Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a topic and encourage fellow bloggers to list their own top ten answers. This week’s prompt was our Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books! Now, these are going to be depressing. I tend to gravitate toward serious pronouncements about death and love. I also cheated slightly–9 and 10 on this list are two poems that I absolutely love and have memorized (and if you know me, you know that’s a big deal; my memory retention is horrible). Enjoy!

1. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

People are just cannibals unless they leave each other alone.

2. Goodbye Tsugumi, by Banana Yoshimoto

Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we’ve ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves.

3. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well as men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

4. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

‘Those who are made can be unmade.’

5. Black Water, by Joyce Carol Oates

You’re an American girl, you love your life….you believe you have chosen it.

6. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

7. The Prophet again, by Kahlil Gibran

For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.

8. A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin

“Power resides only where men believe it resides. […] A shadow on the wall, yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

9. Collected Works, by Lorine Niedecker

Wherever you are, you are in danger


To hell

With it.

10. “The Uses of Sorrow,” from Thirst, by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.


3 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books”

  1. 1 commonreader May 8, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I like these quotes! Especially the last one, maybe they are dark but they are beautiful too!

  2. 2 trish May 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I love Cormac McCarthy! I actually have Blood Meridian on my TBR shelf – that quote is so typical of his writing. I can’t wait to get to it.

  3. 3 Grad Student May 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Whoa this is a bit of a serious list! But we like what we like. McCarthy is such an amazing author, conveying so much, all without the use of semi-colons! Happy to see your TTT.

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