Fave one liner from a book?

(361 Posts)

"It's lipless mouth quivered and slathered"
War of the Worlds - H G Wells

YoniMeKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 15:48:09

"...for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending."

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Thu 02-May-13 16:26:04

I was in bed with my catamite when the Archbishop called.....

Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess.

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Thu 02-May-13 16:28:50

"It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

Correction, the mind discards chunks of text as you get older.... blush

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 02-May-13 16:33:04

'Hey Boo'
Scout meeting Boo Radley for the first time in my favourite book ever, To Kill a Mockingbird.

confusteling Thu 02-May-13 16:36:18

"People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back."

Shug, The Color Purple. Love her and wish that she was a genuine person!

YouDontWinFriendsWithSalad Thu 02-May-13 16:50:50

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold...

It's a title.
Started Early Took My Dog.
Sticks in my mind for no reason.

flootshoot Thu 02-May-13 17:15:14

'You are the dead' 1984, George Orwell. Literally the only thing I've ever read that made me jump.

FruOla Thu 02-May-13 17:22:25

"She heard a knocking, and then a dog barking. Her dream left her, skittering behind a closed door. It had been a good dream, warm and close, and she minded. She fought the waking. It was dark in the small bedroom, with no light yet behind the shades. She reached for the lamp, fumbled her way up the brass, and she was thinking, What? What? "

Anita Shreve, The Pilot's Wife.

(Sorry, it's slightly more than one line)

OneHolyCow Thu 02-May-13 17:28:19

“He is afforded no insights, no illuminations, no great wisdoms, but he can immediately see why the ladies dig him. He is not a toned, square-jawed lover boy or cummerbunded ladies’ man but there’s a pull, even in his booze-blasted face, a magnetic drag that has something to do with the pockets of compassion that form at the corners of his eyes when he smiles, a mischievous arch to his eyebrows and the little hymen-popping dimples in his cheeks when he laughs. Look! There they are now!”
—The Death of Bunny Munro, Nick Cave


magimedi Thu 02-May-13 17:29:21

"Only connect".

The quote at the start of Howards End by E. M. Forster.

If only more people did...............

I can't remember the exact context but from Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald :-

young woman patient (Rosemary I think) to her analyst(Dick, main character): "Take me" (sexually)

him: "take you - take you where?"

or something along those lines - it was an O'level text so a very very long time ago!

HadALittleFaithBaby Thu 02-May-13 17:54:39

'Atticus, come quick, the world's ending!'

Scout to Atticus when she discovers its snowing.
To Kill a Mockingbird

'Miranda, 16, and never before more than kissed, was getting pregnant on the beach'.
Opening line to Just for the summer by Judy Astley

rubyslippers Thu 02-May-13 17:55:51

Reader, I married him

Jane Eyre

Morgause Thu 02-May-13 17:58:18

He upped her smock and in he throng.

Chaucer - The Merchant's Tale

Yjossarian Thu 02-May-13 18:35:56

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 02-May-13 18:45:04

"My Dear, I don't give a damn". Rhett Butler, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

So many people I'd like to say that to grin

Flootshoot - I listened to 1984 on audio book recently. Even though I knew that line was coming, it still made me leap out of my skin. Terrifying.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 18:48:20

Happiness is but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain

RubySparks Thu 02-May-13 18:49:37

'Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut?' Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick

Badvoc Thu 02-May-13 18:55:34

"Marley was dead, to begin with"
A Christmas carol - Charles dickens.

BalloonSlayer Thu 02-May-13 18:59:34

". . . one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge. "

Bertie Wooster on Honoria Glossop. PG Wodehouse.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 02-May-13 19:01:11

I have another one - "Thus it lightens into Action: I am come to kill thee". Chilling stuff - John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi grin

WipsGlitter Thu 02-May-13 19:01:43

He knew that when he kissed her that his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her, at his lips touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
The Great Gatsby

What can I say? That I loved you? Love is only a form and mine is already disintegrating. Better let me say, how lovely you are."
The Brothers Karamazoff

IvorHughJarse Thu 02-May-13 19:02:51

'Facts? Take a drop more grog, Mr Franklin, and you'll soon get over believing in facts!' The wonderful Gabriel Betteridge, The Moonstone.

WeAreNinjaNotGeisha Thu 02-May-13 19:03:45

"Poetry in motion - it's the only way to travel!" Mr. Toad, The Wind in the Willows

mice Thu 02-May-13 19:03:46

"And if Eeyore's back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh"

tumbletumble Thu 02-May-13 19:05:02

'There were three thousand six hundred and fifty three days like that on his stretch. From the first clang of the rail to the last clang of the rail. The three extra days were for leap years.'

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

thegreylady Thu 02-May-13 19:05:24

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again [Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier] it always gives me goose bumps.

textbook Thu 02-May-13 19:08:26

"The wines were too various. It was neither the quality nor the quantity that was at fault; it was the mixture."

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

missmapp Thu 02-May-13 19:08:50

"Don't forget to feed the parrot"

Cold comfort Farm - a goodbye as the train was leaving to distract the teary departee- always used in our house!!

BreasticlesNTesticles Thu 02-May-13 19:11:06

Pen is envy - Handmaid's Tale

wetsand Thu 02-May-13 19:13:01

'Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering'


'Then he almost but didn't say the two sentences he'd been meaning to say for years: part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you'

grumpyinthemorning Thu 02-May-13 19:13:23

I didn't say I was powerful, I said I was a wizard.

Rincewind, one of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

wetsand Thu 02-May-13 19:13:30

Both from Nicole Krauss, The History Of Love

LtEveDallas Thu 02-May-13 19:14:40

Well mine is very low brow compared to the others grin but both from Stephen King novels:

"If you don't control your temper, your temper will control you."
From Under the Dome


"Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto."
From Dolores Claiborne

There's another one, Stephen King again, but I can't remember what book "Get busy living or get busy dying."

milkwasabadchoice Thu 02-May-13 19:14:58

We live as we dream: alone.

Conrad - heart of darkness

totallystumped Thu 02-May-13 19:33:06

More of a phrase "... like a plate of scarlet porridge..." Margo's acned face in Gerrald Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals"

Soert of an anti-fav "The womb of his young wife had borne a single dark and malignant child." Stephen King "The Stand" (chills me, every time)

Celticlassie Thu 02-May-13 19:39:37

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—"

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Thu 02-May-13 19:41:54

So pleased that someone else has quoted Hitchhikers grin

My favourite line, from the HH books:

"Flying is the art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing"

Or, when the occasion calls for it:

"Go stick your head in a pig!"

RedJeans Thu 02-May-13 19:46:50

Mine are both Dumbledore quotes grin

"And now Harry, let us step out into the night and persue that flighty temptress, adventure"

"Of course it is happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

And many more!

TartinaTiara Thu 02-May-13 19:49:04

Last line of I capture the castle.

I love. I have loved. I will love.

Brave and sad and hopeful all at once.

NulliusInBlurba Thu 02-May-13 19:52:56

Not exactly a novel, but from ^The Wasteland^by Toilets TS Eliot.

"Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over"

Can be used for all sorts of situations.

FruOla Thu 02-May-13 19:53:07

"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills."

Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen) - Out Of Africa

fizzykola Thu 02-May-13 19:56:41

Love the I Capture The Castle line too.


'At the end of the eternal why? is a yes and a yes and a yes!'
Room With a View, EM Forster.
So positive.

And for contrast, the killer opening line of Albert Camus The Outsider:

'Today my mother died. Or maybe yesterday, I'm not sure'

PrideOfChanur Thu 02-May-13 19:56:56

If Hitchhiker is being quoted "Why stop now,just when I'm hating it" is a favorite in our house.(actually,true for most of what Marvin says!)

And Ds's fave quote at the moment is from Terry Pratchett's The Last Continent "We'd better batten down the hatches" said the Dean "We don't have any hatches"" "Batten down Mrs Whitlow at least..."

BikeRunSki Thu 02-May-13 19:57:41

Geology, that's time and magic - Uncle Rory, The Crow Road - Iain Banks

It was the day my grandmother exploded - opening line of The Crow Road, Iain Banks

WhoPaintedTheLion Thu 02-May-13 20:02:00

My user name. "Who painted the lion? Tell me, who?" Wife of Bath, Canterbury Tales.

Also, I like Pratchett's explaination of the beginning of the universe where giant space turtles mated. They called it thr Big Bang.

PoppyAmex Thu 02-May-13 20:03:56

"Very good," I said coldly. "In that case, tinkerty-tonk."
And I meant it to sting.

Bertie arguing with Jeeves - PG Wodehouse

"I poured cereal and powdered milk in a bowl and ran it under the tap" !The Object of My Affection. Ace book, less good film.

tumbletumble Thu 02-May-13 20:11:49

Now I'm confused. My copy of I Capture the Castle ends with 'I love you, I love you, I love you.' Do I have a different version to the rest of you?!

swanyriver Thu 02-May-13 20:13:49

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

fertilityFTW Thu 02-May-13 20:14:32

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

― from 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Wallison Thu 02-May-13 20:14:58

Another Forster one here: Yet as he spoke the darkness was withdrawn, veil after veil, and she saw to the bottom of her soul.

