Lists, Reviews

Favorite quotations: a top ten list

I am not a writer nor have I ever particularly aspired to be one (I recently had to google  #NaNoWriMo, why I insist on including information that embarrases me in this post – I do not know). I am, however, a dedicated and voracious reader. I think for readers in particular, finding and identifying with certain writers has a great deal of influence over internal thought and feeling.  These quotes certainly are not my only favorites and they by no means define me, but I do strongly identify with them in one way or another. They also are probably a good indicator of my personality (side note: I had to take the Myers Briggs Personality Indicator for grad school a few years back. I am an INTP. It’s accurate, freakishly so. Has anyone else taken it?). If these top ten lists have shown me nothing else, it is that I tend to strongly identify with male writers (who knew!?!). So, in short, this week’s list is ten eleven of my favorite quotes from fiction (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish).

1. We lie best when we lie to ourselves. IT by Stephen King

2. To his surprise, she leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, a kiss so full of affection that it dispelled the awkwardness, even as it caused Miles’ heart to plummet, because all kisses are calibrated, and this one revealed the great chasm between affection and love. Empire Falls by Richard Russo

3. I felt lonely and content at the same time. I believe that is a rare kind of happiness. Bag of Bones by Stephen King

4. Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

5. Human beings are remarkable – at what we can learn to live with. If we couldn’t get strong from what we lose, and what we miss, and what we want and can’t have, then we couldn’t ever get strong enough, could we? The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving

6. Dat’s what they say of this cauntry back home, Kath: ‘America, the land of milk and honey.’ Bot they never tell you the milk’s gone sour and the honey’s stolen. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

7. I had no illusions about you,’ he said. ‘I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It’s comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn’t ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you’d only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn’t care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they’re in love with someone and the love isn’t returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn’t like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn’t see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn’t afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

8. Isn’t it pretty to think so? The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

9. It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

10. Each time you happen to me all over again. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

11. We’re all strange inside. We learn how to disguise our differences as we grow up. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

 Photo: FYeahJohnGreen Tumblr

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  • Sara

    Stephen King has some insanely insightful things to say. I find it amazing. I loved all your quotes.

    My Top Ten Tuesday

    • Rory O’Connor

      He really does, especially since he’s not considered very “literary”!

  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Sigh… The ‘A Room with a View’ quote brought a tear to my eye. I LOVE this bit.

    PS. Glad you got some Irving in 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      Yes! And The Age of Innocence one always gets me. If there had been more space, I would’ve included one more from THNH (the bit about without war we might be able to embarrass each other to death).

  • Katie @ Inkk

    love it. we at inkk do a weekly post on quotes we love. Check out our Top Ten Fictional Crushes Katie @ Inkk

  • Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    It’s always so much fun to find pretty quotes in books – and to write them down. I especially like the Stephen King quotes you picked.


    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks! I love Stephen King, he has the beautiful quote about moving on in Bag of Bones, but it was too long to include!

  • Care

    Great list! I would be hard pressed to come up with only a ten or it would change by my mood, but most likely I would waste a day reading and enjoying all my collected quotes trying to decide which were favorite-est!

    • Rory O’Connor

      That is exactly what happened, writing this post sucked me in. If I had written it a different day I am sure there would’ve been different quotes (definitely at least one from Jane Eyre and Persuasion, perhaps I was not in the most romantic of moods when I wrote the one!).

  • Ula @ Blog of Erised

    Interesting quotes. I did quotes as my first TTT 🙂 I love no 1. 🙂

    My TTT

  • Anne

    I loved all of these quotes, thanks for sharing them!

  • Lianne @

    Great quotes! I am looking forward to reading The Age of Innocence (read The House of Mirth in September and absolutely loved it!) and I love A Room with a View =)

    Here’s my Top Ten for this week =)

  • Dixie

    The Paonted Veil quote was just beautiful and made me want to read the book. Thanks for that.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It is a really lovely novel, the movie version with Edward Norton is quite beautiful too!

  • Lucy

    Our Myers Briggs results are very similar – go us! John Green is so very quotable 🙂 And all of the quotes are wonderful- and Stephen King’s line from Bag of Bones especially stands out to me.

  • Sunny
  • Cayce (@Cayce_23)

    Great list! Love the Stephen King quotes! 🙂

  • tlongford

    “Your mother will never speak to you again if you marry Mr. Collins, and I will never speak to you again if you do.” P and P by Jane Austen

  • tlongford

    “The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.” Douglas Adams

  • tlongford

    …the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, after which the mail was robbed in peace… Tale of Two Cities, Dickens

  • tlongford

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, The Bible, Jesus

  • tlongford

    (correction to above)…not that Jesus wrote the bible, mind you. Just that the quote is his.

  • Laura

    I need to keep a book quote notebook again. I haven’t been much of a journaler the past few years, but I wish I was. I love your blog and I’m a new follower.

  • caitlore

    Gah! I haven’t read any of these books…but I love the quotes! I’m such a quote nerd myself. When I was a teen, I had a quote wall in my room where I tacked up post-it’s, and snippets of my favorite words. I made sure it traveled with me to college.
    I think my favorite from your list is Edith Warton’s. Just beautiful!

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