A to Z Challenge: Q is for Quotes

QAs the letter Q was quite tricky, in today’s A to Z Challenge post rather than writing about a particular book, I’ll focus on quotes from various books.

Some quotes become famous, and even people who haven’t read the books recognize them. One of such is definitely “Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R. Tolkien, another one would be “Winter is coming” from George R.R. Martin, or Leo Tolstoy’s “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” while others remain obscure save the fans of a particular book.

When I read, I rarely pay attention to quotable sentences, though some of the thoughts stay with my, like Count Monte Christo’s explaining that our emotional state comes from comparing the present to the past, therefore who never experienced the deepest grief, will not appreciate (nor be able to feel) the greatest happiness, but I rarely take time to write such quotes down. Though I do remember writing down a passage from Andrzej Szczypiorski’s “Początek” (available in English as “The Beautiful Mrs. Seidemann”) that one has to stick to their own path even in Hell, I can’t recall why this fragment made such an impression on me.

I enjoy fun dialogue and one-liners from more entertaining books, but I guess I’m not much of a quote person… Except for the two quotes that stayed with me for years.

The first one comes from “A Miracle of Rare Design” by Mike Resnick, which I mentioned in one of my previous posts. The main character, Xavier Lennox, talks to government agent Nora Wallace and reveals to her what might be behind his never-ending need to explore new worlds and cultures.


The longer quote, giving more context is:

I learned, on my last day there, that I would be forever as incomplete as a Firefly as I will be as a Man. I didn’t belong there, any more than I belong here.” He shrugged once more. “I suppose some people are destined not to belong, wherever they are.”

As we all search for our own place, for a place we feel we belong, I could relate to Xavier’s words, especially in the times of my youth, and even know its powerful meaning makes me pause and consider life.

The second quote that stayed with me for years is short, but I found it quite meaningful. It comes from a book available only in Polish, so I allowed myself to do a rough translation for my English readers.


I can’t even provide a context for this one, as I’ve read Brzezińska’s “Żmijowa Harfa” over ten years ago, but those few words stayed with me. When I read them for the first time, I paused. And then it became clear to me how one’s dreams and desires can indeed bring death, driving an individual into obsession, exhaustion (both physical and mental), and draining any available resources in the pursuit of sometimes elusive or unrealistic goal. But then, on a brighter side, isn’t it the best kind of death, being killed by one’s own dream?

How about you? Do you collect quotes? Do you like reading them?

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. sjhigbee

    Thank you for another great post! Oh yes – I LOVE quotes. I have BOOKS of them… I’d like to claim that my favourites are rather obscure and little-known, but the truth is, they’re all famous. And I’m probably going to go away and write a blog about them. You’ve inspired me!

    1. melfka

      The famous ones are famous for a reason, aren’t they? 😉
      And please, do write your post, I’ll read it with pleasure! (I’m a bit behind reading blogs, but I’m catching up.)

  2. J.R.Barker

    Wonderful post. I’ve never had much of a memory so quotes don’t stick to me unless it’s something like, ‘he’s a guy who really knows where his towel is’

    1. melfka

      I tend to remember the funny/witty ones more than the deep philosophical ones. 😉

      1. J.R.Barker

        I struggle even then :/ But there’s always google to help me remember 😉

  3. portiabridget

    I used to have a notebook full of quotes from different novels. My copy of ‘Animal Farm’ by Orwell was full of pencil marks. I completely agree: some words and turns of phrase simply stay with you, make you think about your own life and fate over and over again. Books of Anna Brzezińska are indeed full of great sentences, completely quotable. I remember another sentence from “zmijowa harfa” (viper’s harp?) that love will burn out and hate will burn out and in the end you are left with nothing at all. So sad and so true

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.