What Is A Sentence From a Book (or two) You Love?

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I was thinking recently of a variety of aspects of books that I love, including plot, theme, and character. As I was considering these elements, I realized that some books have extraordinary sentences. These lines might not encapsulate the entirety of those books, but they are beautiful and powerful.

I will offer two such quotations:

The first is the closing sentence from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most important novels ever written:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known” (307).

The second offering is from A Soldier Of The Great War by Mark Helprin. This novel is, in my not too modest opinion, one of the absolute best novels ever written. With this book, Helprin takes his place among the pantheon of literary giants such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Cervantes, and Tolstoy.

“As a way to arrive at the truth, exactitude and methodology are, in the end, far inferior to vision and apotheosis” (30)

I am sure I will continue this idea as a series, but this little post will serve as a beginning.

So, now I ask everyone who reads this: what are some of the most beautiful and important sentences you have read in books?

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Wordworth Classics. 1993.

Helprin, Mark. A Soldier Of The Great War. Perennial. 2001.

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66 thoughts on “What Is A Sentence From a Book (or two) You Love?

  1. When I first read The Stand, there was a passage that hit me so hard I eventually memorized it:

    “No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.”

    Liked by 15 people

  2. Hi Charles. Appreciate your posts and since you ask:

    “By the time the lobsters were being tackled, the talk at the table where (the following string of names would be best arranged in a curve) Dorianna, Rex, Margot, Albinus, Sonia Hirsch, and Baum were seated,L was in full swing although rather incoherent.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. love your choices. here are a few of mine:

    “And bending o’er a strip of her unfinished needlework, he sees the whole of her in life, and weeps in silence softly.” (The Poems of Dr. Zhivago, translated from the Russian, Eugene M. Kayden.)

    “I just want you to know. I don’t miss you yet.” “You will,” she says. (The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje)

    “Lucky, lucky me, ” he said, and swept her into his arms like she had never left them. (The Man With the Dancing Eyes, Sophie Dahl)

    Liked by 5 people

  4. “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ” – Jo Coudert, Advice from a Failure (Old time actress and author)

    Liked by 6 people

  5. “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows, perhaps, the greater.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

    Liked by 6 people

  6. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” AND

    “Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of judgment. For even the wise cannot see all ends.”
    Both are from J. R. R. Tolkein’s, Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring.

    Liked by 4 people

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

    Thank you for the additions to my collection. I love to post a beautiful literary sentence on the board at the beginning of every class! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Well, the two I have are from the movies and I believe they are in the books too.

    Shawshank Redemption – “Get busy living or get busy dying”

    Gone With The Wind – “Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give A Damn” For some reason wives don’t appreciate this line! Ha!

    and as a bonus from a Non ficition book – Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain
    “If you can sign your name, you can draw!” The best book on Drawing, creativity and thinking outside the box!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. rachelcapps

    There are so many!

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a fortune must be in want of a wife.”

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

    Goes without saying who wrote those lines.

    or more contemporary:

    “Steal five dollars and you’re a common thief. Steal thousands and you’re either the Government or a hero.” Terry Pratchett, Going Postal.

    Great post, a very enjoyable read, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great post! I’ve loved reading these wonderful sentences full of mood and meaning.
    I’ve got a couple:

    ‘New men were starting into life, a black army of vengeance slowly germinating in the furrows, growing for the harvests of the century to come; and soon this germination would tear the earth apart.’ (Zola, Germinal)

    ‘…and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.’ (Melville, Moby Dick)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “God’s will be done. Now I can get them teeth.”

    I consider these brief lines of dialog from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying to be the objective correlative for Anse Bundren’s character. When read in context, they are devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

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