Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Book Quotes

Another Top Ten Tuesday.  List requested today by Broke and Bookish is favorite book quotes.  I'm not very good at this, because I have terrible memory.  But I do have SOME favorite opening and closing lines.  Also I have been highlighting some favorite passages as I read Les Miserables, so I will toss out some of these.  (Oh and I'll skip Call Me Ishmael...that's too easy)


1.  We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge. Darker than Amber by John D. MacDonald. Yep, that will keep you reading.

2. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.  Neuromancer by William Gibson.  It's unfortunate that generations of readers won't really get this..."you mean sky was blue?"  But for those of us living and reading at the time this book was written it is a near perfect image.

3. It was Wang Lung's marriage day. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  Such matter of fact way to start this story of one man's epic journey from a poor, single farmer to successful family businessman.  This books was assigned in my English 101 class freshman year of college.  I don't remember much about the plot (I remember enjoying the book), but the first line is unforgettable, despite seeming like such a throw away line.  I probably need to re-read this some time.

4. My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.  Great Expections by Charles Dickens.  Another favorite book that I need to re-read.  This opener to me is astounding in it's ability to illuminate the character of Pip (uncertainty) in so few words...and right at the beginning of the book, no less.

5. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Every time, and I mean every time, I hear somebody getting all negative and critical of somebody else this line comes to my mind.


6. "Isn't it pretty to think so?" The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  This is impotent main character Jake's response to Lady Brett's comment that they could have been so good together.  It's just so Hemingway.

7. I never saw any of them again—except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.  The irony of this line is that Marlowe would be perfectly just in not wanting to see ANY of the characters populating this novel again, yet he almost laments the fact that these people are gone from his life.

Les Mis

8.  Some people are malicious from the mere necessity of talking. Their conversation, tattling in the drawing-room, gossip in the ante-chamber, is like those fireplaces that use up wood rapidly; they need a great deal of fuel; the fuel is their neighbor.  I don't know about you but I know a few of these people.

9. In vain we chisel, as best we can, the mysterious block of which our life is made, the black vein of destiny reappears continually.  A neat metaphor of fate.  I like how he bookends the line with vain and vein.

10. One can no more prevent the mind from returning to an idea than the sea from returning to a shore. In the case of the sailor, this is called the tide; in the case of the guilty, it is called remorse. Another neat metaphor from Hugo.

Ok, that wasn't so painful.  So, dear reader, what are some of your favorites?

Addendum:  a #11 because I can't believe I forgot it, and because it totally encompasses the first 25 years of my life.  This would fall under the "Closers" category.

11. You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. Ball Four by Jim Bouton. My favorite sports book.


  1. I haven't read any of your books either! But I do like the quotes, especially the one from Great Expectations.

  2. I need to read alot of these books that you shared quotes from! I have alot of them on my TBR list. I LOVE the Gatsby quote! I still need to read Pearl S. Buck..considering the fact I want to get married at the Pearl S. Buck house near where I live! haha

  3. I love Les Mis. And quote number 1 certainly gets your attention!

  4. Guys/Girls I had to add a number 11. I've edited my post.

  5. your quotes are so much more thoughtful than mine, haha

  6. These quotes are awesome! I almost shared a quote from The Good Earth since I recently read it but decided on something else instead so I'm glad you DID share! So many great quotes and others from books I need to read in your list!

  7. Ooooo. I especially like your last. Still thinking about that one!

    Mine is at www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com

  8. I love that you split up the list between opening lines, closing lines and Les Mis lines.

    The opening to The Great Gadsby is such a perfect first line.

  9. *Gatsby I wish I could use the excuse it's too early for me to spell things correctly but I'm awful at it at any hour :)

  10. Red - a quick peruse through my blog will show you that typos are kinda my thing...so much so that when editing I eventually throw my hand up and say 'the hell with it.' ;)

  11. see there's even a typo in my comment!