Not all who wander are lost.
I’m a relatively quick reader. But I often stumble upon a line, passage, or even an entire scene that brings me to an immediate stop. Sometimes it’s just a beautiful turn of phrase, but sometimes I find myself realizing, “this is why I picked this book up, and I didn’t even know it.”
Readers connect with books because the story is moving, or funny, or scares the hell out of them. Some stories are so powerful that they can take your breath away. And while some quotes seem to be almost universally beloved, I find that many of the lines that strike a chord with me are the ones that happen when I least expect it. Whether it’s a line of dialogue that makes you laugh out loud, cry, or possibly just set the book down for a moment to think about why you suddenly find your breath stuck in your throat, the magic of writing is an author’s ability to reach inside their reader and touch a nerve.
I think the quotes you most clearly remember are the ones you needed at the time you read them – be it a life lesson, or a moment of levity during a stressful week of work or school, or a gorgeously phrased sentence or passage.
Whatever the reason, some words and some characters take up root in your brain or soul and live there forever.
Please enjoy these moments that stand out to me as favorites:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time just a few years ago (yes, I know… I don’t know what the hold up was, either) and it’s so great. I understand, now, why this novel is so beloved. It remains an important book about our American journey.
“Atticus, you must be wrong.”
“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong. . .”
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Those of you out there who only know Jamie from the Starz series don’t even know how wonderful he is in the novels. I just love him. Where is my Jamie Fraser?
“I’ve seen ye so many times,” he said, his voice whispering warm in my ear. “You’ve come to me so often. When I dreamed sometimes.When I lay in fever. When I was so afraid and so lonely I knew I must die. When I needed you, I would always see ye, smiling, with your hair curling up about your face. But ye never spoke. And ye never touched me.”
“I can touch you now.” I reached up and drew my hand gently down his temple, his ear, the cheek and jaw that I could see. My hand went to the nape of his neck, under the clubbed bronze hair, and he raised his head at last, and cupped his face between my hands, love glowing strong in the dark blue eyes.
“Dinna be afraid,” he said softly, “There’s the two of us now.”
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
I love Magnus Bane. I would read 5,000 pages of Magnus Bane. #NotSorry
“Pardon me, but we did not have the time to exchange that kind of personal information,” Magnus said. “I could not have known! Moreover, I wish to assure both of you that I did not make any amorous advances on female monkeys.” He paused and winked. “I didn’t actually see any, so I never got the chance.”
Ragnor looked very regretful about all the choices that had led to his being in this place and especially in this company. Later he stooped and hissed, low enough so Giuliana could not hear and in a way that reminded Magnus horribly of his monkey nemesis: “Did you forget that you can do magic?”
Magnus spared a moment to toss a disdainful look over his shoulder.
“I am not going to ensorcel a monkey! Honestly, Ragnor. What do you take me for?”
There are so many more! So many, in fact, that this is going to have to turn into a multi-part post. While you’re waiting for my next installment, share one of your favorite quotes in the comments.
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Stocksnap
Stephen Chbosky has a few of my faves. Forever, I have loved the quote “We accept the love we think we deserve” from Perks of Being a Wallflower. Then, when I read Imaginary Friend recently, this struck me: “Christopher looked up and smiled at his mother, who didn’t know she was covered in the light from one hundred billion stars.” Two of my favorite quotes, both from the same author. Go figure.