There is no such simple, luxurious joy as reading a book. Can you think of a more reliably wonderful pastime that's so immediately accessible to so many? Books allow us to explore worlds beyond our own without even leaving our rooms and now, thanks to the dynamic nature of publishing, our worlds have expanded. Libraries, bookshops, and newspapers are online, making it easier than ever to fall in love with the written word. In honor of these glorious volumes, there are tons of book quotes for Aug. 9, National Book Lovers Day, that will grab at your imagination and have you taking a deeper look.
What you may not know is that millennials are big readers. Our generation actually reads far more than our parents' generation, according to Forbes. Typically preferring print to ebook, we are fascinated by the words of others, and share that love with our children. We collect quotes, build home libraries, and drift off into the unknown. It's a glorious way to live.
LeVar Burton once said, "I think reading is part of the birthright of the human being," and I couldn't agree more. It doesn't matter what I'm reading, from Charles Dickens' tales of woe to a steamy bodice ripper, I'm content to sit with my tea and book all afternoon. Being a quote hoarder, I'm quite prepared to share with you many of my favorite book quotes for National Book Lovers Day.
1“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?” ― J.K. Rowling, 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'
Find a series more emblematic of a generation than Harry Potter and millennials. You can't. It simply cannot be done. Best to start out with a bang, right? This quote is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and it's comforted so many of us as we've lost loved ones, that I felt it must be on the list.
2“My meaning simply is that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” ― Charles Dickens, 'David Copperfield'
This is one of Dickens' greatest works, in my opinion, along with Bleak House. It's a compelling use of meta-narrative that dives into a mind undergoing substantial transformations. If you haven't read David Copperfield, trust me, you should.
3“I filled my head with thoughts of the future, of infinite possibly. There's someone out there who will one day find me and fall in love with me and prove that all this waiting actually meant something....” ― Perry Moore, 'Hero'
This is an under-appreciated superhero novel that's also an LGBT story of growth. But the big takeaway is that it reminds us all that love is love, but not everyone understands that.
4“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 'The Shadow of the Wind'
This book was a worldwide sensation a few years back, and for good reason. It's completely captivating and so well-written, the 500 pages fly by in a blink. I suggest getting loads of tea ready because you're going to want to tuck in for a while.
5“If it's a story I'm telling, then I have control over the ending... But if it's a story, even in my head, I must be telling it to someone. You don't tell a story only to yourself. There's always someone else. Even when there is no one.” ― Margaret Atwood, 'The Handmaid's Tale'
I reread this book every year, and in the past two years, I've read it four times. I've watched the series, and I've tried to parse out meaning between the lines, hoping for something. I'm still quite put out about the season finale and I'll thank you not to bring it up.
6“Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity.” ― James Baldwin, 'The Fire Next Time'
James Baldwin had a way with words that few of us can fathom. As a writer, his prose haunts me, beckoning me with its beauty and call to action.
7“The stars in their infinite peace seemed to pour their healing light into me. I thought of captives in prison, the sick and the suffering from the beginning of time who had looked to these stars for strength. What was my little sorrow to the centuries of pain which those stars had watched? So near they seemed, so compassionate. My bitter hurt seemed to grow small and drop away. If I must go on alone, I should still have silence and the high stars to walk with me.” ― Anzia Yezierska, 'Bread Givers'
The Bread Givers is the story of an orthodox family at the turn of the twentieth century. It's a short novel, but so full of elegance it might as well be a lyrical epic. It's uplifting and heartbreaking and beautiful.
8“The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the 'Star Spangled Banner,' but in fact the message was this: 'So long and thanks for all the fish.'” ― Douglas Adams, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
Douglas Adams' classic sci-fi novel is as much a reflection on society as it is just a really hilarious book. The movie isn't great, but the book is transportative.
9“Pride, my friends, is the deadliest of fires. While other flames burn the surface, pride burns from within. It works its way from the heart until it consumes you. And like any fire, it will eat its prey until it is smothered or quenched.” ― Elizabeth Hunter, 'A Fall of Water'
We could all learn a little bit from this quote. Pride goeth before the fall and all that.
10“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.” ― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 'Frankenstein'
Shelley was fiercely feminist, bold in her writing in a way few have ever managed, and had a striking ability to examine the human condition and force us to realize our own inadequacies.
11“Matrilineal succession is the only thing that makes sense as far as I’m concerned, since you always know who the mother is, and the father could be anyone. Most of the royal dynasties of the world didn’t agree with me though, which is why history is filled with idiot kings.” ― April White, 'Marking Time'
Why is this not a thing? Oh yeah, fragile masculinity. I adore this series and this is one of my favorite quotes. I want it framed in a museum in a plaque beside every portrait of every dumb king.
12“I closed my eyes and saw the children playing their game again. 'The ease seemed so frightening.' I said. 'Now I see why.' 'What?' 'The ease. Us, the children ... I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.” ― Octavia E. Butler, 'Kindred'
One of the best books of the twentieth century. It's dystopian, sci-fi, and hardcore reality. Butler is unflinching in her diagnosis of the state of humanity.
13“As if to build a fence around the fatal emptiness inside her, she had to create a sunny person that she became. But if you peeled away the ornamental egos that she had built, there was only an abyss of nothingness and the intense thirst that came with it. Though she tried to forget it, the nothingness would visit her periodically - on a lonely rainy afternoon, or at dawn when she woke up from a nightmare. What she needed at such times was to be held by someone, anyone.” ― Haruki Murakami, '1Q84'
Arguably Murakami's most famous work, it stands out in its sparseness and visceral emoting. It's as turbulent as it sounds, and it will linger in your psyche for a long time to come.
14“And how funny, strange, that a thing can grow so powerful even when planted in the wrong place. 'Ideas too,' I muttered. 'Ideas.'” ― Louise Erdrich, 'The Round House'
This quote exemplifies what it is to bloom where you're planted — regardless of what you tell yourself can be done.
15“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, 'Do trousers matter?' 'The mood will pass, sir.'” ― P.G. Wodehouse, 'The Code of the Woosters'
No pants are the best pants.