What is your favourite quote / para from a book you have read? - ForumIAS

What is your favourite quote / para from a book you have read?

This is for all the book lovers here. What is your favourite line/quote/paragraph from any book you have read. Can be fiction/non-fiction. 

JD2021 , para and 20 others like this


"Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth." –Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 

This is my second shameless plug for my favourite fiction book. :)

Neyawn, dalpha and 12 others like this

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”

Originally written by Richard Dawkins. But I came across this para in the 'Sense of Style' by Steven Pinker.

Neyawn, Joeyisthebest and 9 others like this

I am sure there must have been more beautiful quotes & paras that I might have come across in all the books I've read. They must have illuminated some part of human experience that I am just not capable of doing. Some of them were stylistically beautiful. Some of them captured an elaborate human mess into a very few words and that too beautifully. And when I read them, I sure felt infinite. But sadly, they haven't stuck with me. To all of them, I apologize.

Here, are some that have stayed with me, to whom I go back time and again.

Sorry, @Neyawn SirI can't choose just one.


From Upamanyu Chatterjee's English August:

“We are men without ambition, and all we want is to be left alone, in peace so that we can try and be happy. So few people will understand this simplicity.”

From Vivek Shanbaug's Ghachar Ghochar:

“Ours is a joint family. We live in the same house - my wife and I, my parents, my uncle and Malati. Malati is my older sister, back home now after having left her husband. It is natural to wonder, I suppose, why the six of us should want to live together. What can I say - it is one of the strengths of families to pretend that they desire what is unavoidable.

From John Green's Looking for Alaska:

Looking for Alaska, John Green | Cute love quotes, Looking for alaska,  Green quotes

From John Green's Paper Towns:

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

From John Green's Looking for Alaska:

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

From Aravinda Adiga's White Tiger:

"As I brushed my teeth with my finger, I noticed what my left hand was doing; it had crawled up to my groin without my noticing – the way a lizard goes stealthily up a wall – and was about to scratch.  

I waited. The moment it moved, I seized it with the right hand.

I pinched the thick skin between the thumb and the index finger, where it hurts the most, and held it like that for a whole minute. When I let go, a red welt had formed on the skin of the palm. 


That’s your punishment for groin scratching from now on.

In my mouth, the toothpaste had thickened into a milky foam. …

Why had my father never told me not to scratch my groin? Why had my father never taught me to brush my teeth in milky foam? Why had he raised me to live like an animal, Why do all the poor live amid such filth, such ugliness?

Brush. Brush. Spit …”

Neyawn, Joeyisthebest and 24 others like this

You are neither your body nor your mind nor your intellect nor your ego. - Sankhya (CD Sharma.)

Do you have the power to be happy whenever you choose to. 

(Any scope for suffering ends here, at least on paper)

Neyawn, dalpha and 11 others like this

"Humility is the recognition of your limitations, and it is from this understanding, and this understanding alone, that the drive comes to work hard at overcoming them."

(Rafa: My Story)

dalpha, Just_restless and 18 others like this
Every line from P-Block of chemistry class XII NCERT 

Jai Shree Ram !

dalpha, Just_restless and 24 others like this
“Under the spreading chestnut tree/I sold you and you sold me…”
dalpha, nerdfighter and 1 others like this

"Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."

('OUTLIERS' by Malcolm Gladwell)

dalpha, Just_restless and 7 others like this

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." 

Book -'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

dalpha, GaryVee and 8 others like this

"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation".

                       - Yann Martel, 'life of Pi'

"You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better. We see that in sports all the time, don’t we? The tennis challenger starts strong but soon loses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up the games. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring. Suddenly he’s playing like the devil and the champion must work hard to get those last points. So it was with me. To cope with a hyena seemed remotely possible, but I was so obviously outmatched by Richard Parker that it wasn’t even worth worrying about. With a tiger aboard, my life was over.

                      - Yann Martel, 'life of Pi'

dalpha, Just_restless and 11 others like this

Rafa17 said

"Humility is the recognition of your limitations, and it is from this understanding, and this understanding alone, that the drive comes to work hard at overcoming them."

(Rafa: My Story)

CSE has done it to me, Philosophy subject has done even more.

Relatable to lot many of us(?).

Thanks for sharing! 😇

dalpha, Freakhoto and 3 others like this

''My dad gave me advice on how to negotiate my way through life. 'Never make a decision until you have to.’

He'd also warn me that even if I was in a position of strength, whether at work or in relationships, I had to play fair.

'Just because you're  in the driver's seat, doesn't mean you have to run people over,' he'd say." 

