Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

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1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

This is a fantastic quotation because it sets the tone for Austen’s tongue-in-cheek style and characterization—of Mrs. Bennet especially. You just KNOW that that’s exactly what Mrs. Bennet thinks.

2. “It was like running on the walkway at L. A. International. You get it?”
“Not exactly, no.”
“It’s a moving belt,” she said. “About a quarter of a mile long.”
“I know the walkway,” he said, “but I don’t see what you’re—”
“You just stand there and it carries you all the way to the baggage-claim area. But if you want, you don’t have to just stand there. You can walk on it. Or run. And it seems like you’re just doing your normal walk or your normal jog or your normal all-out sprint—whatever—because your body forgets that what you’re really doing is topping the speed the walkway’s already making. That’s why they have those signs that say slow down, moving rampway near the end. When I met you it felt as if I’d run right off the end of that thing onto a floor that didn’t move anymore. There I was, my body nine miles ahead of my feet. You can’t keep your balance. Sooner or later you fall right on your face. Except I didn’t. Because you caught me.” – Stephen King, It

Okay, let’s all say it together: AWWWWW. Who said Stephen King can’t write a good romance?? I have always loved this part. It always really struck me as a good analogy for falling in love—one day you’re just bopping along and the next everything you think is kind of just turned upside down. Ah, love.

3. “Reader, I married him.” – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Ah, I love Jane Eyre. I’m always so glad to get to the end and see that she gets the happiness that she deserves. And I love her narration. Doesn’t it feel like you’re sitting with a good friend who you’re catching up with after years and years?

4. “When I was a little kid I thought like a little kid, but now I’m five I know everything.” – Emma Donoghue, Room

Is this not the epitome of how five-year-olds think? I remember all my cousins growing up and saying things like this—how they’re “not a little kid” now that they’re four, but our other cousin, who is still three but almost four, is still a baby because she’s three.

5. “So you don’t dazzle them with your blazing intellect. Get over it!” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I wrote my final freshman honors seminar paper on Marcus Aurelius my first year of college. I think I compared his Meditations to Ecclesiastes from the Bible (and possibly something else but I don’t remember what). A friend actually gave me the idea when he complained in class one day that reading Meditations was like reading a self-help book called “How to Live Your Life in Ten Easy Steps.” So I took that and I’m pretty sure that was the title of my paper, and I took a bunch of quotes from Meditations and Ecclesiastes and arranged them into “subjects” and…okay yeah it was a pretty crappy paper, but my point is this: I really enjoyed reading Meditations simply because it was almost exactly like my friend said—just some guy’s notes and random thoughts about how to be a better person. And this particular quote has stuck with me for a long time, because it’s something I have to remind myself of decently often.

6. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26 (or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, page 328)

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

7. “…she got together her books, arranged them to her fancy, and secured to herself for the future occupations of leisure hours, the exhaustless fund of entertainment which reading, that richest, highest, and noblest source of intellectual enjoyment, perpetually affords.” – Fanny Burney, Cecilia

Oh, how I wish I had enough leisure hours to just sit around surrounded by books. One day I will have a room dedicated entirely to reading…

8. “I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been—if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you—you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.” – C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

There were a lot of quotations I could have picked from the Narnia series, but I chose this one because it embodies very well something that always amazes me about certain authors: the ability to take something that seems impossible to put into words—or something that you never even thought to try to put into words—and put it into words. I’ve never really thought about that emptied-out exhaustion that follows a good cry, other than to think it feels good sometimes, but C. S. Lewis just puts it so perfectly.

9. “There is no such thing as a lousy job—only lousy men who don’t care to do it.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

As someone of the Occupy generation—but who only sort of agrees with what they’re saying—this quotation resonates with me. Degree or no degree, there is nothing wrong with flipping burgers, especially when you can’t find a job doing anything else. Maybe I can’t talk because I was one of the lucky ones who found a job right out of college, but I was fully prepared to work retail or food service or whatever it took to make sure I could pay off my loans (and move to Maryland so I could be with my boyfriend). What I think these people don’t get is that our parents’ generation doesn’t expect us to flip burgers forever; they just believe (and rightly, in my opinion) that we should not feel as though we are “above” flipping burgers while we apply to other jobs that suit our interests, talents, and, yes, degree. Because yeah, you kind of are an entitled asshole if you think you’re above doing an honest day’s work for a paycheck, however small.

10. “I am haunted by humans.” – Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

For those of you who haven’t experienced The Book Thief, you need to. It’s amazing. It’s narrated by Death—not a shrieking, scythe-carrying Death, but a reluctant, tired, desperately sad Death—who is indeed haunted by humans and the atrocities they commit during the Holocaust. This quote basically sums up the whole book.

This weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

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16 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

    • Yeah, it was hard to pick just ten! But on the other hand, I don’t really keep a list of “favorite quotes” so I kind of had to just sit in front of my bookshelf and grab random books that I like and use quotes from there…plus Google and Goodreads helped a lot too!

  1. 1) Love the Room quote and book.
    2) I have The Book Thief on my nightstand waiting for me to finish Howards End is on the Landing and I’m very excited about it!

  2. 1, 6, 10!! I really need to read The Book Thief, I’ve seen so many quotes from there that I positively LOVE! My co-blogger says everyone should read it, ha. Lovely list!

  3. The Marcus Aurelius quote is brilliant, and I love the 1 Corinthians / Deathly Hallows quote as well. Who says Harry Potter doesn’t have overt Biblical themes!? HA!

    • Thanks! I vaguely remember Harry Potter coming out and my grandmother having a minor panic attack about “witchcraft”–but I’m sure she’d love to see that 1 Corinthians makes an appearance!

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