Top Ten: Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was my top ten fourteen favorite book quotes. [Note: I did a Five Favorite post on quotes two years ago and three of those five show up here. LOLOL. #sorrynotsorry]

[Bran] looked up. Wrapped in his furs and leathers, mounted on his great warhorse, his lord father loomed over him like a giant. “Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid.”
“What do you think?” his father asked.
Bran thought about it.“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
“That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Perhaps some unbelievable guest would arrive, a person infinitely rare and to be marvelled at, some authentically radiant young girl who with one fresh glance at Gatsby, one moment of magical encounter, would blot out those five years of unwavering devotion.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I watched her for a long time, memorizing her shoulders, her long-legged gait. This was how girls left. They packed up their suitcases and walked away in high heels. They pretended they weren’t crying, that it wasn’t the worst day of their lives. That they didn’t want their mothers to come running after them, begging their forgiveness, that they wouldn’t have gone down on their knees and thanked God if they could stay.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

I wrote her college application essays, and she did my phone interviews. I called her immediately prior to taking my SATs, flying across the Atlantic, and losing my virginity. I have called from the post office, the grocery story, the DMV, the parkway toll plaza, elevators, cabs, the bathroom of the boy with the smallest penis I’ve ever seen. I do not know how to need her any less than I do.

Smart Girls like Me by Diane Vadino

If I was telling this story to the girls from back home, I would have to explain to them how it was possible to be drowning in a river of people and also to feel so very, very alone. But truly, I do not think I would have the words.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

“Tell me, then,” she said, unbuckling her seat belt and putting her arm around his waist. “Tell me now, won’t you ever wonder what it would have been like to be with someone else?”
“First, buckle up,” he said. She did. “I won’t wonder that because I already know what it would be like to be with someone else.”
“How do you know?” she said.
“I just do.”
“Then, what would it be like?”
“It would be less,” he said.
“Less?”
He looked over at her, just for a second, sitting sideways in her bucket seat, and squeezed the steering wheel. “It would have to be. I already love you so much. I already feel like something in my chest is going to pop when I see you. I couldn’t love anyone more than I do you, it would kill me. And I couldn’t love anyone less because it would always feel like less. Even if I loved some other girl, that’s all I would ever think about, the difference between loving her and loving you.”

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

To calm this girl down, to get her to listen, I tell her the story about my fish. This is fish number six hundred and forty-one in a lifetime of goldfish. My parents bought me the first one to teach me about loving and caring for another living, breathing creature of God. Six hundred and forty fish later, the only thing I know is everything you love will die. The first time you meet that someone special, you can count on them one day being dead and in the ground.

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

It wasn’t a small thing, to love a person. That was the gift she had offered him, had always offered him. And yet he had refused.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Sara waited a respectful time, knowing there was nothing she could do to ease the woman’s pain. Grief was a place, Sara understood, where a person went alone. It was like a room without doors, and what happened in that room, all the anger and the pain you felt, was meant to stay there, nobody’s business but yours.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

This morning, I had parents. This morning, they ate breakfast.
I fall to my knees, right there on the back stoop, howling into splayed hands.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

“So drive, Layla. I love you.” It’s a heavy load for those three words. Because what she means is I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was busy and I’m sorry I have to go inside and I might not see you again and I didn’t tell you enough that I’m proud of you, even though you do stupid shit, because it comes from the right place and that’s rare and precious, and you’ll grow up to be a good woman, and you won’t make the same dumb mistakes I did, you’ll make your own, but hopefully only to get you on course, and the world is greater and richer with you in it, sugarbean.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

“You justify anarchy,” Tyler says. “You figure it out.”

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Words have a longevity I do not. I had thought I could leave her a series of letters – but what would they say? I don’t know what this girl will be like when she is fifteen; I don’t even know if she’ll take to the nickname we’ve given her. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.
That message is simple:
When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself… do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Five Favorite: Quotes

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous topics, click here.

Quotes are tricky. What makes a reader dog-ear a page to come back to? Underline a string of words? Write them down? Memorize them? Half of the things I think I want to savor, I end up re-reading and then deciding they aren’t worth the effort it would take to save. But the five below, those are some of my favorite.

I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation.  It is too long ago.  I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I watched her for a long time, memorizing her shoulders, her long-legged gait.  This was how girls left.  They packed up their suitcases and walked away in high heels.  They pretended they weren’t crying, that it wasn’t the worst day of their lives.  That they didn’t want their mothers to come running after them, begging their forgiveness, that they wouldn’t have gone down on their knees and thanked God if they could stay.


White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Sara waited a respectful time, knowing there was nothing she could do to ease the woman’s pain. Grief was a place, Sara understood, where a person went alone. It was like a room without doors, and what happened in that room, all the anger and the pain you felt, was meant to stay there, nobody’s business but yours.


