There were so many things in this book for me to love: it's set during WWII, Monsieur LeBlanc is a locksmith with cabinets full of keys, the heroine Marie-Laure loves books, there are many conversations about science and the sea, the leading women are intelligent, and the writing is lyrical. I didn't even notice it was 544 pages.
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.
It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”
Interesting article on "the Church of self" - an excerpt:
As usual, the Bard of Avon got there first. In “Hamlet,” Shakespeare puts the mantra of authenticity into the mouth of the ever-idiotic windbag Polonius in his advice to his son, Laertes: “To thine own self be true.” This is just before Polonius sends a spy to follow Laertes to Paris and tell any number of lies in order to catch him out.
And who, finally, is more inauthentic than Hamlet? Ask yourself: is Hamlet true to himself, doubting everything, unable to avenge his father’s murder, incapable of uttering the secret that he has learned from the ghost’s lips, and unwilling to declare his love for Ophelia whose father he kills? Hamlet dies wearing the colors of his enemy, Claudius. We dare say that we love “Hamlet” not for its representation of our purportedly sublime authenticity, but as a depiction of the drama of our radical inauthenticity that, in the best of words and worlds, shatters our moral complacency.
From Herman Melville in Moby Dick:
"With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales."