If you’re anything like me, you keep a notebook of your favourite book quotations. It’s a fancy book, perhaps gilded or with some nice patterns on it, because as we all know, pretty covers make books just a little bit more interesting. (Incidentally, the same rule applies to all of the following: movie posters, mediocre wine, cheap t-shirts, and all the men you met before the age of twenty seven.) But sometimes there are also some incredible quotations inside those covers. I’m using today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt to explore some of my favourites.
My Top Ten Favourite Quotations
Marquez’s writing is so beautiful that it’s hard to pick just one quotation to focus on. But for me it’s always been this one from Of Love and Other Demons, because reading it for the first time was like being struck by a lightning bolt. For me it captures the complexities of self-knowledge so well, and so very simply.
Carl Sagan’s famous quotation comes at the end of a passage about the fact that every atom in our body was originally forged in the heart of a dying star. It’s an incredible realisation, one that takes you out of your mundane, everyday existence, and carries you out into the universe, if only for a moment.
The motto of eager travellers the world over, “Not all those who wander are lost” has a beautiful simplicity to it. Forget for a moment that it’s from a book about miniature, hairy-legged men walking across a fantasy landscape to dispose of a jacked-up wedding ring. It gets at the heart of some very basic human fears: the fear of losing your way, both in a physical and in a figurative sense.
I’ve scoured other translations of Les Misérables into English for this quotation, but I can’t say I like any of them as much as I like Norman Denny’s. The phrase “organised handful of dust” echoed in my head long after I finished reading Les Misérables.
We spend a great deal of time thinking about what’s good or bad – which is of course a very good thing – but this quotation from Good Omens illustrates how often we divide people’s actions into very black and white categories, rather than appreciating that human behaviour is, more often than not, simply a reflection of a person’s humanity.
Mr Bennet, despite being a pretty terrible father, does have some cracking lines in Pride and Prejudice. This is one of my favourites, because it acknowledges the inherent silliness of human society.
Trying to pick your favourite Shakespeare quotation is like trying to pick your favourite kind of chocolate. What to choose? Milk chocolate (“To be or not to be”)? Bitter chocolate (“All the world’s a stage”)? Or just plain nutty (“You Banbury cheese!”)? Like a Cadbury bar, this quotation may not be the very best available, but it’s still pretty darn amazing.
I may have forgotten what I was talking about. I just know I’m craving chocolate now.
It’s so difficult to pick just one Terry Pratchett quotation. Not only are there thousands of wickedly funny ones, but so many of them are also incredibly profound to boot. But since I read Hogfather recently, this quotation has been on my mind a lot. It perfectly illustrates Pratchett’s ideas about stories and why they’re such a huge part of what it means to be human.
Anybody who doubts Jane Austen’s title as the original Queen of Snark should be referred to the above quotation – posthaste.
Dumbledore makes so many powerful speeches in the Harry Potter series that it’s almost impossible to decide which one is the best, but this particular one has always been my favourite. It cheerfully pokes fun at the nature of reality, and I very much enjoy that.
What are some of your favourite quotations?