42 Inspiring Quotes from Literature

Oftentimes books do so much more than help us pass the time.  They inspire, they motivate, they help us look at the world in a different way.  Books take us on adventures, break our hearts, make us laugh, and make us mad.  They creep and crawl into our conscious, become the mantras for how we live our lives, and hold within their covers the characters that we love, mourn, hate, and admire.

In my day I’ve read a lot of books…A LOT.  A live-long obsession with reading and a degree in literature have opened my world to a whole plethora of reading materials.  Take a look at my bookshelves and you’ll see everything from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Crime and Punishment.  I have books on the history of pirates, novels written by local Native American authors, and even signed copies of some rare first editions.  I love reading and love being transported into a world all my own.  Every time I pick up a new book, I create a new world in my mind and I almost always learn something along the way.

As I’ve moved my way from story to story, I’ve collected quotes that have stuck out to me, that mean something to me or that have taught me something about life.  While this is by no means a full list, here are a few inspiring quotes I’ve stumbled upon during my 30+ years of being a book nerd. 🙂

Books and Literature

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anyone says to you, don’t let ‘em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…it’s a good one, even if it does resist learning.
–To Kill a Mockingbird


–Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’
–God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.
–A Wrinkle in Time


–Gone with the Wind

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
–Alice in Wonderland

Gilgamesh, whither are you wandering?
Life, which you look for, you will never find.
For when the gods created man, they let
death be his share, and life
withheld in their own hands.
Gilgamesh, fill your belly,
Day and night make merry,
let days be full of joy,
dance and make music day and night.
And wear fresh clothes,
And wash your head and bathe.
Look at the child that is holding your hand,
And let your wife delight in your embrace.
These things alone are the concern of men.
–The Epic of Gilgamesh

 Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
–The Painted Drum


–The Little Prince

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
–Worstward Ho

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
–Foundation

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
–As You Like It

Things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.
–Life of Pi


–Les Miserables

Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.
–A Game of Thrones

Wanna fly, you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down.
–Song of Solomon

Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.
–Tuck Everlasting


–The Princess Bride

People always think that happiness is a faraway thing, something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.
–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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.
–To Kill a Mockingbird


–The Fellowship of the Ring

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
–The Catcher in the Rye

Without love, we become savage.
–Lord of the Flies

Write it all down.
–Harriet the Spy

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
–The Last Lecture


–The Alchemist

Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.
–The Catcher in the Rye

You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
–The Phantom Tollbooth

I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.
–A Wrinkle in Time


–Alice in Wonderland

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
–Peter Pan

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.
–The House at Pooh Corner


–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Don’t you know that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?
–Mary Poppins

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.
–Charlotte’s Web

Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
–The Minpins


–The Magician’s Nephew

Keep all your promises, don’t take what doesn’t belong to you, and always look after those less fortunate than yourself, and you’ll do well in the world.
–The Dragon of Lonely Island

There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.
–The Tale of Despereaux

You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing.
–Tuck Everlasting

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
–The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

How long is forever?  Sometimes, just one second.
–Alice in Wonderland

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.
Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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