34 Redditors share the most memorable and inspiring excerpts in literature. Found on r/AskReddit.
“Alright then, I’ll go to hell.” – Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Huck has been led to believe it would be sinful to help his friend Jim, a runaway slave. In this chapter, Huck finds his own moral compass and decides to do what he feels is the right thing, even though others have told him he would go to hell for it.
“’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
“When a child first catches adults out—when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just—his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” – H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
“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.” – Harper Lee,To Kill a Mockingbird
“We believe that we can change the things around us in accordance with our desires—we believe it because otherwise we can see no favourable outcome. We do not think of the outcome which generally comes to pass and is also favourable: we do not succeed in changing things in accordance with our desires, but gradually our desires change. The situation that we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant to us. We have failed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us round it, led us beyond it, and then if we turn round to gaze into the distance of the past, we can barely see it, so imperceptible has it become.” – Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
“Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for.” Joseph Heller, Catch-22
January 13, 2015 | Comments Off | Topics: Books |
50. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote —“ Considered by many critics to be the original non-fiction novel, this 1966 book details the brutal 1959 murders a farmer, wife and two children in rural Kansas. Capote deftly takes the reader into the minds of the two parolees who committed the crimes and describes the effects of their actions on the local community.
49. The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Casteneda —“ First published as a work of anthropology, this mind-altering journey documents Casteneda’s apprenticeship with the Yaqui Indian Sorcerer Don Juan. It is almost impossible to not feel totally transformed about the true meanings of reality after reading this sometimes shocking story.
48. Animal Farm by George Orwell —“ This is a novella with a very large message. Although it was first published in 1945, Orwell’s allegorical tale about a group of pigs that take control of a farm and attempt to shape a new society still creates haunting comparisons to present day political struggles throughout the world.
47. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka —“ This 1915 novella is consistently cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction. Kafka deftly takes the reader inside the mind and life of a traveling salesman who awakens one day to find that he has been transformed into a horrible creature.
46. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens —“ It’s hard to pass up reading a book that has sold over 200 million copies since its 1859 release. A gripping tale that is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution defined by the often brutal historical events that caused the pheasant’s revolt against the aristocracy.
45. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer —“ This was Mailer’s first published novel that has been in consistent demand since its 1948 release. A well-crafted story blending military action with deft character development.
44. Deliverance by James Dickey —“ After reading this novel, many people will probably never want to go canoeing in the Georgia wilderness. A disturbing look into brutality, survival and the psychological aftermaths of lives that have been traumatically altered forever.
43. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy —“ There are few living writers today who can match the mastery of the English language and prose that Conroy presents in this 1986 novel revolving around the traumatic events of a South Carolina family. There are numerous passages in this book that people will want to reread just to experience the sheer joy of words well-written.
42. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley —“ The futurist themes in this novel are still relevant today even though the book was published in 1932. Huxley sought to deliver a frightening vision of the future and did so with stunning clarity.
41. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking —“ This landmark science masterpiece is surprisingly readable given its exotic realms that range from the big bang theory to what happens when the universe ends. As should happen with all great science essays, the reader is forever altered after reading about how creation works and what the concept of time really means.
40. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo —“ This sweeping 1892 French novel contains both factual and historic events while following the lives of several characters over a seventeen-year period in the early nineteenth century. The main focus is on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his path to rebuilding his reputation in a time of both excessive wealth and crushing poverty.