― The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch 

Oasis, dalpha and 14 others like this
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.


If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

“Life is like being at the dentist. You always think that the worst is still to come, and yet it is over already.”

But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer. Only very few realized that.

That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.

- Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search For Meaning 

Just_restless, eurydice and 8 others like this

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live in reality” 

dalpha, Just_restless and 11 others like this

"My Harvard Twenty-fifth Reunion is next month and I am scared to death.

Scared to face all my successful classmates, walking back on paths of glory, while I have nothing to show for my life except a few gray hairs.

Today a heavy, red-bound book arrived that chronicles all the achievements of The Class of ’58. It really brought home my own sense of failure.

I stayed up half the night just staring at the faces of the guys who once were undergraduates with me, and now are senators and governors, world-famous scientists and pioneering doctors.

Who knows which of them will end up on a podium in Stockholm?

Or the White House lawn?

And what’s amazing is that some are still married to their first wives.

A few of the most glittering successes were close friends of mine.

The roommate I once thought of as a fruitcake is the candidate likeliest to be our next Secretary of State. The future President of Harvard is a guy I used to lend my clothes to.

Another, whom we barely noticed, has become the musical sensation of our age. The bravest of them all laid down his life for something he believed in.

His heroism humbles me.

And I return, resplendent in my disappointment. I am the last Eliot of a great line to enter Harvard. My ancestors were all distinguished men.

In war, in peace, in church, in science, and in education. As recently as 1948, my cousin Tom received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

But the brilliance of the family tradition has grown dim with me. I don’t even hold a candle to Jared Eliot (Class of 1703), the man who introduced rhubarb to America. Yet I do have one tenuous connection with my noble forebears.

They were diarists.

My namesake, Reverend Andrew Eliot, ’37, while bravely tending his parishioners, kept a daily record –still extant –describing what the Revolutionary War was like during the siege of Boston in 1776.

The moment the city was liberated, he hurried to a meeting of the Harvard Board of Overseers to move that General George Washington be given an honorary doctorate.

His son inherited his pulpit and his pen, leaving a vivid account of America’s first days as a republic.

Naturally, there’s no comparison, but I’ve been keeping notebooks all my life as well.

Maybe that’s the single remnant of my heritage.

I’ve observed history around me, even if I didn’t make any of it.

Meanwhile, I’m still scared as hell." 

dalpha, para and 20 others like this
This is like Sophie's choice, I can't  :o
dalpha, GaryVee and 5 others like this

@nerdfighter  John Green is a role model :)

Kind of things he does , you want to grow up and do that. Such a talent!

Rewl1, Freakhoto and 3 others like this

I really like this wonderful & deeply moving excerpt that I read from one of the many letters that Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote to his wife Alys : 

// it becomes increasingly difficult to regain your balance once you allow it to be lost. That is where the danger lies. The temptation to give up when the waves surge & the storm looks black and unending & the body is numb and cold & to hold out is a torture. But one has to hold out, not only for one's own safety but also for the sake of everything else one holds sacred & precious & dear. So do not stint in your tears, my love but keep your chin up because the storm will pass someday & the clouds will lift, the sun will shine, may be not tomorrow, may be much later but surely it will.

Chashm-e-nam, jaan-e-shoreeda kaafi nahin 

Tohmat-e-ishq-e-posheeda baqi nahin 

Aaj baazar mein paa-ba-jaulan chalo

Dast-e-afshaan chalo, mast-o-raqsaan chalo 

Khaak-bar-sar chalo, khoon-ba-damaan chalo 

Raah takta hai sab shahr-e-janaan chalo 

Aaj baazar mein paa-ba-jaulan chalo

Haakim-e-shahar bhi, majma-e-aam bhi

Teer-e-ilzaam bhi, sang-e-dushnaam bhi 

Subh-e-nashaad bhi, roz-e-nakaam bhi 

Aaj baazar mein paa-ba-jaulan chalo

In ka damsaaz apne siwa kaun hai 

Shahr-e-jaanan mein ab ba-safa kaun hai 

Dast-e-qaatil ke shaayan raha kaun hai 

Rakht-e-dil baandh lo, dil figaaro chalo 

Phir hamin qatl ho aayen yaaro chalo //

dalpha, eurydice and 5 others like this

Neyawn said

@nerdfighter  John Green is a role model :)

Kind of things he does , you want to grow up and do that. Such a talent!

Yes, He has been a guiding light to me for the last 8-odd years. John and Hank Green both are role models. They helped me pick myself up when I was in the lowest of my times. 

chamomile, whatonly
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