In May, Reddit asked, “what’s the most beautiful paragraph or sentence you’ve ever read?” Inspired by this, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite literary lines.
“To love people by knowing them is the most difficult kind of love to sustain, since no one can hold up that level of perfection we hope for, even demand, in the people we adore.” ― Andrew Solomon, A Stone Boat
“Absence does not so much make the heart grow fonder as give the heart time to integrate what it has not previously absorbed, time to make sense of what happened too quickly to have any meaning in the instant. This is always true. If it is in absence that people forget each other, it is also in the quiet pause of absence that, minds running in symmetry, people come to know each other; there is sometimes as much intimacy in the span of continents as in the shared hours before dawn.” ― Andrew Solomon, A Stone Boat
“Need can blossom into all the compensations it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it?” ― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
“I think that when two people are able to weave that kind of invisible thread of understanding and sympathy between each other, that delicate web, they should not risk tearing it. It is too rare, and it lasts too short a time at best…” ― MFK Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition
“An honorable human relationship – that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ – is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.” ― Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978
“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.” ― Joan Didion, Joan Didion: Essays & Conversations
“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.” ― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
We’d love to know, what are your favorite lines from literature?
Andrew Solomon captured by Annie Leibovitz and Joan Didion captured by Julian Wasser.