A Semi-Random List of Book Quotes

This was originally posted as part of Top Ten Tuesday, posted at The Broke and the Bookish.

I have always looked to books to help me understand the world — human nature, moral values, relationships, and other tough topics. I’ve also always been a confirmed lover of quotes.

When I was young — before computers and other electronic devices — I jotted down quotes on index cards. Some were wise or clever, some contained a clever turn of phrase, and others drew me in with beautiful language. I collected them voraciously.

This post is a variation on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc.)

All these quotes evoked some sort of reaction. They made me laugh, made me sad, or made me pause and think for a moment.

On Unfettered Materialism: The men were less agreeable— loaded with dough, yet always on the lookout for more. The vulgarity and ferocity of their ambitions repelled him, and he glanced into their minds no more often than necessary, merely probing to have a better idea of their investment goals so he could serve them as they would be served. A month among such people, he decided, would be sufficient to turn a Rockefeller into a socialist. 

(Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg)

On Living on the Wrong Side of the Tracks:The name got to be Venus Holler, I’m told, precisely because a goddess is the very last dame you’d ever expect to find there— but if ever you did, for three bucks you could fuck her too…The ridgeline makes this holler mighty hard to gaze up out of. It keeps your vision on what’s held in the holler and shunts the eye from all else. This is the kind of address where the wives will know shortcuts to the welfare office and have a bail bondsman’s home phone number taped to the fridge.(Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell)
On Having Low-Brow Tastes in Cinema:And when I lay in bed at night under my eave, listening to the wind in the trees or the rats in the attic, it was not Debbie Reynolds as Tammy or Sandra Dee as Gidget that I dreamed of, but Yvette Vickers from Attack of the Giant Leeches or Luana Anders from Dementia 13. Never mind sweet; never mind uplifting; never mind Snow White and the Seven Goddam Dwarfs. At thirteen I wanted monsters that ate whole cities, radioactive corpses that came out of the ocean and ate surfers, and girls in black bras who looked like trailer trash. (On Writing, by Stephen King)
On Falling in Love:

Love, it seems, arrives not only unannounced, but so accidentally, so randomly, as to make you wonder why you, why anyone, believes even fleetingly in laws of cause and effect.

(The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham)

On Failure to Communicate:

I should add, in Amy’s defense, that she’d asked me twice if I wanted to talk…In truth, I wanted her to read my mind so I didn’t have to stoop to the womanly art of articulation.
(Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn)

On Extricating Oneself from a Dysfunctional Relationship:
She informed me, matter-of-factly, that she was old enough to know the difference between intriguing and fucked up. “You should go for younger women,” she advised me. “They can’t always tell.

(In the Woods by Tana French)

On Divorce:

… he had an idea—too sentimental to speak aloud and he knew none of his divorced friends would ever own up to it—that something must linger, a half-life of marriage, some sense memory of love even if obviously not the thing itself. He thought these people must mean something to one another, even if they didn’t like one another anymore.

(Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel)

On the Brutality of War:

The war had killed thousands by September. Their bodies lined the pocked avenues at irregular intervals. They were hidden in alleys, were found in bloating piles in the troughs of the hills outside the cities, the faces puffed and green, allergic now to life.

(The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers)

On Struggling with the Big Questions:


To tell the truth I’ve been pretty angry with God since Mor died. He doesn’t seem to do anything, or to help at all. But I suppose it’s all like magic, you can’t tell if it does anything, or why, not to mention mysterious ways. If I were omnipotent and omnibenevolent, I wouldn’t be so damn ineffable.
(Among Others by Jo Walton)

On Being a Bibliophile:

Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.

(American Gods by Neil Gaiman)

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