Love love love Mr Emerson.

AJBthesecond Thu 02-May-13 20:16:41

"He sighed patriotically."

Whisky Galore, Compton Mckenzie.

Earthworms Thu 02-May-13 20:19:46

" I'd love to stay and help, only I'm not going to"

A favourite in our house, and very useful.

YouDontWinFriendsWithSalad Thu 02-May-13 20:35:26

Oh, how could I forget Gatsby - on every page there is something that takes my breath away.

The last line gives me shivers, I just love it:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

LifeofPo Thu 02-May-13 20:39:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JourneyThroughLife Thu 02-May-13 20:46:45

Startling phrase in a book, which changed my life:

" 'Therapist' and 'the rapist' - just a matter of spacing, but the meaning is the same..."

Shute, in a book called 'Life Size' - a fictional account, about anorexia and therapy...

StiffyByng Thu 02-May-13 20:51:25

'He went so far as to suggest that Master Simmons was well known to the police.'

Right Ho, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse. (Chapter 17)

Not really a stunner in isolation, but I assume an entire chapter is not admissible and this is the one line of the whole thing that simply makes me choke with laughter.

LifeofPo Thu 02-May-13 20:57:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bassetfeet Thu 02-May-13 20:59:55

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro

MrsWolowitz Thu 02-May-13 21:03:21

"Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul."

The Bishop in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

I want to be more like the Bishop. He genuinely inspires me.

MortifiedAdams Thu 02-May-13 21:06:15

Dumbledore from me too...

"It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live"

OddSockMonster Thu 02-May-13 21:06:23

"If I'm in, tell him I'm out, and if I'm out, tell him I'm in."
Catch 22.

goingtobefree Thu 02-May-13 21:08:15

Last time i dreamt of Manderlay( Rebecca)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink
I capture the castle

Daisy17 Thu 02-May-13 21:10:24

Slightly cheating, as it's a stage direction from Tennessee Williams, but his are so poetic..... "His smile lights her inwardly with altar candles." Just. Oh.

"Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion"


“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

Pride and Prejudice smile

Orianne Thu 02-May-13 21:12:31

“I look placid, you see, that's why people think I'm fine. Inside I worry a lot.”

Orianne Thu 02-May-13 21:21:37

"From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."

"I swear, sometimes I don't know whether to scream, or just walk off into the sunset."
"Why not do both? Walk into the sunset screaming?"

Love that last sentence! Diana wynne jones in 8days of Luke.

Also love, all power corrupts, but we need electricity.

gallifrey Thu 02-May-13 21:35:39

suck my fat one you cheap dime store hood

stand by me Stephen King

Potterer Thu 02-May-13 21:45:51

"You play, you win, you play, you lose. You play.

It’s the playing that’s irresistible. Dicing from one year to the next with the things you love, what you risk reveals what you value"

Jeanette Winterson The Passion. Not her best book but I love that bit.

fuzzpig Thu 02-May-13 21:49:13

Fellowship of the Ring, J R R Tolkien:

When she arrived later in the day, she took the point at once - but she also took the spoons.

Dawndonna Thu 02-May-13 21:53:38

"Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy."
The Remains of The Day.

"In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;"
The love song of J Alfred Prufrock.
(I know it's a poem, but it is special).

PrideOfChanur Thu 02-May-13 21:58:30

"Worse things happen at sea" "but we're not at sea..."

From??? I suspect it is an Antonia Forest quote but I don't remember where from.Any AF fans recognise it?

TartinaTiara Thu 02-May-13 22:36:31

tumbletumble, you're right, I've just checked my copy and the last line is as you think. Now I'm totally confused as to where I got my line from, I'm nowhere near clever enough to have invented it.

Am going to have to re-read it again, it must be somewhere in there.

MrsKoala Thu 02-May-13 22:51:04

'This is not an exit'

American Psycho

ChubbyKitty Thu 02-May-13 22:59:07

“At the temple there is a poem called "Loss" carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.”

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

OiVaVoi Thu 02-May-13 23:12:27

Feather footed thought the plushy fen passes the questing vole

Opening line iof Scoop, Evelyn Waugh

thatsalovelyhat Fri 03-May-13 00:36:47

Currently, 'The front end of a cow had never been so popular.' The Making of Tesco by Sarah Ryle.

darksideofthemooncup Fri 03-May-13 01:05:03

"I see . . ." said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window. - Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

SorrelForbes Fri 03-May-13 01:05:18

The Fossil sisters lived in the Cromwell Road. At that end of it which is farthest away from the Brompton Road, and yet sufficiently near it so one could be taken to look at the dolls’ houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day.

Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild.

My mum and I recite this anytime we're on these roads!

darksideofthemooncup Fri 03-May-13 01:10:20

or this:
“The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate.”
― David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

'It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen'
1984, George Orwell

BalloonSlayer Fri 03-May-13 08:15:39

Not an exact quote, but I don't think that matters as she uses it a couple of times in different books about different characters.

"People who claim not to care anything about money are always jolly good at spending other people's" - St Jilly of Cooper.

Love this as have found it to be v. true.

tumbletumble Fri 03-May-13 08:35:55

Tartina if it's any consolation that would be a great ending!

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 03-May-13 08:46:33

My absolute favourite, the last paragraph from Gatsby already been done so I get to do another:

"I was there, standing across your path and because I was there, you met me, without any reasonable cause, without having wanted to do so; from that moment, you could choose to come closer to me or to run away from me, but you could not prevent me existing in your consciousness" Simone de Beauvoir, The Blood of Others

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 03-May-13 08:47:23

"If she had not wanted me to love her, she should not have looked at me."

Graham Green, I think, though have never managed to find the book. Someone sent it to me years ago.

HazleNutt Fri 03-May-13 09:05:20

All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.

Animal Farm.

"No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away -- until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone's life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence."

Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett.

(loving the Gatsby ones - I'm currently reading it for an exam so have been analysing it to death, it's lovely to see it through fresh eyes again!)

SciFiFan Fri 03-May-13 09:38:16

“But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy it. You are not going to be missish, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
Mr Bennett, Pride and Predjudice (my excuse for a good gossip)

'He looked up; and she was instantly scarlet, as though she had been dipped in boiling water. Through the confusion of her darkened eyes and drumming ears some enormous bulk seemed to stoop over her. Then the mist cleared. His eyes were riveted upon the manuscript again, but he breathed as though he had been running.
So, thought Harriet, it has happened,'
Gaudy Night, Dorothy L Sayers
The moment Harriet realised she was in love with Lord Peter.

oopsiedoopsie Fri 03-May-13 09:46:10

"It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists' houses and smashing their windows."

Mr Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

Whitewineformeplease Fri 03-May-13 09:55:13

Austen again...
"You pierce my soul." Oh Captain Wentworth! (Swoon...)

Oi, I love the questing vole too.

Often used in our house: "It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine." PG Wodehouse.

Not enough opportunities to use, as I rarely wish anyone dead - "And don't pass any open windows." Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving.

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 03-May-13 10:19:00

"He's come to take my soul, " she thought, "but when did I ever tell him he could have it?"

John Le Carre. Little Drummer Girl.

VioletGoesVintage Fri 03-May-13 11:45:07

"The long, lovely, blue days that lasted for ever, that still are. ..." Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

Minion Fri 03-May-13 12:00:28

Did my heart love till now?
Forswear it sight. For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare.

gotthemoononastick Fri 03-May-13 12:31:35

The tiger's wife.Last sentence.
I had been taught long ago that there are some stories you keep to yourself.
Unforgettable book.

seeker Fri 03-May-13 12:32:50

I love Mr Bennet

"You have delighted us long enough. Let some other young lady make an exhibition of herself"

I use it a lot.

queenjellybelly Fri 03-May-13 12:50:52

Can't remember it verbatim but the gist was basically this. "Childbirth is often viewed as a miracle, but its not. Once you are pregnant it's basically inevitable. Throughout pregnancy & birth we are caused unimaginable pain, stress & discomfort by this baby. The miracle is that after all this, we love them." From the birth house by ami McKay.

cuillereasoupe Fri 03-May-13 13:18:27

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.

The first line of Tristram Shandy. He starts as he means to go on grin

CreepyCrawly Fri 03-May-13 13:22:42

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One doesn't love breathing"
To Kill A Mockingbird

CreepyCrawly Fri 03-May-13 13:23:44

After a google, it's not 'doesn't its 'does not'

LastTangoInDevonshire Fri 03-May-13 13:25:38

Don't do what you can't undo until you've considered what you can't do once you've done it.

Robin Hobb, Farseer Triology

From The Seagull

'Life must be represented not as it is, or as it ought to be; but as we see it in our dreams.'

I also utterly adore the already mentioned last line of I Capture The Castle.

