10 Favorite Quotes from famous books

Some authors write beautifully, eloquently, leaving us wanting for more with every page. Engaging in other day-to-day chores seem petty and irrelevant for going on in life. Some write deeply, blowing away our minds, leaving us pondering upon the words that have rendered our imagination and our understanding of the world outdated. Some authors make you want to be best friends with them, you want their phone number, call them up right then and tell them you totally relate with the protagonist, and never had anyone else express how you feel so aptly.

Following are 10 of my favorite quotes/lines from some books (in no particular order) which I found to be worth sharing. Also, the links to Amazon as well as Goodreads for the books are below. Some of the books deserve a separate post as a review blogpost too.

1)      “I have no idea how people function without near-constant internal chaos. I’d lose my mind.

Book : A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

This is an attempt at writing a humorous autobiography by Dave Eggers. You either hate or love his writing. I haven’t met anyone yet who talked equivocally about him. There are parts where you find your own problems miniscule in comparison to what this guy went through and yet managed to document it wittingly and parts where you struggle to read the next page because you are too bored with the current description as well as the plot.

Amazon: A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius

Goodreads: A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius

2)      “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.

Book: Algorithms To Live By By Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Note: This is a quote by Pascal, however, I attribute it to this book nonetheless.

Aah..this book starts magically, donating you valuable life lessons. This might as well be a Self-Help book, only the authors give you reasons before preaching anything. The perfect book for a pseudo-geek, who wants to knows about things but if provided with too much information, might just ask “So what? Get to the point.” I say this because if you’re a computer scientist or mathematician or a logician, the lack of proper proofs in the appendix section might just catapult you to rage. That said, I have to admit that the later sections of the book could have been more enjoyable, bar being set quite high by the first 2-3 chapters.

Amazon: Algorithms To Live By

Goodreads: Algorithms To Live By

3)      “Man’s misfortune stems from the fact that he does not want to stay in the room where he belongs. Pascal said that.

Book: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

I only read fiction for exclusively odd reasons. While watching an interview of Kurt Cobain, he mentioned this has been his very favorite book and he carries this book during all his flights, reading it repeatedly. Whether or not that was a hyperbole, I ended up pausing the current book I was reading and start with this one.

The book has a protagonist I couldn’t hate despite the hideous things he did. I rather pitied him. The plot and particularly the cold description of some events left me pretty much traumatized but it also vexed me at times. After finishing this book, I wondered in awe, how authors manage to write a detached commentary of gore and inhumane developments. Such an imagination surely must have stemmed from their own inner turmoil or is it possible to not mingle the author in you and the person you are?! I guess not. No wonder Kurt loved the book.

Amazon: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Goodreads: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

4)      “If I were a piano player, I’d play it in a goddam closet.

Book: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Holden Caufield is the main lead in the book, written in first person. It spans close to three days of his life. And boy, does he know how to rant. This book is 200 pages of ranting and the way he does it is beautiful, commanding and deserving respect from everyone who wanted to totally “own” someone but was out of the right words. Holden owns everyone in his head, I’m totally in love with the character – the classic rebel without a cause teenager. J. D. Salinger influenced and inspired a new genre of fiction about alienation with this masterpiece. A must-read for all.

Amazon: The Catcher in the Rye

Goodreads: The Catcher in the Rye

5)      “Though I can hypnotize the mafia and raise the dead at will, I seem incapable of erasing the circles beneath my eyes.

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

David is hilarious – self-deprecating at times and cocky at others. I remember laughing maniacally in the metro while commuting to work, oblivious to the staring eyes around me. He ruthlessly bashes everyone in his family, especially his parents, which I confess I would call below-the-belt and unnecessary, but what the hell – it made me crack.

Amazon: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Goodreads: Me Talk Pretty One Day

6)      “To live is not just a given. To live means you owe something big to those whose lives are taken away from them.

Book: Some Of Us Did Not Die by June Jordan

This lady embodies fighting injustice. She was a black woman, a second-generation immigrant to USA, a staunch feminist and an activist. She is one author I wish I could write to, talk to and make her my journal. I really wish I had read her while she was alive. I thanked the miracle of writing, preserving thoughts for she writes poetically and articulately. The book is a collection of her essays, mostly about issues in 1990s. Though, those not so exposed to US media during that period might feel confused due to lack of context.

Amazon: Some Of Us Did Not Die

Goodreads: Some Of Us Did Not Die

7)      “Every man on the earth was under sentence of death.

Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

What scares me most is being able to relate to a psychopath. This one is a short story about a man – his thoughts, his indifference towards everything including his mothers’ death, an abusive pimp friend and his own death sentence among other things. Sure, he does show a surprisingly emotional longing for his girlfriend in between. Though I managed to equate him to the Devil early on, I despised the numerous occasions I could relate to him and his assessment of life in general may have been one of the best I’ve read.

Amazon: The Stranger

Goodreads: The Stranger

8)      “Lately his days had been so vile, she was reluctant to wake him into another one.

Book: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

This one is a fiction about two best friends living in Amsterdam pursuing quite different careers. The seemingly innocuous developments change their relationship radically. The initial reading may seem boring but Ian McEwan plays with elements of suspense, sewing their lives together intermittently to the extent of madness.

Spoiler alert – It also has a sad unsettling ending. Closure might take a while, but stirring prose.

Amazon: Amsterdam

Goodreads: Amsterdam

9)      “The trend-to-now may be a fact, but the future trend represents no more than an educated guess. Implicit in it is “everything else being equal” and “present trends continuing”. And somehow everything else refuses to remain equal, else life would be dull indeed.

Book: How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

That quote is long and rather peculiar as compared to others here, but it is what people keep forgetting. Darrell points out missing disclaimers in every statistic, the so-many potential pitfalls when presented with a single number. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to be an informed spectator of news and journalism or a senior management executive to be able to ask the right questions and never be misguided.

Planning to reread it soon. I also watched a TED talk by a British journalist voicing similar concerns, will share if I can dig it up.

Amazon: How To Lie With Statistics

Goodreads: How To Lie With Statistics

10)   “Anyone who has survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life.

Book: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This book is for anyone who wants to write, it puts you into a realistic chair, yet inspiring you little by little to improve and not be limited by anything, not even our potentials. And the advice is not limited to writing, Anne talks about life in general too.

Amazon: Bird by Bird

Goodreads: Bird by Bird


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