Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking for Quotes for School.

I have been tossing around a decorative/inspirational idea for my classroom for the last few weeks. When I was in high school, I loved reading things hanging up in my teachers' rooms. And I've decided that my room is too plain and needs some jazzing up.

Here is where you come in.

I really want to put quotes from literature up on my walls. I figure each quote can be printed on colored paper (blue, green, and purple to match my decor ;) You think I'm kidding...I'm not). I would love to have your input on some fabulous quotes for my kids to gaze at while they are pretending to read The Epic of Gilgamesh in the new future...

In exchange for you favorite quotes from books, I'm also going to put your name up there, so you will have a permanent place of honor in my room. :)

Please help me out by commenting below with some of your favorite quotes. The one thing I ask is that the quotes be appropriate for my high schoolers.

Thank you! I look forward to seeing your quotes!


  1. Excellent idea! I did a series of posters (A3) for a high school library modelled on the ala READ posters where I got staff from across the school to pose reading a favourite book and then captioned the image with a quote chosen by them either from that book or a favourite quote in general. The posters were highly effective and kids wanted to talk about what different teachers had chosen and why, whenever a new poster went up the kids noticed and it would usually result in some form of comment/discussion at the circulation desk.
    Off the top of my head at the moment the first quote I remember is the C.S. Lewis one; ‘We read to know we are not alone’. I think I will pop back later with some more of the quotes we used. Good luck with this, I had to nag and nag to get people to participate in my poster campaign but it was highly effective in promoting reading and getting kids to think about books and their reading.

  2. Just thought I would quickly add this, it may not be what you want but it is a great quote on why reading is important and it is a favourite of mine, not a great quote from literature but a great quote about reading it comes from American educator Nancie Atwell:
    “There’s nothing better for you – not broccoli, not an apple a day, not aerobic exercise. In terms of the whole rest of your life, in terms of making you smart in all ways, there’s nothing better. Top-ranking scientists and mathematicians are people who read. Top-ranking historians and researchers are people who read. Reading is like money in the bank in terms of the rest of your life, but it also helps you escape from the rest of your life and live experiences you can only dream of. Most important, along with writing, reading is the best way I know to find out who you are, what you care about, and what kind of person you want to become.”
    Nancie Atwell

  3. Ooh, this is fun. Here are some of our favorite quotes:

    - I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. - Jane Eyre
    - What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains. - A Streetcar Named Desire
    - Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced. - Brave New World
    - But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. - Brave New World

    Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
    Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
    That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
    Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
    The clouds methought would open, and show riches
    Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,I cried to dream again. - The Tempest

    This sounds like an awesome project :)

  4. Nice thing to do! I'd love to have something like that on my bedroom wall.

    - Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

    - “For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.” (Walter Scott, Ivanhoe)

    - I have my pride for men... But I lay aside that pride before God, who has taken me from nothing to make me what I am. (Alex Dumas, Monte Cristo)

    Have fun with the wall :p

  5. A quote from my favourite book (and proving once again that Sense and Sensibility fulfills every desire!):

    “It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
    ― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

    Particularly apt given the recent media attention on bullying...


  6. hi Allie! i love your idea.

    i hope you'll consider this quote. it's not from literature but it's pretty general.
    “Books are humanity in print.” - Barbara W. Tuchman (American popular historian and author, 1912-1989)

  7. Hi Allie :) so glad to see that you're online a bit more, I have missed your presence especially in Jillian's absence. I found some great quotes on twitter this morning, and it was just so serendipidous that I had to share.

    "After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world" Philip Pullman

    "All great literature is one of two stories, a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town" Leo Tolstoy

    This is one of my favourite lines from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: "...great discoveries, whether of silk or gravity, are always windfalls. They happen to people loafing under trees."

    “Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” Stephen King

    and a last favourite

    “What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.” Alan Bennett - The Uncommon Reader

  8. Here's a few:

    Readers who read a great deal as a matter of course can hardly realize the state of mind of those who don’t read at all. It is very different, doubtless. Reading - especially novels - makes us all far more conscious of ourselves and of other people and of our emotions and situations and reactions.
    — The Worm Forgives the Plough, John Stewart Collis.

    … if you want to pick up a fortune you might at least take the trouble to bend down.
    — The Kill, Émile Zola.

    My mother had possessed some novels, and my father and I began to read them after supper. At first it was only to give me some practice in reading. But soon my interest in this entertaining literature became so strong that we read by turns continuously, and spent whole nights so engaged. For we could never leave off till the end of the book. Sometimes my father would say with shame as we heard the morning larks: “Come, let us go to bed. I am more of a child than you are.
    — The Confessions, Jean Jacques Rousseau.

    Got a few more which aren't where I thought they'd be, if I find them I'll let you know :)

  9. Here's one of my absolute favorites...

    “Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life…And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  10. My fave quote:

    "I have been bent and broken but -- I hope -- into a better shape." Chapter 59 of Great Expectations, spoken by Estella! (who else???)

