Courting a book-lover is no easy feat. Yes, their affections can be bought for the price of a nice hardcover, but regular pickup lines just aren't going to cut it with them. They've read too much literary nonsense, and their romantic expectations are high — if you're not proposing to them on a windswept moor, it's not good enough. But never fear: Here are some literary pickup lines stolen directly from the classics, to impress that cutie you're always running into at the independent bookstore.
Now, I'm not promising that quoting Henry Miller to a stranger at the library or charming literary coffee shop is going to win them over right away. Book-lovers can be a skittish folk. Complimenting them in public might cause them to panic and fling a latte in your face as they flee the charming literary coffee shop, book in hand. But if you can show the object of your affection that you read widely (or at least, read carefully curated lists of literary quotes on the internet), they just might want to get to know you better.
So here are a few quotes to break the ice with your well-read crush. Just remember, for your own safety, try not to chat anyone up while they're reading:
1. "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
2. "I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees."
― Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair
3. "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
4. "For a fellow who’s not to much to look at, you have the instincts of a champion."
― Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence
5. "I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love."
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love In The Time of Cholera
6. "Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot."
― D.H. Lawrence, Complete Works
7. "What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse."
― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
8. "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope."
― Jane Austen, Persuasion
9. "You are adorable, mademoiselle. I study your feet with the microscope and your soul with the telescope."
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
10. "You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught."
— Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
11. "Do I love you? My god, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches."
— William Goldman, The Princess Bride
12. "Your name is a golden bell hung in my heart. I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name."
— Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
13. "I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you—and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one."
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
14. "I do love nothing in the world so well as you—is not that strange?"
—William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
15. "Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it."
― Toni Morrison, Jazz
16. "Kiss me, and you will see how important I am."
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals
Images: Focus Features; Giphy (17)