Saralyn Fri 03-May-13 23:21:30

Only people of a certain disposition are frightened of being alone for the rest of their lives at twenty-six; we were of that disposition.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

deleted203 Fri 03-May-13 23:26:53

Can't remember which Antonia Forest book it was in, but I have used Rowan's dryly uttered, 'My grief would be controllable,' for many years now...

LatinForTelly Fri 03-May-13 23:34:54

'Nawaz wakes gently, lifted through a gap in the way of things.'

If nobody speaks of remarkable things, by Jon McGregor

^ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other wayin short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only^

I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago

I could just die! Cpt Wentworth, Persuasion

So great to hear all these Austen classics.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, etc.

Also love the last line of a Wodehouse short story:
"Oh, I'll think of a title." It's called A Bit of Luck for Mabel.

Too many others to list or remember...

“People hate as they love, unreasonably.”
&#8213; William Makepeace Thackeray

NishiNoUsagi Sat 04-May-13 00:46:29

"Virtually everything you decide today will be wrong."

Dirk Gently's horoscope, in The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.
I find it strangely reassuring grin

DomesticEntrepreneur Sat 04-May-13 00:58:26

"At one time, I would have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story that I will ever be able to tell."
From Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Still sends a shiver down my spine, even now.
"It wasn't that he was unaware of the despair and the nobility of the human condition. It was just that, as far as he was concerned, you could stuff it."
The Librarian, the Discworld novels

Homebird8 Sat 04-May-13 04:40:09

From Middlemarch by George Eliot: a retort by a younger sister on announcement of her sister's marriage to an unusual choice of spouse.

"Only think! at breakfast, and always."

And well remembered by me when choosing my own DH. He will be there at breakfast and always. Could I stand it? Could he? I'm not a morning person. wink

seeker Sat 04-May-13 08:11:22

Sowornout- I use that one all th Tim too!

My other favourite Rowanism is "just one more infant rabbit keeping her tiny end up"

But maybe you have to have read the book........

MilesAwayGirl Sat 04-May-13 11:49:10

Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

Celticlassie Sat 04-May-13 13:44:01

Another Shakespeare one I love - "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 04-May-13 13:54:47

"Good night you princes of Maine, kings of New England" Cider House Rules John Irving

And "Hey Boo". To kill a mockingbird ( note my username Ladybeagle)

Puddlelane Sat 04-May-13 14:03:16

This needs to go in classics!

MissMogwi Sat 04-May-13 14:31:04

From The Importance of Being Earnest.

Cecily and Gwendolyn arguing over the mysterious Ernest:

Cecily. "...when I see a spade I call it a spade."

Gwendolyn. "I am glad to say I have never seen a spade. It is obvious outer social spheres have been widely different."

Makes me grin every time.

MissMogwi Sat 04-May-13 14:31:47

*our not outer. Bloody auto correct!

fuzzpig Sat 04-May-13 14:36:48

"kings of New England" sounds wrong to me - I'm too used to watching the futurama episode 'the cyber house rules' where the line is "kings of NEW New England" grin

YoniMeKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 04-May-13 14:37:01

"While I was walking, I passed these two guys that were unloading the big Christmas tree off a truck. One guy kept saying to the other guy, "Hold the sonuvabitch up! Hold it up, for Chrissake!". It certainly was a gorgeous way to talk about a Christmas tree."

That bit always kills me.

YoniMeKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 04-May-13 14:41:26

Oops should have said that's ^ from Catcher in the Rye.

And strictly speaking it's not a one liner, so....

"Come back", Atonement, Ian McEwan

Trixidoll Sat 04-May-13 15:19:09

'Reader, I ate him'

Brilliant one line chapter from Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf

SoniaGluck Sat 04-May-13 15:26:55

SciFiFan I adore that bit from Gaudy Night.

One of my favourite lines is Beatrice in Much Ado:

" I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves
me. "

seeker Sat 04-May-13 15:28:38

I think Gaudy Night might be my favourite book.

ArtemisCake Sat 04-May-13 16:00:04

We are made from bits of stars - the Crow Road Iain Banks

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 04-May-13 16:20:28

If you have to go away again, at least try to remember how we were tonight.

GG Marquez

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 04-May-13 16:21:14

I'll hold you up and say it was all you, I'll lay you down and say it was all me.

John Le Carre.

thegreylady Sat 04-May-13 16:32:36

One of the sexiest moments in' literature' is when Harriet calls Peter 'My Lord' in Busman's Honeymoon.

thegreylady Sat 04-May-13 16:35:42

Seeker and co I love the Marlowe books too -all of them and Rowan's dry humour is superb.I am very fortunate in owning all the books including The Marlowes and the Traitor which is very hard to find now.

Badvoc Sat 04-May-13 17:01:54

What are the Marlowe books please?

thegreylady Sat 04-May-13 17:16:11

They are books by Antonia Forest.They are mainly a family saga/school story st just about [vaguely] post war and they involve the family dynamics as well as adventures.I would guess they are aimed at and would be enjoyed by dc[girls mostly] aged from 10 upwards.
Chronologically the first one [if you discount the historical The Players Boy] is The Marlowes and the Traitor then The thuggery Affair and Falconers Lure.There are four set mainly in school Autumn Term, The Cricket Term,The Attic Term and End of Term and some very interesting ones set at home Peter's Room, The Readymade Family, The Thursday Kidnapping and Fly Away Home which was the last one.
I may have muddled the order a little but they are head and shoulders above most stories for girls bot in content and quality of writing.
The Marlowes are a Naval family and the father and the eldest child [Giles] are rarely at home.The next oldest is Karen,then Rowan,Ann,Peter and finally identical twin girls Nicola [usually the central character] and Lawrence [Lawrie].

Blessyou Sat 04-May-13 17:26:31

Mr. Bennet: Well, Lizzy, from this day henceforth it seems you must be a stranger to one of your parents... Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins... and I will never see you again if you do.

Pride and Prejudice

Mrdarcyswife Sat 04-May-13 17:27:36

Since my absolute fave (I write this sitting in the kitchen sink), has already been mentioned it'll have to be "better drowned than duffers" from swallows and amazons.

DorisShutt Sat 04-May-13 17:46:19

An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
(Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)


The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.
(Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)

PlentyOfFreeTime Sat 04-May-13 17:50:37

Mr Bennet again:

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

shufflehopstep Sat 04-May-13 18:05:15

"This must be a most inconvenient sitting room for the evening, in summer; the windows are full west." Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Pride and Prejudice. Often used when out and about with my parents. And countless ones by Mr Bennett - many of them already mentioned above.

Also another couple of Douglas Adams ones.
“What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"Ask a glass of water!”


"Life! Don't talk to me about life.”

KatyDid02 Sat 04-May-13 18:18:06

"Her name is Ruth really but Uncle Jim says pirates are ruthless"
Name that book grin

AgnesBligg Sat 04-May-13 18:19:21

'It affected my attitude towards society. Before I had been vaguely conscious of something rotten somewhere, prison crystallised this. The old whore society really lifted up her skirts and the stench was pretty foul.’
Joe Orton quote, I think it must be from 'Prick up your Ears' biography.

TreeLuLa Sat 04-May-13 18:23:09

From "THe country CHild" by Alison Uttely, which we reat at age 11 at a vair posh girl's school
"She buried her face in her muff in ecstasy"

I thought nothing of it until I re-read it age 28 shock

FunnyLittleFrog Sat 04-May-13 18:23:18

'She walked rapidly in the thin June sunshine towards the worst horror of all'

Brighton Rock.

“Though sympathy alone can't alter facts, it can help to make them more bearable.”
From Dracula

FloraFox Sat 04-May-13 18:40:08

"it was Captain Holly of the Sandleford Owsla" from Watership Down. So exciting when I was 7.

LadyPeterWimsey Sat 04-May-13 18:44:16

Lots of mine have been taken <sulks>

In particular, Harriet realising she has fallen in love with Peter. But also the Austen and Douglas Adams ones. And the reading/breathing one from To Kill A Mockingbird.

So, another one from Gaudy Night:

It was quite true that the spontaneous affections of Reggie Pomfret had, somehow, made it easier to believe that Peter’s own feelings might be something more than an artist’s tenderness for his own achievement. But it was indecent of Peter to reach that conclusion so rapidly. She resented the way in which he walked in and out of her mind as if it were his own flat.

NotTreadingGrapes I never meet anyone who's read The Little Drummer Girl, but I think it might be my favourite Le Carre.

tumbletumble Sat 04-May-13 18:58:58

KatyDid - Swallows and Amazons!

FunnyLittleFrog - that is one of my favourites too - chilling!

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 04-May-13 18:59:16

Hi all,

We've moved this thread over to classics now - thanks to those who reported for the suggestion.

hackmum Sat 04-May-13 19:03:48

A particular favourite is PG Wodehouse: "I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."

