Alan Bradley · 374 pages
Rating: (115.6K votes)
“As I stood outside in Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
No ... eight days a week.”
“Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend.”
“It is not unknown for fathers with a brace of daughters to reel off their names in order of birth when summoning the youngest, and I had long ago become accustomed to being called 'Ophelia Daphne Flavia, damn it.”
“I remembered a piece of sisterly advice, which Feely once gave Daffy and me:
"If ever you're accosted by a man," she'd said, "kick him in the Casanovas and run like blue blazes!"
Although it had sounded at the time like a useful bit of intelligence, the only problem was that I didn't know where the Casanovas were located.
I'd have to think of something else.”
“If there is a thing I truly despise, it is being addressed as "dearie." When I write my magnum opus, A Treatise Upon All Poison, and come to "Cyanide," I am going to put under "Uses" the phrase "Particularly efficacious in the cure of those who call one 'Dearie.”
“I gave her a partial smile and kept the rest of it for myself...”
“I found a dead body in the cucumber patch,' I told them.
'How very like you,' Ophelia said, and went on preening her eyebrows.”
“...silence is sometimes the most costly of commodities.”
“Whenever I'm out-of-doors and find myself wanting to have a first-rate think, I fling myself down on my back, throw my arms and legs out so that I look like an asterisk, and gaze at the sky. ”
“Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,
Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?”
“Still, one of my Rules of Life is this: When you want something, bite your tongue.”
“Seed biscuits and milk! I hated Mrs. Mullet's seed biscuits the way Saint Paul hated sin. Perhaps even more so. I wanted to clamber up onto the table, and with a sausage on the end of a fork as my scepter, shout in my best Laurence Olivier voice, 'Will no one rid us of this turbulent pastry cook?”
“If poisons were ponies, I'd put my money on cyanide.”
“What intrigued me more than anything else was finding out the way in which everything, all of creation - all of it! - was held together by invisible chemical bonds, and I found a strange, inexplicable comfort in knowing that somewhere, even though we couldn't see it in our own world, there was a real stability.”
“If you’re insinuating that my personal hygiene is not up to the same high standard as yours you can go suck my galoshes.”
“I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life”
“I was me, I was Flavia. And I loved myself, even if no one else did.”
“As he drank, I remembered that there's a reason we English are ruled more by tea than by Buckingham Palace or His Majesty's Government: Apart from the soul, the brewing of tea is the only thing that sets us apart from the great apes--or so the Vicar had remarked to Father...”
“Mediocrity, I discovered, was the great camouflage; the great protective coloring. Those boys who did not fail, yet did not excel, were left alone, free of the demands of the master who might wish to groom them for glory and of the school bully who might make them his scapegoat. That simple fact was the first great discovery of my life.”
“The woman was putting her purse in the drawer and settling down behind the desk, and I realized I had never seen her before in my life. Her face was as wrinkled as one of those forgotten apples you sometimes find in the pocket of last year's winter jacket.
Yes?" she said, peering over her spectacles. They teach them to do that at the Royal Academy of Library Science.”
“I visualized myself pulling on my mental thinking cap, jamming it down around my ears as I had taught myself to do. It was a tall, conical wizard's model, covered with chemical equations and formulae: a cornucopia of ideas.”
“Chicken fizz! O Lord, protect all of us who toil in the vineyards of experimental chemistry!”
“I reached out and touched his hands and they stilled at once. I had observed—although I did not often make use of the fact—that there were times when a touch could say things that words could not.”
“A peculiar feeling passed over me--or, rather, through me, as if I were an umbrella remembering what it felt like to pop open in the rain.”
“Then I remembered that silence can sometimes do more damage than words.”
“You never know what you're getting into when you stick your nose in other people's rubbish.”
“Here we were, Father and I, shut up in a plain little room, and for the first time in my life having something that might pass for a conversation. We were talking to one another almost like adults; almost like one human being to another; almost like father and daughter. And even though I couldn't think of anything to say, I felt myself wanting it to go on and on until the last star blinked out.”
“There was no way out; not, at least, in this direction. I was like a hamster that had climbed to the top of the ladder in its cage and found there was nowhere to go but down. But surely hamsters knew in their hamster hearts that escape was futile; it was only we humans who were incapable of accepting our own helplessness.”
“Bex, please use this against me for the rest of our lives as an example of how I am about as clever as a shed.”
“Those who look for filth, can find it at the height of noon.”
“but on account of the flag and prosperity and making the world safe for democracy, they were afraid to be with him, or to think much about him for fear they might believe him; for he said: While there is a lower class I am of it, while there is a criminal class I am of it, while there is a soul in prison I am not free.”
“Anyone who's lived has lost somebody.”
“If I searched a hundred years, I couldn’t find the words to tell you how you make me feel…or how much I love you. Do you know that?”
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 2023, 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.