Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following James McBride.

James McBride James McBride > Quotes


James McBride quotes Showing 1-30 of 86

“God is the color of water. Water doesn't have a color.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“I asked her if I was black or white. She replied "You are a human being. Educate yourself or you'll be a nobody!”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“It was always so hot, and everyone was so polite, and everything was all surface but underneath it was like a bomb waiting to go off. I always felt that way about the South, that beneath the smiles and southern hospitality and politeness were a lot of guns and liquor and secrets.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“There's such a big difference between being dead and alive, I told myself, the greatest gift that anyone can give anyone else is life. And the greatest sin a person can do to another is to take away that life. Next to that, all the rules and religions in the world are secondary; mere words and beliefs that people choose to believe and kill and hate by. My life won't be lived that way, and neither, I hope, will my children's.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“Sometimes without conscious realization, our thoughts, our faith, out interests are entered into the past. We talk about other times, other places, other persons, and lose our living hold on the present. Sometimes we think if we could just go back in time we would be happy. But anyone who attempts to reenter the past is sure to be disappointed. Anyone who has ever revisited the place of his birth after years of absence is shocked by the differences between the way the place actually is, and the way he has remembered it. He may walk along old familiar streets and roads, but he is a stranger in a strange land. He has thought of this place as home, but he finds he is no longer here even in spirit. He has gone onto a new and different life, and in thinking longingly of the past, he has been giving thought and interest to something that no longer really exists.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“Whatever he believed, he believed. It didn’t matter to him whether it was really true or not. He just changed the truth till it fit him. He was a real white man.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“He was like everybody in war. He believed God was on his side. Everybody got God on their side in a war. Problem is, God ain’t tellin’ nobody who He’s for.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“My parents were nonmaterialistic. They believed that money without knowledge was worthless, that education tempered with religion was the way to climb out of poverty in America, and over the years they were proven right.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“Some things in this world just ain't mean to be, not in the times we want 'em to, and the heart has to hold it in this world as a remembrance, a promise for the world that's to come. There's a prize at the end of all of it, but still, that's a heavy load to bear.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“The Good Lord Bird don't run in a flock. He Flies alone. You know why? He's searching. Looking for the right tree. And when he sees that tree, that dead tree that's taking all the nutrition and good things from the forest floor. He goes out and he gnaws at it, and he gnaws at it till the thing gets tired and it falls down. And the dirt from it raises other trees. It gives them good things to eat. It makes 'em strong. Gives 'em life. And the circle goes 'round.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“There's such a big difference between being dead and alive, I told myself, and the greatest sin a person can do to another is to take away that life. Next to that, all the rules and religions in the world are secondary; mere words and beliefs that people choose to believe and kill and hate by. My life won't be lived that way, and neither, I hope, will my children's.”
James McBride
“...since I was a little boy, she had always wanted me to go. She was always sending me off on a bus someplace, to elementary school, to camp, to relatives in Kentucky, to college. She pushed me away from her just as she'd pushed my elder siblings away when we lived in New York, literally shoving them out the front door when they left for college. ”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“See, a marriege needs love. And God. And a little money. That's all.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“It occurred to me then that you is everything you are in this life at every moment. And that includes loving somebody. If you can't be your own self, how can you love somebody? How can you be free? That pressed on my heart like a vise right then. Just mashed me down.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“Whatever you is, Onion," he said, "be it full.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“God gived you the seed. But the watering and caring of that seed is up to you.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“The greatest gift that anyone can give anyone is LIFE. And the greatest sin a person can do is to take away that life. NEXT to that, all rules and religions in the worldare secondary, mere words and beliefs that people CHOOSE to believe and KILL and HATE by.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“I was so sorry, deep in my heart I was sorry, but all your "sorrys" are gone when a person dies. She was gone. Gone. That's why you have to say all your "sorrys" and "I love yous" while a person is living, because tomorrow isn't promised.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“I come to the understanding that maybe what was on the inside was more important, and that your outer covering didn't count so much as folks thought it did, colored or white, man or woman.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“There ain't no time for foolishness now. You in it now. You got to stay in it.”
James McBride, Song Yet Sung
“Sometimes it seemed like the truth was a bandy-legged soul who dashed from one side of the world to the other and I could never find him.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“Wonderful," he said. "Tell me. Which books in the Bible do you favor?"
"Oh, I favors 'em all," Pa said. "But I mostly like Hezekiel, Ahab, Trotter, and Pontiff the Emperor."
The Old Man frowned. "I don't recollect I have read those," he said.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“But at the end of the day, there are some questions that have no answers, and then one answer that has no question: love rules the game. Every time. All the time. That’s what counts.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“You have to choose between what the world expects of you and what you want for yourself,” my sister Jack told me several times. “Put yourself in God’s hands and you can’t go wrong.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.”
James McBride
“The man was the finest preacher. He could make a frog stand up straight and get happy with Jesus.”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“This is what happens when a boy becomes a man. You get stupider.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“The old face, crinkled and dented with canals running every which way, pushed and shoved up against itself for a while, till a big old smile busted out from beneath 'em all, and his grey eyes fairly glowed. It was the first time I ever saw him smile free. A true smile. It was like looking at the face of God. And I knowed then, for the first time, that him being the person to lead the colored to freedom weren't no lunacy. It was something he knowed true inside him. I saw it clear for the first time. I knowed then, too, that he knowed what I was - from the very first.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
“I was ashamed of my mother, but see, love didn't come natural to me until I became a Christian.- Ruth McBride”
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
“God I am looking for the one thing I have never felt but once, and I would walk through heaven and earth to find it, if he would but let me find him, so that I could feel it; and if I were to feel it again I would never leave that feeling, or him that gave it to me." - The Dreamer”
James McBride, Song Yet Sung

« previous 1 3

All Quotes | Add A Quote

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother The Color of Water
95,479 ratings
The Good Lord Bird The Good Lord Bird
19,295 ratings
Song Yet Sung Song Yet Sung
3,884 ratings
Miracle at St. Anna Miracle at St. Anna
2,515 ratings