27+ quotes from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Quotes from The Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver ·  546 pages

Rating: (582.3K votes)


“Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Everything you're sure is right can be wrong in another place. ”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I've only found sorrow.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“I attempted briefly to consecrate myself in the public library, believing every crack in my soul could be chinked with a book.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after--oh, that' s love by a different name.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“There is a strange moment in time, after something horrible happens, when you know it's true, but you haven't told anyone yet.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“As long as I kept moving, my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer's long hair in water. I knew the weight was there but it didn't touch me. Only when I stopped did the slick, dark stuff of it come floating around my face, catching my arms and throat till I began to drown. So I just didn't stop.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Misunderstanding is my cornerstone. It's everyone's, come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“It is true that I do not speak as well as I can think. But that is true of most people, as nearly as I can tell.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after - oh, that's love by a different name. She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she's gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks. She's the one you can't put down.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“It's frightening when things you love appear suddenly changed from what you have always known.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Sugar, it's no parade but you'll get down the street one way or another, so you'd just as well throw your shoulders back and pick up the pace.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“But I've swallowed my pride before, that's for sure. I'm practically lined with my mistakes on the inside like a bad-wallpapered bathroom.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Silence has many advantages. When you do not speak, other people presume you to be deaf or feeble-minded and promptly make a show of their own limitations.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Every betrayal contains a perfect moment, a coin stamped heads or tails with salvation on the other side.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery and foreign goodwill.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“The death of something living is the price of our own survival, and we pay it again and again. We have no choice. It is the one solemn promise every life on earth is born and bound to keep. ”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Every life is different because you passed this way and touched history. Even the child Ruth May touched history. Everyone is complicit. The okapi complied by living, and the spider by dying. It would have lived if it could. Listen: being dead is not worse than being alive. It is different, though. You could say the view is larger.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“Oh, mercy. If it catches you in the wrong frame of mind, the King James Bible can make you want to drink poison in no uncertain terms.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“...I stir in bed and the memories rise out of me like a buzz of flies from a carcass. I crave to be rid of them...”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“I know how people are, with their habits of mind. Most will sail through from cradle to grave with a conscience clean as snow...I know people. Most have no earthly notion of the price of a snow-white conscience.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“But his kind will always lose in the end. I know this, and now I know why. Whether it's wife or nation they occupy, their mistake is the same: they stand still, and their stake moves underneath them.... Chains rattle, rivers roll, animals startle and bolt, forests inspire and expand, babies stretch open-mouthed from the womb, new seedlings arch their necks and creep forward into the light. Even a language won't stand still. A territory is only possessed for a moment in time. They stake everything on that moment, posing for photographs while planting the flag, casting themselves in bronze.... Even before the flagpole begins to peel and splinter, the ground underneath arches and slides forward into its own new destiny. It may bear the marks of boots on its back, but those marks become the possessions of the land.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


“If the Lord hasn't got a boyfriend lined up for me to marry, that's his business.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, quote from The Poisonwood Bible


About the author

Barbara Kingsolver
Born place: in Annapolis, Maryland, The United States
Born date April 8, 1955
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“Nightly awaits that sweet address
Principality of Sleep
Happy Land of Forgetfullness”
― Ivan Doig, quote from The Whistling Season


“76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract
78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations
80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace
81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography
82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D.
83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry)
84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers
85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions
86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth
87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat
88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History
89. William Wordsworth – Poems
90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria
91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma
92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War
93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love
94. Lord Byron – Don Juan
95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism
96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity
97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology
98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy
99. Honoré de Balzac – Père Goriot; Eugenie Grandet
100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal
101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America
103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography
104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography
105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times
106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine
107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden
108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto
109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch
110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd
111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov
112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories
113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays
114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales
115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger
116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism
117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors
118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power
119. Jules Henri Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method
120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces”
― Mortimer J. Adler, quote from How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading


“And since I'm well and on the bum again & aint got nothing else to do, but roam, long-faced, the real America, with my unreal heart, here I am eager and ready.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from Lonesome Traveler


“There was a ring at the door. He did not answer. They would go away, and he would be alone again with his grief, his impotent anger, and his undusted possessions.”
― Ian Rankin, quote from Knots and Crosses


“But a very large piece of my carefulness had always been listening to the subtle whisperings of the Dark Passenger, and it was still being strangely shy about sharing its thoughts.”
― Jeff Lindsay, quote from Dexter in the Dark


Interesting books

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
(27.7K)
The Gentleman's Guid...
by Mackenzi Lee
In the Forests of the Night
(13.2K)
In the Forests of th...
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Golden Trail
(18.1K)
Golden Trail
by Kristen Ashley
My Soul to Keep
(18.4K)
My Soul to Keep
by Rachel Vincent
Stone of Farewell
(36.9K)
Stone of Farewell
by Tad Williams
Runaway
(22.3K)
Runaway
by Meg Cabot

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.