Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.
This week we’re discussing our favorite lines! Being an English major has sort of turned me off from making note of good quotes – being required to do something has that effect – but it hasn’t stopped me from pausing to re-read a particularly beautiful line.
I’m reading “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck right now and I’m guessing I’ll be reading it for another few weeks. It’s a long, dense book, and I want to absorb all of it because it’s also darn beautiful. I’ve been marking a few favorite lines as I read:
1. “The direction of a big act will warp history, but probably all acts do the same in their degree, down to a stone stepped over in the path or a breath caught at sight of a pretty girl or a fingernail nicked in the garden soil.”
2. “To a man born without a conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”
3. “Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on.” This was in a paragraph about the passage of time and how it’s the parts of our lives where a lot happens that seem the longest. By contrast, it’s when nothing noteworthy occurs that the time seems to disappear. It’s an interesting idea and of course Steinbeck expresses it succinctly and cleverly.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s books are beautiful and full of wonderful lines, but one of my favorites comes from “The Namesake:”
4. “‘Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.'” Gogol’s father Ashoke says this to Gogol after a trek to the coast, and I absolutely love that idea of not only taking a unique journey with someone, but of reaching the end of the road with them. It makes me think of the end of a lifelong marriage.
Another book by Lahiri, “Unaccustomed Earth,” also has a line I love:
5. “‘Be happy, love Baba,’ he signed [the letters], as if the attainment of happiness were as simple as that.”
I never actually read all of “Monarch of the Glen” in Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things” because it’s a novella based on “American Gods,” which I haven’t read yet and I’m extremely spoiler-phobic. Still, I came across this before I put the book down:
6. “He had imagined Scotland as being a soft place, all gentle heathery hills, but here on the North Coast everything seemed sharp and jutting, even the gray clouds that scudded across the pale blue sky. It was as if the bones of the world showed through.”
“The bones of the world showed through” – doesn’t that just make your brain do a happy dance?
I loved “The Serialist” by David Gordon for its unabashed love of books and writing. “The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril” is similarly bibliophilic, but I had actually written down a few lines from “The Serialist” because they were so great:
7. “The part that writes is, I believe, the sane part, the part that strives to rescue the world from oblivion, life from death, by getting it all down on paper.”
8. “Every work of literature is a great victory over oneself and a small act of resistance against the world.”
An all-time favorite quote comes (again) from Neil Gaiman, this time from his “Sandman” series:
9. “What power would hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of heaven?”
Finally, one of my favorite insults falls from the lips of Arthur’s mother Igraine in “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley:
10. “Why should I waste my breath with a curse? I would as willingly bid you Godspeed to your own heaven, and may your God find more pleasure in your company than I do.”
What are some of your favorite lines?