Favorite Book Quote

What's your favorite book quote? And why?

Mine has remained pretty constant through the years. Charles Dickens is one of my main men, and I can never get enough of "A Christmas Carol." Never.

Ye Olde London charms me, and friendly Fezziwig, and Scrooge's sunny demeanor at the end (spoiler alert), but I think I like Marley's ghostly visitation best. Marley's Ghost is also behind my favorite line which is this:

"Mankind was my business."

It says everything, right? The line in full:

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Life can be loose-edged and frankly maddening, and when my own heart feels less than benevolent, I circle back to this sentiment. Caring for one another is key.

It's a worldview I try to bring to my own writing, because I do adore when people are kind to each other. Or when two people commit to helping each other in all the ways they don't yet know they need help.


wealhtheow said...

OK, this is going to seriously out me as a MAJOR LEAGUE LIT DORK, but I love love love the line in The Tale of Genji when he dies: "The Shining Prince was gone; there will never be another like him." After living with this wonderful, complex, fully developed character for so many hundreds of pages, suddenly he is gone--and there can be no other like him.

Jamila said...

This may be a little deep and dark for the lightheartedness of Wilfair-land, but I'm a professional do-gooder in my alternate life and this has always spoken to me in that capacity.

From The Poisonwood Bible: "'Be kind to yourself,' he says softly in my ear, and I ask him, How is that possible? I rock back and forth on my chair like a baby, craving so many impossible things: justice, forgiveness, redemption. I crave to stop bearing all the wounds of this place on my own narrow body. But I also want to be the person who stays, who goes on feeling anguish where anguish is due. I want to belong somewhere, damn it. To scrub the hundred years' war off this white skin till there's nothing left and I can walk out among my neighbors wearing raw sinew and bone, like they do.
Most of all, my white skin craves to be touched and held by the one man on earth I know has forgiven me for it."

Wilfair Book said...

Oh my gosh. BOTH. Both of these quotes. So good and moving and right for all the right reasons. I just read both twice and let the words settle on my brain.

Thank you for sharing, ladies! And major league lit dorks ROCK.

Chiara said...

Ever since I read The Diviners by Margaret Laurence, I've been in love with this one:

Look ahead into the past, and back into the future, until the silence.

It says something simple yet true, our past and future are and will always be a part of it. Plus I love the wordplay ahead/past and back/future.

Wilfair Book said...

Ohhhh. Nice. I like future/past anything, really, but delivered so poetically? I'm sold. Thank you for sharing.

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