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Circling the Sun Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
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Circling the Sun Quotes Showing 1-30 of 272
“We’re all of us afraid of many things, but if you make yourself smaller or let your fear confine you, then you really aren’t your own person at all—are you? The real question is whether or not you will risk what it takes to be happy.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Things come that we never would have predicted for ourselves or even guessed at. And yet they change us for ever.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“I’ve never travelled,” I told her. “Oh, you absolutely should,” she insisted, “if only so that you can come home and really see it for what it is. That’s my favourite part.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Sometimes when you're hurting, it helps to throw yourself at something that will take your weight.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Proper learning isn’t just useful in society, Beryl. It can be wonderfully yours, a thing to have and keep just for you.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Denys understood how nothing ever holds still for us, or should. The trick is learning to take things as they come and fully, too, with no resistance or fear, not trying to grip them too tightly or make them bend.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“We can only go to the limits of ourselves. Anything more and we give too much away. Then we're not good for anyone.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“I've sometimes thought that being loved a little less than others can actually make a person, rather than ruin them.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“There are things we find only at our lowest depths. The idea of wings and then wings themselves. An ocean worth crossing one dark mile at a time. The whole of the sky.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Miwanzo is the word in Swahili for “beginnings.” But sometimes everything has to end first and the bottom drop out and every light fizzle and die before a proper beginning can come along.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“We’re all of us afraid of many things, but if you make yourself smaller or let your fear confine you, then you really aren’t your own person at all—are you? The real question is whether or not you will risk what it takes to be happy.” She was referring to Jock, but her words made me think of other things, too. “Are you happy, Karen?” “Not yet. But I mean to be.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“How close people could be to us when they had gone as far away as possible, to the edges of the map. How unforgettable.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“I have fought for independence here, and freedom, too. More and more I find they’re not at all the same thing.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“He stared into his coffee, thinking quietly. "But you've never been afraid of anything, have you?"
"I have, though," I said, surprised at my own emotion. "I've been terrified... I just haven't let it stop me”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Searching out something important and going astray look exactly the same for a while, in fact.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“There are things we find only at our lowest depths. The idea of wings and then wings themselves. An ocean worth crossing one dark mile at a time. The whole of the sky. And whatever suffering has come is the necessary cost of such wonders, as Karen once said, the beautiful thrashing we do when we live.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“I’ve sometimes thought that being loved a little less than others can actually make a person, rather than ruin them.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Oh." It seemed I'd surprised him. "There isn't a lot of that kind of thinking around here."

"Of course there is," I told him, trying to draw a smile. "It's just usually a man who's doing it.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Let’s just say I’ve developed a theory that only the vanished truly leave their mark. And I still don’t feel I’ve sorted it out. Maybe we never do survive our families.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Maybe that’s the secret to surviving all sorts of trouble, knowing who you are apart from it, I mean.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“The sky had taken Denys, but I knew there was life up there, too-- a combination of forces suited to me, to how I was made, in powerful ways. That great soaring freedom and unimaginable grace came fully tethered to risk and to fear. Flying demanded more courage and faith than I actually posessed, and it wanted my best, my whole self. I would have to work very hard to be any good at it at all, and be more than a little mad to be great, to give my life over to it. But that's just what I meant to do.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Flying demanded more courage and faith than I actually possessed, and it wanted my best, my whole self. I would have to work very hard to be any good at it at all, and be more than a little mad to be great, to give my life over to it. But that's just what I meant to do.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“On safari, I saw Denys in sharper relief than I ever had. He had an infallible compass, and a way of seeing everything as if he knew it would never be there exactly the same again. More than anyone I’d known, Denys understood how nothing ever holds still for us, or should. The trick is learning to take things as they come and fully, too, with no resistance or fear, not trying to grip them too tightly or make them bend.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“For most of a day we walked through alkali flats, the white crust like a frosted layer of salt that rose in a powder when your boots punched through. We wore the chalk on us everywhere—up to our knees, in the creases of our fingers clenching the rifle strap, down in the cavity between my breasts, and in my mouth, too. I couldn’t keep it out and stopped trying. I couldn’t keep anything out, I realized, and that was something I loved about Africa. The way it got at you from the outside in and never let up, and never let you go.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Have you ever seen stars like this? You can’t have. They don’t make them like this anywhere in the world.” Above our heads, the sky was a brimming treasure box. Some of the stars seemed to want to pull free and leap down onto my shoulders—and though these were the only ones I had ever known, I believed Denys when he said they were the finest. I thought I might believe anything he said, in fact, even though we had just met. He had that in him.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“People interest me so much. They’re such wonderful puzzles. Think of it. Half the time we’ve no idea what we’re doing, but we live anyway.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“I had come alive here...this was my home, and though one day it would all trickle through my fingers like so much red dust, for as long as childhood lasted it was a heaven fitted exactly to me. A place I knew by heart. The one place in the world I'd been made for.”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“The pilgrims and the lost often did look the same,”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“Sometimes I’ve thought it’s only our challenges that sharpen us, and change us, too—a mile-long runway and nineteen hundred pounds”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun
“what I’d really like to know is how it feels to be on my own. Not someone’s daughter or wife, I mean…but my own person.” “Oh.” It seemed I’d surprised him. “There isn’t a lot of that kind of thinking around here.” “Of course there is,” I told him, trying to draw a smile. “It’s just usually a man who’s doing it.” —”
Paula McLain, Circling the Sun

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