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Compelling Quotes That Stick With You

journal, iPhone and laptop

February 15, 2021

Have you ever passed up a book because the cover or synopsis seemed superficial or unrelatable? Or have you decided against reading a book because the genre isn’t your favorite?

Sometimes bits and pieces of the story can compel you to read the entire book, which is great, because you can find bits of wisdom inside stories you wouldn’t expect.

Below are some of my favorite compelling quotes that I've gleaned from books over the years that have left a lasting impression. Do you have any that you write down and keep in a journal? If so, tell us some of your favorites. 

“Each person seems to have separate memories that make them think they have continuous separate selves. But what if you lost your memory? Would it still be you? What if someone else could have all your memories? Would it be you? Would it matter?” - The Ash Family by Molly Dektar


“It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.”  -The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides


“I knew if I ate anything of hers again, it would likely tell me the same message: help me, I am not happy, help me - like a message in a bottle sent in each meal to the eater, and I got it. I got the message.”  -The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender


“The problem with fairy tales isn't that they don't exist. It's that they do exist, but only for some people.” –Broken Things by Lauren Oliver


“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.” –Illuminae by Aime Kaufman


“Maybe then he would have understood her better, understood how suffering steals the aptitude for happiness from you. Maybe he would have been okay with her melancholy then.”  -And I Do Not Forgive You by Amber Sparks


“We were nostalgic for a time that wasn’t yet over.”  –We Are Okay by Nina LaCour


“I listened to the same heartbroken song the entire bus ride home, because it was still a summer when sadness was beautiful.” – We Are Okay by Nina LaCour


“Once there was a boy who was shattered into pieces and put back together in the shape of a monster. Once there was a boy who clutched at the remnants of what he had left as it fell through his fingers. Once there was a boy who destroyed what little there was remaining because it wasn't enough.” – Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan


“But the world I wanted wasn't the world I lived in, and if I would do nothing until I could repair every terrible thing at once, I would do nothing forever.” –Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


“A robber who steals a knife and cuts himself cannot cry out against the woman who kept it sharp.” –Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


“Truth didn’t mean anything without someone to share it with; you could shout truth into the air forever, and spend your life doing it, if someone didn’t come and listen.” –Uprooted by Naomi Novik


“The excuses we make for them are outrageous, but they’re nothing compared with the ones we make for ourselves.” –My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell


“This, I think, is the cost of telling, even in the guise of fiction. Once you do, it’s the only thing about you anyone will ever care about. It defines you whether you want it to or not.”  –My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell


“Because he was beginning to fear that man belongs neither in civilization nor nature—because we are aberrations between two states of being.” –Hold the Dark by William Giraldi


“He knew what haunted meant. The dead don’t haunt the living. The living haunt themselves.” –Hold the Dark by William Giraldi


“You wake up one morning and there it is, sitting in an old plaid bathrobe in your kitchen, unpleasant and unshaved. You look at it, heart sinking. Madness is a rotten guest.”  –Madness by Marya Hornbacher


“Soon madness has worn you down. It’s easier to do what it says than argue. In this way, it takes over your mind. You no longer know where it ends and you begin. You believe anything it says. You do what it tells you, no matter how extreme or absurd. If it says you’re worthless, you agree. You plead for it to stop. You promise to behave. You are on your knees before it, and it laughs.” –Madness by Marya Hornbacher


“The weak are cruel. The strong have no need to be.” –The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman


“It’s not fair. People claim to know you through the things you’ve done, and not by sitting down and listening to you speak for yourself.”  -Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


“She invented her own language to say what everyone else could only feel.”  -Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”  -The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien


“Which do you think is more patient, an idea or a hope?” –Lanny by Max Porter


“It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” –All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


“The pain in death isn't the dying. It's the wounds we leave in our wake.” -The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith


“Don't you feel it, sometimes? As if the world wants to consume itself.”  -The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht


“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other."  -Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer


“Having to fight for the thing you want doesn’t mean you deserve it any less.”  -Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick


“It made Alice realize how much of life was full of empty stuff, objects longed for because the hope of them made your small life seem bigger, better, brighter.”  -Alice by Christina Henry


“All the world and more has rushed eternity’s length to reach this beat of your heart, screaming down the years. And if you let it, the universe, without drawing breath, will press itself through this fractured second and race to the next, on into a new eternity. Everything that is, the echoes of everything that ever was, the roots of all that will ever be, must pass through this moment that you own. Your only task is to give it pause—to make it notice.”  -Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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