Quotes from Here and There…

While I have a few book reviews mulling around in my head, I thought I’d share a few quotes from things I’ve read lately. I don’t always include a lot of quotes in my reviews but when I read and something particularly strikes me as insightful or thoughtful or beautiful, I will copy it down in my journal. I keep meaning to add them to my weekly highlights post and then forgetting so I thought I’d just share some on their own and maybe try to share them in those posts moving forward.

…a worth gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of a lady of fortune, had wedded an old flame out of mere attachment, who in her turn had taken him for the same reason. Thus two people who cannot afford to play cards for money, sometimes sit down to a quiet game of love.

– Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation.

– Soren Kierkegaard, “The Journals”, A Kierkegaard Anthology

(I’ll admit that one struck me particularly while watching the so-called “freedom” convoy in Ottawa on the news.)

Trust in the Lord, and do good;

dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Delight in the Lord,

and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 37:3

(Bible verses like this help me in times of turmoil to remember that, ultimately, the end result belongs to God. Not to use that as an excuse to avoid action or to allow injustice to occur, but instead to do what we can now – “do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” – but that God is not turning a blind eye to evil and justice will ultimately belong to Him.)

The thing no one told me about pregnancy is that when you are pregnant, you carry a secret, and so you are a secret to yourself. You are also a secret to your partner. You carry this alone. You cannot truly share the pain of growing life, just as you cannot truly share the pain of letting life go.

– Aja Gabel, “The Body Secret”, The Lonely Stories

(I’ve recently been talking to and doing my best to support a friend who had a miscarriage. This quote has struck me as painfully true. Even as I want to and try to walk through this experience with her, it is such an individual grief.)

They didn’t seem to be aware that when girls didn’t have a pleasant expression on their faces, they were in actuality quite unattractive. Being attractive wasn’t something that came naturally to girls. It took great effort to be pleasant. A smile wasn’t something that should be considered a spontaneous reaction. Instead, it was more like an arrangement of flowers or a memorized poem. Something that had to be laboured at.

– Heather O’Neill, When We Lost Our Heads

(I don’t know that I entirely agree with this but I love O’Neill’s set-the-world-on-fire style in this novel and it made me think that perhaps an unexpected perk of wearing masks in this pandemic is that it prevents strange men from telling us to smile.)

‘To go with you – anywhere – everywhere – to the world’s end – to the churchyard grave,’ replied Smike, clinging to his hand. ‘Let me, oh do let me. You are my home – my kind friend – take me with you, pray.’

…’And you shall,’ cried Nicholas. ‘And the world shall deal by you as it does by me, till one or both of us shall quit it for better. Come!

With these words, he strapped his burden on his shoulders, and, taking his stick in one hand, extended the other to his delighted charge; and so they passed out of the old barn, together.

– Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby

(This moment between Nicholas and the poor downtrodden Smike reminded me strongly of Esther’s cry to her mother-in-law in the Book of Esther. It’s a beautiful moment of friendship and loyalty in one of Nicholas’ loneliest times.)

Any of these strike you? Do you copy out quotes as you read or remember them later?

8 thoughts on “Quotes from Here and There…”

  1. I like the idea of a quotes post! I’m trying to get better at including quotes in my posts, especially from more “literary” books. One of the things I like about reading on Kindle is seeing what quotes other people highlight.

  2. Excellent selection! Of course the Nicholas Nickleby ones stand out for me, especially Smike – how my heart breaks for Smike every time. There was a wonderful adaptation of it many years ago done for stage, but filmed, and the actor who played Smike turned him into a real tragic hero – I sobbed my little heart out! 😀

  3. I make a note of the quotes I like as I read, and then include my favourites in my reviews. Keeping a record of quotes from books is one of the reasons I started my blog!

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