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We all know that books are the best source of wisdom, inspiration and guidance. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder of why we love reading so much. These quotes from some of my favorite books will show you how much wisdom and humor can be found between their pages. Whether you’re a mom looking for a little pick-me-up or simply an avid reader, these quotes are sure to make you smile!
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As you get older, you realize that some books are just better than others. Not necessarily because they’re classic literature or anything, but because they resonate with you on a personal level.
Some of the most important and timeless lines about life, love, and everything in between have come from great literature. Writers may put words to sentiments and situations that we can’t quite express ourselves, leaving us with phrases that linger long after we’ve finished reading. From gothic classics to modern young adult books, readers have discovered moving phrases.
We’re sometimes moved by a quote we didn’t realize came from a book. “Not all people who wander are lost,” I’d heard a million times before, but I had no idea it came from a popular fantasy series. I looked at some of the most memorable and emotional quotes from literature throughout history to compile this list. Here are some of the best literary quotes and the books from which they come, for readers seeking for a new inspirational read or wondering where some of the greatest lines came from.
“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”
Sethe, a runaway slave who is still hiding from her past 18 years later, is the protagonist of “Beloved,” a Pultizer Prize-winning historical fiction. Sethe’s history and present intersect when a mystery adolescent girl appears with the same name carved on her child’s tombstone, both symbolically and practically haunted by her memories.
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Little Women Kindle Edition
This beloved classic follows four sisters — Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy — as they struggle to live during the Civil War in New England. This tale, first published in 1869, has enthralled readers for years as they follow the sisters on their individual paths to womanhood.
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.”
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
“Slaughterhouse-Five,” first published in 1969, is an anti-war novel about Billy Pilgrim, who joins the US Army as a chaplain’s aide during World War II. While the story starts with Billy’s childhood and ends years after the war, Billy travels through time on occasion to ponder on his life, humanity, and the destructive effects of war.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
by Paulo Coelho
“The Alchemist” is a wise and compelling narrative of a young lad named Santiago who goes from Spain to Egypt in search of a treasure buried among the Pyramids. Santiago faces several challenges on his journey, meets interesting new people, and discovers far more than the wealth he was looking for.
“There is always something left to love.”
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Buenda family’s wonderful multi-generational saga begins with José Arcadio Buenda, the municipality of Macondo’s founding patriarch. This story uses magical realism to examine unique moments in time by following seven generations of the family through feuds, friendships, and technological developments.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
“The Hate U Give” is a powerful and important young adult novel about Starr Carter, a 16-year-old whose best friend, Khalil, is shot and killed by police. Everyone wants to know what actually occurred when his death makes national headlines, but Starr is well aware of the risks of sharing the truth as well as the costs of remaining silent.
“They say nothing lasts forever but they’re just scared it will last longer than they can love it.”
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel
by Ocean Vuong
This beautiful and poetic tale is a letter from a son to his illiterate mother. In this stunning work about humanity and language, Little Dog is in his twenties, exploring and speaking freely about sexuality, masculinity, loss, and race as he unravels his family’s past entrenched in Vietnam, leading to an unforgettable ending.
“Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for.”
“Catch-22” is about Yossarian, a bombardier during World War II who is furious that thousands of opponents are attempting to murder him while his army continues to increase the amount of deadly missions he is expected to fly. Yossarian is caught in a Catch-22 situation: a bureaucratic rule states that personnel who continue to fly dangerous missions should be judged mad, but if they seek to be removed, they are found to be sane and therefore ineligible for relief.
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”
The Bell Jar: A Novel
by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar” is a haunting masterpiece. The story follows Esther Greenwood, a young lady in Boston who suffers from melancholy and anxiety, which worsens over time.
“Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”
The Color Purple
by Alice Walker
“The Color Purple,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, is a brilliant and essential novel about the hidden abuse of Black women in the twentieth century. In this narrative of bravery and redemption, Celie and Nettie are sisters who were separated as youngsters but continue to connect and share messages of hope through letters that sustain them through seemingly insurmountable grief.
