“Top 5 Tuesdays” is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm! When I looked at the October topics and decided to start participating, I was overjoyed to see “book quotes” on the agenda!
Books speak to the soul in ways other mediums don’t and, to me, there is nothing better than reading a set of words that sets your world on fire or gives you shivers.
Now, my favorite book quotes change with every new book I read and I don’t usually rank them, but I definitely have some that I think about more often than others.
5. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
“…knowing how to read words and knowing when to speak them is the most valuable commodity a person can have.”
Words and languages are keys to understanding and opening doors. Being able to code-switch between dialects, languages, and settings is what can make the difference between the end of a job application process or a relationship. Words are far more powerful than we give them credit and that is why we must use them with care and for the benefit of others.
4. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Jr. Vonnegut
“The most important thing I learned…was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, have always existed, always will exist.”
I found Slaughterhouse-Five to be a strange read, but it did have some quotable moments.
I especially like the quote above because it reminded me that we do all live on through each other and even when the last person who remembered us passes away, our mark on the world (no matter how great or small) will have always been. Nothing can erase the fact that we existed, that we touched lives, and that we were moved by others. It makes the thought of death and funerals a little more bearable.
3. Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho
“I want to be someone capable of seeing the unseen faces, of seeing those who do not seek fame or glory, who silently fulfill the role life has given them. I want to be able to do this because the most important things, those that shape our existence, are precisely the ones that never show their faces.”
There are so many things I would quote from this book if I could. In fact, if you have Litsy, the beginning of my posting career on that app was with this book and a handful of quotes that moved me.
This quote in particular is important to me because it reminds me to continue trying to see others. Behind-the-scenes people make the world go round and they are often overlooked. Behind-the-scenes events, objects, or actions are rarely recognized. I want to always try better to recognize the people and the events that have greatly impacted my life, and acknowledge them if possible.
2. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me.
I was not worried at all—it had not even occurred to me to be worried, because a man who would be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”
I love this quote. It is another one that has stuck with me long after reading this piece…although the entire essay is quotable!
This quote reminds me of the reality of young men and women and how relationships are perceived. There is often this idea that women that are too independent, too educated, or too strong-willed will be single for life, but Chimamanda address this in a beautiful and real way that struck me as important to share.
1. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
“Tortolita, let me tell you a story,” Estevan said. “This is a South American, wild Indian story about heaven and hell.” Mrs. Parsons made a prudish face, and Estevan went on. “If you go visit hell, you will see a room like this kitchen. There is a pot of delicious stew on the table, with the most delicate aroma you can imagine. All around, people sit, like us. Only they are dying of starvation. They are jibbering and jabbering,” he looked extra hard at Mrs. Parsons, “but they cannot get a bit of this wonderful stew God has made for them. Now, why is that?”
“Because they’re choking? For all eternity?” Lou Ann asked. Hell, for Lou Ann, would naturally be a place filled with sharp objects and small round foods.
“No,” he said. “Good guess, but no. They are starving because they only have spoons with very long handles. As long as that.” He pointed to the mop, which I had forgotten to put away. “With these ridiculous, terrible spoons, the people in hell can reach into the pot but they cannot put the food in their mouths. Oh, how hungry they are! Oh, how they swear and curse each other!” he said, looking again at Virgie. He was enjoying this.
“Now,” he went on, “you can go and visit heaven. What? You see a room just like the first one, the same table, the same pot of stew, the same spoons as long as a sponge mop. But these people are all happy and fat.”
“Real fat, or do you mean just well-fed?” Lou Ann asked.
“Just well-fed,” he said. “Perfectly, magnificently well-fed, and very happy. Why do you think?”
He pinched up a chunk of pineapple in his chopsticks, neat as you please, and reached all the way across the table to offer it to Turtle. She took it like a newborn bird.”
― Barbara Kingsolver,
I know this one is a long one, but it is my absolute favorite scene/quote. The Bean Trees has been my favorite book for many reasons (especially its humanization of undocumented immigrants). It has many great quotes and a powerful message, but there is something special about the following scene. It has stuck out in my head for years. I love the way that the story is told and the scene is illustrated to teach a lesson about helping one another and sharing.
For a list of October Tuesday topics: click here