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Books do more than just inform and entertain us. They also help us to see through the good times and bad times, and inspire us in ways that can change our thoughts and our lives for the better.
Here are 12 uplifting theme-based passages from books past and present.
What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.
— Maya Angelou in Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now, 1993
"I'm in love with you," he said quietly.
"Augustus," I said.
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."
— John Green in The Fault in Our Stars, 2012
"‘Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you."
"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing."
— E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web, 1952
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
— Henri Nouwen in Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life, 1974
(My wishes are) as moderate as those of the rest of the world, I believe. I wish as well as everybody else to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else it must be in my own way. Greatness will not make me so.
— Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility, 1811
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
— Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, 2010
Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.
— Mitch Albom in The Time Keeper, 2012
When we are caught up in likes and dislikes, in strong opinions and rigid habits, we cannot work at our best, and we cannot know real security either. We live at the mercy of external circumstances: if things go our way, we get elated; if things do not go our way, we get depressed. It is only the mature person—the man or woman who is not conditioned by compulsive likes and dislikes, habits and opinions—who is really free in life. Such people are truly spontaneous. They can see issues clearly rather than through the distorting medium of strong opinions, and they can respond to people as they are and not as they imagine them to be.”
— Eknath Easwaran, The Mantram Handbook, 1977
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