“Now that I knew fear, I also knew it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass.”
The Round House: A Novel
The story of a little boy on the Ojibwe tribe in North Dakota whose culture and family are permanently transformed by a dreadful crime is told in this 2012 National Book Award winner. This multi-layered mystery is about much more than just discovering a culprit and seeking justice.
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
“Invisible Man,” a 1952 classic that changed American literature, tells the story of an anonymous man from the South who receives a scholarship to an all-Black school in Harlem but must compete in a terrifying and humiliating “battle royal” to secure his place. The narrator continues to strive for his originality in a world that doesn’t want him to be himself in this powerful and visceral novel about identity and belonging.
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
by Mary Shelley
“Frankenstein,” a horror classic first published in 1818, is about a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who brings a monster to life and departs his laboratory in disgust, only to return the next day to find the creature has vanished. Frankenstein’s monster recounts his creator the heartbreaking narrative of his first difficult days in the world in this novel that explores the dark force of estrangement.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince
A young prince encounters a pilot whose jet has crashed in the desert in this famous French children’s novel, and the pilot begins to tell him his narrative of journeying across numerous planets and all he has seen and learnt along the way. “The Little Prince,” one of the most widely translated stories in the world, is for readers of all ages who want to remember about the nostalgic purity of childhood.
“Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
“Don Quixote” is a 16th-century historical novel that is one of the best-selling books of all time. Quixano is a young aristocrat who, after reading innumerable romances and falling in love with the idea of chivalry, chooses to become a knight-errant. Quixano takes the humorous Sancho Panza along as his squire on his quest for knighthood as “Don Quixote de la Mancha.”
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
by Emily Bronte
“Wuthering Heights” is a classic 1847 gothic tale about two families, the Lintons and the Earnshaws, and their ties with Heathcliff, the Earnshaws’ adoptive son. Heathcliff’s young friendship with his benefactor’s daughter, Cathy, evolves and changes into a passionate and tangled romance in this classic full of intriguing characters.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s first book in a multi-volume autobiography series is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” This part depicts Maya Angelou’s early years, when she and her brother are taken to live with their grandmother in a small Southern town and face bigotry. Maya Angelou’s life is irrevocably changed as she returns to live with her mother after a horrific attack in this memoir about identity, racism, and optimism in the face of unfathomable circumstances.
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
The Handmaid’s Tale
Not long ago, Offred recalls having a good time with her husband and daughter. Offred is the Commander’s handmaid, compelled to lie down for him once a month and hoping she gets pregnant in this devastatingly evocative tale, set in a dystopian future where women are only regarded if they have healthy ovaries.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
When Hazel meets a lovely boy named Augustus in her support group, her terminal cancer diagnosis is postponed for a few years. They agree to read one other’s favorite novels after being drawn to each other immediately, initiating a whirlwind teenage romance full of love and heartache.
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
The Namesake: A Novel
Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, “The Namesake,” is about the Ganguli family, who abandon their traditional life in Calcutta and migrate to America shortly after their arranged marriage so Ashoke can attend MIT. Ashima names their child Gogol, and the meaning of his name follows him throughout his childhood as he navigates the demands of being a first-generation immigrant.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In this unique coming-of-age novel set in the 1990s, Charlie is a freshman in high school who is torn between passivity and a budding passion for life while also being stuck between childhood and adulthood. This book is a compilation of his letters to an unknown recipient, discussing the challenges he faces with his family, in school, and in his personal life.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
The Fellowship Of The Ring
The first novel in the famous fantasy “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The hobbit Bilbo Baggins entrusts young Frodo Baggins with an astonishing and hazardous responsibility in this book: to transport the mighty Ring to the Cracks of Doom and destroy it once and for all. In this popular and revered story, Frodo embarks on an epic journey across Middle-Earth.
Whether it’s a line from your favorite book or an epic poem, quotes have the ability to stick with us long after we hear them. They can be motivational, emotional, and even life-changing. I’ve shared some of my favorite literary quotes in this post, but I want to know—what’s your all-time favorite quote? Let me know in the comments below!
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