But so glad to see all the quotes from P&P. The woman was a genius, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. One rarely quoted line from P&P, but one which I love, is when Charlotte Lucas's father speaks to Mr Darcy at the Netherfield ball and says (quoting from memory) "Dancing is the hallmark of a civilised society" and Darcy replies, "And of the most primitive. Every savage can dance." For me it sums up the book and possibly all of her books, and come to think of it, possibly every book, because it highlights the tension between our animal passions and the social imperative to suppress them.

BreastmilkCrucifiesAFabLatte Sat 04-May-13 19:11:23

“Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently. Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end. The best you can do is admire the cat's cradle, and maybe knot it up a bit more.”

&#8213; Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

Puddlelane Sat 04-May-13 19:14:59

Thank you Rebecca

Onlyconnect Sat 04-May-13 19:19:31

"Droll thing life is; that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic to a futile purpose." Conrad, Heart of Darkness

FancyPuffin Sat 04-May-13 19:20:11

The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.

Stephen King

grimbletart Sat 04-May-13 19:22:55

"They are not long, the days of wine and roses:"

Ernest Dowson

From his poem "They are not long" which continues "the weeping and the laughter".

Poignant, as the poet died at 32.

catgirl1976 Sat 04-May-13 19:23:21

I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (I think)

Badvoc Sat 04-May-13 19:25:09

I might have to give terry pratchett another go, you know.
Some of these are great, and lovely to see pg Wodehouse get quoted so often.
Man was a genius.
I will add the great Dorothy Parker to the mix:
"What fresh hell is this?"

ParsingFancy Sat 04-May-13 19:29:55

"But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known."

Julius Ceasar, Shakespeare

For when I'm fretting about things I have no influence over, or where I'm doing my damnest already and just can't do any more.

Viviennemary Sat 04-May-13 19:30:09

I love that well known quote in Gone with the Wind 'Tomorrow is another Day' though I am far from being an optimist!

An amusing one from Pride & Prejudice from Mr Bennett

'For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?''

Feargalthecat Sat 04-May-13 19:40:04

Mrs Koala upthread beat me to it.

"This is not an exit" Bret Easton Ellis-American Psycho.

It's a weird coincidence thing because I found myself repeating this one line in my head this week and I only read it once back in 1991.

Puddlelane Sat 04-May-13 19:40:49

hackmum what incredible sense you speak!

PeopleCallMeChunk Sat 04-May-13 19:46:24

I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.
Wuthering Heights

Flossbert Sat 04-May-13 19:56:00

""Why me?" was his constant refrain, and the question was a good one."

The doctor in Catch 22

Merguez Sat 04-May-13 19:56:10

"My dear, you have delighted us long enough"

Jane Austen, maybe P&P? Not sure.

Say it to the dc all the time.

moggiek Sat 04-May-13 19:56:15

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Prospero, The Tempest

GroupieGirl Sat 04-May-13 19:57:46

My favourites are mostly poems. "Better by far that you should forget and smile/ Than you should remember and be sad." From 'Remember' by Christina Rossetti.

KatyDid02 Sat 04-May-13 19:59:31

Tumbletumble smile It's one of my all time favourites - the other being A Town Like Alice .

Flossbert Sat 04-May-13 20:00:46

I love that poem, Groupie.

Merguez Sat 04-May-13 20:03:30

As for poems ...

"Come live with me and be my love. And we will all the pleasures prove"

Christopher Marlowe. We had it as a reading at our wedding

Merguez Sat 04-May-13 20:05:00

Also, rather more contemporary:

Philip Larkin:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

BalloonSlayer Sat 04-May-13 20:07:11

Not a one liner but a two-liner from David Nobbs' The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. I can never get over how he can make you want to cry with one sentence, in what is a very funny novel.

He is writing about old ladies alone on a hospital ward.

"They had retired to Sussex, to bungalows by the sea. Now their husbands had died, they knew nobody, their bungalows were two miles from the sea, their sons were in New Zealand, they couldn't manage the hill up from the shops, they were ill."


BalloonSlayer Sat 04-May-13 20:08:33

Um Merguez, isn't that John Donne?

I luvz John Donne, me.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sat 04-May-13 20:10:07

Yes yes yes to all the Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey ones. Can I add 'Placetne, Magistra? Placet.' - love that line.

Also 'Do not weep, little dog. At the resurrection, thou too shall have a golden tail' - which I got from Pandora by Jilly Cooper but is from somewhere else.

John Donne did a piss take. The original was Marlow.

On the theme of Donne I've always liked his one line letter to his wife after he lost his job - "John Donne, Anne Donne, undone"

from a book :

"they were afraid of nothing, together they could face Satan and all his Demons" wuthering heights

Merguez Sat 04-May-13 20:14:07

Well I never!

There are two versions Balloonslayer

John Donne's www.artofeurope.com/donne/don3.htm

And Marlowe's: www.bartleby.com/106/5.html

Jewcy Sat 04-May-13 20:19:11

Merguez, love it.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sat 04-May-13 20:22:43

I would second all the Austen, and all the Pratchett, and all the Adams, and, especially, the scene where Harriet falls in love with Peter in Gaudy Night, not a one liner, but devastatingly effective.

I adore the simplicity of "I, Frodo son of Drogo will take the ring, though I do not know the way".

And although it is in no way a one-liner, I was always cracked up by
"We shall build an even stronger house," they said, because they were very determined. Just then they saw a lorry coming along the road carrying barbed wire, iron bars, armour plates and heavy metal padlocks.
"Please, will you give us some of your barbed wire, a few iron bars and armour plates, and some heavy metal padlocks?" they said to the rhinoceros who was driving the lorry.
"Sure," said the rhinoceros, and gave them plenty of barbed wire, iron bars, armour plates and heavy metal padlocks. He also gave them some plexiglass and some reinforced steel chains because he was a generous and kind-hearted rhinoceros. "

From The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas.

Cookie79 Sat 04-May-13 20:25:51

I can't remember which one but a line from a Jackie Collins book was

"I apologise, sometimes I say things I should only think".

cumfy Sat 04-May-13 20:35:21

Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

merlincat Sat 04-May-13 20:37:53

"And if he is not the word of god then god never spoke". From 'The Road' spoken by the narrator of his son.

Amrapaali Sat 04-May-13 20:41:02

"We be of one blood, ye and I" -jungle book

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain, I think in one of his lectures...

guggenheim Sat 04-May-13 20:41:31

Oooh I love this thread smile

I like the lines from The Christmas Carol:

"Mankind is your business"- said by Marley to Scrooge, when Scrooge praises Marley's dishonest business practices.
<quite relevant today too, actually. Mutter>

And: " Every fool who goes about with a merry christmas on his lips should be buried with a stake of holly through his heart,he should!" Scrooge again.

Also the part when the Spirit shows Scrooge the phantom children named Ignorance and Want. ooh powerful and spooky stuff.And also quite relevant for today, did I mention that at all? grin

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 04-May-13 20:42:58

From the play A Man for All Seasons: Sir Thomas More's response to son-in-law Roper, who has just said he would cut down all the laws in England to get to the devil:

"This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man's laws, not God's– and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"

BananaGio Sat 04-May-13 20:43:02

"There they are, like flies held in the amber of that moment, click goes the camera and on goes life, the minutes, the days, the years, the decades, taking them further and further from the happiness and promise of youth..."
The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford. Just perfection.

mrscog Sat 04-May-13 20:59:37

I can't believe no one's put this yet:

'for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.'

Middlemarch - last paragraph.

Kerfuffled Sat 04-May-13 21:18:57

"Ordinary life goes on - that has saved many a man's reason."

Graham Greene 'The Quiet American'

Only halfway through reading this thread but absolutely to any of those mentioned by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett (two of my favourite authors). I crashed in halfway through to offer this, from a play...

ALGERNON: Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
LANE: I didn't think it polite to listen, sir.

Laquila Sat 04-May-13 21:24:44

"Some thoughts have glue on them", from Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, by Peter Hoeg.

I LOVE that line!

“I’m not saying she was very silly, but one of us was very silly and it wasn’t me.” (Elizabeth Gaskell - Wives and Daughters)

Sunnymeg Sat 04-May-13 21:27:36

"All happy families are alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way". Anna Karenina.

mamasin Sat 04-May-13 21:33:34

Not a book but tis Hardy's " blithely breakfasting[...] ...down their carved names the rain drop ploughs"

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Sat 04-May-13 21:38:50

"The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there". The Go Between, LP Hartley.

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 21:42:22

I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born.

The Handmaid's tale... Not quite one line though, but I love it.

MidLine Sat 04-May-13 21:49:01

"When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools" - Mr S, King Lear.

lilibet Sat 04-May-13 21:50:55

"Cotton was the fabric of virtue, I wore silk"

One amongst many from The Woman in White

BalloonSlayer Sat 04-May-13 21:57:00

Oh my Goodness, Mergues - I never realised. Sorry! blush

And I prefer Marlowes' one . . .

guggenheim thank you for your Scrooge quotes. I was watching Dr Who the other week and someone said to the monster "What do you want with me?" and it replied "Much!" - I said to DH, now that's taken from something, and I couldn't remember what; now I remember it was Marley's Ghhost. Thank you. thanks

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-May-13 22:00:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-May-13 22:01:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

detoxlatte Sat 04-May-13 22:06:03

Lolita. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-li-ta.

