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Anna Quindlen quotes (showing 1-30 of 298)

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Anna Quindlen
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”
Anna Quindlen
“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“those of us who read because we love it more than anything, who feel about bookstores the way some people feel about jewelers...”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“How is it that, a full two centuries after Jane Austen finished her manuscript, we come to the world of Pride and Prejudice and find ourselves transcending customs, strictures, time, mores, to arrive at a place that educates, amuses, and enthralls us? It is a miracle. We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else's mind.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
Anna Quindlen, Loud and Clear
“Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.”
Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself. More powerfully and persuasively than from the "shalt nots" of the Ten Commandments, I learned the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. A Wrinkle in Time described that evil, that wrong, existing in a different dimension from our own. But I felt that I, too, existed much of the time in a different dimension from everyone else I knew. There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but was never really a stranger. My real, true world. My perfect island.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
Anna Quindlen
“The thing about old friends is not that they love you, but that they know you. They remember that disastrous New Year's Eve when you mixed White Russians and champagne, and how you wore that red maternity dress until everyone was sick of seeing the blaze of it in the office, and the uncomfortable couch in your first apartment and the smoky stove in your beach rental. They look at you and don't really think you look older because they've grown old along with you, and, like the faded paint in a beloved room, they're used to the look. And then one of them is gone, and you've lost a chunk of yourself. The stories of the terrorist attacks of 2001, the tsunami, the Japanese earthquake always used numbers, the deaths of thousands a measure of how great the disaster. Catastrophe is numerical. Loss is singular, one beloved at a time.”
Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.”
Anna Quindlen
“Every story has already been told. Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time, you understand that there is really no reason to ever write another novel. Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had."

[Commencement Speech; Mount Holyoke College, May 23, 1999]”
Anna Quindlen
“Reading has always been my home, my sustenance, my great invincible companion. "Book love," Trollope called it. "It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live." Yet of all the many things in which we recognize some universal comfort...reading seems to be the one in which the comfort is most undersung...”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“the joy of someone who had been a reader all her life, whose world had been immeasurably enlarged by the words of others.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.”
Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
“Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.”
Anna Quindlen, Black and Blue
“Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.”
Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life
“But never fear, gentlemen; castration was really not the point of feminism, and we women are too busy eviscerating one another to take you on.”
Anna Quindlen
“Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard and really amazing is to give up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Anna Quindlen
“A finished person is a boring person. ”
Anna Quindlen
“The life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have.”
Anna Quindlen
“I wondered why I hadn't loved that day more, why I hadn't savored every bit of it...why I hadn't known how good it was to live so normally, so everyday. But you only know that, I suppose, after it's not normal and every day any longer.”
Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”
Anna Quindlen, Living Out Loud
“We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else's mind.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“While we pay lip service to the virtues of reading, the truth is that there is still in our culture something that suspects those who read too much, whatever reading too much means, of being lazy, aimless dreamers, people who need to grow up and come outside to where real life is, who think themselves superior in their separateness.”
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
“And sometimes you do everything right and something bad just happens. It's as simple, and as scary, as that.”
Anna Quindlen
“The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.”
Anna Quindlen
“All reading is good reading. And all reading of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens is sublime reading.”
Anna Quindlen
“Our love of lockstep is our greatest curse, the source of all that bedevils us. It is the source of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, terrorism, bigotry of every variety and hue, because it tells us there is one right way to do things, to look, to behave, to feel, when the only right way is to feel your heart hammering inside you and to listen to what its timpani is saying.”
Anna Quindlen

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