I can’t resist a good quote post. And The Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish today is Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books. So, yeah, this is happening.

But the subject is a lie, really. I love quotes. I have a database of quotes from movies and tv shows and books and anywhere else I might find them (it’s totally old school – I so need to recode it). I underline quotes I love in books. Yes, underline. In hard copy books. Even signed copies. (I know!!) I highlight quotes in my kindle. There’s a lot more highlights than quotes in my collection. I sometimes add quotes to my favorites in goodreads. Then copy them over to my database. quotes, quotes, quotes, quotes, quotes!

Sometimes I love them for their wisdom. Sometimes I love them for their poetry. Sometimes they say exactly what I’ve always known but never had the words to say. Sometimes they surprise me with truths I’ve never realized. Sometimes they just make me feel. Too many brilliant minds. Too many amazing words to choose from. So when the subject says top 10, it’s actually 13 that I picked from the 167 currently in my collection.

For the opposite of sin is faith, and never virtue, and we live in a world which believes that self-control can make us virtuous.
:: Madeleine L’Engle – Walking On Water

This is one of those – the truth of those words and the simple, elegant way she manages to say them just blows me away – kind of quotes.

Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
:: J.R.R. Tolkien – The Return of the King

The poetry of Tolkien is a staggering thing sometimes. I love the beauty of hope in the absolute darkness, the unconquerable nature of hope in his world.

“You know-pansy for thoughtfulness, yew for sorrow, bay for glory, dock for tomorrow? Roses are for love. Not forget-me-not, honeysuckle, silly sweethearts’ love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole, love that gets you through the worst your life’ll give you and that pours out of you when you’re given the best instead.”
:: Robin McKinley – Rose Daughter

Love… I tend to default to this quote when I’m looking for something about love because the simplicity of it; the easy way it’s woven into flowers is beautiful.

The only workable time machine ever invented is the science-fiction story.
:: Robert Silverberg – introduction to Trips in Time

I just like this one because science fiction people are the sort always trying to build time machines. I like that it exposes the fruitlessness of such an endeavor and at the same time says you’ve already got everything you’re looking for. p.s. I haven’t actually read this book.

But the world turns, and even legends change; and somewhere there is a border, and sometime, perhaps, someone will decide to cross it, however well guarded its thorns may be.
:: Robin McKinley – The Door in the Hedge

ah, fairies and stories and possibility and magic and danger. The mystery and hope in these words always makes me wistful.

Fairy’s side note: Even people who don’t believe in magic really do.
:: Janette Rallison – My Fair Godmother

true. And if you haven’t read Janette Rallison’s Godmother series, but you like fairy tale mash ups then I highly recommend it. I didn’t even include the quote about sharks.

We don’t want to feel less when we have finished a book; we want to feel that new possibilities of being have been opened to us. We don’t want to close a book with a sense that life is totally unfair and that there is no light in the darkness; we want to feel that we have been given illumination.
:: Madeleine L’Engle – Walking On Water

I think this entirely about books. You can see it in the quotes I chose. If I posted more reviews, you’d see it in my reviews. I need hope and light at the end even if the path leads through darkness.

Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere – be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.
:: Betty Smith – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I admit, there were only a handful of things I loved about this book. But this quote I like.

It feels like he’s taken your heart, doesn’t it?….Like he’s reached in and pulled it out from you. And I bet he smiles like he doesn’t know, like he doesn’t know he’s holding your heart in his hand and you’re dying from him.
:: Sarah Addison Allen – The Sugar Queen

Sarah Addison Allen has this amazing way of taking the things about her characters – the things they feel and love and fear and hope for – and making them tangible. Her books may not be young adult but they are absolute magic.

Safety is an illusion, Costis. A Thief might fall at any time, and eventually the day must come when the god will let him. Whether I am on a rafter three stories up or on a staircase three steps up, I am in my god’s hands. He will keep me safe, or he will not, here or on the stairs.
:: Megan Whalen Turner – The King of Attolia

Something of a theme in quotes I love are the ones that inspire boldness, risks, living life without fear. I probably have over a hundred of just those. If I were including quotes from outside books I also have a great one by Helen Keller.

The only wishes that will ever change you are the kind that may, at any moment, eat you whole.
:: Janette Rallison – My Fair Godmother

See, the lovely combination of both wishes and taking risks.

So I’d made my choice. I’d pushed my power down and held it there each day, with all my energy and will, without ever realizing it. I’d used up every bit of myself to keep that secret.
:: Leigh Bardugo – Shadow and Bone

And willfulness. The exercising of one’s will – whether in keeping secrets or braving the wishes that might eat you whole in order to live and love with everything in you.

“I’m sorry,” he says, “for that time I kissed you at that party and for that time at the wedding and more than anything for the thousand times that I wanted to and didn’t have the guts to.”
:: Melina Marchetta – Saving Francesca

There are far too many wonderful quotes from Melina Marchetta to actually manage to choose one, and yet I did. Not from the Lumatere Chronicles, though I love those books and those words. But this one, because there’s hope in it. And beauty and pain all woven together. Because that’s what Melina Marchetta does.


So, tell me, even if you didn’t do your own TTT post. Or maybe especially if you didn’t. What are some of your favorite quotes from books?

Posted in: Books ~ ,


6 responses to “Top Ten Quotes from Books

  1. “…we live in a world which believes that self-control can make us virtuous,” is in line with a C.S. Lewis quote I read recently. Definitely thought provoking! And that second quote from Walking on Water is SO spot-on how I feel about books too. Sounds like I really need to read this book!

    • Annie

      I was totally thinking Walking on Water is a book I should recommend to you when I was going through my quotes 🙂 It’s specifically about art and faith and writing. And she has a lot of the same sort of ideas about it that Tolkien and Lewis have so knowing your love of Lewis… you should definitely check it out.

  2. Awesome quotes. 😀 I think my favorite of these is either the Tolkien one or the “Let me be something” one. Though I do love the one from The King of Attolia . . . just about everything Eugenides says is awesome. xD

    • Annie

      thank you! I wish I could take some sort of credit for these quotes other than finding them. I’m glad you liked enough of them that it’s hard to choose a favorite – it was totally hard for me too 🙂

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