Perfect synopsis of moral dilemma, internal strife, human (hetero)sexuality, humility and arrogance, the differences between men and women, ecstasy and humiliation.... I often hear myself saying these words out loud when I'm thinking about stuff, people must think I'm crazy.

DearPrudence Sat 04-May-13 22:06:10

"But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."

The last line of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Makes me howl, every time (including this one).

GinGirl Sat 04-May-13 22:08:00

Now, that,” said Sophy, “I am very glad to know, because if ever I should desire to please you I shall know just how to set about it. I daresay I shan’t, but one likes to be prepared for any event, however unlikely"

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.

And another vote for Sir T P and PG Wodehouse... TP can throw in the most beautiful of lines in the oddest of circumstances/settings and PGW is sniggeringly funny almost constantly!

Brunocat Sat 04-May-13 22:13:13

"Lucy, take my love. One day share my life. Be my dearest, first on

Villette - Charlotte Bronte

Also "Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love." Arundal Tomb by Philip Larkin

FelizFuturaMama Sat 04-May-13 22:14:38

Medvedenko: Why do you always wear black?
Masha: I am in mourning for my life.

Chekhov's The Seagull

CaptainSweatPants Sat 04-May-13 22:22:40

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

CaptainSweatPants Sat 04-May-13 22:25:15

Gilbert Blythe: It'll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won't be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls.
Anne Shirley: I don't want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.

Anne of Avonlea

shufflehopstep Sat 04-May-13 22:25:38

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

Not a novel, but a line from Lady Bracknell in the play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Also, "a handbag?" said in the manner of Edith Evans in the 1952 film. One of my dad's favourites when I was running round the house getting ready for a night out and looking for said accessory!

ariadneoliver Sat 04-May-13 22:30:19

“His mastery of the hard-luck story was of a kind never achieved by persons not wholly concentrated on themselves.” Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing

HilaryM Sat 04-May-13 22:33:00

“I'm me and nobody else; and whatever people think I am or say I am, that's what I'm not, because they don't know a bloody thing about me.”
― Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

joanofarchitrave Sat 04-May-13 22:39:48

Absolutely loving this thread.

'...I leave it to be settled by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny or reward filial disobedience.'

The end of Northanger Abbey. Not my favourite Austen overall, but that line is a belly laugh and a dagger to the forehead at the same moment and I re-read NA more often than any other just to get that payoff.

'Find a way to make beauty necessary; find a way to make necessity beautiful.'

- Ann Michaels, Fugitive Pieces.

'I am cold, sir.'
'Cold? Yes, and standing in a puddle. Go then, Jane,' yet still he would not release my hand.

- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. (From memory - may not be accurate.) Not a one-liner but, oh, the sexual tension in that scene!

'…and he drank all the milk, and all the orange juice, and all Daddy’s beer, and all the water in the tap.'

The Captain looked at Fermina Daza and saw on her eyelashes the first glimmer of wintry frost. Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love, and he was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.
Gabriel García Márquez- Love in the Time of Cholera

Wuldric Sat 04-May-13 22:59:58

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way

Can't abide Dickens normally, but he is worth wading through for this line alone

MothershipG Sat 04-May-13 23:03:03

Winter is coming.

cuppateaanyone Sat 04-May-13 23:08:24

'Et tu Brute?'
'Thank Lewis for me'

TwllBach Sat 04-May-13 23:09:03

Nowhere near as high brow as the rest of you, but Cody McFadyens

"Broken things still catch the light"

Still haunts me.

Can't believe nobody has mentioned:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Charlotte Bronte- Jane Eyre

FriedSprout Sat 04-May-13 23:25:28

"Eowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?"

Faramir to Eowyn, Return of the King - Tolkien

VioletGoesVintage Sat 04-May-13 23:29:14

"...now is now. It can never be a long time ago."

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House In The Big Woods

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 04-May-13 23:29:19

"There is nothing like piling with somebody to make you into old friends" Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 04-May-13 23:29:31

*puking not piling

ParkerTheThief Sat 04-May-13 23:39:17

But some women only require an emergency to make them fit for one.
Thomas Hardy, Far from the madding crowd.

But if course, once in every lifetime tomorrow never comes.
Antonia Forest, The Thuggary Affair

Wuldric Sat 04-May-13 23:56:48

Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Cannot believe I forgot this one - it is brilliant whenever I have to say NO to the DCs insane requests.

BollyGood Sun 05-May-13 00:01:16

Three quotes from The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. One of my absolute favourite books

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

“The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind"

“It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

GinAndaDashOfLime Sun 05-May-13 00:04:41

"Everybody shits"

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

OrangeLily Sun 05-May-13 00:05:07

"He had the strangest feeling that there was someone standing right behind the veil on the other side of the archway. Gripping his wand very tightly, he edged around the dais, but there was nobody there; all that could be seen was the other side of the tattered black veil."

Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix

Grabbed me as such a clever, eloquent way of explaining this. Our house currently is dealing with unexpected grief and the 'so close but so far feeling is awful.

I'd be careful with that one Wulfric - my DM overused it in my childhood, and to this day it gives my DB The Rage.

Wuldric Sun 05-May-13 00:16:46

It gives my DCs the rage now. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

garlicyoni Sun 05-May-13 00:32:18

"Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!" - The Wasteland & The Tempest

"The horror! The horror!" - Heart of Darkness

"All morons hate it when you call them a moron." - The Catcher in the Rye

CatOfTheDay Sun 05-May-13 00:41:47

“Only the poor knew the meaning of life; the rich and safe had to guess.”

Charles Bukowski, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town

thatsalovelyhat Sun 05-May-13 01:08:13

There's a great line in one of Anthony Burgess's Enderby novels, which I can't be arsed to go and look up properly, which ends perfectly logically '... onions) onions, onions.'

KingCrimson Sun 05-May-13 01:15:19

"Charlotte Street runs north from Oxford Street, and who can blame it?"

Len Deighton, Funeral in Berlin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 01:42:26

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back...

"The Dark Is Rising", Susan Cooper

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 02:04:34

I see there's been a fair bit of Harriet and LPW. How about "Tu m'enivres."?


MariefromStMoritz Sun 05-May-13 03:30:35

From Nicky Haslam's memoirs, "Redeeming Features". Nicky asks some society lady just back from Machu Picchu if she climbed the steps. Her answer:

"Oh no dear, I didn't get out of the limousine".

EllieArroway Sun 05-May-13 03:30:46

Probably mentioned by others, but....

"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your fathers passin'"


"Pass the damn ham, please"

Both in To Kill A Mockingbird.

"When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done"

Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr Seuss

"He wants to have his cake, eat it and make trifle out of it too". Not sure where I read that, but I think it might be in a Jilly Cooper (sorry to lower the tone!)

ItsYonliMe Sun 05-May-13 04:50:01

My favourite - although I can't remember which book it is from. It was quoted to me a long time ago in a far away land and I've always remembered it.

“One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name”

thepigflu Sun 05-May-13 05:35:19

"I'll rise but I won't shine"

From The Glass Menagerie

EugenesAxe Sun 05-May-13 06:01:50

I will go back and read all that have come before, but for the moment, here is mine (as the whole paragraph is great I have put it all in and selected the one line I would have, if pushed):

And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the city, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of war nor of wizardry, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns, in dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the north wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.

CleopatrasAsp Sun 05-May-13 06:41:35

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

L.P. Hartley - The Go-Between.


We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Prospero in The Tempest

Manoodledo Sun 05-May-13 06:57:16

There's a great line in Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White about "the snot of men's ecstasty". Unfortunately, I don't have the book to hand, but it's stuck in my head.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 05-May-13 07:00:46

'Tomorrow is another day.'
I think this is from the end of 'Gone With The Wind'

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sun 05-May-13 07:01:24

But something like that couldn't happen again. Not in this day and age.

- The Boy In The Striped pyjamas. sad

saffronwblue Sun 05-May-13 07:20:25

It is not often someone comes along that's a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

- Charlotte's Web

LizzieVereker Sun 05-May-13 09:13:29

A beautiful but dangerous sentiment from Wuthering Heights:

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary."

Cerubina Sun 05-May-13 09:17:38

Two short extracts from me - one A Town Like Alice:
"I have sat here day after day this winter, sleeping a good deal in my chair, hardly knowing if I was in London or the Gulf country, dreaming of the blazing sunshine, of poddy-dodging and black stockmen, of Cairns and of Green Island. Of a girl that I met forty years too late, and of her life in that small town that I shall never see again, that holds so much of my affection.". <Sob>

And from Precious Bane by Mary Webb:
"'There, there, my dear! None shall touch you now!' All the strong life of the man was gathered in his eyes, and blazing full on me. So he'd heard! Folk do sometimes when they seem nigh dead. He'd heard and remembered the words I'd said when his head was on my bosom and my heart was all rent with love. What could I say? Naught. Where could I hide my burning face, that his eyes did so dwell on? Nowhere at all.