  11. "I learned this, at least . . . that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau (Walden)

  12. Here are some other favorites:

    "Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly." -Cornelia Funke

    "Don't gobblefunk around with words." -Roald Dahl

    "Books are a uniquely portable magic." -Stephen King

    "To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life." - T.S. Eliot

    "Reading one book is like eating one potato chip." -Diane Duane

    "Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." -Desmond Tutu

    “A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

  13. Oh! And from Mansfield Park, which I've still yet to finish:

    "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

  14. From Farenheit 451: “Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going a long time back. I said nothing. I am one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the 'guilty,' but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself.”

  15. I've been keeping a running list of quotes I find interesting on my blog. Here's the link:

  16. One of my favorite poems from HS... a poem with the words:
    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
    By Dylan Thomas


  17. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
    ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”
    ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Again given the recent events around bullying maybe the second one is apt for helping those who suffer realise that they can rise above it

  18. My favorite is the first line of David Copperfield --

    "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

  19. Here are a few faves:
    “And books, they offer one hope- that a whole universe might open up from between the covers, and falling into that new universe, one is saved."
    ~Anne Rice, Blackwood Farm

    “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
    ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

    “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
    ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

    This is a great idea, Allie!

  20. *cracks knuckles* Ahh, you know not what you ask Allie! I have SO many quotes written down! But I'll try to restrain myself somewhat!

    "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    "There are very few bad people, there are just a lot of people who are unlucky."- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

    "There's nothing wrong with not understanding yourself."- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    "It's only when you're a teenager that you talk about change constantly and believe in your heart that it never really happens."- Christine by Stephen King

    "If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."- Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

    And this last one is kind of long, but kind of lovely... "Maybe, he thought, there aren't any such things as good friends or bad friends- maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for... No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart."- It by Stephen King

  21. Awesome idea! Here are some:

    “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ― Virginia Woolf

    “Destroying things is much easier than making them.” ― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

    “There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.” ― Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played With Fire

    “Oh, I don't read. I skulk about in search of quotations that might make me appear educated.” ― Tasha Alexander, A Fatal Waltz

    “You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” ― Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes

    “It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Good luck filling your classroom!!

  22. "There are a thousand reasons to live this life, each one of them fine."
    -Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

    "You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
    -Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

    "Troubles take wing for the man who can sing."
    -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

    "The universe is the mirror in which we can contemplate only what we have learned to know in ourselves."
    -Italo Calvino, Mr. Palomar

    "Those who understood, in fact, say: ‘I mustn’t do this, I mustn’t do that,’ so as not to commit some stupidity or other! Splendid! But at a certain point we realize that all life is stupidity; so tell me yourself what it means never to have done anything foolish. At the very least it means you have never lived."
    -Luigi Pirandello, The Late Mattia Pascal

    "Art comes out of art; it begins with imitation, often in the form of parody, and it’s in the process of imitating the voice of others that one comes to learn the sound of one’s own."
    -Alan Bennett, Writing Home

    "What makes life life and not a simple story? Jagged bits moving never still, all along the wall."
    -Anne Carson, Plainwater

    "When I look over the rooftops of Frankfurt in the middle of the night, I sense that the world and my life are not without purpose. I hear all sorts of sounds inside me.
    -Orhan Pamuk, Snow

    "You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe."
    -Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip

    "Don’t hide your dark side from yourself . . . it’s what keeps us going forward, that pushing away from the blinding brilliance."
    -Carol Shields, Unless

    "I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me."
    -Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

    "Well, by now you must know yourself, honey, whatever you do, life don’t stop. It only sits a minute and dreams a dream."
    -Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man

    "We are the night ocean filled
    with glints of light. We are the space
    between the fish and the moon,
    while we sit here together."

    "Listen to presences inside poems,
    Let them take you where they will."

    "Humble living does not diminish. It fills.
    Going back to a simpler self gives wisdom."

    "Your real “country” is where you’re heading,
    not where you are."

    "You may learn to imitate a birdcall,
    but do you experience
    what the nightingale feels for the rose?"

    "Books can sometimes help us phrase our questions, but they do not necessarily enable us to decipher the answers."
    -Alfredo Manguel, The Library at Night

    "We can only be faithful to what we remember, and we remember only what we have known."
    -Marcel Proust, The Fugitive

    "We exist only by virtue of what we possess, we possess only what is really present to us, and many of our memories, our moods, our ideas sail away on a voyage of their own until they are lost to sight! Then we can no longer take them into account in the total which is our personality. But they know of secret paths by which to return to us."
    -Marcel Proust, The Fugitive

    “This little light and then the night.”
    -James Thurber, The White Deer

    "The only safe thing is to take a chance."
    -Elaine May

    I went crazy with it, sorry. Fun! You have lucky kids! :)

  23. "Give me 26 lead soldiers and I will conquer the world."
    - Benjamin Franklin

    This is one of the favourites, from one English teacher to another :)

  24. "He read so much his brain turned to mush" Don Quixote. I read this book my last month in school and the quote seemed so approprate for the time.

  25. From Shakespeare ( of course)

    'to thine own self be true' (Hamlet)

    'Nothing will come of nothing' (King Lear)

    'All the world's a stage and each man in his time plays many parts' (forget the play sorry)

  26. One of my favorites:

    "Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." D.H.Lawrence