15 Non-Inspirational (But Great) Lines from Good Books
Okay, fine. Some are inspirational.
There are lots of articles with inspirational quotes out there on the Interwebs, but I wanted to write an article with quotes that just celebrated words. So, while, yes, there are inspirational quotes in this piece, there’s also more. And I didn’t pick anything that didn’t make my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest.
Here are fifteen quotes I think you’ll enjoy, whether you’re a writer or reader.
“So that’s your girl?”
“Yeah.” I nodded, still staring after her. “I don’t know if I’m hers, but she’s definitely mine.”
— Abigail Johnson, Every Other Weekend
I’m sorry, but this is the cutest line. Adam Moynihan, one of the sixteen-year-old protagonists says this line after he’s introduced Jolene, the other main character, to an old friend. And I mean, damn if we all haven’t thought this at some point or another.
Men like him love feeling smarter than people. And they already know they’re smarter than teenage girls, of course. Practically everyone thinks they’re smarter than a teenage girl. It’s what makes being one so powerful, if you know how to use that giant mistake of an assumption.
— Tess Sharpe, The Girls I’ve Been
Women are underestimated. Teenage girls? They’re not even looked at, much less taken seriously. They (mostly men, but also women) overhear a girl use the word, “like” a lot while sipping a Starbucks Frappuccino, and they assume she’s soft and maybe even a little dumb. Society doesn’t expect teenage girls to be powerful, intelligent, and confident. But they’re a lot more badass than they’re given credit for.
— Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
This book has so many great lines, so many inspirational ones that I want to be tattooed all over my entire body, but I had to choose this one because I remember laughing when I read it. Matt Haig, or rather the protagonist Nora, spoke a truth most of us are unwilling to admit: we’re not actually as confident, as unafraid, as bold as we say we are. But who said that was a problem?
I laughed and kissed her again and her giggle escaped into the space between our lips, like if kisses had champagne bubbles.
— Ciara Smyth, The Falling in Love Montage
The best part about this line is that you can feel it. And I love it when you can feel words.
We’d always thought that if Rosa were an element, she’d be air, the lazy kind that gets tossed around a room when a ceiling fan is on its lowest setting.
— Samantha Mabry, Tigers Not Daughters
Another line you can see and feel, but this one’s epic because Samantha Mabry used it to describe a character. And who knew that comparing a human to a fan could tell you so much about a person?
It is so easy, while trapped in just the one life, to imagine that times of sadness or tragedy or failure or fear are a result of that particular existence. That it is a by-product of living a certain way, rather than simply living.
— Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
I just had to add a second quote from this book because this line is everything. How relieving is it to know that everything you feel isn’t something you feel because you did something wrong? You’d feel this at some point even if all your dreams come true because you’re still human. It’s hard to regret the choices in your life when you think about it this way.
Noemí’s father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously, as if a woman could not do two things at once.
— Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic
If this were a text message I would say Oof. But this is an article and I’m more professional than that, so instead I’m going to say — I’m just kidding. I’m not more professional than that: Oof.
But me and Nenny, we are more alike than you would know. Our laughter for example. Not the shy ice cream bells’ giggle of Rachel and Lucy’s family, but all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking.
— Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
I ran to my kitchen right now and threw plates on the ground (no I didn’t) to see if it sounded like laughter, and I can confirm (no I can’t) that this is an accurate description of laughter. In all seriousness, there’s a reason Sandra Cisneros and this book are as famous as they are. Just look at that writing.
“The truth of course is that if people really were as happy as they look on the Internet, they wouldn’t spend so much damn time on the Internet, because no one who’s having a really good day spends half of it taking pictures of themselves. Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”
― Fredrik Backman, Anxious People
You can’t say it’s not true. It’s one thing to take pictures to look back at one day. It’s another to take pictures solely to share with other people on social media. But aren’t the best days when you’ve forgotten to pick up your phone because you were having that great of a time?
They reach Samia’s building just as the rain starts to fall, tiny water bombs exploding on the hot pavement.
— Lisa Jewell, The Family Upstairs
“Tiny water bombs” is the best way I’ve ever seen rain described. I feel like I’m watching a movie, and they’ve just zoomed into the raindrops, and now we get to watch them hit the ground in slow motion.
“On the first day … Even on the first day, you were so angry and luminous and demanding. You looked like … the whole world was built just so that you could walk on it. Who could look away from that? Who would want to?”
— K. Ancrum The Weight of the Stars
This just makes me feel so many things at once.
Rise up against everything, resist, shout . . . And just when you have the chance to be a poet or an artist in your grasp, cave to the pressure! Self-betrayal at its finest.
— Şebnem İşigüzel, The Girl In the Tree
I can’t help but laugh every time I read this quote. How many times have you been able to relate to this? You have this idea, and you feel the roar inside of you, but all of a sudden you have a metaphorical microphone in your hand, and you can’t even open your mouth. You drop it and run off the stage. I’m sorry, but that’s hilarious.
“Sometimes people have to be allowed to have something to live for in order to survive everything else.”
― Fredrik Backman, Us Against You
Do you know what I love about Backman? Everything. Literally everything.
Born with ants in his pants and rocks in his shoes, he couldn’t keep still for more than a minute.
— Tiffany D. Jackson, Monday’s Not Coming
I love how clear this image is in my mind. I don’t just see someone who’s always moving, but someone who’s a light in life. Someone who’s always grinning and on to something. And all it took to see that picture was talking about ants and rocks.
“Who, in the history of the world, has achieved greatness by saying that we need to think smaller?”
— Adiba Jaigirdar, The Henna Wars
I wanted to end this on a little reminder. Something you can carry in your back pocket as you get on with your day. Because this isn’t just a celebration of random words put together, but books. And books are some of the best ways to dream a little bigger.
What I’m getting at is this: drop everything and go read a book.