'Hi, Weaver!' they called. 'Waggon be come and we be hindered for ye!'

'I never knew a mother's love, nor yet a sister's, nor yet a sweetheart's.' He said it ever so softly, but despert earnest, so that the words burnt in. 'But if I had, I should have forgot 'em all three when you said those words to me, Prue Sarn!'"

donnie Sun 05-May-13 09:29:43

The ending of The Grapes of Wrath blows my head off every time I read it - too long to quote and don't want to spoil it for those who may not know it. Quite simply, my life is richer and better for having read that truly great novel.

Bleak House: "Jo lives - that is to say Jo has not yet died - in a ruinous place known to the likes of him by the name of Tom-All-Alone's"

that sentence, and the rest of the paragraph which ensues, crystallises why Dickens is such a Great Master, IMO.

Cormack McCarthy in The Road: "Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made"

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sun 05-May-13 09:35:25

Ah, Doctrine of Snatch - I thought you must be a LPW fan.

Yes to your suggestion. And also to 'I have come home'

archfiend Sun 05-May-13 09:44:59

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

Tom Robbins - Still Life With Woodpecker

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.
Tom Robbins- Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded

Terry Pratchett (can't remember which one!)

grumpyoldbookworm Sun 05-May-13 09:57:22

Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light
Dylan Thomas
Not all those who wander are lost
JRR Tolkien

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 05-May-13 10:02:26

I like that Terry P one, archfiend.

A recent favourite, "Did they ever decide whether it was ethical for those turned into pillars of salt to be ground up for use as winter road grit?"
(The Woman Who Died a Lot - Jasper Fforde)

Cerubina - you are one of the few that seem to share my love of Precious Bane. A wonderful book!

Archfiend - I think the Pratchett quote is from Lords & Ladies.
(Sad git alert - I have all his discword novels in a huge span across my bookshelf)

archfiend Sun 05-May-13 10:09:01

doctrine I've just looked it up, it's from Lords and Ladies. I have used it to explain the Big Bang to my dd!

archfiend Sun 05-May-13 10:09:41


I'm afraid that Mary Webb quote makes me understand exactly why Stella Gibbons felt the need to put the boot in. Sorry.

BiscuitMillionaire Sun 05-May-13 10:15:38

Oh yes, PG Wodehouse: "Death, where is thy jolly old sting?"
(sorry can't remember which book)

Essiebee Sun 05-May-13 10:16:58

Don't think anyone has quoted this, sorry it's so long; "I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth." Beautiful, but loathed the book.Wuthering Heights.
also: " Miss Bingley's congratulations to her brother on his approaching marriage were all that was affectionate and insincere." P & P

“A few hundred years ago there were no differences between magic and medicine.”
Joanne Harris, Blackberry Wine

And another, from a favourite book:
“A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.”
Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

LovedayMerryweather Sun 05-May-13 10:40:53

'I had a real sheep, originally.'

Philip K Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

peeriebear Sun 05-May-13 10:57:18

He liked to listen to the silence, he said, if silence could be listened to, for, he went on, in that silence you could hear wild-flower pollen sifting down the bee-fried air, by God, the bee-fried air! Listen! the waterfall of birdsong beyond those trees!
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine. Love that bee-fried air, so evocative! smile

Have been enjoying Bill Bryson's "Neither Here Nor There" recently (ackshelly maybe that's where I got my NN inspiration ?)

This bit stuck in my mind (sorry it's a little long) ....

"I had with me two incredibly useless guidebooks to Italy, so useless in fact that I'm not even going to dignify them by revealing their titles here, except to say that one of them should have been called "Let's Go Get Another Guidebook" and the other was Fodor's (I was lying a moment ago)
and neither of them so much as hinted that Capri town was miles away up a vertical mountainside. They both made it sound as if all you had to do was spring off the ferry and there you were. But from the quayside Capri town looked to be somewhere way up in the clouds.
The funicolare up the mountainside wasn't running ..... " smile

Hope you enjoyed, I think that gives a good flavour of his style, and brings to life both the pleasure and pain of travelling beautifully.

Really like yours too peerie - I'll have to keep a note of that one - relates beautifully to a little project of mine ATM smile

Have been reading through this lovely thread since I posted - so many beautiful quotes.

Please don't say I've killed it with a slightly too long quote ? and now 3 posts in a row, that will probably be the final nail in the coffin knowing my form

NotTreadingGrapes Sun 05-May-13 13:58:15

Do you know Juggling, that in the Italian version of BB NHNT they have chopped the whole chunk out on Italy! I bought it for (Italian) dp thinking it would make him chortle (a very BB term I feel) and it wasn't bloody there!

Ooh, how annoying that they'd left it out Grapes Do you think they thought Italians would be offended by it ? He wrote a whole book about Britain didn't he ? "Notes from a Small Island" and I think most people find it even more funny to read observational humour that's close to home smile

TwoSugarsWithLotsOfMilk Sun 05-May-13 14:30:40

"Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken."

I have that printed on a t-shirt

amigababy Sun 05-May-13 15:30:49

"Va-t'en, et souviens-toi seulement que je t'aime"

Cinna, by Pierre Corneille - French A Level literature study and desperately romantic for a soppy 17 year old!

NotTreadingGrapes Sun 05-May-13 15:40:25

Juggling- I have them all, they are my comfort food books, and I still snort out loud at all of them. I think it was probably done so as not to offend, yes, but BB's gentle poking is nothing compared, for example, to the Xenophobes series. (also v funny)

Back to oneliners...am now rummaging through my bookshelves pulling books off and finding highlighted bits;

"I've left more places than most people ever go to". Tania Kindersley. Goodbye Johnny Thunders.

JulesJules Sun 05-May-13 16:32:37

“But I think she would have been happy with Fabrice,' I said. 'He was the great love of her life, you know.'
Oh, dulling,' said my mother, sadly. 'One always thinks that. Every, every time.”
Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love

That'll do, pig. That'll do.
Dick King-Smith The Sheep-Pig

Optimism Sun 05-May-13 16:46:07

'Life never gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate.' EM Forster, A Passage to India

'Let that your sorrow as it goes from your eye, go from your heart.' The Changeling, Middleton and Rowley

evilgiraffe Sun 05-May-13 17:20:30

Most of mine are last lines, and I think all are quite powerful.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

I was cured all right.
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

She walked rapidly in the thin June sunlight towards the worst horror of all.
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene

^"I only remember one part of the service," he said, "and that is, 'And the body shall be cast into the sea.' So cast it in."
The Sea Wolf - Jack London

cornflakegirl Sun 05-May-13 17:27:42

After the seven years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own castle.
The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde

Many, many books and authors I love here - the Vane-Wimsey books, Pratchett, The Dark Is Rising set, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings etc etc.

I offer this one:
"Like a bullet from a gun, like an arrow from a bow - like a donkey that has just sat on a pin...." - from The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley.

evilgiraffe Sun 05-May-13 17:48:24

Heh, I have now looked back through the thread and seen that Wuthering Heights and Brighton Rock have already been mentioned; apologies for the repetition! Still, my other two are good.

So many excellent lines here, good work, everyone smile

freerangeeggs Sun 05-May-13 17:57:01

"In the end it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you've had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul."

I think that comes from one of the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams. I always thought that the 'long dark tea time of the soul' was the perfect way to describe Sunday evenings.

Those lines from Wuthering Heights on someone's final resting place are very beautiful eg
And I did like those "wherever I lay my hat" ones of yours too Grapes smile

thatsalovelyhat Sun 05-May-13 19:17:25

Found it. 'Then, instead of expensive mouthwash, he had breathed on Hogg-Enderby, bafflingly (for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions) onions.' Anthony Burgess, Enderby Outside.

ommmward Sun 05-May-13 19:36:25

Cheating, mine is a hymn verse
"The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high."

After singing that, I'm always a "poor soul" whose "face is much abused with tears" (There's a Shakespeare bonus)

ParsingFancy Sun 05-May-13 19:41:36

thatsalovelyhat, that's brilliant! Do you think Burgess made a bet he could end a novel with perfectly grammatical and nonredundant "onions onions onions"?

MarianForrester Sun 05-May-13 19:43:02

"..I hope she'll be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool"

The Great Gatsby

ParsingFancy Sun 05-May-13 19:43:34

<happy sigh>

This thread has been food for my soul. Thanks, judgejudy an' all.thanks

Nishky Sun 05-May-13 19:43:53

'Whatever she would do, she did and made no one responsible'.

DH Lawrence Sons and Lovers

thatsalovelyhat Sun 05-May-13 19:53:26

Parsing, it runs in my mind that in the third book he uses a similar construct just to show he can, but really, what could surpass the onions?

Now I wonder what word will end this thread.

MarianForrester Sun 05-May-13 19:58:07

Oh, and:

"But she was so very, very Glasgow, you know!"

