“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”
MATILDA, ROALD DAHL
What a wonderful world of words
By Miels, Tia and Tilda
Remember those school days of dressing up in your favourite fiction and living one day in the imaginarium of the world’s greatest authors? Grown-ups need this more than kids. So we’ve mashed together quotes and passages from our all-time favourite books – some turn your life upside down and some just turn your frown upside down.
“The point is—if you want to be free, all you have to do is let go.”
I AM PILGRIM, TERRY HAYES
“No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.”
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, KENNETH GRAHAME
“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”
A LITTLE LIFE, HANYA YANAGIHARA
“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
JANE EYRE, CHARLOTTE BRONTË
“Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?”
CONSIDER THE LOBSTER AND OTHER ESSAYS, DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
“I’ve learned that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.”
THREE CUPS OF TEA: ONE MAN’S MISSION TO PROMOTE PEACE… ONE SCHOOL AT A TIME, GREG MORTENSON
“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.”
SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND, YUVAL NOAH HARARI
“He strips me to my last nakedness, that underskin of mauve, pearlized satin, like a skinned rabbit; then dresses me again in an embrace so lucid and encompassing it might be made of water. And shakes over me dead leaves as if into the stream I have become.
Sometimes the birds, at random, all singing, strike a chord.
His skin covers me entirely; we are like two halves of a seed, enclosed in the same integument. I should like to grow enormously small, so that you could swallow me, like those queens in fairy tales who conceive when they swallow a grain of corn or a sesame seed. Then I could lodge inside your body and you would bear me.”
THE BLOODY CHAMBER AND OTHER STORIES, ANGELA CARTER
“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, MILAN KUNDERA
“He had great faith in his own fortune. When planning anything he always felt in advance firmly convinced of success and fate smiled to him.”
HADJI MURAT, LEO TOLSTOY
“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!”
WUTHERING HEIGHTS, EMILY BRONTË
In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn’t change half way through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie.
ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT, JEANETTE WINTERSON
“There is no outside-text”
OF GRAMMATOLOGY, JACQUES DERRIDA
We believe that literacy is a privilege that offers so many gifts: imagination, transportation, communication. But we take literacy for granted. Even in the UK, 15 per cent, or 5.1 million adults in England can be described as ‘functionally illiterate’.
First Story is a fantastic charity that brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities to improve literacy, inspire creativity and innovation. There is dignity and power in every young person’s story, and by helping students to find their voice, writing can transform lives.