My senior yearbook quote in high school was taken from Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan : “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” I can still remember how I felt when I first read those words during my first reading of a book that I ended up reading many times. There was something completely pure and true about it them, words strung together so eloquently that it stirred the angst dwelling within my adolescent heart even more than the angsty pop of early 2005 could.
Although I feel as though my yearbook quote has declared my favorite literature quote for all eternity, I still enjoy collecting snatches of writing that I think are beautiful. That's the beauty of books, they can inspire you, make you cry, make you feel thankful, and so much more. It's one of the true measure of the author's craft: the ability write not only engrossing plots and incredible characters, but also to spin a turn of phrase that can stick with a person long after the details of the book have faded.
It's in that spirit that I have collected 21 quotes from literature that will stick with you long after you've finished reading. Some of them are sad, some of them are full of love, but all of them are beautifully written.
1. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
2. “I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”
— Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”
3. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
— Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
4. "Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
— Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
5. “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
7. “It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
8. “It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
9. “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.... You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
10. "Love is like dying."
― Stephen King, Cycle of the Werewolf
11. “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven...”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
12. “Stories never really end... even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”
―Cornelia Funke, Inkspell
13. “Happiness [is] only real when shared.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
14. “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.”
— Robert Fulghum, True Love
15. “I’ve been fighting to be who I am all my life. What’s the point of being who I am, if I can’t have the person who was worth all the fighting for?”
— Stephanie Lennox, I Don't Remember You
16. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
17. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
— Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
18. “She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”
— Neil Gaiman, Stardust
19. "To die will be an awfully big adventure."
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
20. “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
— Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
21. “If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter.”
— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
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