"Housebound" by Winifred Peck

tumbletumble Sun 05-May-13 20:12:21

May we, eventually, contemplate all this together.

And so, eventually, we contemplate this apart, years apart.

Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively.

tribpot Sun 05-May-13 20:14:23

My two are not one-liners but hey ho.

The first is from That Lady by Kate O'Brian:

"He drew her hard against him, and kissed her mouth as if in first desire. Ana thought - this is the last embrace of my mortal life; people can't often know when they have reached the last. But I do know. Good-bye, she answered him now with her whole self, with all of strength and gratitude in her possession - good-bye to you, and also to that long-assuaged and quieted me that you alone commanded. Good-bye, dear past, dear sin, and go from me in peace. I loved you and I have atoned and will atone."

The second one is from The Farthest Shore :

"As Lookfar approached the islands Arren saw the dragons soaring and circling on the morning wind, and his heart leapt up with them with a joy, a joy of fulfilment, that was like pain. All the glory of mortality was in that flight. Their beauty was made up of terrible strength, and utter wildness, and the grace of reason. For these were thinking creatures with speech, and ancient wisdom: in the patterns of their flight there was a fierce, willed concord.

Arren did not speak, but he thought: I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning"

shufflehopstep Sun 05-May-13 20:27:32

freerange I agree. I've had that feeling all afternoon!

Whoever made Erebus knew all the charm of horizontal lines,

Apsley Cherry Garrard The Worst Journey in the World

thatsalovelyhat Sun 05-May-13 21:21:41

Ooh poetry.

It was the time of year
Pale lambs leap with thick leggings on
Over small hills that are not there
That I saw Eggardon.

- the start of A Prehistoric Camp by Andrew Young. It was a Poem on the Underground a few years back, and I quite liked it, and then I saw this Welsh film and blimey. This is EXACTLY what skittish shorn lambs do.


A young man wrote a poem about a rat.
It was the best poem ever written about a rat.

- The Rat (no!) by Don Paterson. I love it.

wanderings Sun 05-May-13 21:31:36

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. His parents called him Eustace Clarence, and his masters called him Scrubb. I can't tell you how his friends called him, because he had none." (Opening line of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, CS Lewis)

"There's only one thing worse than being talked about... and that's NOT being talked about!" (Oscar Wilde)

"Next time you threaten someone [a child] with good hiding, I suggest you pick on a person your own size, like me for instance." (Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl)

"Miss Hardbroom, I am Ethel! Mildred Hubble turned me into a pig."
Nothing ever surprised Miss Hardbroom. Even this startling piece of news only caused her to raise one slanting eyebrow. (The Worst Witch, Jill Murphy)

"I am thirty-five today - which means I am officially middle-aged. A pathetic slide towards gum disease, wheelchair ramps and death." (Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction)

wanderings Sun 05-May-13 21:37:45

Many of Roald Dahl's books had a dramatic opening line.

"What a lot of hairy-faced men there are nowadays." (The Twits)

"In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale - this is about REAL witches." (The Witches)

And finally:

"It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their offspring is the most disgusting little blister you can imagine, they still think he or she is wonderful." (Matilda)

wanderings Sun 05-May-13 21:39:36

"It's a funny time, three o' clock. Too late for lunch, but a bit early for tea." (Alan Bennett)

wanderings Sun 05-May-13 21:50:45

"In the prison hospital, several times a day you would be asked 'Are you all right?'.

"The correct replies were always 'Yes thank you, Doctor', 'Yes thank you, Sister,' or 'Yes thank you, madam,' even though you might be dying on your feet. Indeed, it became so automatic that some prisoners would say 'yes thank you' before the question was even asked, thus throwing the whole conversation out of gear."

(Who lie in gaol)

wanderings Sun 05-May-13 22:00:28

Adrian Mole's satirical poem about Mrs Thatcher:
"Do you weep, Mrs Thatcher, do you weep?
Do you wake, Mrs Thatcher, in your sleep?
Do you weep like a sad willow?
On your Marks and Spencer's pillow?
Are your tears molten steel, do you weep?
Do you wake with 'three million' on your brain?
Are you sorry that they'll never work again?
When you're dressing in your blue, do you see the waiting queue?
Do you weep, Mrs Thatcher, do you weep?"

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 05-May-13 22:12:12

I love that too wanderings - some of Adrian Mole is genius.

Chigley1 Sun 05-May-13 22:34:55

"This tea looks strong, pull the curtains."

or alternatively

"Give me your teeth, I'll swill them."

Alan Bennett

greyvix Sun 05-May-13 22:37:57

Near the end of Toni Morrison's "Beloved":
"You your best thing, Sethe. You are." His holding fingers are holding hers.
"Me? Me?"

Saralyn Sun 05-May-13 22:56:26

“Helmer: I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora - bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrafice his honor for the one he loves.
Nora: It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.”

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Mumzy Sun 05-May-13 23:22:01

I love Pride and Prejudice can't decide who I like more Mr Bennett or Darcy
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (Mr Bennet, Ch. 20)

"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."(Mr Darcy)

longingforsomesleep Sun 05-May-13 23:47:45

So many to choose from! Haven't read the whole thread so apologies if someone has beaten me to it but .....

"If we had a keen vision and feel of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar that lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity."

Middlemarch - George Eliot

KittenofDoom Mon 06-May-13 01:07:38

For whoever it was said "Started Early, Took My Dog" was a title - it comes from a poem by Emily Dickinson:

I started Early – Took my Dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –


“And the English army, wheeling, started south at a gallop over the hill pass into Ettrick, followed by twenty men and eight hundred sheep in steel helmets.”
&#8213; Dorothy Dunnett, The Disorderly Knights

"crikey" Mr Knightley ejaculated into Emma's ear.

Or something similar. Had us all in stitches during English 'O' level, and still makes me titter today <mature>!

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 08:36:31


I think you may mean this: "Ah!" said Mr Woodhouse, shaking his head and fixing his eyes on her with tender concern. -The ejaculation in Emma's ear expressed, "Ah! there is no end of the sad consequences of your going to South End. It does not bear talking of".

Tagetes Mon 06-May-13 08:39:46

"The year began with lunch"

Peter Mayle - a Year in Provence


Long Dark Teatime of the Soul is the title of a Dirk Gently book, but the original (brilliant) passage is about Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged in Life, the Universe and Everything.

moreyear Mon 06-May-13 09:57:02

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth."

-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

And agree with Mrscog the final lines of George Elliot's Middlemarch.

But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

JeanBodel Mon 06-May-13 09:59:54

'Diana said nothing: she had a considerable experience and she knew that if men were to be at all tolerable they must be fed.'

Patrick O'Brian - The Fortune of War

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 06-May-13 10:20:54

"the doctor looked even crosser when Angel just swept Bibi up in his arms and walked out of the hospital, banging on the door of the Impotency Support Group as he went and yelling 'keep eet up, two, three, four'." <lowers tone> Polo, Jilly Cooper

"What a pity Bilbo did not stab that foul creature when he had the chance!"
"Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy, not to strike without need. Many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too hasty to deal out death to the living. Even the Wise cannot see all ends." Gandalf, LOTR.

"It wasn't a boy that won the Avery scholarship. It was a girl. My girl, that I'm proud of." Matthew in Anne of Green Gables

Beehatch Mon 06-May-13 10:48:45

I love Arundhati Roy's 'God of small things', so many distinctive lines, but here's a couple:

"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much."

"Thirty-one. Not old. Not young. But a viable die-able age."

LatinForTelly Mon 06-May-13 11:05:38

I love 'God of small things too', Beehatch. I think she writes beautifully.

Also loads from Life of Pi, but particularly,

'This Son, on the other hand, who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers who don't get it and opponents who don't respect Him - what kind of a god is that? It's a god on too human a scale, that's what.'


'If there's only one nation in the sky, shouldn't all passports be valid for it?'

CoteDAzur Mon 06-May-13 11:12:55

"My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression"

Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep

KittenofDoom Mon 06-May-13 11:26:23

Following on from the ejaculation in Emma's ear:

"The girls had reached the age when they began to long for balls."

I'm sure that's in Pride & Prejudice somewhere.

MsGee Mon 06-May-13 11:58:27

Not quite finished the thread but I love this from Flaubert

Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 12:42:36

I should say Austen has Fanny ejaculating at one point.

persimmon Mon 06-May-13 12:50:24

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths
fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."

Last bit in Wuthering Heights

YoniMeKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-May-13 13:16:15

Another beautiful line from Beloved,

"She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind."

YoniMeKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-May-13 13:26:18

"'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms my beamish boy!
Oh frabjou day, callooh callay!'
He chortled in his joy"

Not wishing to derail, but I started a thread about lyrics yesterday...so far, no posts on it though sad

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 06-May-13 14:06:43

Link it, mrsC!

