The Top 100 Quotes from the Top 100 Novels (BBC Big Read List – #1-50)

316302098_75d6bd74af_zI’M STILL MAKING my way through the BBC Big Read List of Top 100 Novels.

I’m parked at To Kill A Mockingird. For some reason I expected an old stuffy, court-room drama but it’s really surprised me – full of colour and character.

As some light relief, I thought it would be nice to visit some of the most popular quotes (according to Goodreads) from those novels.

So, in no particular order here is Part 1 of 2, with my favourites in italics:

  1. Lord of the Rings – “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
  2. Pride and Prejudice – “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
  3. His Dark Materials – “You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird – “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
  7. Winnie the Pooh – “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
  8. 1984 – “I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.”
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – “I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
  10. Jane Eyre – “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
  11. Catch-22 – “He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.”
  12. Wuthering Heights – “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
  13. Birdsong – “I know. I was there. I saw the great void in your soul, and you saw mine.”
  14. Rebecca – “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
  15. The Catcher in the Rye – “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
  16. The Wind in the Willows – “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
  17. Great Expectations – “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”
  18. Little Women – “I like good strong words that mean something…”
  19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
  20. War and Peace – “We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”
  21. Gone with the Wind – “Burdens are for shoulders strong enough to carry them.”
  22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”
  23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
  25. The Hobbit – “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
  26. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – “A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.”
  27. Middlemarch – “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
  28. A Prayer for Owen Meany – “If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”
  29. The Grapes of Wrath – “There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”
  30. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
  31. The Story of Tracy Beaker – “I started this book on…I don’t know. Who cares what the date is? You always have to put the date at school. I got fed up with this and put 2091 in the Day Book and wrote about all these rockets and space ships and monsters legging it down from Mars to eat us all up, as if we’d all whizzed one hundred years into the future. Miss Brown didn’t get half narked.”
  32. One Hundred Years of Solitude – “It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”
  33. The Pillars of the Earth – “Having faith in God did not mean sitting back and doing nothing. It meant believing you would find success if you did your best honestly and energetically.”
  34. David Copperfield – “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”
  35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – “Everything in this room is edible. Even I’m edible. But, that would be called canibalism. It is looked down upon in most societies.”
  36. Treasure Island – “Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.”
  37. A Town Like Alice – “It’s no good going on living in the ashes of a dead happiness.”
  38. Persuasion – “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.”
  39. Dune – “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
  40. Emma – “Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.”
  41. Anne of Green Gables – “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
  42. Watership Down – “Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”
  43. The Great Gatsby – “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
  44. The Count of Monte Cristo – “I am not proud, but I am happy; and happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.”
  45. Brideshead Revisited – “Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”
  46. Animal Farm – “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
  47. A Christmas Carol – “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
  48. Far from the Madding Crowd – “They spoke very little of their mutual feeling; pretty phrases and warm expressions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends.”
  49. Goodbye Mister Tom – “It occurred to him that strength was quite different from toughness and that being vulnerable wasn’t quite the same as being weak.”
  50. The Shell Seekers – “She believed, of course … because without something to believe in, life would be intolerable.”


Further Reading – Part 2 of 2 – 100 QuotesFinding Novel Ideas, Remembering BBC’s The Big Read, Reading For Writing

pathfinders chapter 1

image credit flickr – creative commons

16 thoughts on “The Top 100 Quotes from the Top 100 Novels (BBC Big Read List – #1-50)

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