Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes

I’ve been following a blog that always does “Top Ten Tuesday” and this week I really liked the topic so I thought I would try it. Since I often include some quotes at the end of my posts, I figured it would be pretty easy to come up with a top ten. Turns out it was incredibly difficult narrowing it down to just 10 – and this is only with the last 30 or so books I’ve read. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if I went back through some of my favorite books (for your reference, those include Flowers for Algernon, Tuesdays with Morrie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Book Thief, and others)

Anyways, here are my top 10 (in no particular order as I love them all for different reasons) :

1. From The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:

“Judd was of the opinion from the outset that the best and most cost-effective way to control women for reproductive and other purposes was through women themselves. For this there were many historical precedents; in fact, no empire imposed by force or otherwise has ever been without this feature: control of the indigenous by members of their own group.”


2. From East of Eden by John Steinbeck:

“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.”


3. From Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin:

“They make it impossible for us to earn, to pay much in taxes because we haven’t much in income, and then they say that because they pay most of the taxes, they have the right to have things like they want. It’s a vicious circle, Mr. Griffin, and I don’t know how we’ll get out of it. They put us low, and then blame us for being down there and say that since we are low, we can’t deserve our rights.”

All of the other quotes that are mentioned in that post are excellent so it was very very hard to choose just one from this book.


4. From Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur:

A very popular quote that I often see floating around social media:

“i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that”


5. From A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara:

“We all say we want our kids to be happy, only happy, and healthy, but we don’t want that. We want them to be like we are, or better than we are. We as humans are very unimaginative in that sense. We aren’t equipped for the possibility that they might be worse. But I guess that would be asking too much. It must be an evolutionary stopgap – if we were all so specifically, vividly aware of what might go horribly wrong, we would none of us have children at all.”


6. From The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins:

Again, another one with far too many great quotes, but here is one:

“This book is mainly intended to be interesting, but if you would extract a moral from it, read it as a warning. Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.”


7. From The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz:

“Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can’t exist without one.”


8. From My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock:

“”There was a study where psychologists placed an infant on a table with a pane of Plexiglas in the center. Now, the baby could easily crawl across the Plexiglas – but almost all the kids refused. Why?”

“Because the Plexiglas made it look like they were going to fall.”

“Kittens and puppies also refused to cross the glass,” he said. “Then they brought baby ducks. Guess what? The ducks walked across without a quack of protest. Now why weren’t the baby ducks afraid?”

“Because they have wings?” I venture.


I think about this for a moment. “But if a fear is instinctual, aren’t we just…stuck with it?”

“If we can experience a seemingly risky situation over and over, without harmful consequences, we can train our brains to be less afraid.”

“So you grow your own wings, basically.”


Another book that had quote after quote that hit home with me. Might actually have to go read this again sometime soon…


9. From To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

“One more thing, gentlemen, before I quit. Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal, a phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the Executive branch in Washington are fond of hurling at us. There is a tendency in this year of grace, 1935, for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions. The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious – because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority. We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe – some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cake than others – some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.

“But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honorable court which you serve. Our courts have faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.

“I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system – that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court in no better that each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up. I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore the defendant to his family. In the name of God, do your duty.”


10. From The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Also bonus quote here for humor’s sake:

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s