Books, Weekly Lists

Weekly Lists #171: Favourite Quotes from Authors

I look to books for inspiration, comfort and adventure. And from time to time? Well, I look behind the book, to see that the authors said some pretty cool things as well… Here’s 5 of my favourite quotes from authors!

1. C.S. Lewis

Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

This is the quote that inspired this entire post. You see, something that always bugged me about C.S. Lewis, was his treatment of Susan in the Narnia-series. When I happened upon a Twitter-thread one day, that actually gave that a very good spin? I just knew I wanted to more of the story on how he basically (apparently) gave Susan the story arch most closely resembling his own!

2. Astrid Lindgren

A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.

There are few things that have created the me I am today, as much as books. I mean, I’d say that much is probably clear from this blog, right? But here’s the thing: my entire childhood, books were my refuge. When I didn’t like the world too much – or when it didn’t like me too much? Books were always there. I can honestly say they saved me in so many ways… And in that way: I completely agree with Astrid Lindgren.

If you liked this, you might also like: Favourite literary quotes

3. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Si tu veux construire un bateau, ne rassemble pas tes hommes et femmes pour leur donner des ordres, pour expliquer chaque détail, pour leur dire où trouver chaque chose. Si tu veux construire un bateau, fais naître dans le coeur de tes hommes et femmes le désir de la mer.

This quote roughly translates to: “If you want to build a boat, don’t assemble people. Don’t give them orders, or explain them how to do it, and where to find the materials. If you want to build a boat, give men and women the longing for the sea.”

It’s something of a variation on the classic “if a man’s hungry, don’t give him a fish, but teach him how to fish”. Only, I find that there’s this little extra to it in this quote. Namely, if you want to get something done, you need to make people want it. And, let’s be real: in the world we live in, today? Maybe it might pay off to make people want something, before you go around ordering them to do it. Internal motivation, and all that jazz… Right?

4. Annie M. G. Schmidt

Ieder verhaal eindigt gelukkig als je maar vroeg genoeg ophoudt.

“Any story has a happy ending, if you only end it at the right point.”

Again, something I need to hear a bit more often, probably. Because, I am easily influenced. And I do get down on myself after watching too many happy movies, or happy youtubers, or happy instagrams. Because I so often feel like a failure – comparing my “continued version” with someone else’s “happy ending”.

(BTW: this post is starting to look like a best-of from my first master’s dissertation. But how can I help it, if Lindgren, Saint-Exupéry and Schmidt not only wrote amazing, but had some pretty good stuff to say as well?)

5. Stephen Hawking

Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.

I’ve slowly been making my way through Hawking’s A Brief History of Time – slowly, because, you know… Complicated stuff and all that. But what struck me most, is that there is so much chance and imperfection in our universe. In it’s most literal sense, this quote is true. Perfection equals balance, and if there had been balance at the beginning of time and space as we know it? Well, we wouldn’t exist. Because nature usually only really evolves from a place of imperfection. So I guess, from time to time, when I’m feeling a bit down and out? I’ll just have to think of this again. Imperfection is necessary. It allows growth and evolution. So I don’t need to be perfect either. Well. Not yet :p

What quotes by authors really struck you? Any that have inspired you lately? Be sure to let me know below!

-Saar