One girl's journey to read the top 100 literature classics of all time in the space of 365 days, a quest for only the most foolhardy and brave

Lines that inspire

I’m one of those people who loves classic, memorable lines. Some people collect them from films, songs or movies. For me, there’s only really ever been one medium. The printed word.

So I suppose to stands to reason that as I tap away writing this tortuous book that is taking so much of my energy, time and focus that I keep coming back to the lines and books that have stayed with me well after the last page is read.

I love those lines when first read that have the ability to illicit a laugh, provoke thought or simply make you sigh. I know its ambitious to hope that maybe one day my book will be home to one or two or perhaps a couple of these lines. The type that make a person put down the book and just be still. For a moment or two to absorb what they just read.

It’s not just the classics that are home to these lines, but new modern favourites as well. So with these in mind I’ve decided to include below some of my all-time favourite lines from books which have changed or shaped my perspective, made me cry, made me laugh and ones I have simply just enjoyed.

This is just a sample of some of the top ones. Many more out there and feel free to share any you have





“The first thing you should know is that I’m a whore. I don’t mean that in a glib way. I’m not using the word as an analogy for working from a desk or toiling away in new media. Many of my friends will tell you how temping for a year or ending up in sales is equivalent to prostitution. It’s not. I know this because I’ve been a temp and I’ve fucked for money and they are in no way similar. Not even the same planet. Different solar systems all together.” – Belle de Jour

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.”
– Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Ch. 9

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that’s all we have – to hold on tight until the dawn” – Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to be in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.” – Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

“I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right”. – Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“The African girl they locked up in the immigration detention center, poor child, she never really escaped.” – Chris Cleave, The Other Hand

“But better to be hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie”. – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” – Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” – Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

“Love is like breathing, you take it in and let it out.” ― Wally Lamb, She’s Come Undone

“I think… the secret is to just settle for the shape of your life takes…Instead of you know, always waiting and wishing for what might make you happy.” ― Wally Lamb, She’s Come Undone

“But what are our stories if not the mirrors we hold up to our fears?” ― Wally Lamb, I Know This Much Is True

“I didn’t know that it was right to love her. I just loved her.” – Nicholas Evans, The Horse Whisperer

“Everything I know and I am and I have seen felt done past present past now than before now seen felt done hurt felt focus into a something beyond words and it speaks now and it says.
Take it.”
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

“Be content with what you have and take joy in the way things are. When you realize you have all you need, the World belongs to you.”
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

“Sometimes skulls are thick. Sometimes hearts are vacant. Sometimes words don’t work. ”
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

“You could have not me the offer of you hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it; I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you handle what happens.” – Nicholas Evans, ‘The Smoke Jumper’

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never
asked for and don’t always like.” – Lemony Snicket

“Life is pain. Anybody that says different is selling something.” -Fezzik’s mother, The Princess Bride

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” – Animal Farm, George Orwell

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.” – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” – Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic



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