Books do a lot for us. They can make us think things we never would’ve thought, feel things we’d never have felt and see the world as we never would have seen it before. We can see through people’s eyes whom we never would’ve been able to otherwise and gain a wider perspective of the world.
To read is to learn. And some quotes from novels, in particular, resonate with us, change us and the way we see things. Or just provide a little comfort to us when we need it.
Here is a list of some of the best literary quotes and why they are so brilliant:
“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”
— Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
This is very important advice for those who want to achieve as much as they possibly can in the short amount of time we have on earth. When I look back on my time as a human being, I want to feel satisfied knowing that most of the time I had, I didn’t waste.
“The more I see and hear, the more I realise how much I don’t know.”
― Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue
There is so much to know in the world that we could not even come close to knowing everything. It reminds me of the quote from Albert Einstein ‘A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.’, his own confession that, compared to how much one person can know, and how much there is to know in the world, we know barely anything.
Both quotes humble me and encourage me to have an open mind and always be prepared to change my opinions and perceptions of the world.
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
― George Orwell, 1984
I did not fully grasp the importance of this concept until I read “In Order To Live” by Yeonmi Park, a girl who escaped from North Korea when she was fifteen, who explained that she could have an elevated opinion of her country, the regime and the Kims and believe that her country was superior to all others, whilst also suffering from famine and poverty.
We can begin to understand why people can accept totalitarian dictatorship, such as in North Korea, due to this “doublethink”.
“Where there’s life there’s hope.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
As long as you are alive, never give up. There will always be something to fight for and always something to live for. Nothing is fixed or unchangeably doomed.
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”
— Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Despite the Wuthering Heights haters, I think the novel could make someone who has never been in love understand love: the all-consuming nature of it, how painful it is when love goes wrong and how sometimes- no matter how much you love someone -it just can’t work.
This quote, in particular, shows how much Cathy relied on Heathcliff; he made her feel like she wasn’t alone against the world. In my opinion, this is a quote worthy of being in wedding vows.
“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
— Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Our most harrowing experiences are often the ones we can- and do -remember in the most detail. They are the memories which come to us the most spontaneously regardless of how unwelcome they are.
Particularly annoying are embarrassing memories, causing you to relive humiliation from five years ago and inducing a cringe attack wherever you are: innocently shopping in the supermarket, working, reading a book…
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
— JK Rowling, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
It is not what we are born with, nor our talents or salaries that define us. What defines us is how we choose to live our lives, how we treat people and how we choose to deal with the challenges that face us.
This is a highly inspiring quote and one that I think we should all live by; by defining ourselves by our choices I think we would all be better people and would probably have better opinions of ourselves.
“Nobody’s life is filled with perfect little moments. And if it were, they wouldn’t be perfect little moments. They would just be normal. How would you ever know happiness if you never experience downs?”
― Cecelia Ahern, P.S. I Love You
A quote that has moved me to cherish the bad times, as well as the good, for they make the good times seem all the better.
“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
In my opinion, Jane Eyre was a woman ahead of her time, quite the feminist and definitely didn’t compromise who she was for anyone. And this quote is still relevant today.
Rather than living your life the way other people want you to, or how you think you’re supposed to live it, live simply in the way that makes you happiest- even if people do think you’re a little odd.
“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
A powerful quote on self-acceptance. Accepting your flaws as a part of you and dropping the desire to change them will make you a stronger, happier person and a person who won’t easily be distressed by the opinions of others. If you truly love yourself, who cares what anyone else thinks?
“We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Creativity is a window into the soul: whether it be their poetry, writing, art or music we can get a glimpse of a person through what they create. Although this quote probably isn’t meant to be inspiring (after all, it is a very depressing story) it does highlight how much of the heart and soul goes into being creative.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
A quote I think we can all relate to. And who doesn’t dream of having a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ style library containing more books than you could read in a lifetime? There is nothing quite like reading for enjoyment or to relieve stress. It’s the best.
“A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Theif
Indeed a definition that isn’t found in the dictionary, but is a definition all the same: a parent always being there for their child, a lover staying with their partner even when illness ensues or hard times fall or a child taking care of an elderly parent even when they could be looked after elsewhere.
Love is choosing to stay and be there for your person, even when it’s difficult to.
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Show your friends how much they mean to you at every opportunity, don’t take anyone for granted whom you care about. Acting in this way means that, if someone close to you does die, you know that they knew you appreciated and cared about them.
And their life will have probably been happier with it.
“Life, here I come!’ he said. And was immediately and fatally run over by a bus.”
― Jonas Johannson, The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden
One of my favourite quotes of all time just for the comedic value. Not particularly inspiring or revelational but reflects how life can feel sometimes.