Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.
This week’s top ten is: ‘Top Ten Tuesday REWIND (pick a past topic that we’ve done that you missed or just want round 2 of!)’ I have chosen my top ten book quotes. There are many to choose from, so I’ll narrow it down, by only allowing one quote per author. Here goes:
1. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. From Book 1, Chapter two of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is Gandalf speaking to Frodo when he is explaining the history of the ring to him. It is in reply to Frodo saying that he wished Gollum dead. There are many other great Tolkien quotes in LOTR and his other books that I could have chosen, but this one sticks out the most to me.
2. There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” From pages 66-7 of The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. These are words being spoken to the narrator by George MacDonald, who is explaining how people find themselves in heaven or hell. The Great Divorce is one of Lewis’ books that is not mentioned as often as some of his others, but it is one of my favourites. I like this quote, because what it really says is that in the end the choices we make in life are our own responsibility and we really can’t blame others when things turn out the way they do.
3. There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. From page 51 of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Montag, the main character in 451, is describing his night to his seemingly disinterested wife. He and his fellow firemen just watched as a lady set fire to herself and her books, doing the job they had been called out to do. In our world, where we are allowed to have books, we know that there is ‘something’ in books. That’s why we read and why we write about it.
4. You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished. From page 179 of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I recently read this book and it contains many good quotes, but I especially liked this one where Silas is telling Bod that he really shouldn’t wish himself dead.
5. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. From page 42 of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This quote is worth remembering in a world where people crave instant success. Outliers is a great read, but I really need to read more Gladwell.
6. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Professor Dumbledore speaking to Harry Potter near the end of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Again, this series is one that could have a list of its own, but this one in particular rings true and is one I always remember.
7. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go… From Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. This may or may not sound strange, but we read this book frequently to our yet to be born daughter, who is now 13 years old. There was a time when I could have probably almost quoted this little book line by line. It has been fun to watch her grow and make decisions in her life, and, for the most part, it still is fun!
8. A Christian doesn’t avoid the questions; a Christian embraces them. In fact, to truly pursue the living God, we have to see the need for questions. Questions are not scary. What is scary is when people don’t have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them. From pages 28-9 of Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell. If nothing else, Rob Bell causes people to think. I know people who don’t like him because of this. I know people who don’t have questions. I’m not one of them.
9. ‘I don’t suppose I have a choice.’ ‘As with so many things in a life, brother, I don’t suppose you do.’ From page 21 of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. This is a great book, with many little truths spread throughout it like this one. This is part of a conversation between Eli and Charlie Sisters, the titular characters of this book, who also happen to be hired henchmen.
10. The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. From The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is Sherlock Holmes talking and is a variation of a truth that he often proclaims in these stories. It is true that we miss out on so much of the obvious things in life. Maybe we just need to slow down once in a while and just be more observant.
There are probably lots of other quotes I could have shared, but these are some of the ones that came to mind today. What are some of your favourite book quotes?