Book Quotes and opening lines/ why I don’t like Sundays
I will let you into a little known fact about me, though it is not a particularly interesting fact, nor a life changing fact, nor is it something that will make you sit up or fly off the chair kind of fact. So why do you want to share this uninteresting, un-life-changing fact with us? I hear you ask. There is no specific reason. Does there have it be a motive or rationale in everything one does. No. So let me indulge a little.
Here is the fact: I hate Sunday mornings. Perhaps hate is too strong a word, let’s say I dislike Sunday mornings. I don’t look forward to them. I wake up on Sundays with a strange kind of feeling of forbearing, of lethargy, laziness, dull as dead coot. Is there a logical explanation for this unsavoury infliction? I don’t know. Perhaps it goes back to my younger days. Those were the days my friend when we used to look forward to one specific day of the week more than any others. It was Saturdays. It was the day one could relax safe in the knowledge that ‘work’ or ‘studies’ were two whole days away. We used to go clubbing and partying and socialising all night long. By the time we fell into a state of stupor, of paralysis induced by excess alcohol, it was almost Sunday morning. Late into Sunday afternoon was when I would stir from the stupefied slumber. I would look around me at the bodies lying keeling on the sofa, on the floor, at the edge of my bed. Often I would see faces I did not recognise. Overflowing ashtrays, beer cans scattered on the floor, stale air of sweated up bodies and smoke of cheap cigarettes. I would lift my head off the makeshift pillow and instantly feel a throbbing sensation as if someone was drilling a hole in it. For the rest of the day I would feel sick and disgusted. At some point, the realisation that Monday was only a few hours away would hit me like a slap on the face with a wet fish.
Perhaps it is this feeling that sits permanently entrenched in my psyche, like some ancient stone carvings that have withstood the passage of time.
So coming back to Sunday, not any old Sunday, but this Sunday, 10th May, after a cup of tea I sat down at my desk and powered up the computer to begin work on my novel. I may not have told you about this latest project. Unlike the previous novels, this one is set in the future, a little bit like 1984 or Handmaids Tale. I don’t mind admitting it is hard visualising a futuristic setting which would appear realistic or believable. After an hour of staring at the computer screen, controlling an urge to pick the nose, drinking more tea, in a futile attempt to wake up my brain, still nothing vaguely intelligent was coming to my head. Eventually I gave up my writing, drank more tea and in a flash came up with this fun game.
We all read books from time to time. Some books we forget promptly, while others leave an indelible impression on our brain. We often remember a stunning first sentence or a perfect string of dialogue; there are parts of books that feel particularly memorable. Whether they make us laugh, cry, or simply reflect, those quotable lines have a habit of sticking with us long after we turn the final page. I am going to list here some of the best book quotes from recent masterpieces.
What I want you to do is add to the list. Make it as long as possible. There is no limit. You can put down any quote from any book that has made an impression on you, whether or not the book or the author is well known.
I will begin with a list of twelve memorable lines.
- ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’ —
- There was a brief period during which Father Brown enjoyed, or rather did not enjoy, something like fame. He was a nine days’ wonder in the newspapers; he was even a common topic of controversy in the weekly reviews: his exploits were narrated eagerly and inaccurately in any number of clubs and drawing rooms –
G K Chesterton, the Incredulity of Father Brown.
- ‘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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.’ —
- ‘This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.’ —
- ‘Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.’ —
- ‘Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”’—
- ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’ —
A great quote by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- ‘It is a truth universally that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’—
- ‘Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.” —
- ‘Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.’ —
- ‘You too will marry a boy I choose,’ said Mrs Rupa Mehra firmly to her younger daughter. Lata avoided the material imperative by looking around the great lamp-lit garden of Prem Nivas. The wedding guests were gathered on the lawn. ‘Hmm,’ she said. This annoyed her mother further. ‘I know what your hmms mean, young lady, and I can tell you I will not stand for hmms in this matter …’
A suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
- ‘It was about half-past twelve when I returned to the Albany as last desperate resort. The scene of my disaster was much as I had left it. The baccarat-counters still strewed the table, with the empty glasses and the loaded ash-trays. A window had been opened to let the smoke out, and was letting in the fog instead. Raffles himself had merely discarded his dining jacket for one of his innumerable blazers. Yet he arched his eyebrows as though I had dragged him from his bed.’ –
The opening lines of Raffles by E W Hornung.
Over to you.