Quotable Quotes

I like quotes.  I enjoy meandering my way through the internet and seeing what pithy sayings I can find.  I don't enjoy inspirational quotes. My inner cynic rolls her eyes at them and moves on. I do like the phrase that catches your ear, the words that make you stop and think. Or stop and laugh. I appreciate how, frequently, so much can be said with so few words.  So, since I spent a large portion of my evening scrolling through quotes it is only fair that I inflict them on you.

We will start with Mark Twain.  He seems to have been eminently quotable.  I have been thinking that I should go to tour his house again.  Last time I went I was in high school and we won't think about how many years ago that was.  He lived in Hartford, CT which is only about an hour from where I live.  Besides, it would make a great blog post.  

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

This suggestion fascinates me.  First of all, he is right. Of course.  After all, he is Mark Twain. Second of all, imagine living in a world were your editor deletes the word 'damn.' I think I want to go back to that world. Twain also said;

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. 

This is true. I live in a small town and many people don't go very far from it. I don't necessarily think that is a healthy way to live.  I want badly for my kids to know there is a whole world out there with other ways of doing things and other ways of thinking.  That 'other' is not a bad word. That difference can be what makes people interesting. That we don't need to fear differences even if we don't agree with them.

I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.

Me too, Mr. Twain. Me too.

A book is made from a tree It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millenia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you.  Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time--proof that humans can work magic.

Carl Sagan said that.  Isn't it wonderful?  I keep reading it over and over because it is such a perfect description of the wonders to be had from books.

And then Dorothy Parker said

Of course I talk to myself. I like a good speaker, and I appreciate an intelligent audience.

She also said,

It turns out that, at social gatherings, as a source of entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, I rank somewhere between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.

And we will end with a few from P. G. Wodehouse because he makes me laugh out loud. I'll try to restrain myself and only give you a few quotes.
She looked like she had been poured into her clothes and forgotten to say 'when.'

A melanchly-looking man, he had the appearance of one who has searched for the leak in life's gas-pipe with a lighted candle. 

 She was definitely the sort of girl who puts her hands over a husband's eyes, as he is crawling into breakfast with a morning head, and says "Guess who!"

He manages to create a complete mental image of a character with just a few words. Incredible.  If you haven't read him, do so.  He is a master of comedic language.

Do you have a favorite quote?


  1. Nice selection - can't beat PG Wodehouse for a great one-liner! I had to laugh at Twain's quote regarding travel and bigotry, since I abandoned his 'The Innocents Abroad' in total disgust at his own bigotry - racism, really. Pity, because sometimes he's quite funny.

    1. Oh no! That does take away some of the impact of Twain's quote, doesn't it? I have never read The Innocents Abroad.

      P. G. Wodehouse is a joy and a pleasure, isn't he?

  2. some are rather funny:) I have a few favourite quotes too:)

    1. I would love to hear one or two of your favorite quotes....

  3. Oh, give it a go, it's hilarious. Yes, there are some eminently cringeworthy moments and some of Twain's attitudes are just awful but it's still funny in spite of that. For me not reading Twain because of his contempt for other cultures would be like refusing to read Jane Austen because she accepts a society that expects a sixteen year old marry a philandering rake and isn't half as disgusted with Charlotte Lucas as most of her modern readers are. Another hugely enjoyable travelogue which I suspect you've read but, if you haven't, hie thee to Amazon and get it is 'The Towers of Trebizond' and also my current one, 'The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot: France, 1801-3 and Russia, 1805-7 which again, if you haven't read, I recommend heartily if you're interested in women's lives in what I shall parochially call the Regency.

    Of course, Mark Twain, bless his moustache, is no match for Wodehouse when one thinks, as one should often, of Lord Emsworth drooping like a wet sock against the window frame. Or that paragon of gentlemen's gentlemen who will provide my favourite quote for today.

    “Yes, sir,” said Jeeves in a low, cold voice, as if he had been bitten in the leg by a personal friend.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I actually have been thinking along the same lines. Too often attempts are made to judge people of the past by modern standards. That is unnecessary and sometimes downright ridiculous. We can acknowledge that we don't agree with a viewpoint or attitude while also acknowledging that it was accepted in the time in which the book was written. I think I will give The Innocents Abroad a go. And I will also read your other recommendations. I haven't read either of them and now definitely want to. Any excuse to buy more books....

      And "Mark Twain, bless his moustache" has made your comment rocket to the top of the comment charts this week.

    2. I ordered all three books. Thanks for the recommendations!

  4. These are great! I love the one about travel because it really does change you and open your mind. I'm kinda obsessed with quotes too. I'm always writing down my favorite quotes from books and I have so many! One that comes to mind is

    "Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten" - GK Chesterton

    1. Thank you, Carolann, I was trying to remember that one the other day.

  5. Oh, I love it when I can recommend to Great Readers books they haven't read yet :) I must share today's quote with you, no-one here is interested, it's from 'High Rising' by Angela Thirkell and the context is barking at little boys to make them be quiet.

    But at this moment the headmaster swallowed the lozenge, and in the voice of a sergeant-major who had been educated among sea-lions...

    1. I am always interested in quotes and I love Angela Thirkell. What a great description!