Catherynne M. Valente · 247 pages
Rating: (30.5K votes)
“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”
“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.”
“Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
“One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.”
“When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”
“Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow.”
“Readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief.”
“I'm not lost, because I haven't any idea where to go that I might get lost on the way to. I'd like to get lost, because then I'd know where I was going, you see.”
“... but as has been said, September read often, and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying.”
“Wishes of one's old life wither and shrivel like old leaves if they are not replaced with new wishes when the world changes. And the world always changes. Wishes get slimy, and their colors fade, and soon they are just mud, like all the rest of the mud, and not wishes at all, but regrets. The trouble is, not everyone can tell when they ought to launder their wishes. Even when one finds oneself in Fairyland and not at home at all, it is not always so easy to remember to catch the world in it's changing and change with it.”
“Even if you’ve taken off every stitch of clothing, you still have your secrets, your history, your true name. It’s hard to be really naked. You have to work hard at it. Just getting into a bath isn’t being naked, not really. It’s just showing skin.”
“Of course not. No one is chosen. Not ever. Not in the real world. You chose to climb out of your window and ride on a leopard. You chose to get a witch’s Spoon back, and to make friends with a wyvern. You chose to trade your shadow for a child’s life. You chose not to let the Marquess hurt your friend--you chose to smash her cages! You chose to face your own Death, not to balk at a great sea to cross and no ship to cross it in. And twice now you have chosen not to go home when you might have, if only you abandoned your friends. You are not the chosen one, September. Fairyland did not choose you--you chose yourself. You could have had a lovely holiday in Fairyland and never met the Marquess, never worried yourself with local politics, had a romp with a few brownies and gone home with enough memories for a lifetime’s worth of novels. But you didn’t. You chose. You chose it all. Just like you chose your path on the beach: to lose your heart is not a path for the faint and fainting.”
“We all live inside the terrible engine of authority, and it grinds and shrieks and burns so that no one will say: lines on maps are silly.”
“Such lonely, lost things you find on your way. It would be easier, if you were the only one lost. But lost children always find each other, in the dark, in the cold. It is as though they are magnetized and can only attract their like. How I would like to lead you to brave, stalwart friends who would protect you and play games with dice and teach you delightful songs that have no sad endings. If you would only leave cages locked and turn away from unloved Wyverns, you could stay Heartless.”
“That’s what happens to friends, eventually. They leave you. It’s practically what they’re for.”
“She liked anything orange: leaves; some moons; marigolds; chrysanthemums; cheese; pumpkin, both in pie and out; orange juice; marmalade. Orange is bright and demanding. You can't ignore orange things. She once saw an orange parrot in the pet store and had never wanted anything so much in her life. She would have named it Halloween and fed it butterscotch. Her mother said butterscotch would make a bird sick and, besides, the dog would certainly eat it up. September never spoke to the dog again — on principle.”
“I wouldn't even consider it if I were you. But then if I were you, I would not be me, and if I were not me, I would not be able to advise you, and if I were unable to advise you, you'd do as you like, so you might as well do as you like and have done with it.”
“Hats have power. Hats can change you into someone else.”
“There must be blood, the girl thought. There must always be blood. The Green Wind said that, so it must be true. It will be all hard and bloody, but there will be wonders, too, or else why bring me here at all? And it's the wonders I'm after, even if I have to bleed for them.”
“Who are you?"
"I am Death," said the creature. "I thought that was obvious."
"But you're so small!"
"Only because you are small. You are young and far from your Death, September, so I seem as anything would seem if you saw it from a long way off-very small, very harmless. But I am always closer than I appear. As you grow, I shall grow with you, until at the end, I shall loom huge and dark over your bed, and you will shut your eyes so as not to see me.”
“I wish you the best that can be hoped for, and no worse than can be expected.”
“Well, very splendid and very frightening. But splendid things are often frightening. Sometimes, it's the fright that makes them splendid at all.”
“And it's the wonders I'm after, even if I have to bleed for them.”
“Shoes are funny beasts. You think they’re just clothes, but really, they’re alive. They want things. Fancy ones with gems want to go to balls, big boots want to go to work, slippers want to dance. Or sleep. Shoes make the path you’re on. Change your shoes, change your path.”
“When little ones say they want to go home, they almost never mean it. They mean they are tired of this particular game and would like to start another.”
“All stories must end so, with the next tale winking out of the corners of the last pages, promising more, promising moonlight and dancing and revels, if only you will come back when spring comes again.”
“If one did not have at least a little luck, one would never survive childhood. But luck can be spent, like money; and lost, like a memory; and wasted, like a life.”
“It is true that novelists are shameless and obey no decent law, and they are not to be trusted on any account, but some Mysteries even they must honor.”
“I believe we have an utterly unique specimen on our hands: a child who listens.”
“I'm the man of the house, the husband-fit it- I'm the king, and I had to make my queen happy.”
“Just because I'm no jaw clacker doesn't mean there should be a ruction put up whenever I have sommat to say.”
“To the end of his life he enjoyed traveling by train, the slower the better, and, if possible, in the front carriage.”
“Sí que era raro todo lo que se pillaba y almacenaba inconscientemente”
“His eyes drifted shut. without opening them, he murmured, "I like the sound of your laugh. It's real and genuine. A lot of girls have this fake laugh. Not you."
"I like your laugh, too." I whispered, feeling pulled in, cozy in the cacoon of his bed.
I flattened my palm over his chest, enjoying the sensation of the firm flesh, even warm as it was. He sighed, like my cool hand offered him some relief.
"I laugh more since you came around," he said quietly, his lips barely forming the words.
He did? I frowned. He must not have laughed at all before, then, because I didn't think he was particularly jovial.
I held him through the night. And he held me back, tucking my head beneath his chin. His arms surrounded me and kept me close to his overly warm body. Almost like I was some kind of lifeline. I felt the moment his fever broke around one in the morning. I finally relaxed and fell asleep.”
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.