The Passage by Justin Cronin

“Tell me, then,” she said, unbuckling her seat belt and putting her arm around his waist. “Tell me now, won’t you ever wonder what it would have been like to be with someone else?”
“It would be less,” he said.
“Less?”
He looked over at her, just for a second, sitting sideways in her bucket seat, and squeezed the steering wheel. “It would have to be. I already love you so much. I already feel like something in my chest is going to pop when I see you. I couldn’t love anyone more than I do you, it would kill me. And I couldn’t love anyone less because it would always feel like less. Even if I loved some other girl, that’s all I would ever think about, the difference between loving her and loving you.”


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

When they turned, Pelletier and Espinoza saw an older woman in a white blouse and black skirt, a woman with a figure like Marlene Dietrich, as Pelletier would say much later, a woman who despite her years was still as strong willed as ever, a woman who didn’t cling to the edge of the abyss but plunged into it with curiosity and elegance.  A woman who plunged into the abyss sitting down.


2666 by Roberto Bolaño

Have your own five favorite quotes? Let me know!

Five Favorite: Family Sagas

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

In the spirit of the holidays, here my five favorite novels all about family drama. (Because, you know, who doesn’t have some?)

AGameOfThrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin — and all of its sequels

TheGirlWithTheDragonTattooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

IKnowThisMuchIsTrueI Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffery Eugenides

WhiteOleanderWhite Oleander by Janet Fitch

Have your own five favorite family sagas? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

Top Ten: Books for Readers Who like Character Driven Novels

logo-TopTenTuesday Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was character driven novels.

BitterIsTheNewBlackBitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster
There is a reason Lancaster has successfully published around eight memoirs – her real life escapades read like fiction and, in so doing, draw you into her world to the point where you either love her (and want to read more, more, more) or think she’s an annoying complain-a-lot. (Me? I want Jen and me to be besties.)

TheCatcherInTheRyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I have to admit that The Catcher in the Rye is definitely not one of my favorite books. (Not even a liked book.) Part of the reason is that nothing really happens during Holden Caulfield’s weekend jaunt after he decides to leave boarding school – and that’s the main reason why the book is on this list. What’s a more character driven novel than one almost devoid of plot but solely devoted to its characters?

GargoyleThe Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson I ache for the protagonist of Davidson’s novel – but not for the tragedy that propels the story into being and prompts the introduction of the character of Marianne Engel. I ache for everything that our narrator can’t remember and marvel at the fact that Davidson is so good at telling a story that the one thing I wasn’t told was the protagonist’s name.

GoneGirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I dislike this book not because Flynn’s a bad writer, the plot was boring, or her characters seemed hollow. I dislike this book because I loved it so freakin’ much that the ending came as a punch-in-the-gut disappointment. If you still haven’t read Gone Girl (for whatever reason), don’t leave it on the shelf because of Flynn’s characters. They’re manipulative, flawed, deceitful, shallow, intense, and so, so, real.

LittleBeeLittle Bee by Chris Cleave
Little Bee is the story of Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee stuck in an English immigration holding cell, and Sarah, a widowed suburbanite and mother of one. It’s about the enduring ties of compassion, regret, and choice. And it’s heartbreaking – because, no matter how much you wish differently, what you are reading is immutable and you can’t change one damn thing.

MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I seem to have a love-hate relationship with Eugenides’ fiction, but boy do I absolutely love this family-centric drama which is, and I quote, “a grand, original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.” If you only read one of his novels, make sure it’s this one; it will change the way you think about storytelling.

ThePassageThe Passage by Justin Cronin
Holy crap is The Passage one of my all-time favorite books. I understand that maybe you don’t like vampires or read “long books.” But an author cannot successfully write thousands of pages (like Cronin has) without tugging on my heart strings and making me root for, cry over, and scream at their characters. This book is amazing and what you feel for one character is not dulled or muted by the fact that Cronin introduces (and makes you feel for) dozens of other characters.

SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak is about friendship and pain and the cruelty of teenagers. It’s about Melinda Sordino and her uphill battle to climb out of a pit of depression. And although it references and revolves around an Event that Melinda experienced prior to the start of the novel, it is not about that event. (Per say.) Speak is about how Melinda is defined by that event – and how she in turn reacts to that event – and how everyone around her reacts to that reaction. In short: it’s an extremely powerful work of fiction and one of my absolute favorites.

SpecialTopicsInCalamityPhysicsSpecial Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Oh my gods did I want to be Blue van Meer when I read about her in Pessl’s novel. She’s just so smart and fiesty and go-getting that, instead of feeling dumb in her presence, she gives me a precipice for which I can aspire to reach.

WhiteOleanderWhite Oleander by Janet Fitch
Fitch’s novel is hard to read not for what happens but what fails to happen to White Oleander‘s protagonist, Astrid, as she grows up in foster homes after her mother, Ingrid, poisons a boyfriend and is sentenced to life in prison. Throughout the text, Ingrid looms larger than life, manipulating Astrid from behind bars and forcing her daughter to contemplate the existential.