the general musings of a bookworm

Favorite Quotes

A never ending list of favorite quotes.

Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observing, and I see a great deal more than you’d imagine. I’m interested in other people’s experiences and inconsistencies; and, though I can’t explain, I remember and use them for my own benefit.
–Amy March

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Aurora Leigh

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince

All grown-ups were children first. (But few of them remember it.)

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him.

“For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it’s not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble to produce thorns that are good for nothing? It’s not important, the war between the sheep and the flowers? . . . If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself, ‘My flower’s up there somewhere. . .’ But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?”
–The Little Prince

“I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies.”
–The Prince’s Flower

“It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself, it’s because you are truly a wise man.”
–The King

“Where are the people?” The little prince finally resumed the conversation. “It’s a little lonely in the desert. . .”
“It’s also lonely with people,” said the snake.

“What does tamed mean?” [said the little prince]
“It’s something that’s been too often neglected [replied the fox]. It means, ‘to create ties’. . .”
“‘To create ties’?”
“That’s right,” the fox said. “For me you’re only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you. . .”

“The only things you learn are the things you tame,” said the fox. “People haven’t time to learn anything. They buy things ready-made in stores. But since there are no stores where you can buy friends, people no longer have friends. If you want a friend, tame me!”

“One sees clearly with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
–The Fox

Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

First of all . . . if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
–Atticus Finch

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
–Atticus Finch

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
–Miss Maudie

. . . before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with folks I’ve got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
–Atticus Finch

. . .  I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.
–Atticus Finch

Mr. Raymond: “Things haven’t caught up with that ones instinct yet.  Let him get a little older and he won’t get sick and cry. Maybe things’ll strike him as being—not quite right, say, but he won’t cry, not when he gets a few years on him.”
Dill: “Cry about what, Mr. Raymond?” . . .
Mr. Raymond: “Cry about the simple hell people give other people—without even thinking.  Cry about the hell white people give colored folks without even stopping to think that they’re people, too.”
–Conversation between Mr. Raymond, Scout and Dill

Scout: “. . .  Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

Jem:” That’s what I thought, too, when I was your age.  If there’s just one kind of folks, why can’t they get along with each other?  If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other?  Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something.  I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time . . . it’s because he wants to stay inside.”
–Conversation between Scout and Jem

As I made my way home, I thought Jem and I would get grown but there wasn’t much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra.
–Scout Finch

Scout: “Atticus, he was real nice . . .”

Atticus: “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”
–Conversation between Scout and Atticus

C.S. Lewis

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
— Chapter Eight
What Happened After Dinner

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver . . . Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Mere Christianity

Unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off,’ you can never be a sound Christian or a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion.  Consequently one must train the habit of faith.

Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves — to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.

The Screwtape Letters

Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy’s determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change.

The Weight of Glory

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.

Flannery O’Conner

“Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”

All novelists are fundamentally seekers and describers of the real, but the realism of each novelist will depend on his view of the ultimate reaches of reality.

Henry David Thoreau

Autumnal Tints

Let your walks now be a little more adventurous; ascend the hills. . . Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them . . . We do not realize how far and widely, or how near and narrowly, we are to look. The greater part of the phenomena of Nature are for this reason concealed from us all our lives . . . Nature does not cast pearls before swine. There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate,—not a grain more. . . A man sees only what concerns him.