Okay, so the title today is kind of lame. Er, really lame. But I just got out of the car after driving 500 miles cross-country, so my creative centers are all nodding admiringly like ‘Books Summed Up in One Quote–fantastic. Really fantastic. Yeah. Can we go to sleep now?’ Anyways, I really couldn’t think of anything else to title this post, because it’s literally what I’m doing today. Instead of a review or a list or my thoughts or something of that sort, I decided to do a game. I’ve just been thinking a lot about how often a single quote has the power to capture the entire essence of a book or even a series, and decided it’d be an interesting challenge to choose five books and try to find a quote from inside the book that covered the main gist of it. Some quotes I managed to find on the first page, others I had to comb through to the very end. Either way, it was actually pretty fun. I’ll share the books and quotes that I found, and if you want, feel free to do the same in the comments!
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better of reading some other book.”
The first line of the first book pretty much sums up the entire series. Literally nothing but bad, horrible things happen to the three protagonists. They are stalked, abused, and abandoned. Perpetually. Like, in every single book. It’s fun to read this series because no matter what is happening in your life, there is a 99.7768 chance that the Baudelaires have it worse off.
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
“This being civil business was more difficult than one would think.”
I found this quote in the second book of the series, the Arctic Incident. For a while, I thought of choosing “D’Arvit” as my quote, but I thought that this quote made more sense in terms of Artemis’s character growth throughout the series. Because if you look at the first book and compare it to the last, there is so much of it. The Artemis from the first book–the one who is so selfish and arrogant and willing to risk the lives of those closest to him–dissolves into one who has matured, and who actually respects (some select) people. He is still a genius mastermind, and he is still intellectually above almost everybody, but at least he learns to genuinely like and respect such people (or elves) that he previously would have thought himself so above. Still, this better side of him doesn’t always come easy. It’s a long journey before the old Arty comes and goes.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
“‘Magic,’ I said under my breath, without even really meaning to.”
I chose this quote because it’s how most of the major plot points advance. Amy doesn’t know magic, but somehow she creates it, and sometimes she doesn’t, and nobody (including the audience) really knows why. When I think of this book I think of that meme where that guy holds up his fingers and says, eyes gaping, “magic!”
Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
“Your car is a mess,” Lula said. “I don’t know what it is with you and cars.”
For all those Stephanie fans out there, you’ll definitely understand why this is such an all-encompassing quote. This quote came from Eleven on Top, so it’s significantly far enough into the series that Stephanie’s issues with cars have been firmly established. This girl cannot go a novel without blowing up a car, usually hers. I think it’s safe to say it’s about time for Stephanie to start using public transit.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
“Sometimes it seems like all I ever do is lie.”
Yes, yes you do Mia. You hide your real identity, and you are too shy to voice your opinion, and this causes the momentum for much of the book to happen. So…good job, I guess. Because a world without Mia lying would be a world without the Princess Diaries and in the words of Isaac from the Fault in Our Stars, I do not want to see a world without Mia Thermopolis.
Okay, fine. Maybe Isaac didn’t say Mia. But I can only imagine he would agree.
Thanks for reading! I hope you liked it. My challenge to you is much the same, although mini-sized. Pick a book from your shelves (at random for an extra kick) and find a quote that captures as much of the book as a quote can. Share it in the comments. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!