We all have that memory of finding that wow line from a book: one that took our breath away and flipped our world upside down.
In our recent ‘Power of Words’ campaign, we asked our readers to submit lines from books they have read that #shook them. We received plenty of fabulous ones; the ones here caught our eye for a multitude of reasons:
Quote 1: They covered pretty heavy topics like homelessness
“What is a home truly worth? Is its value tied to the land it is built on? Or is the value intrinsic to the love and happiness that flourished inside? If sentiment were a factor, then every house that has ever been built would be priceless. For the walls were once the boundaries of a haven that had meant everything to me.”
— Liyana Dhamirah, Homeless
Shared by @bookitaabuku
A tumultuous home life and untimely pregnancy drove the author Liyana Dhamirah to live on the streets of Singapore as an early adult, where she recounts in this thought-provoking memoir.
How can a home persist when land changes hands quickly, and poverty means there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a roof to sleep under? Through her life story, Dhamirah asks readers to confront the inequalities in our nation today. A relevant read that can be found in our libraries.
Get the book here: Physical Copy
Quote 2: They talked about artists and their loneliness
“It’s naive to assume that an artist is personally acquainted with their subject matter, that they are not simply a witness to their age, to the prevailing moods and preoccupations of the times.”
— Olivia Laing, The Lonely City
Shared by @plantreads
In The Lonely City, Laing introduces us to four artists whose creative works were heavily influenced by the loneliness they felt. She examines how the phenomena of loneliness sprang up as an emotional response to the rise of city living in the 20th century. Take this Ed Hopper painting for example:
Laing points out how loneliness is like living in a glass bubble, exactly like how this painting feels — you can see out into the world, but there’s always a thin invisible wall separating you from the people around you.
The quote stands out because it shows how art works as a yardstick to measure the values and moods of the society it came from. It’s a fascinating way to think about the value that artists add to our history, and what they are saying about how we live now.
Quote 3: They also made us want to be kinder
“Gentleness and friendliness were always stronger than fury and force.”
— Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Shared by @sggirl_onmybookshelf
This quote came from a classic self-help book that aims to boost social self-confidence. To become more popular, follow Carnegie’s simple rule: Catch flies with honey, not vinegar!
In our hyperconnected and hypersocial digital age, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of what kind of energy we’re putting out online and IRL. This line reminds us to stay above the petty drama, and that we can make someone’s day just by shining our light and warmth.
Quote 4: They made us feel like libraries are a cool place to hang out in
“A library is a good place to soften solitude; a place where you feel part of a conversation that has gone on for hundreds and hundreds of years even when you’re all alone.”
— Susan Orlean, The Library Book
Shared by @insearchofanook
That’s a pretty poetic way to talk about libraries. Orlean creates a compelling and atmospheric biography of the Los Angeles Public Library, which caught on fire in 1986 under suspicious circumstances.
What makes The Library Book special is how it makes us contemplate the nature of libraries and the role they play as an institution that keeps and shares knowledge.
Just like in the quote, libraries are more than just a place to read. Time stands still in there, and we’re plugged in to ideas and stories that have existed for hundreds of years. It’s got that magic that helps us feel a bit more connected to the universe.
Do you have a mind-blowing quote of your own to share? If there’s a quote that’s inspired you, drop us a post on Instagram with the hashtag #whatareyoureadingSG
National Reading Movement
National Library Board