Tuesday, 16 April 2013

top ten tuesday: book quotes

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

For this week's TTT we could blog about any previous themes - I haven't been doing this for long so there were plenty for me to choose from but as I'm still without Photoshop I figured I'd pick something wordy! (You can see the original post here.) This list fairly accurately illustrates my obsession with bodies and the physicality of emotion. I was going to write commentary to go along with these but none of it adequately described how these passages make my heart hurt.

top ten book quotes

The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman
And no matter how she struggled, she could make no headway. The force that carried her out was as smooth and powerful as water pouring over a weir; the particles of Dust were streaming along as if they, too, were pouring over some invisible edge.
And carrying her away from her body.
She flung a mental lifeline to that physical self, and tried to recall the feeling of being in it: all the sensations that made up being alive. The exact touch of her friend Atal's soft-tipped trunk caressing her neck. The taste of bacon and eggs. The triumphant strain in her muscles as she pulled herself up a rock face. The delicate dancing of her fingers on a computer keyboard. The smell of roasting coffee. The warmth of her bed on a winter night.
And gradually she stopped moving; the lifeline held fast, and she felt the weight and strength of the current pushing against her as she hung there in the sky.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling
He felt his heart pounding fiercely in his chest. How strange that in his dread of death, it pumped all the harder, valiantly keeping him alive. But it would have to stop, and soon. Its beats were numbered. How many would there be time for, as he rose and walked through the castle for the last time, out into the grounds and into the Forest?

Written on the Body - Jeanette Winterson
Articulacy of fingers, the language of the deaf and dumb, signing on the body body longing. Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your morse code interferes with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taut.

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
However clear she can hear my Noise, well, out here alone, away from the chatter of others or the Noise of a settlement, there’s her silence, loud as a roar, pulling at me like the greatest sadness ever, like I want to take it and press myself into it and just disappear forever down into nothing.
What a relief that would feel like right now. What a blessed relief.

Everything Is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
Brod's life was a slow realization that the world was not for her, and that for whatever reason, she would never be happy and honest at the same time. She felt as if she were brimming, always producing and hoarding more love inside her. But there was no release. Table, ivory elephant charm, rainbow, onion, hairdo, mollusk, Shabbos, violence, cuticle, melodrama, ditch, honey, doily... None of it moved her. She addressed her world honestly, searching for something deserving of the volumes of love she knew she had within her, but to each she would have to say, I don't love you. Bark-brown fence post: I don't love you. Poem too long: I don't love you. Lunch in a bowl: I don't love you. Physics, the idea of you, the laws of you: I don't love you. Nothing felt like anything more than what it actually was. Everything was just a thing, mired completely in its thingness.

The Summer Without Men - Siri Hustvedt
It is impossible to divine a story while you are living it; it is shapeless; an inchoate procession of words and things, and let us be frank: We never recover what was. Most of it vanishes. And yet, as I sit here at my desk and try to bring it back, that summer not so long ago, I know turns were made that affected what followed. Some of them stand out like bumps on a relief map, but then I was unable to perceive them because my view of things was lost to the undifferentiated flatness of living one moment after another. Time is not outside us, but inside. Only we live with past, present, and future, and the present is too brief to experience anyway; it is retained afterward and then it is either codified or it slips into amnesia. Consciousness is the product of delay.

The Awakening - Kate Chopin
The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.

Atonement - Ian McEwan
In the years to come he would often think back to this time, when he walked along the footpath that made a shortcut through a corner of the oak woods and joined the main drive where it curved towards the lake and the house. He was not late, and yet he found it difficult to slow his pace. Many immediate and other less proximal pleasures mingled in the richness of these minutes: the fading, reddish dusk, the warm, still air saturated with the scents of dried grasses and baked earth, his limbs loosened by the day's work in the gardens, his skin smooth from his bath, the feel of his shirt, and of this, his only suit. The anticipation and dread he felt at seeing her was also a kind of sensual pleasure, and surrounding it, like an embrace, was a general elation - it might hurt, it was horribly inconvenient, no good might come of it, but he had found out for himself what it was to be in love, and it thrilled him.

Little Gods - Anna Richards
This was her shame; she loved the chaos of war. It wasn’t a theatre, it was a circus, and it had finally come for her. It could be something other than brutal and nonsensical, and these rare moments had to be savoured, enjoyed like English sunshine. Jean had seen the storm of limbs, the juggling of arms, heads, teeth - the moment when even the plainest human realises their extraordinary beauty before it is scoured off them by fire and raked by shrapnel. She now secretly suspected there had never been anything so perfect as her back before the bomb; as broad as a double bass and as sensuously curved, it had been unblemished. One of her scars even looked like a sound hole, carved beside the strings of her spine; an adornment rather than a wound. She added this to her pile of secrets, fearing that she was the only one who could see it this way; that she alone could love plainness with the fierceness of one who almost died before living.

Matilda - Roald Dahl
From then on, Matilda would visit the library only once a week in order to take out new books and return the old ones. Her own small bedroom now became her reading-room and there she would sit and read most afternoons, often with a mug of hot chocolate beside her. She was not quite tall enough to reach things around the kitchen, but she kept a small box in the outhouse which she brought in and stood on in order to get whatever she wanted. Mostly it was hot chocolate she made, warming the milk in a saucepan on the stove before mixing it. Occasionally she made Bovril of Ovaltine. It was pleasant to take a hot drink up to her room and have it beside her as she sat in her silent room reading in the empty house in the afternoons. The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemmingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

What are your favourite quotes? Thinking of your favourites are there any patterns? Are you drawn to any particular theme or subject?


  1. Great quotes! I haven't read most of these, but love that you included the one from The Knife of Never Letting Go. I love that book and just the whole concept of noise was so intriguing to me.

    Personally, I tend not to keep track of favorite quotes! I'm not sure why? I guess I just get so sucked into the story sometimes that I stop paying attention to how the sentences are written and just try to live it.

    Great list :)

  2. Great quotes! Out of your list, I've only read Harry Potter, which is such a quotable book. I think I could do a Top Ten Tuesday every week just on quotes from that series lol. ;-)

    My Top Ten Tuesday

  3. These quotes are SO LOVELY and make me want to re-read the books I already know, which is most of them! Fantastic list!