A Quote to Remember

A sentence or two can say so much and have an impact beyond the actual words which make them up, and literary gurus have been working magic with their phrases since before ink first met paper. You can become rich and famous for some fancy word-work and live through the ages as a shining light of literary greatness. Shakespeare, the most quoted author of all time, could attest -- were he not six feet under today -- to the immortality of a thought well-worded.

This got me thinking about some of the books on my shelf that contain some beautifully crafted phrases, but aren't eternally famous (yet). Let's give these books and their authors a smidge of glory here!


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This is a many-layered story, but the most vitally passionate part of it for me is the vulnerable heart of a young man who has spent his life viewed as an object, a possession, rather than as a person. In this line he bares his wounded soul and makes a devastatingly profound statement that rings true for all those who have endured the belittlement of those around them...
"A human being! A person, just like you, with dreams and terrors - just like you. I fear, I hope, I hurt, and yes, I love ... Please listen, and hear me as you have never heard me before."
Pratchett is easily the most delightful contemporary satirist out there. His gift for humorously bludgeoning culture, politics, religion, science, and society for the flaws and outright gaffs inherent to humanity is never lacking for entertainment value. In Jingo, though, there is a moment where he completely steps his dialogue beyond his standard snarkiness to issue a bald statement regarding war...
"Men marched away, Vimes. And men marched back. How glorious the battles would have been that they never had to fight!"
One of the most elegant fairytale re-tellings out there, this book is full to the brim with beautiful prose. Between the subject matter, the setting and time period, and the natural richness of Marillier's writing style this story has a flow that is pure and effortless. Like all good legends, there is a moral to the story...
"But there is one thing you must remember, if you forget all else. There is no good or evil, save in the way you see the world. There is no dark or light save in your own vision. All changes in the blink of an eyelid; yet all remains the same."
Deanna Raybourn started out as an author of romanticized historical mystery novels about a lady sleuth in Victorian England. While they are fun books, they cannot compare to the depth and articulate sense of human nature which is the core of her stand-alone, A Spear of Summer Grass. Writing at the top of her game, Raybourn clearly has taken her own quote as the standard...
"Because if we're on the road to Hell, then we'll dance the whole damn way and give them something to talk about when we're gone."
If Terry Pratchett is the best satirist currently in the game, then Brandon Sanderson certainly claims the same role in fantasy. Elantris was his first published novel, and established his prowess as a crafter of the written word right from the get-go. His eloquent understanding of the human soul is profound and infuses every part of his work...
"Physically inevitable or not, truth stands above all things. It is independent of who has the best army, who can deliver the longest sermons, or even who has the most priests. It can be pushed down, but it will always surface. Truth is the one thing you can never intimidate."
What quotations from your favorite books mean the most to you? What words strike a note in your soul, in your mind, in infinity? Language is the lifeline of human interaction, and when it is communicated well and with style the echoes throughout time are limitless.
 
(Originally posted at girlwithagoodbook.blogspot.com on 2/16/14)