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50 literary quotes to start your day with

Getting out of bed every morning is a real drag. We know it shouldn’t be, but it is. And sometimes it takes more than just a potent cup of coffee to kick our raggedy butts into gear.

That’s where minds wiser than ours can really be of use. No, we’re not referring to some hippy dippy self-help drivel (well, not intentionally anyway). No, this is about getting ready to face the day, the literary way.

Think of it as literature’s equivalent of carpe diem. Jeez, seize the day. Now read on. You might learn something. Or get inspired. Hopefully both…

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with

    The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)

    “We can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.”

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    The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)

    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

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    Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)

    "There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere."

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    Henry VI, part one (William Shakespeare)

    “Fight till the last gasp.”

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    The Shawshank Redemption (Stephen King)

    “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

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    Lady Windermere’s Fan (Oscar Wilde)

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

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    The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens)

    “The sun himself is weak when he first rises, and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on.”

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    Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

    “They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes. They were both pale and thin; but those sick pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.”

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    The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

    “It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.”

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    Of Human Bondage (W Somerset Maugham)

    "You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action."

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    Journey to the Center of the Earth (Jules Verne)

    “As long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life.”

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    Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

    “Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not.”

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    Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Dr. Seuss)

    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 13

    Man and Superman (George Bernard Shaw)

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 14

    Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

    “I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

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    On the Road (Jack Kerouac)

    “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

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    Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

    “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.”

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    The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 18

    Paradise Lost (John Milton)

    “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

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    The Plague (Albert Camus)

    "I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 20

    Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

    “I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 21

    The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)

    “Not all those who wander are lost.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 22

    Dune (Frank Herbert)

    “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”

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    Engleby (Sebastian Faulks)

    “And sometimes in life, I imagine, good things do happen. Most of the time, it's the opposite, obviously. But I don't think you should rule out the possibility that just occasionally chance might deal you a good card.”

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    Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

    “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 25

    John Updike (Rabbit, Run)

    “If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 26

    American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis)

    “I feel I'm moving toward as well as away from something, and anything is possible.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 27

    Coningsby (Benjamin Disraeli)

    “Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.”

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    Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

    “Don't feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.”

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    The Trial (Franz Kafka)

    “Logic may indeed be unshakable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.”

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    Breakfast at Tiffany's (Truman Capote)

    “It’s better to look at the sky than live there”

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    Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)

    “If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want”

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    No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)

    “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

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    Money (Martin Amis)

    “The future could go this way, that way. The future's futures have never looked so rocky. Don't put money on it. Take my advice and stick to the present. It's the real stuff, the only stuff, it's all there is, the present, the panting present.”

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    Germinal (Émile Zola)

    “If people can just love each other a little bit, they can be so happy.”

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    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain)

    “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

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    The Dying Animal (Philip Roth)

    “Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up.”

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    Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)

    “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”

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    The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro)

    “What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one's life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 39

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)

    “And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery…and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 40

    The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

    “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 41

    I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon (Philip K. Dick)

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”

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    Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk)

    “I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”

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    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)

    “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 44

    The Island of Doctor Moreau (HG Wells)

    “I hope, or I could not live.”

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    The White Company (Arthur Conan Doyle)

    "The weak man becomes strong when he has nothing, for then only can he feel the wild, mad thrill of despair."

  • 50 literary quotes to start your day with 46

    David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)

    “My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

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    The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James)

    “I call people rich when they’re able to meet the requirements of their imagination.”

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    Villette (Charlotte Bronte)

    Peril, loneliness, an uncertain future, are not oppressive evils, so long as the frame is healthy and the faculties are employed; so long, especially, as Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star.

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    Wide Awake (David Levithan)

    "Do not just seek happiness for yourself. Seek happiness for all. Through kindness. Through mercy."

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