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 14:25:52

Just done my song lyrics

Love this thread! Too many to choose from, but two that spring instantly to mind :

"Reality. So banal, so foolish, so incoherent - such a baffling and disappointing nuisance. Not like being in that study in Connecticut, where the only thing thats real is you" Operation Shylock by Phillip Roth

"I don't know. And there is nothing to guide us. And if everything is so nebulous about a matter so elementary as the morals of sex, what is there to guide us in the more subtle morality of all other personal contacts, associations, and activities? Or are we meant to act on impulse alone? It is all a darkness." The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

<quietly alerts those that asked to lyrics thread

I feel I'll have to start looking into a number of the books listed here. smile

FoxyRevenger Mon 06-May-13 15:37:46

His sense of her as someone of not quite serious adult size was integral to the way her loved her.

On Green Dolphin Street, Sebastian Faulks.

KittenofDoom Mon 06-May-13 16:05:01

Not a one-liner, but since people have disregarded that almost from the start of the thread, here's a small paragraph that I like:

Do any of us, except in our dreams, truly expect to be reunited with our hearts’ deepest loves, even when they leave us only for minutes, and on the most mundane of errands? No, not at all. Each time they go from our sight we in our secret hearts count them as dead. Having been given so much, we reason, how could we expect not to be brought as low as Lucifer for the staggering presumption of our love?

Stephen King, The Dark Tower

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 06-May-13 18:15:31

Love all of these; especially the ones in books I haven't read. I must try Forester again.

I'll add this one for those who love the bishop in Les Miserables:

'He did not seek to assume the mantel of Elijah, to shed light on the future upon the mysty turmoil of events or resolve the prevailing light into a single flame; there was in him nothing of the prophet or the ystic. He was a simple soul who loved, and that was all.'

And as a description of friends from the ABC society:

'Enjolras was the leader, Combeferre the guide and Courfeyrac the centre. The others shed more light, but he shed more warmth.'

And this from Marius' diary which I first read as an impressionable teen and it stuck with me:

'There are thoughts which are prayers. There are some moment when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.'

LaGuardia Mon 06-May-13 19:47:05

I think I'll buy the flowers myself.

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woofl

Jux Mon 06-May-13 20:39:50

Ah, what a trifle is a heart
If once into love's hands it come.

The inimitable John Donne, The Broken Heart.

Also - on a brighter note! - Charles Stross but I can't remember which book blush

"Gene Police! You! out of the pool."

Imscarlet Mon 06-May-13 21:53:08

I'm sure this one has been mentioned, I will go back and read the whole thread, but this is my absolute favourite:

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."

Kerouac - On the road

storynanny Mon 06-May-13 23:02:50

From a Jilly Cooper novel, but not sure I've got it exactly right, it obviously has a charachter in it .
"Blood is thicker than wa(l)ter, actually nothing is thicker than Walter"

storynanny Mon 06-May-13 23:03:40

*character called Walter, pressed without proof reading!

tribpot Mon 06-May-13 23:10:03

I think it's a dog! (Walter)

chateauferret Mon 06-May-13 23:35:22

Wer am meisten liebt ist der Unterlegene und muß leiden.

Thomas Mann, Tonio Kröger. "Whichever loves the more is the inferior and has to suffer".

HappyJoyful Tue 07-May-13 09:55:53

Not very 'high brow' but I love both the opening and closing lines of The Outsiders..

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home

Stay Gold Ponyboy

vladthedisorganised Tue 07-May-13 12:16:30

From memory so not sure it's completely accurate, but:
"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me.." (On the Road)

It's such a visual quotation; and reminds me faintly of DH.

WillSantaComeAgain Tue 07-May-13 13:46:35

"Grief is the price we pay for love"
[A quote from the memorial service for British victims of 9/11), more than a line from a book, but used by Sir Christopher Myers (British Ambassador to the USA at the time) and quoted in his autobiography and therefore counts by my reckoning. ]

"It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal"
[Mr Emerson speaking to Miss Honeychurch just before she realises who she loves at the end of Room with a View.]

"No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." [swoon]
[Rhett to Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. ]

And to lower the tone completely, just because it sticks in my head at this time every year:
"First of May, First of May,
Outdoor fucking starts today.
But as usual it do rain
So we fucks off indoors again".
[Rupert to Cameron in Rivals, Jilly Cooper]

rosabud Tue 07-May-13 13:57:13

From one of the Horrid Henry collections, when the lovely Henry is looking to enlarge his part in the school nativity play:

"Is there any room at the inn?"
"Yes," replied Henry, "Come in, we've got satellite TV and everything."

JethroTull Tue 07-May-13 14:10:11

'But this road doesn't go anywhere' I told him. 'That doesn't matter'. 'What does?' I asked after a little while. 'Just that we're on it dude'.
Less Than Zero - Brett Easton Ellis.

storynanny Tue 07-May-13 14:11:57

Tribpot, yes now I remember, Walter is a dog, what a good memory you have!

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Tue 07-May-13 16:43:54

He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Tue 07-May-13 17:20:16

Anything with the power to make you laugh over thirty years later isn’t a waste of time. I think something like that is very close to immortality.

Stephen King, can't remember which book.

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Tue 07-May-13 17:22:48

Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

leekandbaconrolypoly Tue 07-May-13 19:01:47

And the rest of the world thinks we are all total nutters, but they can go and talk to their backsides for all I care. Because they are all just fruit loops who don't know what it is to believe in something which is hard to see, or to keep looking for something which is totally hard to find.

Pobby and Dingan

Stdg, I never met anyone else who had even read the Land Of Green Ginger, let alone quoted from it! It is one of my favourite funny books. An off to reread it.

JulesJules Wed 08-May-13 08:59:40

I've read The Land of Green Ginger! Fab book.

Reading this thread prompted me to look it up on Amazon, and disappointingly, the current edition seems to have been edited for PC reasons. Many reviewers v unimpressed.

I can still remember the whole of the spell that releases the magician -

Pi R squared sideways,
The cube root of zero.
Manganese potash and mushrooms on toast.
Leaf of the lily, and I, Abu Ali,
Turn you back into the man you miss most.

I bought a new edition of the book and was very disappointed to find the spell had been edited out - but I have managed to find an older edition that hasn't been buggered around with. They are out there - don't despair, JulesJules.

Jux Wed 08-May-13 15:19:50

I've read The Land of Green Ginger too. It's one of my faves from my youth. It was brilliant reading it to dd when she was about 6 and we used Boomalakka Wee as an exclamation when we didn't know what to say for years after! She's reread it countless times since. Another is The Phantom Tollbooth.

deleted203 Wed 08-May-13 21:04:21

I love The Land of Green Ginger! Still have my original copy from childhood and have frequently re-read it.

If you had to marry a wicked prince, would you have chosen Tintac Ping Foo - or Rubdub Ben Thud?

(Although my favourite name is probably Sulkpot Ben NagNag - a frequently used expression for any DC who was behaving badly at the time)


NotTreadingGrapes Fri 10-May-13 06:42:03

Have just remembered this, which I want reading at my funeral!

"When you look up at the sky at night, since I shall be living on one of them and laughing on one of them, for you it will be as if all the stars are laughing. You, and only you, will have stars that laugh.

And when you are comforted, you will be happy to have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And from time to time you will open your window, just for the fun of it....And your friends will be astonished to see you laughing at the sky. And so you will say to them....Yes, the stars always make me laugh."

The Little Prince. (of course!)

"Jesus watches from the wall, his face as cold as stone, if he loves me, like they tell me, why do I feel all alone"
'Carrie' Stephen King

MeDented Fri 10-May-13 19:42:44

'It looks like a penis only smaller' think it was the first Jack Reacher novel

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sat 11-May-13 01:06:52

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

- Love you Forever This is MUMMY'S favourite night time story blush

chipmonkey Sat 11-May-13 02:41:22

"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 I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I say 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"

Molly Bloom from Ulysses, James Joyce

That's lovely SpecialAgent - so sweet smile

Many other beautiful ones too thanks

SybilRamkin Tue 21-May-13 20:42:52

"She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight about the hips that season."

P G Woodhouse, Carry On, Jeeves

10storeylovesong Thu 23-May-13 03:22:20

Absolutely love this thread. It's inspired me to go back to my bookcase!

Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.

John Donne, Elegy To His Mistress Going To Bed

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

The Great Gatsby

OrangeFireandGoldashes Wed 29-May-13 20:12:16

What a wonderful thread! Love all the Pratchett, Susan Cooper, P&P, Hitchhikers, Harry Potter & LPW already quoted.

I can't believe no one has quoted any Yeats!

"But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you / And loved the sorrows of your changing face" (When You Are Old)

"I have spread my dreams under your feet / Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams" (He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven)

"Why, what could she have done, being what she is? / Was there another Troy for her to burn?" (No Second Troy)

And a couple from novels:

"If you were born with the gift, then you must serve it, and nothing in this world or out of it may stand in the way of that service, because that is why you were born and that is the Law." (The Dark is Rising)

"I feel like the word shatter." (The Handmaid's Tale - I know that feeling!)

"I lack the World, for I move like a Ghost through it" (Hawksmoor)

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