31 lines from our favourite books that have stayed with us forever

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Hayley Spencer
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From inspiring autobiographies to groundbreaking debut novels, we all know the power of great books. To celebrate the magic of words, here are literary pearls of wisdom for when you’re despairing of the world.

Books have the power to uplift us, look at familiar things in a new way, and expose us to new ideas. That’s something we need in these tense times, when it’s so easy for things out of our control to get the better of a good mood. 

And so, books can be something we turn to for comfort and reassurance, or to help us process what’s happening around us. Sometimes a line you read can stay with you for a long time, as a viral Twitter thread showed us last year.

Last year, Twitter user Anne Thériault appealed for people to share the lines from books that have “changed how you see the world or shifted your understanding of how language can be use or just haunts you for reasons you don’t quite understand and maybe never will”.

Thériault’s response drew thousands of responses, with lines from books ranging from Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

We know the strength of a good line from a book can give us a little extra help picking ourselves up. Books are the perfect escapism, and sometimes their words resonate more than those of our friends or family.

With that in mind, we’ve collated 31 of the most uplifting quotes from literature, that are guaranteed to put a spring back in your step.

Inspiration this way…

  • Anne Of Green Gables

    Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
    Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

    “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”

    - L.M. Montgomery

  • The Goldfinch

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

    – Donna Tartt

  • Wild

    “It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

    – Cheryl Strayed

  • Dracula

    “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”

    - Bram Stroker

  • My Antonia

    “At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.”

    - Willa Cather

  • Infinite Jest

    “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”

    - David Foster Wallace

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

    “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only someone remembers to turn on the light.”

    – J.K. Rowling

  • Beloved

    “You are your best thing.”

    – Toni Morrison

  • Les Miserables

    “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

    - Victor Hugo

  • East Of Eden

    “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

    - John Steinbeck

  • The Dairy Of A Young Girl

    "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

    - Anne Frank

  • Oh, The Places You'll Go

    “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...”

    - Dr Seuss

  • Brida

    “Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

    - Paulo Coelho

  • A Room Of One's Own

    “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself."

    – Virginia Woolf

  • The Alchemist

    “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realise his dream.”

    – Paulo Coelho

  • Peter Pan

    “Just think happy thoughts and you’ll fly.”

    – J.M. Barrie

  • Jane Eyre

    "I would rather be happy than dignified." 

    – Charlotte Brontë

  • The Little Prince

    “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  • The Stand

    “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there...and still on your feet.”

    – Stephen King

  • Of Human Bondage

    “It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.”

    - W. Somerset Maugham

  • De Profundis

    “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?”

    – Oscar Wilde

  • Atlas Shrugged

    “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserve and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real... it is possible... it's yours."

    - Ayn Rand

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

    “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

    - J.K Rowling

  • Just Kids

    Just Kids by Patti Smith

    “Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” 

    ― Patti Smith

  • The Cost of Living

    “To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

    - Arundhati Roy

  • A Song Of Ice And Fire

    "Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, then it can never be used to hurt you."

    - George R.R. Martin

  • The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

    “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

    - Stephen Chbosky

  • On The Road

    “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.”

    - Jack Kerouac

  • Worstward Ho

    "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

    - Samuel Beckett

  • The Ambassadors

    "Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life."

    - Henry James

  • The Secret

    “There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer. ”

    ― Rhonda Byrne

And if that’s got you in the mood for reading another great book, we recently rounded up the best bedtime stories for a peaceful night’s sleep, the best quotes in literature about change and the most uplifting literary quotes for when you’re feeling a bit down

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Images: various publishers 


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Hayley Spencer

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