The Big Read Blog (Archive)


October 29, 2009
Washington, DC


Stack of books, Seattle, Washington by Wonderlane ( / CC BY 2.0)

In a world saturated with self-help books, I still swear by the words of courage, inspiration, and even caution that I've found in works of fiction. Here are a few of my favorite words to live by from the pages of  The Big Read.

"That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great." --- Willa Cather, from My Antonia

"If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." --- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."--- Harper Lee, from To Kill a Mockingbird

"Lives of great men all remind us/We can make our lives sublime,/ And departing, leave behind us/ Footprints on the sands of time . . . "--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"What a curiosity it was to hold a pen . . . An immersion into the living language: all at once this cleanliness, this capacity, this power to make a history, to tell, to explain. To retrieve, to reprieve!"--- Cynthia Ozick, from The Shawl

"Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them."--- Marilynne Robinson, from Housekeeping

"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."--- Thornton Wilder, from The Bridge of San Luis Rey

"From today on, I'll be whatever I choose to be at the moment . . . "--- Rosario Castellanos, from "Cooking Lesson"

Visit The Big Read website to hear more from the authors in The Big Read library.





Add new comment