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So in love with reading and writing, but so poor at remembering the very words I love most. Few are the books whose titles and authors I remember, but below are lines from some books whose words l wish I had written, whose words I haven’t forgotten.

~ from Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner:  “Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.”

~ from Ulysses by James Joyce: “…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

~ from American Pastoral by Phillip Roth: “This is called a polishing machine and that is called a stretcher and you are called honey and I am called Daddy and this is called living and the other is called dying and this is called madness and this is called mourning and this is called hell, pure hell, and you have to have strong ties to be able to stick it out, this is called trying-to-go-on-as-though-nothing-has-happened and this is called paying-the-full-price-but-in-God’s-name-for-what, this is called wanting-to-be-dead-and-wanting-to-find-her-and-to-kill-her-and-to-save-her-from-whatever-she-is-going-through-wherever-on-earth-she-may-be-at-this-moment, this unbridled outpouring is called blotting-out-everything and it does not work, I am half insane, the shattering force of that bomb is too great…”

~ from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

~ from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: “She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.”

~ from On the Road by Jack Kerouac: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

~ from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

~ from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera: “The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”

~ from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: “It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice: either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.”

~ from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery: “I have read so many books. And yet, like most Autodidacts, I am never quite sure of what I have gained from them. There are days when I feel I have been able to grasp all there is know in one single gaze, as if invisible branches suddenly spring out of no where, weaving together all the disparate strands of my reading. And then suddenly the meaning escapes, the essence evaporates and no matter how often I reread the same lines they seem to flee ever further with each subsequent reading and I see myself as some mad old fool who thinks her stomach is full because she’s been reading the menu.”

~ from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

Post your favorite lines in the “leave a comment” section above.

Happy Reading!

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