It’s World Book Day, and while I very nearly wrote something scathing about when parents send their children to school dressed as Minions (it’s not a book, it’s not even slightly a book) I’ve decided to do something more positive and share some of my favourite quotes from books.
Granted you won’t find all of these on the English Lit curriculum and some are more easy-reading than hardcore classics, but these are the quotes which have inspired or motivated me in some way – from Albus Dumbledore to Winnie the Pooh.
I know I should hate On The Road because it’s universally loved by hipsters (even The 1975’s unapologetically pretentious Matt Healy sings “I quote On The Road like a twat”) and is the poster-novel for men whose greatest ambition is to leave a trail of broken hearts in the wake of their exhaust fumes. But I can’t hate it; it makes me want to travel and drink in saloons and listen to jazz and wonder why I’d ever want to do anything that I wasn’t mad about ever again.
Louise Rennison is the author I’ve always wanted to be, and my friends and I lived for her books growing up. There are far, far too many quotes to choose from but I settled on this one because it represents what the Georgia Nicolson books meant for me: That it was okay to be ridiculous; that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks if you want to pretend to be hunchback; that there really is a funny side to every disastrous and humiliating encounter in your teens. Until reading these books I’d felt like girls weren’t supposed to be funny, yet here was a female writer who made me laugh ‘til I cried. It also taught me two valuable relationship lessons that I’ve taken into adulthood: That the most important relationships growing up are those you have with your friends, and you should always, always choose the boy who makes you laugh the most.
It was a tough choice between this line and “courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” Instead I chose the moment where the black citizens of Maycomb stand to show their respect for Atticus after he defends Tom Robinson for a crime he didn’t commit, but will be convicted of anyway. It makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. I think To Kill A Mockingbird is a book everybody should read, now more so than ever. It genuinely made me want to be a better person; one without prejudice or preconceptions, but with understanding, compassion and courage.
Even Ezra Miller couldn’t save the film adaptation from Emma Watson’s wooden performance, but I loved this book. It sounds a bit lame but it was one of those novels I read at the right time. My dad had recently died and I was terrified of being a ‘sad story’ myself; a person people pitied or, worse, made allowances for. The moments where I was laughing with my friends and suddenly felt carefree again were often followed by feelings of guilt, but this book taught me that you aren’t defined by what happens to you, only who you choose to be.
There seems to be a theme running through this blog where a lot of the quotes I love are from books which were turned into really awful films, and One Day is no exception. The film was utter shite (the less said about Anne Hathaway’s Leeds accent the better), but the book is hilarious and heart-breaking in equal measure; profound yet un-pretentious. I read it at a point when I had no career and no real idea about what I wanted to do with my life. The trajectories of Emma and Dexter’s intertwining lives were like a rallying cry to seize the day.
I’ll be honest, the Minpins isn’t exactly my favourite Roald Dahl book. It languishes towards the bottom of the list along with Fantastic Mister Fox (sorry) and The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me. But this quote is just bloody delightful.
Nobody hates inspirational quotes posted on Instagram more than me, and admittedly this is one of those that gets bandied about a lot. But it’s one that has given me pause for thought during some of the more difficult periods of my life. I think as humans we are often hard on ourselves, but we actually have an extraordinary ability to get through the most difficult of times. I’m so often amazed by the strength of the people around me, and, sometimes, even my own resilience. If ever I have a wobble or feel like throwing the towel in, I remind myself of this quote.
I love Harry Potter. I was at WH Smith’s at midnight for every book release, and I’ve still never forgiven the person who told me Snape killed Dumbledore before I finished the book. Honestly though, it’s the magic and the world of Harry Potter I love more than the actual writing – but I adore this quote. It makes me want to use writing to do great things, and here’s hoping one day I do. Dumbledore knows best, after all.