I’m a total sucker for a good quote in a book. With my notebook of favorite book quotes approaching its seventh anniversary, I love seeing the progression of reading choices and what kind of writing or subject matters stuck out to me at different points of my life.
Picking up almost exactly from the point of my quote notebook I left off at in my last Favorite Book Quotes post, the 10 more quotes below date from the second semester of my junior year of college to as recently as this past fall.
“I ask you to pass through life at my side – to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Confession: I didn’t finish reading Jane Eyre when I was assigned it for a Victorian Lit class in college. I probably read the entire first half, but lost interest when Jane left Rochester’s home. Still, I couldn’t help but be moved by this quote said by Rochester.
“In the arts, you need to learn not to expect that success will equal money.”
Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong, excerpt by Cheryl Strayed
I’ve balanced at least two writing/editing jobs simultaneously for over two years. I’ve done editorial work since at least a year before that. I’m proud of the experience I’ve had so early on in my professional life, but this little snippet is something I do want to remember moving forward.
“Mr. Leonard thought rightly that the highest work to which any man could be called was a life of service to his fellows; but he made the mistake of supposing the field of service much narrower than it is – of failing to see that a man may minister to the needs of humanity in many different but equally effective ways.”
Chronicles of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery
Chronicles of Avonlea contains stories about obscure, background characters mentioned in the original Anne series and, from what I remember, this quote referenced Mr. Leonard’s grandson who wanted to be a musician rather than a minister.
I became so used to adamantly shutting people down when they asked if I was going to teach with my English degree (teaching is such an admirable job, though, but just not for me!), so I love how the quote addresses how all jobs contribute to humanity in some way.
“Alicia had said once that loneliness could be dangerous in creating so strong a need as to make a shoddy relationship seem beautiful.”
Up a Road Slowly, Irene Hunt
Up a Road Slowly first came into my life in middle school and, looking back, it was definitely one of those books that strongly influenced my own writing style and what I like to see in stories. I reread it about a year or so ago, and the gorgeous writing screamed of so many relevant, timely messages that went straight over my head when I read it as a kid.
This quote reminds me that loneliness can drive you into attractive-seeming situations that actually lack a sense of genuineness, which I think is such an interesting concept.
“Will you do me a small favor, dears, and look up? Especially you New Yorkers and Londoners and other city dwellers who cross all those busy streets. How else will you take in the majesty of the buildings that have stood there for hundreds of years? How else will you run into an acquaintance on the street who might turn into a friend or a lover or even just recommend a good restaurant that no one has complained about on that app yet? If you never look out the window of the subway car, how will you see the boats gliding by on the East River, or have an idea that only you could have? Just look up for no reason, just for a moment here and there, or maybe for an entire day once in a while. Let the likes go unchecked and the quality of sleep go unnoticed. Que sera sera, my dears – whatever will be will be, whether we’re tracking it on our GPS devices or not.”
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), Lauren Graham
Remembering to look around was my unconscious mantra while living in London. I never bought an international phone plan, so I stayed on airplane mode for my entire semester and just connected to WiFi at home, work, or school. If I was going somewhere alone for the day, I looked up directions before leaving home and took screenshots of them. On weekend mornings, I regularly wandered up and down streets without an exact destination.
I firmly believe that London made me pretty independent, someone who’s totally unfazed by flying alone or eating in public by herself. I long for those days where I could just hop on the Tube and go practically anywhere and be content. It’s not until you leave your phone behind for a day or so that you realize how liberated you’ll feel without the distraction there.
“It can be incredibly lonely to grow into who you’re meant to be.”
The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be, Ann Shoket
The longtime America’s Next Top Model viewer in me was thrilled when I sat in on a talk from Ann Shoket discussing this book at Her Conference. You know you’re one step closer to your Seventeen cover shoot when she pops up, right? I just think that this bit of her book perfectly sums up the first few years out of college, particularly when you work in a creative field.
“When you’ve only been found, you can’t become a ruthless seeker just like that.”
Once and For All, Sarah Dessen
I’ve actively sought out every professional opportunity I’ve had in the past few years and I pride myself on making things happen. While I definitely had a say in following through, I feel that every important friendship in my life appeared naturally, as if those bonds were meant to be in my life. When it comes to meeting other people, I don’t think I’m someone who “seeks” friends – in a way, we’ve just found each other.
“When he came back with the beers and plastic cups, he poured hers with a flourish that, to her, was thick with romance.”
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I loved this book’s writing style so much, and I’m pretty sure my heart swooned at this line. Foreshadowing my love for the last quote in this post, this excerpt from Americanah also took place on a train ride. Commute stories are honestly my crack.
“There was something about standing there in an elegant dress with a man in a suit, full of beignets and coffee, and surrounded by the sounds of the big city. She felt more sophisticated somehow, more interesting. More…happy.”
The Young Wives Club, Julie Pennell
I briefly met this author at Her Conference last summer, and I finally found her debut novel at the library a month or so later. You’d be surprised what a nice dress and a press pass for a Manhattan event can do for your self-esteem.
“Train Man takes out this morning’s free paper he hasn’t got around to reading yet. Old news. Maya wants to tell him she did really well at work today and has a voucher for a romantic getaway at a luxury hotel and spa in her bag, to be taken next month if he’d like to accompany her. New news. She wants to share all the ridiculousness of her life with him. She wants to get off the train with him because this never happens, go home together, show him her new flat, sack off class, cook him something nurturing and do things to each other that two people who are meant to be together do to each other.”
The Note, Zoe Folbigg
I actually had a lot of issues with this book (its pacing, its often awkward writing style, and it having one too many unnecessary subplots). But given how charming the story sounded in this interview with the author, I was determined to finish the book. Something about British public transportation just gets me every time. Half of the reason why I love the tube is seeing handsome, well-dressed men on it, and the concept of imagining another commuter’s life is just so interesting to me.
What about you? Have you read anything lately with points that stuck out to you?