, eggs. We’ll call it a frittata and go along on our merry way.

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone!

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