Great literature has given us some of the most important and timeless quotes about life, love, and everything else. These are some of the best. We can’t always put words to our feelings and experiences, but writers can. They can also leave us with quotes that will stay with us long after we finish reading. There are moving quotes in everything from gothic classics to young adult books.
You might not even know that the quote you read came from a book. Many times I have heard “Not all those who wander are lost,” but I didn’t know it was from one of my favorite fantasy series. To make this list, I looked at some of the most memorable and moving quotes from literature that have been written over the years. Here are some of the best literary quotes and the books they came from. If you’re looking for a new inspirational book or want to know where some of the best lines came from, this list is for you.
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
“Beloved” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about Sethe, an escaped slave who is still running 18 years later. Sethe is haunted both by her memories and by the ghost of her baby. When a mysterious teenage girl shows up with the same name as her child’s tombstone, Sethe’s past and present come together.
“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
This beloved book is about four sisters, Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy, who live in New England during the Civil War. They are all trying to make ends meet. It was first published in 1869, and since then, this book has been a hit with readers of all ages as they follow the sisters on their unique journeys to womanhood.
“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
“Slaughterhouse-Five” is a book about Billy Pilgrim, who is a chaplain’s assistant in the US Army during World War II. It was first published in 1969. Billy’s story starts when he was a child and goes on for years after the war. Billy sometimes goes back in time to think about his life, humanity, and the terrible effects of war.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
It’s a powerful and inspirational story about a boy named Santiago who goes to Egypt from Spain in search of a treasure near the Pyramids. It’s full of wise words. Santiago goes on a long journey and meets a lot of new people. He also meets a lot of interesting people and finds a lot more than the treasure he was looking for.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
José Arcadio Buenda, the father of the town of Macondo, is the first person to tell this multigenerational story. This book follows seven generations of the same family through wars, friendships, and technological changes. It uses magical realism to look at extraordinary moments through time.
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
When Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl, sees her best friend, Khalil, get killed by the police, it is both moving and important. As soon as his death makes national news, everyone wants to know what really happened. Starr knows that telling the truth could hurt her, but she also knows that not telling could hurt her.
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous ” by Ocean Vuong
For someone who doesn’t know how to read, this book is like a letter from a son to his mother, who can’t read. Little Dog is in his 20s, and he talks openly about sexuality, masculinity, grief, and race as he tries to figure out his family’s Vietnamese history in this powerful novel about humanity and language.
“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller
“Catch-22” is about Yossarian, a bombardier in World War II who is angry that so many people are trying to kill him while his army keeps increasing the number of dangerous missions he has to fly. Yossarian is caught in a Catch-22. A bureaucratic rule says that men who keep flying dangerous missions should be considered insane, but if they ask for help, they are found to be sane and not eligible for help.
“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
“The Bell Jar” is Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical book and one of her most haunting works. Esther Greenwood is a young woman who lives in Boston and suffers from depression and anxiety. As her mental state gets worse, the book follows her story.
“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
In “The Color Purple,” which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, “Black women in the 20th century were abused but did not speak about it.” Celie and Nettie are sisters who were separated when they were young, but they still write each other letters and send each other messages of hope. This story of strength and redemption is about two sisters who persevere through pain that seems insurmountable.
“The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
These are some of the things you will learn about a young boy on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota in this 2012 National Book Award winner. His community and family are forever changed after a terrible crime. This complex mystery is about so much more than finding a criminal and getting justice. It’s about a lot more than that.
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison
“Invisible Man” is a 1952 book that has shaped American literature. It tells the story of an unnamed man from the South who gets a scholarship to an all-Black school in Harlem, but he has to take part in a “battle royal” to get it. The narrator keeps looking for his own identity in a society that doesn’t want him to be himself in this powerful and raw book.
“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
“Frankenstein” is a classic horror story about a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who makes a monster and then runs away from his lab in disgust. The next day, he comes back and finds that the creature is gone. As part of this book, which looks at the dark power of alienation, Frankenstein’s monster tells his creator a heartbreaking story of how hard his first days in the world were.