75 Most Famous Book Quotes of All Time

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The best passages in books are those that stay with you long after you turn over the last page. Whether they’re inspirational, raw, poetic, wise, or downright beautiful, the best book quotes are worth writing down and remembering. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 75 famous book quotes from some of the world’s most beloved authors. Some are taken from timeless classics, and others are from modern-day books, but they all strike a chord in the hearts of readers around the globe. 

1. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

2. I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

3. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Dr Seuss

4. 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.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

5. Forgiveness condones nothing, but it does cast off the chains of anger, judgment, resentment, denial, and pain that choke growth. In this way, it allows for life, for freedom. So that’s what’s at stake when it comes to forgiveness: freedom. With this freedom, we can feel better, be better, and choose better next time.

Michele Harper, The Beauty in Breaking

6. Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone … just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

8. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

9. This above all: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

10. ‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

11. I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

12. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

George Orwell, Animal Farm

13. How you live your life is your business. But remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between.

André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name

14. And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

15. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Margery Williams, Velveteen Rabbit

16. There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

17. Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

18. Ever’body’s askin’ that. ‘What we comin’ to?’ Seems to me we don’t never come to nothin’. Always on the way.

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

19. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

20. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

21. Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

22. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

23. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

24. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

25. I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

26. The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

27. From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood.

Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

28. 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.

Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

29. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

30. You pierce my soul. I am half agony. Half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.

Jane Austen, Persuasion

31. You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

32. Call me Ishmael.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

33. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

34. Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey

35. Time is the longest distance between two places.

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

36. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

37. We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

38. But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

39. Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

40. My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

41. So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

42. I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

43. The same substance composes us — the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star — we are all one, all moving to the same end.

P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins

44. Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson

45. I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

46. Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

47. Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

48. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

49. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.

Roald Dahl, The Witches

50. Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.

Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

51. The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

52. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

53. Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.

S. E. Hinton, The Outsiders

54. Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

55. Not all those who wander are lost.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein

56. Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.

William Goldman, The Princess Bride

57. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter.

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

58. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

59. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

60. For you, a thousand times over.

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

61. Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.

Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

62. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

63. Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies

64. Oh, the places you’ll go! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go

65. The longer I live, the more uninformed I feel. Only the young have an explanation for everything.

Isabel Allende, City of the Beasts

66. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

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

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

68. As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect.

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

69. Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

70. ‘But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

71. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

72. Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for.”

Joseph Heller, Catch-22

73. There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

74. Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

75. All we can know is that we know nothing. And that’s the height of human wisdom.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Conclusion

There are so many incredible, famous book quotes out there; it’s hard to choose just a few! What are your favorite book quotes of all time? Let me know in the comments below! 

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