Been There, Read That: 10 Quotes to Live By

This post is going to be all about quotes from authors that I love and ones that I think can have a strong impact on the people who read or listen to them. Quotes are important in a culture that bases so much off of what other people’s opinions are. And although I do not say that negatively, it is necessary to listen to the opinions of people who are in some way beneficial to the world. The human race thrives because we have continued to listen to the advice that has been given to us. Therefore, I will enumerate and discuss some of the most vital pieces of advice given to me by the authors I love and respect.

Author Ray Bradbury attends Nineth Annual Hemingway Contest on March 10, 1986 at Harry's Bar and Grill in Century City, California.
Famed science fiction author Ray Bradbury

1.“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
— Ray Bradbury

This quote is really important because, as a reader, I see that people are reading less and less and turning more to TV and iPhones. While I appreciate that new technology can be really useful and interesting, a lot of the time it can prevent you from understanding the important things in life. Kids nowadays prefer to scroll through their Instagram feed rather than read, which means that ideas from other generations are being forgotten. Not only that, but collectively humans are becoming more sensitive to the world around them, but they don’t read, so they don’t know how to react to the new ideas that are coming out. This quote really succinctly explains the necessity of spreading knowledge through books.

2. “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I should probably mention that Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite writers. And, his book, Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books. The entire book discusses the importance of knowledge and education in society and how a lack of these things can create massive problems for the human race, should we ever choose to stop learning. This quote really gets to the point of the book, which is that the best adventures in life are not on a TV screen or in your head. The entire world is more beautiful than anyone can imagine and no object or riches will ever be able to best the world in terms of incredible beauty.

J.K. Rolling, author of the Harry Potter series

3. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I feel like everyone has been told this and I take it very seriously. If you’ve never heard of it, let me tell you, it,s the best advice you can receive. It is incredibly important to be kind to the people around you (your friends, your peers, etc.) in everyday life. You also need to be kind to your parents and other people above you who you respect and wish to impress. But it really is most important to be kind to those “below” you. This is because they have not been given all of the advantages in life that you have, and they are not in the same position (whether monetarily, socially, or intellectually) as you. If you can be kind to those that you do not need to be, such as those below you, it shows that you are truly a kind person

4. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This one is really serious because a lot of people choose to think about the things they want and what they plan on doing rather than what is going on in their life at that moment. I’m not saying that you can never dream, but if you do it too often, you risk spending more time thinking about what you life will be like rather than what it is like now. It is a very realistic quote, which can be annoying, but I also think its very truthful and useful.

lemony snicket
Daniel Handler, author of the Series of Unfortunate Events (known to most as Lemony Snicket)

5. “People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”
— Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

This is the most honest quote that I have ever read. I feel that too often in books, and even in real life, people tell you that someone is a bad person, or a good person, and that decides whether you talk to them or if you ignore them. It also can contribute to how you judge the person. Everyone can be kind at some points and wish to help others, but get dragged down by something which causes them to seem “bad,” or vice versa. It is not truly possible to be a good or a bad person because everyone is really a little bit of each sprinkled in and added with other ingredients. This quote is useful in pointing out that people are much more complicated and sophisticated than simply good or bad.

6. “…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”
— Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

When you were a child you were always told not to cry, to calm down, that you were alright. But the people who told you that were insane. Crying is a coping mechanism. In crying, you calm yourself. It is a solution to its own problem. And, even if it does not solve the problem at hand, you feel a lot better. The reason? You have shed all of the emotions you have had locked up for so long that you now feel like a clean and new person. I personally believe it is a cure-all, even if your problem is incurable.

Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series ( commonly known as the Golden Compass series).

7. “You speak of destiny as if it was fixed.”
— Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

I know that a lot of people believe in fate. Personally, I think that while I understand the idea of fate, for me it is unrealistic. I just cannot believe that horrible things are destined to happen to some people while good things will happen to others. And I know that the idea of a world without destiny is terrifying for some people because leaving things to chance means that it matters what they choose, so they have to think for themselves. Personally I think the idea of destiny is much more terrifying than a free life. Here, Pullman basically means to say that you have the ability to choose any path in life, and what you do with your options is entirely up to you.

Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.

8. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

First of all, Louisa May Alcott is one of my favorite authors, even though the only work by her that I have ever read is Little Women. She is profoundly skilled at making characters seem real, and using the idea that humans can be inherently good while also having made mistakes and done cruel things. Anyway, in this quote she allows for the idea of these mistakes. She understands that hardships may come (represented by the “storms”) and that it matters not if she is incapable of overcoming these hardships as long as she is able to move past them (here she uses the ship as a symbol for her own person). In short, “A for effort.”

Famous band, Bastille

9. “All that you desired, when you were a child, was to be old. Now that you are here, suddenly you fear. You’ve lost control. Do you like the person you’ve become?”
— Bastille, “Weight Of Living, Pt. I”

In this day and age, growing up quickly is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, once you have grown up, there really isn’t any going back. As a child you don’t worry so much about things and when you become an adult you do. Yet, despite the condescending yet honest instructions by adults not to grow up too quickly, children never listen. So before you know it you’re an adult and in charge of yourself. Bastille’s point is that to wish to be old is a crime in itself because you are attempting to trade you’re innocence for adulthood, which will result in confusion over whether the life you are living and have lived are what you wanted for yourself. In addition, in the part of the quote that mentions losing control, Bastille is stating that growing old is inevitable and now you can do nothing but continue to age.

Lana Del Rey, famous country/pop/we’re not sure singer

10. “I have a personal ambition to live my life honestly and honor the true love that I’ve had and also the people I’ve had around me. I want to stay hopeful, even though I get scared about why we’re even alive at all.”
– Lana Del Rey

This quote is slightly disheartening and if you are easily capable of falling into existential crises, I recommend not reading it too closely. However, the first part is very honest and I think everyone should strive to have a similar goal. Lana basically says that recognizing the loves she has had and living honestly are her main life goals. She follows this up by saying that happiness is what she strives for. The last part is really the most depressing part. She says that she gets “scared about why we’re even alive at all.” I think this is the main human fear and question. Why are we alive?  Do we matter? I don’t think there will ever be an answer for this question, but I can say that it doesn’t matter why we are here or if our lives are important. It matters that we love living and are as good as we can be.