Quotes from How to Be Good

Nick Hornby ·  305 pages

Rating: (46K votes)


“The plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don't need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“You don't ask people with knives in their stomachs what would make them happy; happiness is no longer the point. It's all about survival; it's all about whether you pull the knife out and bleed to death or keep it in...”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“It seems to me now that the plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don't need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“Love, it turns out, is as undemocratic as money, so it accumulates around people who have plenty of it already: the sane, the healthy, the lovable.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I don't believe in Heaven or anything. But I want to be the kind of person that qualifies for entry anyway.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“That is another chamber of my heart that shows no electrical activity - the chamber that used to flicker into life when I saw a film that moved me, or read a book that inspired me, or listened to music that made me want to cry. I closed that chamber myself, for all the usual reasons. And now I seem to have made a pact with some philistine devil: if I don't attempt to re-open it, I will be allowed just enough energy and optimism to get through a working day without wanting to hang myself.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I'm human. That's how humans spend their time, doing shitty things.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“It is the act of reading itself that I miss, the opportunity to retreat further and further from the world until I have found some space, some air that isn't stale, that hasn't been breathed by my family a thousand times already.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“So now what? What happens when words fail us?”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“Do you ever do that thing where you lie in bed and you can't sleep so you end up writing out recent conversation you've had? So they look like a play?'

Well you should. It's fun. I keep them. Look through them, sometimes.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“Phone calls like ours only happen when you've spent several years hurting and being hurt, until every work you utter or hear becomes coded and loaded, as complicated and full of subtext as a bleak and brilliant play.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“It's love this and love that but of couse it's so easy to love someone you don't know, whether it's George Clooney or Monkey. Staying civil to someone with whom you've ever shared Christmas turkey- now there's a miracle.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“It takes a child to say the unsayable.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“He has the personality of a child prodigy, but no discernable talent.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I burst into tears and I cry and cry until it feels as though it is not salt and water being squeezed from my eyes, but blood.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I've developed contours for his elbows and knees and bum, and nobody else quite fits into me in quite the same way”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“What you don't catch a glimpse of on your wedding day- because how could you?- is that some days you will hate your spouse, that you will look at him and regret ever exhchanging a word with him, let alone a ring and bodily fluids.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I'd thought I'd live with my wife, but I couldn't find one.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“You'd think that even a bad doctor on a bad day would feel better than a good drug dealer on a good day, but I suspect that this might not be true. I suspect that drug dealers have days when everything clicks, and it's all buzz buzz buzz, and they chalk off their jobs one by one, and they return home with a sense of accomplishment.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“Cynicism is our shared common language, the Esperanto that actually caught on, and though I'm not fluent in it - I like too many things, and I'm not envious of enough people - I know enough to get by.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“The point is not that my life is one long golden summer which I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate (although it might be, of course, and I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate it), but that happy moments are possible, and while happy moments are possible I have no right to demand anything more for myself, given the havoc that would be wrought.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“It was as if I were powerless to resist the temptation; my senses were overcome. I could hear the emptiness, and taste the silence, and smell the solitude, and I wanted it more than I have ever wanted anything before.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I work it out. It is the act of reading itself I miss, the opportunity to retreat further and further from the wold until I have found some space, some air that isn't stale, that hasn't been breathed by my family a thousand times already.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“You see, what I really want, and what I'm getting with Stephen, is the opportunity to rebuild myself from scratch. David's picture of me is complete now, and I'm pretty sure neither of us likes it much; I want to rip the page out and start again on a fresh sheet, just like I used to do when I was a kid and had messed a drawing up. It doesn't even matter who the fresh sheet is, really, so its beside the point whether I like Stephen, or whether he knows what to do with me in bed, or anything like that. I just want his rapt attention when I tell him that my favorite book is Middlemarch, and i just want that feeling, the feeling I get with him, of having not gone wrong yet”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I can live this life. I can. I can. It's a spark I want to cherish, a splutter of life in the flat battery; but just at the wrong moment I catch a glimpse at the night sky..., and I can see that there's nothing out there at all.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I'm still not a very good white wine, but I'm drinkable - you could put me in a punch, anyway.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“When I look at my sins (and if I think they’re sins, then they are sins), I can see the appeal of born-again Christianity. I suspect that it’s not the Christianity that is so alluring; it’s the rebirth. Because who wouldn’t wish to start all over again?”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“An ideal world in my own home... I'm not yet sure why the prospect appalls me quite so much, but I do know somewhere in me that (he) is wrong, that a life without hatred is no life at all, that my children should be allowed to despise whom they like. Now there's a right worth fighting for...”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“The difference between sex with David and sex with Stephen is like the difference between science and art. With Stephen it's all empathy and imagination and exploration and the shock of the new, and the outcome is... uncertain, if you know what I mean. I'm engaged by it, but I', mot necessarily sure what its all about. David, on the other hand, presses this button, then that one, and bingo! It's like operating a lift - just as romantic, but actually just as useful.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


“I am a rationalist, and I don't believe in genies, or sudden personality changes. I wanted David's anger to vanish only after years and years in therapy.”
― Nick Hornby, quote from How to Be Good


About the author

Nick Hornby
Born place: in Redhill, Surrey, England, The United Kingdom
Born date April 17, 1957
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.

He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake and Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.

- "Before Bishop's SandPiper...”
― William Blake, quote from The Complete Poems


“We'd need a miracle," he says. "A real one. Do you think those happen anymore?”
― Sara Zarr, quote from Once Was Lost


“His face was pale, and he dropped to the floor so that he was half kneeling, half sitting before her. "Please. I can...help you."
"No." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Her mind felt clearer now. Everything made more sense when she wasn't so hungry. "I don't think I want the help you have."
He cradled his bloody arm and tried to stand. "This isn't right. You aren't right. You aren't suppose to be here."

"But I am.”
― Melissa Marr, quote from Graveminder


“It's never too late for stalking”
― Madeleine Urban, quote from Warrior's Cross


“His arms wrapped around my waist from behind and he kissed my neck again, closer to the wound this time. My pulse accelerated. I wanted him to bite me; I wanted to be his.”
― Joann I. Martin Sowles, quote from Laney


Interesting books

Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912
(7.8K)
Voyage on the Great...
by Ellen Emerson White
The Earth Dwellers
(0.9K)
The Earth Dwellers
by David Estes
Hyde
(3.6K)
Hyde
by Lauren Stewart
Stumbling on Happiness
(43.4K)
Stumbling on Happine...
by Daniel Todd Gilbert
The Book of Strange New Things
(22.7K)
The Book of Strange...
by Michel Faber
Terminal
(3.6K)
Terminal
by Kathy Reichs

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.