Now for me, it is no secret that I fall firmly into the former category. The execution may occasionally wobble, and I am the first to admit that some works end up better than others, but by and large I try to tell a good story. If a reader (1) reads to the end, and (2) comes away reasonably satisfied, I have done my job.
That being said, it doesn't mean I doesn't recognize and appreciate everything that goes into literary writing. As such, this is a list that was sent to me a couple days ago that I felt the need to pass on (w/ my own occasional comments sprinkled throughout)
51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature
by Jennifer Schaeffer, Buzzfeed Staff
1. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
---Willa Cather, My Antonia
2. “In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
3. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”
I am somewhat partial to this one, as it happens to be the all-time favorite line of one of my all-time favorite people.
4. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
::cringe:: Was forced to read TBJ in undergrad. Bad experience. Not Important. Moving on.
5. Isn't it pretty to think so?
--Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
There is just something undeniable about the simple elegance of Hemingway's prose.
6. “Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
—Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
7. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
8. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
9. "He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking."
---Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenin
10. “‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
11. “The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
12. “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
13. "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
---Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
14. “As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared.”
—Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
15. “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.”
—W. H. Auden, “The More Loving One”
16. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden
17. "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
---Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
18. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet
19. “America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.”
—Allen Ginsburg, “America”
20. “It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.”
—W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
21. "There is a sense in which we are all each other's consequences."
---Wallace Stegner, All The Little Live Things
22. “At the still point, there the dance is.”
—T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”
23. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
—Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
24. “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”
—Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank
25. "Let the wild rumpus start!"
---Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are
Maybe the most misappropriated quote on this entire list.
26. “The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.”
—Toni Morrison, Beloved
27. “How wild it was, to let it be.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Wild
28. “Do I dare / Disturb the universe?”
—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
29. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life.
James Joyce, A Portriat of the Artist as a Young Man
I once asked many of my professors what book they would most recommend. Many (a surprising number in fact) recommended this one.
30. “She was lost in her longing to understand.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
31. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
—Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”
32. “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead
33. "Only connect."
E.M. Forster, Howard's End
34. “The half life of love is forever.”
—Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her
35. “I celebrate myself, and sing myself.”
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
36. “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”
—Bram Stroker, Dracula
37. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”
—L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
38. “I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”
—Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”
39. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
—Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
40. "Stay gold, Ponyboy."
---S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders
Probably my favorite book on this entire list.
41. “I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
—W. B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”
42. “It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.”
—Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
43. “For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.”
—Langston Hughes, The Big Sea
44. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty."
John Keats, Ode in a Grecian Urn
45. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
46. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The all-time favorite quote/book of Podge, which is itself some pretty high praise.
47. “Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
—William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
48. "And the rest is rust and stardust."
---Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
49. “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
50. “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”
—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
51. “One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
—Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices