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But first, Morgan, one of the winners of the last giveaway, still hasn’t contacted me. Please do so! Your copy of Love is Hell and the Liar sampler awaits!
Once again the giveaway is based around a post I’ve been meaning to write for ages on dialogue. Way back in January when I did my whole month of writing advice I promised I’d write a whole post about how to write dialogue. But it never happened. I have started such a post but I has not finished it. Sorry!
In the comments please share your favourite bit of dialogue from literature. I’m using that term very broadly, so, yes you can include an exchange from any genre: YA, crime, romance, sf, fantasy, even capital L Literachure if you must, or from a comic book or manga or manhwa.
But no movies or television—literature only. If you give an example from a movie or TV show you’ll disqualify yourself from getting a prize.
This time all winners will get a Liar sampler and their choice of one of the following:
Advanced Reader Copy of First Kiss anthology signed by me and Scott
US paperback of Love is Hell anthology signed by me and Scott
US or Aus paperback Magic Lessons (sequel to Magic or Madness)
US or Aus paperback Magic’s Child (sequel to Magic Lessons)
HC Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction
I’m really looking forward to your responses.
Update: Please don’t leave your email address in the comments. Best to beware of spambots.
Update the second: Please give the name of the book and the author. Thanks! How can we find the books to read the rest if we don’t know what they’re called or who writ ‘em?
Posted by Justine at 12:25, 11 July 2009 under Bloggery/Internetty Stuff, Reading | 131 Comments »
From the first Harry Potter, a conversation between Fred and George (that I may misquote a bit because I don’t have the book on hand):
“Percy, you’re a prefect? I had no idea!”
“Wait, I think he might have mentioned it once–”
July 11th, 2009 at 12:35 PM
In City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Clary and Jace are going through a stash of anti-demon weapons.
Jace: Vials of holy water, blessed knives, steel and silver blades, electrum wire – not much use at the moment, but it’s always good to have spare – silver bullets, charms of protection, crucifixes, stars of David–
Jace: I doubt he’d fit.
July 11th, 2009 at 12:56 PM
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep:
Agnes Lowzier: Is Harry there?
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, yeah, he’s here.
Agnes Lowzier: Put him on, will you?
Philip Marlowe: He can’t talk to you.
Agnes Lowzier: Why?
Philip Marlowe: Because he’s dead.
July 11th, 2009 at 12:57 PM
From Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, from Nick’s POV.
“You know what it’s all about, Nick?”
“What’s what all about?”
“It, Nick. What it’s all about.”
“What about The Beatles?”
“They nailed it.”
“What do you mean?”
“This. This is why The Beatles got it.”
“I’m afraid I’m not following…”
“Other bands, it’s about sex. Or pain. Or some fantasy. But The Beatles, they knew what they were doing. You know the reason The Beatles made it so big?”
“‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24/7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can’t hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding. Trust me. I’ve thought a lot about this.”
“‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’”
“And so you are, my friend. So you are.”
July 11th, 2009 at 1:04 PM
“It won’t be the only mad thing about if you let this lot go.” I flicked my tongue in a lefterly direction. “Check out the one at the end. He’s taken the form of a footstool. Weird…but somehow I like his style.”
“That is a footstool.”
The Golem’s Eye – Jonathan Stroud
July 11th, 2009 at 1:15 PM
Tiffany Leigh Says:
JITTERBUG PERFUME by Tom Robbins is one of his best. An epic love story that with *two* killer last lines: the first occurring his emotional last chapter proper and the other in his epilogue/framing device where the omniscient narrator has waxed poetically throughout the book about “that most intense of vegetables,” the beet. Quoted below:
“The lesson of the beet, then, is this: hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown. Once you’re brown, you’ll find that you’re blue. As blue as indigo. And you know what that means:
July 11th, 2009 at 1:16 PM
From Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens:
Eventually Crawly said, “Didn’t you have a flaming sword?”
“Er,” said the angel. A guilty expression passed along its face, then came back and camped there.
“You did, didn’t you?” said Crawly. “It flamed like anything.”
“Lost it, have you?”
“Oh no! No, not exactly lost, more–”
Asiraphale looked wretched. “If you must know,” he said, a trifle testily, “I gave it away.”
Crawley stared up at him.
“Well, I had to,” said the angle, rubbing his hands distractedly. “They looked so cold, poor things, and she’s expecting already, and what with the vicious animals out there and the storm coming up I thought, well, where’s the harm, so I just said, look, if you come back here there’s going to be an almighty row, but you might be needing this sword, so here it is, don’t bother to thank me, just do everyone a big favor and don’t let the sun go down on you here.”
He gave Crawly a worried grin.
“That was the best course, wasn’t it?”
“I’m not sure it’s actually possible for you to do evil,” said Crawly sarcastically. Aziraphale didn’t notice the tone.
[Don't leave your email. Spam bots will harvest it.]
July 11th, 2009 at 1:22 PM
This is a conversation between Harry Potter and Professor Snape from The Half-Blood Prince. Harry has just gotten into trouble for casting a spell on Draco Malfoy, and he found that spell written in his textbook called Advanced Potion-Making.
Snape: “This is your copy of Advanced Potion-Making, is it, Potter?”
Snape: “You’re quite sure of that, are you, Potter?”
Snape: “Then why does it have the name ‘Roonil Wazlib’ written inside the front cover”
Potter: “That’s my nickname.”
Snape: “Your nickname.”
Potter: “Yes…that’s what my friends call me.”
Snape: “I understand what a nickname is.”
July 11th, 2009 at 1:52 PM
From Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”:
When he looked around, he must have thought I would start crying again, for he said, “Show you something if you won’t tell anybody.” I said what. He unbuttoned his shirt, grinning shyly.
“well can’t you see it?”
“Well it’s hair.”
“There. Right there.”
He had been a comfort to me, so I said it looked lovely, but I didn’t see anything. “It’s real nice, Jem.”
“Under my arms, too,” he said. “Goin’ out for football next year. Scout, don’t let Aunty aggravate you.”
It seemed only yesterday that he was telling me not to aggravate Aunty.
July 11th, 2009 at 1:58 PM
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
July 11th, 2009 at 1:59 PM
“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
- Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
July 11th, 2009 at 2:05 PM
From Gail Simone’s Birds of Of Prey: Perfect Pitch TP
Lady Shiva: To stop a daughter’s tears…this is a formidable skill.
Huntress: Speaking from experience, Shiva?
Lady Shiva: A little perhaps. Of course, my daughter actually attempted to kill me and hang me on a hook.
Huntress: I’m sorry to hear that.
Lady Shiva: Sorry? It just proves that she’s an achiever.
July 11th, 2009 at 2:08 PM
Samantha LeAnne Says:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” said Alice.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here.”
[Don't leave your email here. Spam bots will get it.]
July 11th, 2009 at 2:18 PM
Chris McLaren Says:
Technically not dialogue, but rather a first person recounting of dialogue, but still my favourite example. And my favourite book ending:
She asked me what Meyer had meant about her having a broken wing. I said he was one of the last of the great romantics. I said there used to be two. But now there was just the one left. The hairy one.
(John D. MacDonald sure could tell a story–although the sexual politics are definitely a sign of the times the books were written.)
July 11th, 2009 at 2:29 PM
Lindsay F Says:
From The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty (I couldn’t figure out how to do strikethrough on the comment, so I just excluded Life from the title)
In the second FAD (Friendship and Development) class, talking about the Buddy Plan:
“You must always be available for your buddy,” said Try “and from now on, if anything is worrying you, please go straight to him or her.”
“Astrid,” said Emily. “I finished my Toblerone.”
Astrid stood up at once, knocking over her chair, and looking about her, one hand on Emily’s shoulder. “STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE,” she shouted. “I’M GETTING YOU A NEW TOBLERONE.” She began lifting gym mats and climbing over stacks of chairs.
July 11th, 2009 at 2:52 PM
Beth DeGeer Says:
“Not that I don’t believe in God. I do. I’m just not sure that I believe in Heaven, at least not like I believe in the public library.”
From THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE by Karen Cushman
July 11th, 2009 at 2:59 PM
Not really dialogue I guess. But cool
July 11th, 2009 at 3:03 PM
It has to be the “Boner” scene from Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”:
“You read a book for the story, for each of its words,” Gordy said, “and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And, yeah, you need to take that seriously, but you should also read and draw because really good books and cartoons give you a boner.”
I was shocked:
“Did you just say books should give me a boner?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah… don’t you get excited about books?”
“I don’t think that you’re supposed to get THAT excited about books.”
“You should get a boner! You have to get a boner!” Gordy shouted. “Come on!”
We ran into the Reardan High School Library.
“Look at all these books,” he said.
“There aren’t that many,” I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town.
“There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here,” Gordy said. “I know that because I counted them.”
“Okay, now you’re officially a freak,” I said.
“Yes, it’s a small library. It’s a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish.”
“What’s your point?”
“The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don’t know.”
Wow. That was a huge idea.
Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, the smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery.
“Okay, so it’s like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all of the books ever written, it’s like you’ve read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you keep on learning so much more you need to learn.”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Gordy said. “Now doesn’t that give you a boner?”
“I am rock hard,” I said.
July 11th, 2009 at 3:13 PM
Something butted Roland on the ankle. It was a blue cheese.
“Dinna fash yerself aboot Horace-he just wants ye tae do the right thing” Daft Wullie
“This is kind of… embarrassing” Roland.
“Crivens get on wi’it, will ye?”
“That’s not Tiffany Aching!” Roland
“Now take her by the hand an’run. The bogles will turn nasty when they see we’re leavin’. But that’s okay, right? ‘Cuz ye have a Plan!” Rob Anybody.
“I hope I’ve got it right, though. My aunts say I’m too cleaver by half.” Roland
“Glad tae hear it ‘cuz that’s much better than bein’ too stupid by three quarters! Now grab teh lady an’ run!” Rob
“I’m here to rescue you” Roland
“The sheep girl is in trouble. So sad, so sad.” Summer (literally)
“Well , er, we’d better run, whoever you are… How do you fight the bogles? Roland
“Ach, they dinna like the taste o’ us over much. It may be ‘cuz we think aboot drinkin’ a lot -it makes ‘em squiffy. Keep movin’!” Rob
“That will be six pennies” ferryman
“Ah, we wasna doon here more’n two hour, an’ bang went sixpence!” Daft Wullie
“One day round trip, one one-way” ferryman
“I don’t have that much” Roland
“Leave this tae me. Oke lads. We’re no’ leavin’!” Rob
“What? Oh no, you leave! I’m not havinbg you down here again. Welre still finding bottles from last time! Come on get on the boat this minute!” ferryman
“Crivens, we canna do that pal. We’re under a geas to help this lad, ye ken. Where he disna go we dinna go!” Rob
“People are not supposed to want to stay here!” ferryman
“Ach, we’ll soon ha’ the old place jumpin’ again.” Rob
“Oh all right then. But-and i want to be clear on this-there is to be no singing!” ferryman
“I’ll tell ye whut. If ye are a guid boy an’ rescue the lady,we’ll bring ye doon here another time, wi some sandwiches so’s we can make a day o’ it.” Rod
“Er, yes. Um sorry. I don’t know what happened just then.” Roland
“Offski time!” Daft Wullie
“An’ don’t look back un til we’re well ooy o’ here. It’s kind of traditional” Rob
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
kind of long now that i look at it. sorry.
July 11th, 2009 at 3:26 PM
I started to type in the famous “shopping” scene from the end of Barrayar, but realized the dialogue wasn’t so very great as dialogue, per se. But holy hannah, does that exchange stick in one’s head. So, this, instead:
“Now,” said Randolf, “if though thinkst to marry at home, I’d not prevent it. It was not what Meredith had in her mind when she did extract this promise; but ’tis possible to marry for a term only; for five years, or ten.”
“Five,” said Ruth,*”would do me fine, and prevent my enacting some volly in my rash and splenative youth.”
“Well then, we’ll do’t so,” said Randolf.
“Not,” said Ruth, “that I have anybody in mind at home.” And that of course, she ought not to have said. Randolf looked at her with a kind of thoughtful puzzlement.
“Have you not, then?” said Randolf. “And yet you said to the Dragon King that your heart was given already.”
“Isn’t it permissible to lie to one’s enemies?”
“Did you do so?”
She had done enough lying to Randolf to last her a lifetime. “No,” said Ruth. “I didn’t lie.”
*Ruth is 16
July 11th, 2009 at 3:31 PM
From Born in Death, Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb. Eve and Roarke are about to attend the birth of Mavis’s baby, something neither looks forward to.
Roarke: I’m going to drop them off at the entrance, then park. I’m not going to keep driving until I get to Mexico. I’ll be right along. My word.
Eve: Just remember, if you’re not, I’ll hunt you down, disarticulate all your limbs, then feed them to small, ugly dogs.
July 11th, 2009 at 3:38 PM
Nicholas Waller Says:
Maybe a bit obvious and well-known, but I like this bit from The Lord of the Rings; and it sums up the point of the whole story too:
“Where are you going, Master?” cried Sam, though at last he understood what was happening.
“To the Havens, Sam,” said Frodo.
“And I can’t come.”
“No Sam. Not yet, anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a Ring-bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy, and to do.”
“But,” said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire too, for years and years, after all you have done.”
“So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I have and might have had I leave to you.”
July 11th, 2009 at 4:09 PM
This was the first book that ever made me want to highlight a passage, something I used to be very opposed to. This is from THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING by T. H. White.
“If I were to be made a knight,” said the Wart, staring dreamily into the fire, “I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, as Hob does with his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.”
“That would be extremely presumptuous of you,” said Merlyn, “and you would be conquered, and you would suffer for it.”
“I shouldn’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t you? Wait till it happens and see.”
“Why do people not think, when they are grown up, as I do when I am young?”
“Oh dear,” said Merlyn. “You are making me feel confused. Suppose you wait till you are grown up and know the reason?”
“I don’t think that is an answer at all,” replied the Wart, justly.
Merlyn wrung his hands.
“Well, anyway,” he said, “suppose they did not let you stand against all the evil in the world?”
“I could ask,” said the Wart.
“You could ask,” repeated Merlyn.
July 11th, 2009 at 4:19 PM
An observation–in trying to come up with favorite dialogue, it occurs to me that a lot works only if you’ve read the rest of the book and know the characters and situation. Hadn’t noticed how often that matters.
July 11th, 2009 at 4:20 PM
@JL “Please give the name of the book and the author.”
Oops, sorry, my bad! The Lord of the Rings is by JRR Tolkien.
[I'll get me coat...]
July 11th, 2009 at 4:21 PM
from King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner, when the king is on the crenellations of the roof:
“Not that drunk,” said the king. “Watch.” He tossed the wineskin to Costis, who caught it and clutched it in horror as the king turned himself upside down and balanced, one hand on the narrow ridge of the stone.
“Oh, my god,” said Costis.
“O MY god,” said the king cheerfully. “You want to call on the god appropriate to the occasion. After all, your god would probably be Miras, light and arrows and all that sort of thing, whereas my god is a god of balance and, of course, preservation of thieves, which I suppose, technically, I am not.” He straightened up. “Maybe I shouldn’t push my luck,” he said.
July 11th, 2009 at 4:23 PM
27. Justine Says:
Wow. So much amazing dialogue. I am overcome with an urge to read/re-read them all.
Chris McLaren: Which John B. McDonald book is that?
Beth de Geer: A lot of first person narration is very conversational.
Kirsten: Is that scene also from the Bujold book?
El: Very true. I think that’s part of what makes very good dialogue that you know straight away who’s saying what and what it means. Which of course also means that it can be hard to extract it because all those nuances have been built up over the course of the book.
Nicholas Waller: And please don’t be a smartarse about it. Sheesh!
July 11th, 2009 at 4:30 PM
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
“Katniss, it’s just like hunting. You’re the best hunter I know,” says Gale.
“It’s not just like hunting. They’re armed. They think,” I say.
“So do you. And you’ve had more practice. Real practice,” he says. “You know how to kill.”
“Not people,” I say.
“How different can it be, really?” Says Gale grimly.
The awful thing is, that if I can forget they’re people, it will no different at all.
July 11th, 2009 at 4:33 PM
From Paper Towns by John Green:
Ben: We kissed. Like, she kissed me. About ten minutes ago. On Radar’s parent’s bed.
Radar: That’s disgusting. Don’t make out on my parent’s bed.
Quentin: Wow, I figured you’d already gotten past that. What with you being such a pimp and everything.
Ben: Shut up, bro. I’m freaked out. I don’t think I’m very good.
Quentin: At what?
Ben: At kissing. I mean, she’s done a lot more kissing than me over the years. I don’t want to suck so bad she dumps me. Girls dig you. Bro, I’m asking for advice.
Quentin: As far as I can tell, there are two basic rules: 1. Don’t bite anything without permission, and 2. The human tongue is like wasabi: it’s very powerful, and should be used sparingly. She’s standing right behind me, isn’t she?
Lacey: ‘The human tongue is like wasabi’. I actually think Ben’s tongue is like sunscreen. It’s good for your health and should be applied liberally.
Radar: I just threw up in my mouth.
Quentin: Lacey, you kind of took away my will to go on.
Radar: I wish I could stop imagining that.
Quentin: The very idea is so offensive it’s actually illegal to say the words ‘Ben Starling’s tongue’ on television.
Radar: The penalty for violating that law is either ten years in prison or a Ben Starling tongue bath.
(Lacey and Ben kiss.)
Radar: Oh God. I’m blind. I’m blind.
Quentin: Please stop. You’re upsetting the black Santas.
July 11th, 2009 at 4:36 PM
“more weight” -giles corey
from the crucible, author arthur miller
July 11th, 2009 at 4:48 PM
Does manga count? If it does, then my fave dialogue comes from Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori. Actually, my favorite dialogue is only funny in context of the manga, but here’s my second favorite:
Tamaki: Spring is, of course, a time for romance and comedy! From the beginning Haruhi and I knew we were romantic comedy characters! We knew the results without worrying about it!
The Hitachiin Twins: Then what about us…?
Tamaki: You are the homosexual supporting cast! [draws a line separating them from him]
Forgive me if I have the dialogue wrong- I don’t own the particular volume that these quotes are from, so I’m having to rely upon a scanlation. ^_^U
July 11th, 2009 at 4:51 PM
“I’ll tell you my name,” replied the first little spider, “if you tell me why you are trembling.”
“I’m trembling with joy,” said Wilber.
“Then my name is Joy,” said the spider.
- from Charlotte’s Web by EB White
This one reminds me of when I was really little and had ongoing nightmares. My mom would talk through the dream with me (almost like she was telling a story) and we would make it end happy or funny. I think there are loads of situations that change depending on how you choose to see them.
July 11th, 2009 at 5:25 PM
From Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson. Lightsong (male) and Blushweaver (female), two gods, having a conversation.
“You’re incorrigible,” she said, finishing her stretch.
“I am what the universe made me to be, my dear.”
“You bow before the whims of the universe, then?”
“What else would I do?”
“Fight it,” Blushweaver said. She narrowed her eyes, absently reading to take one of the grapes from Lightsong’s hand. “Fight with everything, force the universe to bow to you instead.”
“That’s a charming concept, Blushweaver. But I believe that universe and I are in slightly different weight categories.”
“I think you’re wrong.”
“Are you saying I’m fat?”
July 11th, 2009 at 5:45 PM
From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:
“Come here, child,” cried her father as she appeared. “I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?” Elizabeth replied that it was. “Very well-and this offer of marriage you have refused?”
“I have sir.”
“Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet?”
“Yes, or I will never see her again.”
“An unhappy alternative is before you Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from any book I’ve read. I just love the character of Mr. Bennet so much and his sense of humor in dealing with his crazy wife and daughters.
July 11th, 2009 at 6:12 PM
I spent a long time trying to find a scene that wasn’t from something Justine or Scott had written, but in the end, this scene spoke to me so much that I had to use it. Whether it is set in the future, as it is in its original context, or in the present, it has the same significance. Being able to look past how people look on the outside- or “not judging a book by its cover”- is something that is an obstacle for everyone, and overcoming it the way they do in this scene is something that, if everyone could learn to do it, would make the world a much better place.
From Uglies by Scott Westerfeld:
“But first you see my face. You react to symmetry, skin tone, the shape of my eyes. And you decide what’s inside me, based on all your reactions. You’re programmed to!”
“I’m not programmed. I didn’t grow up in a city.”
“It’s not just culture, it’s evolution!”
He shrugged in defeat, the anger draining from his voice. “Maybe some of it is.” He chuckled tiredly. “But you know what first got me interested in you?”
Tally took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. “What?”
“The scratches on your face.”
She blinked. “The what?”
“These scratches.” He softly touched her cheek again.
She shook away the electric feeling his fingers left behind. “That’s nuts. Imperfect skin is a sign of a poor immune system.”
David laughed. “It was a sign that you’d been in an adventure, Tally, that you’d bashed your way across the wild to get here. To me, it was a sign that you had a good story to tell.”
Her outrage faded. “A good story?” Tally shook her head, a laugh building inside her. “Actually, my face got bashed up back in the city, hoverboarding through some trees. At high speed. Some adventure, huh?”
“It does tell a story, though. As I thought the first time I saw you – you take risks.” His fingers wound into a lock of her singed hair. “You’re still taking risks.”
“I guess so.” Standing here in the darkness with David felt like a risk, like everything was about to change again. He still had the look in his eye, the pretty look.
Maybe he really could see past her ugly face. Maybe what was inside her did matter to him more than anything else.
Tally stepped onto a fist-size stone on the path and found an uneasy balance on it. They were eye to eye now.
She swallowed. “You really think I’m beautiful.”
“Yes. What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.”
A strange thought crossed her mind, and Tally said, “I’d hate it if you got the operation.” She couldn’t believe she was saying it. “Even if they didn’t do your brain, I mean.”
“Gee, thanks.” His smile shone in the darkness.
“I don’t want you to look like everyone else.”
“I thought that was the point of being pretty.”
“I did too.”
July 11th, 2009 at 6:23 PM
Leslie Ann Says:
Evernore, Alyson Noel
“Who was that?” Haven asks, plunging a tortilla chip into a tiny cup of salsa as I sit down beside her.
“No one,” I whisper, cringing as my words vibrate in my ears.
“Looks like that psychic lady from the party.”
I reach for the plate Miles slides toward me and pick up a plastic fork.
“We didn’t know what you wanted so we got a little of everything,” he says. “Did you buy a purse?”
I shake my head, then immediately regret it since it only intensifies the pounding. “Too expensive,” I say, covering my mouth as I chew, the crunch reverberating so badly my eyes fill with tears. “You get a vase?” But I already know that he didn’t, and not just because I’m psychic, but because there’s no bag.
“No, I just like to watch ‘em blow.” He laughs, taking a sip of his drink.
“Hey you guys, shh! Is that my phone?” Haven digs through her oversized, overstuffed bag that often stands in her closet.
“Well, since you’re the only one at this table with a Marilyn Manson ring tone…” Miles shrugs, ignoring his taco shell and only eating the insides.
“Off the carbs?” I ask, watching as he picks at his food.
He nods. “Just because Tracy Trunblad’s fat doesn’t mean I have to be.”
July 11th, 2009 at 6:37 PM
I seriously would have quoted a dialouge, only practically ALL of my favorite books are Scott Westrfelds’, and you wouldn’t have picked me, because it really wouldn’t be fair.
July 11th, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Amy B. Says:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare:
“So what’s with the ‘hey’ thing?” she asked as Simon maneuvered the care onto the FDR parkway, the highway that ran alongside the East River.
“What ‘hey’ thing?” he replied, cutting off a black SUV whose occupant, a suited man with a cell phone in his hand, made an obscene gesture at them through tinted windows.
“The ‘hey’ thing that guys always do. Like when you saw Jace and Alec, you said ‘hey,’ and they said ‘hey’ back. What’s wrong with ‘hello’?”
She thought she saw a muscle twitch in his cheek. “‘Hello’ is girly,” he informed her. “Real men are terse. Laconic.”
“So the more manly you are, the less you say?”
“Right,” Simon nodded. Past him she could see the humid fog lowering over the East River, shrowding the waterfront in feathery gray mist. The water itself was the color of lead, churned to a whipped cream consistency by the steady wind. “That’s why when major badasses greet eachother in movies, they don’t say anything, they just nod. The nod means, ‘I am a badass and I recognize that you, too, are a badass,’ but they don’t say anything because they’re Wolverine and Magneto and it would mess up their vibe to explain.”
July 11th, 2009 at 7:21 PM
The Singing by Alison Croggon
Maerad clasped her hand. “Oh, no, please don’t feel foolish,” she said, with a rush of warmth. ” It isn’t foolish to love. Cadvan said to me once that to love is never wrong. It may be disastrous; it may never be possible; it may be the deepest agony. But it is never wrong. I’ve never forgotten it; it seems true to me”. She met Hekibel’s eyes, her own gaze suddenly clear and present. “In any case, I think that Saliman does love you.”
Hekibel turned her eyes away. “if he does,” she said, “I don’t know how anyone would know. He conceals it well.”
Maerad studied Hekibel’s profile, the dark blonde hair that curled out from her hood, her soft, sensuous mouth. She envied Hekibel’s beauty: next to her luscious roundness, Maerad felt thin and sharp. Hekibel’s skin had the golden bloom of a winter apple, smooth and rich, but her sweetness was never cloying: she was too intelligent, too strong. Of course Saliman loved this woman.
“It’s obvious that he likes you,” she said at last. She realized she was not used to this kind of conversation between women, and suddenly wished fiercel that Silvia was with them. Silvia would know the right thing to say.
“I know that,” said Hekibel. She began to rub her boots with renewed vigor. “And his friendship is precious to me. But all the same, I can’t help wanting more than that. I wish I were a Bard, or that he wasn’t. He is the most handsome, most generous man that I have ever met. When I lef him there, sick to death in Hiert, I wanted to die…”
“There’s no reason why a Bard might not love someone without the Gift. It can be difficult, that’s all, because Bards are so long-lived. I met a Bard once who told me he was very old, and his wife had been dead two hundred years, and he still misses her. That’s probably wht Saliman might not speak to you about this. Quite apart from… well, none of us know if we’ll be alive in a week…”
“I wish all the same that he would look at me like Cadvan looks at you.” Hekibel looked critically at her boots, and laid them carefully side by side on the grass. “Well, a dog might howl at the moon…”
Maerad blinked. “What do you mean, how Cadvan looks at me?”
“If I saw near so much passion in Saliman’s face, I would be buying my wedding clothes,” said Hekibel. “Tht is, assuming there are any weddings after all this.”
Maerad’s mouth dropped open. For a long moment she was too shocked to say anything at all. “Passion?” she said. “Cadvan is my very dear- my dearest- friend, but I don’t think…”
Hekibel looked sideways at Maerad. “You mean you haven’t noticed? If that’s mere friendship, my dear, then I have never in my life seen a man in love. And I assure you that I have. I can tell you, if my heart were not already ensnsared, I might be in very great danger of falling in love with Cadvan myself. Have you never realized how handsome he is?”
July 11th, 2009 at 8:06 PM
Justine, it’s one of the Travis McGee series. A Tan And Sandy Silence.
Every MacDonald has some good dialogue, though. He had a great ear for it.
July 11th, 2009 at 8:42 PM
The first thing that popped into my head is from Othello (not an exact quote):
I’ve known maids that would walk barefoot from here to Palestine for a taste of his nether lips.
(I’ve never been sure if the line is really as dirty as I think it is)
July 11th, 2009 at 8:43 PM
ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen.
It’s really just the very last part I like, but I don’t think it would’ve made as much sense if it was the only part I included. :]
Auden is talking to Adam about getting hurt while learning how to ride a bike. Adam has just told her about the piece of titanium in his chest from when he fell in a competition. Here goes :
“You know,” I said, considering my scrape again, “you’re kind of making me look like a wimp.”
“Not at all!” He smiled. “It all counts. If you’re not getting hurt, you’re not riding hard enough.”
“Then I,” I said, “am riding really hard.”
“That’s what I hear,” he said, picking up the box again. “Maggie says you’re like an animal out there.”
I was horrified. “She what?”
“I’m paraphrasing,” he said easily, flippng his hand. “She says you’re working really hard, that you’re doing great.”
I shrugged, caping the Neosporin. “I don’t know. If I was good, I wouldn’t be all banged up like that.”
I looked up at him. “No?”
He shook his head. “Of course not. Look at me. I’m a great rider and I’ve bit dirt more times than I can even count. And the pros? They’re, like, bionic, they’ve crashes so much. Look at Eli. He’s broken his elbow and collarbone multiple times, and then there’s the arm thing…”
“Wait,” I said. “The arm thing? You mean the scar?”
“I thought that was from the accident.”
Adam shook his head. “No. He was doing some some tricks out on the pier and landed wrong. Sliced it wide open on the edge of a bench. There was blood *everywhere*.”
I looked back down at my knee scab, small and almost a perfect circle, shiny with ointment.
“It all counts,” Adam said again. “And the bottom line is, what defines you isn’t how many times you crash, but the number of times you get back on the bike. As long as it’s one more, you’re all good.”
July 11th, 2009 at 9:07 PM
An Abundance Of Katherines – John Green
“World’s Largest Wooden Crucifix–Next Exit!”
“We’re not stopping to see the World’s Largest Wooden Crucifix.”
“We shitsure are,” Hassan said. “It must be huge!”
“Hass, why would we stop and see the World’s Largest Wooden Crucifix?”
“It’s a road trip! It’s about adventure!” Hassan pounded on the steering wheel to emphasize his excitement. “It’s not like we have somewhere to go. Do you really want to die having never seen the World’s Largest Wooden Crucifix?”
Colin thought it over. “Yes. First off, neither of us is Christian. Second off, spending the summer chasing after idiotic roadside attractions is not going to fix anything. Third off, crucifixes remind me of her.”
“Kafir, she was an atheist!”
“Not always,” Colin said softly. “She used to wear one a long time ago. Before we dated.” He stared out the window, pine trees rushing past. His immaculate memory called forth the silver crucifix.
“Your sitzpinkling disgusts me,” Hassan said, but he gave the Hearse some extra gas and shot past the exit.
July 11th, 2009 at 9:17 PM
You only get to know my favourite bit of dialogue if you promise not to mock me for my taste in books. I read a bit of everything, but my favourite dialogue is from a piece of fluffy-but-brilliant chick lit – Serendipity by Australian author Melanie La’Brooy.
(For the sake of clarity, you need to know that Hero has told Oscar that she’s a trapeze artist named Lola.)
‘You have to make up an imaginary friend.’
Oscar clapped a hand to his forehead. ‘I can’t believe I haven’t introduced you to Brad yet.’ He turned to the empty space beside him, ‘Brad, this is Lola. Lola, this is Brad Pitt.’
‘Your imaginary friend is Brad Pitt?’
He nodded. ‘If you’re going to have an imaginary friend, t may as well be someone who’d be cool to know. What would be the point of hanging out with a made-up guy named Bruno? Where’s the fun in that?’
‘I have no idea,’ Hero murmured, edging away from Oscar slightly.
‘And it’s so much work,’ he added thoughtfully. ‘You’d have to create their whole identity. At least with Brad, we can talk about mutual interests, like architecture and Angelina Jolie.’
‘Is Angelina Jolie one of your imaginary friends too?’ Hero asked cautiously.
‘Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t confuse fantasies and imaginary friends. They’re completely seperate categories.’
‘You’re one of the weirdest people I’ve ever met.’
He remained unperturbed. ‘I’m not really. Lots of normal people like architecture. So who would you choose as your imaginary friend?’
She considered for a moment as he refilled her water glass. ‘George W. Bush,’ she finally announced.
He looked at her doubtfully. ‘You’d choose George W. Bush?’
‘Yep. I’d much rether that he wasn’t real and was completely under my control.’
July 11th, 2009 at 9:29 PM
I had a hard time deciding on Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, (the two best comic writers of all time) but in the end I couldn’t find any of my Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy books so this is from The Truth, by Terry Pratchett. The only hard part is finding something that doesn’t require you to read the rest of the book to understand.
William: Mr Bone?
Deep Bone’s Voice: What kind of scent bomb?
William: I think oil of scallatine was probably the most active ingredient.
Deep Bone’s Voice: Right in front of a werewolf’s nose?
William: More or less, yes.
Deep Bone’s Voice: Mister Vimes is going to go round the twist. He’s going to go totally Librarian-poo. He’s going to invent new ways of being angry just so’s he can try them out on you-
This isn’t in interview form in the book, but I quoted it in this format to demonstrate the dialogue. There’s better dialogue in Reaper Man, which I wanted to use, but unfortunately I don’t have it at hand. It’s very hard finding anything that just relies on dialogue in Terry Pratchett’s work, but this quote always makes me chuckle. Although it’s a bit cryptic if you don’t know the series.
July 11th, 2009 at 9:41 PM
“I’m afraid of grounds.”
“You mean heights.”
“I know what I mean! It’s the grounds that kill you!”
From one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I can’t remember which.
July 11th, 2009 at 9:52 PM
The Ballad Of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb:
Deputy sheriff Spencer Arrowood read the suspect his rights. “Do you understand?” he said as he put the card away. “You can have a lawyer if you want one.”
The sullen young man sat with his feet wrapped around the legs of the chair, scowling up at the officer questioning him. His long hair was unkempt, and his baggy clothes were several days past needing a wash. Spencer had a good mind to hose him down before he put him in the jail cell.
The prisoner shrugged. “What do I need a lawyer for?”
It wasn’t the deputy’s job to tell him. He said, “I’m just telling you that if you do want one, you can call him now. And if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, we can have one appointed to represent you.”
He shrugged. “I don’t need no help to say I didn’t do it.”
July 11th, 2009 at 10:17 PM
Looking For Alaska- John Green
“Jesus, I’m not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they’re gonna do. I’m just going to do it. Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.”
“Huh?” I asked.
“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
July 11th, 2009 at 10:30 PM
I have far too many favorites. But because I have this book on hand, here’s a great dialogue chunk…It’s from “Places I Never Meant to Be”, a collection of stories edited by Judy Blume. This happens after this guy Pauly compliments the size of a guy’s…er…family jewels.
Narrator: You know you’re not supposed to talk about it.
Pauly: About what? About a guy’s hog?
Narrator: Jesus, Pauly.
Pauly: No, Oak, I really don’t get it. Why can’t we say “nice hog”. I mean, jeez, did you see the damn thing? Somebody ought to stand up and say something to the guy, if not applaud.
Narrator: No. I did not see it.
Narrator: No lie.
Pauly: Then you ought to get yourself a guide dog, because that thing was a sapling and a half.
Narrator: Never mind. The point is, you’re not supposed to notice – even if you do. And nobody talks about it. I don’t care if he’s got one growing out of his damn forehead, you just say ‘nice hat’ and leave it at that.
July 11th, 2009 at 10:34 PM
John H Says:
My first impluse was to suck up to our esteemed hostess by quoting from one of her, or perhaps her equally talented husband’s, books. But I imagine such obvious brown-nosing would do me no good.
My next thought was to give some dialogue from Fool, the latest from the ever clever Christopher Moore (which kept me laughing like a lunatic throughout). Alas, I forgot that I had loaned my copy to a friend some time ago.
So I’ll settle for the equally glib Joseph Heller, from Catch-22:
“That’s a fine thing,” General Dreedle growled at the bar, gripping his empty shot glass in his burly hand. “That’s really a fine thing. When a man of God begins hanging around a place like this with a bunch of dirty drunks and gamblers.”
Colonel Cathcart sighed with relief. “Yes, sir,” he exclaimed proudly. “It certainly is a fine thing.”
“Then why the hell don’t you do something about it?”
“Sir?” Colonel Cathbart inquired, blinking.
“Do you think it does you credit to have your chaplain hanging around here every night? He’s in here every goddam time I come.”
“You’re right, sir, absolutely right,” Colonel Cathbart responded. “It does me no credit at all. And I am going to do something about it, this very minute.”
“Aren’t you the one who ordered him to come here?”
“No, sir, that was Colonel Korn. I intend to punish him severely, too.”
“If he wasn’t a chaplain,” General Dreedle muttered, “I’d have him taken outside and shot.”
“He’s not a chaplain, sir,” Colonel Cathcart advised helpfully.
“Isn’t he? Then why the hell does he wear that cross on his collar if he’s not a chaplain?”
“He doesn’t wear a cross on his collar, sir. He wears a silver leaf. He’s a lieutenant colonel.”
“You’ve got a chaplain who’s a lieutenant colonel?” inquired General Dreedle with amazement.
“Oh, no, sir. My chaplain is only a captain.”
“Then why the hell does he wear a silver leaf on his collar if he’s only a captain?”
“He doesn’t wear a silver leaf on his collar, sir. He wears a cross.”
“Go away from me now, you son of a bitch,” said General Dreedle. “Or I’ll have you taken outside and shot!”
July 11th, 2009 at 10:45 PM
“What do you think of the ziti your mother made?” he says.
I chew. I swallow. I look at my mother. She drops her shoulders in exasperation. Now they are both waiting.
“It’s not right,” I mumble, looking at my father.
He snorts and shoots my mother a look.
“Even the kid knows,” he says.
~For One More Day, by Mitch Albom
July 11th, 2009 at 11:09 PM
My favourite line would have to be from the Discworld Fable, The Last Hero. It’s from Leonard of Quirm:
“I have no need for people who have learned the limits of possible.”
Terry Pratchett is a genius to rival Artemis Fowl. My second favourite line would be from the Death Note manga, from ‘L.’ It’s from when they are training Misa-Misa to infiltrate Toshiba industries. Says L:
“If you don’t get serious about this, I’ll kick you.”
July 11th, 2009 at 11:22 PM
Running With Scissors (a memoir) by Augusten Burroughs
(there’s a lot of build up before this, which is what makes it special)
“Shut up,” she said, slapping me on the arm “I’m allowed to be two different things. If you get to be a writer and be all those different people, then I get to be at least two things.”
“You should to it, Natalie. Smith would definitely let you in. They’d be lucky to have you, you know.”
“Oh, I don’t know. It’s not that easy.”
“That’s why you have to do it,” I said.
“That’s why you have to do it, too”
Natalie leaned in and put her elbows on the table. “Don’t you ever feel like we’re chasing something? Something bigger. I don’t know, it’s like something that only you and I can see. Like we’re running, running, running?”
“Yeah,” I said. “We’re running alright. Running with scissors.”
(this was truly a challenge, lots of books to look up now! )
July 11th, 2009 at 11:41 PM
This is from “Life, The Universe and Everything” by Douglas Adams. *NOTE* I have the ‘censored’ U.S. edition, not the ‘cool’ British original.
“Just show biz talk,” answered the girl. “He just won an award at the Annual Ursa Minor Alpha Recreational Illusions Institute Awards ceremony, and he was hoping to be able to pass it off lightly, only you didn’t mention it so he couldn’t.”
“Oh,” said Arthur, “oh, well, I’m sorry I didn’t. What was it for?”
“The Most Gratuitous Use of the Word “Belgium” in a Serious Screenplay. It’s very prestigious.”
“The most gratuitous use of which word?” asked Arthur, with a determined attempt to keep his brain in neutral.
“Belgium,” said the girl, “I hardly like to say it.”
“Belgium?” exclaimed Arthur.
A drunken seven-toed sloth staggered past, gawked at the word and threw itself backward at a blurry-eyed pterodactyl, roaring with displeasure.
“Are we talking,” said Arthur, “about the very flat country, with all the EEC and the fog?”
“What?” said the girl.
“Belgium,” said Arthur.
“Raaaaaarrrchchchchch!” screeched the pterodactyl.
“Grrruuuuuurrrghhhh,” agreed the seven-toed sloth.
“They must be thinking of Ostend Hoverport,” muttered Arthur. He turned back to the girl.
“Have you ever been to Belgium in fact?” he asked brightly and she nearly hit him.
“I think,” she said, restraining herself, “that you should restrict that sort of remark to something artistic.”
“You sound as if I just said something unspeakable rude.”
In today’s modern Galaxy there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable. Many words and expressions which only a matter of decades ago were considered so distastefully explicit that, were they merely to be breathed in public, the perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite society, and in extreme cases shot through the lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and proper, and their use in everyday speech and writing is seen as evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed and totally un****ed-up personality.
So, for instance, when in a recent national speech the Financial Minister of the Royal World Estate of Quarlvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for a while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy was now in what he called “one whole joojooflop situation,” everyone was so pleased that he felt able to come out and say it that they quite failed to note that their entire five-thousand-year-old civilization had just collapsed overnight.
But even though words like “joojooflop,” “swut,” and “turlingdrome” are now perfectly acceptable in common usage there is one word that is still beyond the pale. The concept it embodies is so revolting that the publication or broadcast of the word is utterly forbidden in all parts of the Galaxy except for use in Serious Screenplays. There is also, or was, one planet where they didn’t know what it meant, the stupid turlingdromes.
“I see,” said Arthur, who didn’t, “so what do you get for using the name of a perfectly innocent if slightly dull European country gratuitously in a Serious Screenplay?”
“A Rory,” said the girl, “it’s just a small silver thing set on a large black base. What did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything, I was just about to ask what the silver…”
“Oh, I thought you said ‘whop.’”
July 11th, 2009 at 11:46 PM
How much are we allowed to enter?
July 11th, 2009 at 11:48 PM
This comes from Motherland, the 9th book in my favorite graphic novel series, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. Here Yorick (the last man) and Dr. Mann are saying goodbye:
Dr. Mann: The time I have spent with you and your stupid monkey has been among the unhappiest of my life. I have no idea why I’m going to miss you so much.
Listen to me. You have a big heart…
Yorick: Ugh, stop! This has been sappy enough. I want to remember you belittling my many short-comings, not leaving me with a compliment.
Dr. Mann: Enlarged hearts are weak and fragile, Yorick. It wasn’t a compliment, it was a warning. Whatever happens in France, you…you just stay strong, okay?
Yorick: Yeah yeah, an apple a day.
Good luck saving the world, Allison.
Dr. Mann: Same to you, Mr. Brown.
July 11th, 2009 at 11:56 PM
In this piece of dialogue the character of Eve is having a conversation with her boyfriend, Aidan, and discovers that her best friend, Benny, has been cheated on by her boyfriend, Jack. I absolutely love her reaction.
‘I wouldn’t want a brainless little blonde, honestly,’ Aidan said to Eve. ‘I’m no Jack Foley.’
Eve looked at him, astonished. ‘Jack?’
‘It’s all right, Benny’s forgiven him …’
‘She’s forgiven him for not phoning her. She doesn’t know anything about a brainless blonde that should be forgiven.’
‘oh … I don’t think it was anything really …’ Aidan backtracked.
Eve’s eyes glinted.
‘… I wasn’t there. I was only told.’
‘Oh, I’m sure you were told, and all the gory details.’
‘No, really. And Eve, I wouldn’t go and say anything to Benny.’
‘I’m her friend.’
‘Does that mean you will or you won’t?’
‘It means that you’ll never know.’
Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy
July 11th, 2009 at 11:59 PM
Miss Erin Says:
No way can I pick one favorite. But here’s one I like an awful lot, from Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (the characters are talking about Pride and Prejudice):
“I’d like to think I’m Elizabeth, but deep down I think I’m the one whose name no one can remember. Not Lydia the slut or Mary the nerd or Jane the beauty or Elizabeth the opinionated. I’m the second-youngest. The forgotten one.”
“Yeah, I know which one you’re talking about. What’s-her-name.”
July 12th, 2009 at 12:20 AM
I hate to spoil a book for anyone, so hopefully I won’t. I’ll try not to give any background info so you won’t know who’s talking.
“Do you have any more questions for me?”
“No questions. But I have apologies to make. I think, well, I know that I owe you some explanations. For things I said. And did. Stupid things.”
“Before you proceed any further…This might be one of the more spectacular of my mistakes-”
“That’s my ring.”
“You had it made. But now it’s mine.
It is time to collect on my wager.”
You have to read the book to appreciate this scene, and I reccomend you do, if you haven’t already! Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.
And I can’t resist mentioning one more that can stand on its own- I’m surprised no one else already did it.
HBP, JKR- obviously
Harry is talking to Snape in class, and Snape corrects him.
“There’s no need to call me sir, Professor.”
July 12th, 2009 at 12:37 AM
I’m sorry if leaving two isn’t allowed, you didn’t say in the rules, but I just wanted to add one more, it’s just such a good scene from a really good book.
Poison Study, Maria Snyder
Yelena thinks she’s been taken out of jail to be hung but instead finds herself in an office facing a strange man in front of a desk.
“Yelena, today may be your lucky day,” he said.
I swallowed a sarcastic reply. The man was quiet for awhile. “Well behaved and respectful. You’re starting to look like a good candidate.”
“You’ve been tried and found guilty of murdering General Brazell’s only son, Reyad.” He paused, stroking his temple with his fingers. “I suppose you’re going to protest the conviction. Say you were framed or you killed out of self-defense.” He leaned back in his chair, waiting with a weary patience.
“No, Sir,” I whispered, all I could manage from unused vocal cords. “I killed him.”
The man in black straightened in his chair, shooting me a hard look. Then he laughed aloud. “This may work out better than I planned. Yelena, I’m offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose’s new food taster. His last taster died recently, and we need to fill the position.”
I stared at him, heart pounding. He had to be joking. He was probably amusing himself. Great way to get a laugh. Watch hope and joy shine on the prisoner’s face, then smash it by sending the accused to the noose.
I played along. “A fool would refuse the job.” My voice rasped louder this time.
“Well, it’s a lifetime position. The training can be lethal. After all, how can you identify poisons in the Commander’s food if you don’t know what they taste like?”
“Who tastes the Commander’s food now?”
“I am. So I’m anxious to find a replacement.”
July 12th, 2009 at 12:51 AM
From Paper Towns by John Green
“Maybe it’s more like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like, each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen- these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another…But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs.
When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into my cracks, and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade, but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
July 12th, 2009 at 12:59 AM
Miles and Ivan encounter a kitten tree in Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold (I hope this counts, since it’s not a *lot* of dialogue. It made me laugh, a lot):
“Kittens like this should be out chasing string, not glued into damned trees to score points for some ghem-bitch,” Ivan opined hotly. He glanced around the area; they were temporarily alone and unobserved.
“Um… I’m not so sure they’re glued in,” said Miles. “Wait. I don’t think you’d better –”
Trying to stop Ivan from rescuing a kitten from a tree was approximately as futile as trying to stop Ivan from making a pass at a pretty woman. It was some kind of spinal reflex. By the glint in his eye, he was bent on releasing all the tiny victims, to chase after the climbing roses perhaps.
Ivan snapped the pod from the end of its branch. The kitten emitted a squall, convulsed, and went still.
“Kitty, kitty…?” Ivan whispered doubtfully into his cupped hand. An alarming trickle of red fluid coursed from the broken stem across his wrist.
Miles pulled back the pod-leaves around the kitten’s … corpse, he feared. There was no back half to the beast. Pink naked legs fused together and disappeared into the stem part of the pod.
“…I don’t think it was ripe, Ivan.”
July 12th, 2009 at 1:36 AM
One of my favorite lines is from Anne of Green Gables by LM Montomgery:
‘My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.’ That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything.” – Anne Shirley
July 12th, 2009 at 1:37 AM
From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott…
“Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”
July 12th, 2009 at 1:41 AM
Does a single line count? I’m very fond of this one in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “I wish you very happy and very rich, and by refusing your hand, do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise.” (I was terribly annoyed when it was left out of the movie.)
July 12th, 2009 at 1:51 AM
jo whittemore Says:
I also have to go with Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because this early dialogue sets the tone for the book and was what made me fall in love with it:
Ford: No don’t move. You’d better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.
Arthur: What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?
Ford: You ask a glass of water.
July 12th, 2009 at 1:57 AM
My favourite book for dialogue has got to be Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. Hard pressed to chose but I think this exemplifies the book’s dialogue.
Thomas Mackee packs up his stuff and stands up. “You chicks give me the shits,” he says.
“You, on the other hand, brighten up our day,” I tell him. “We all regard you as a god.”
“You know what we all call you? Bitch Spice, Butch Spice, Slut Spice and Stupid Spice.”
He walks away and we go back to saying nothing for a moment until Justine Kalinsky looks at me and holds out her arms. “My brother reckons that my arms are like Polish salami,” she tells me. “Do you think I’m Butch Spice?”
I look at her arms and shake my head.
“Well I’m a size 8 so I can’t possibly be,” Siobhan tells us.
“And you’re a slut,” Tara Finke says, matter-of-factly, “so it’s quite clear which one you are.”
We can’t let it go. We get off at Justine Kalinsky’s stop just to debate it all the way home.
“I think I could be Butch Spice,” Tara tells us. “I’ve got short hair and that’s how those morons think.”
“But I’ve got the stocky build,” Justine says. “It’s an Eastern European peasant thing.”
“No, it’s Tara,” Siobhan says. “I’m sure of it.”
“So between you and me,” I tell Justine on the phone that night,” we’re either bitchy or stupid.”
“Oh God,” she moans. “Everyone thinks I’m an idiot.”
AND IT CONTINUES FOR TWO MORE PAGES.
July 12th, 2009 at 2:01 AM
From Crash Into Me by Albert Borris:
The blood spurted through my fingers.
“Owen,” Audrey cried. She threw herself on me. Frank and Jin-Ae raced over too.
“Pressure!” Frank yelled. “Don’t let the wound bleed. Is he- Owen, are you?…”
“Okay,” I said, on my knees.
Audrey lifted her shirt over her head. She held it against my scalp.
“Are you sure? Owen?”
Jin-Ae wrapped herself around me then, both arms, pinning my arms in a funny position while I held my head.
“Owen, you can’t-,” she cried, sobbing. Her mouth leaned against my ear, whimpering.
“Don’t you die on us!” Frank yelled. I never heard him so forceful.
Suddenly I grasped what was happening- they were all trying to save me.
I never thought I was worth saving.
Audrey yelled at me, at all of us. “No more killing ourselves.” Just like that, we made a new pact.
July 12th, 2009 at 2:54 AM
I have three that I’ve liked just recently:
From Harry Potter 6 by JK Rowling:
Ron says, “Are you calling me mental?”
Harry replies, “Yes, I believe I am!”
From Acacia by David Anthony Durham:
Igguldan says to Corinn before going off to war, “I just needed you to know that you are loved.”
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong:
Elena says to Clay while he sleeps, “You bit me.”
July 12th, 2009 at 4:47 AM
The first one that came to mind has already been mentioned (Cassandra Clare’s X-Men reference), also wonderful was the Singing quote (those books kill me every time, rip my heart out and smoosh it kill me). But I think I’ll go with:
“He says he’s changed.”
“I suppose he could’ve changed, I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil.”
“You do look yellow around the edges, I hadn’t wanted to bring it up.”
“We daffodils like to have things brought up, it reminds us of spring.”
That’s between Kel and Neal in Tamora Pierce’s ‘Page.’
July 12th, 2009 at 8:57 AM
Karen Healey Says:
In Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers, protagonist Harriet Vane has been shopping with Lord Peter Wimsey (who has made a habit of proposing to her, unbowed by her refusals) when a young man who also proposed and took the rejection much more harshly happens across them singing in a shop:
“Who,” he demanded loudly, “is this effeminate bounder?”
“I have been accused of many things,” said Wimsey, interested; “but the charge of effeminacy is new to me. Do you mind explaining yourself?”
“I don’t like your song,” said the young man, rocking slightly on his feet, “and I don’t like your voice, and I don’t like your tom-fool eye-glass.”
“Good God!” said Wimsey, turning to Harriet. “Is this by any chance Mr. Jones of Jesus?”
“Who are you calling a bloody Welshman?” snarled the young man, much exasperated. “My name’s Pomfret.”
“Mine’s Wimsey,” said Peter. “Quite as ancient though less euphonious. Come on, son, don’t be an ass. You mustn’t behave like this to senior members, and before ladies.”
“Senior member be damned!” cried Mr. Pomfret, to whom this unfortunate phrase conveyed only too much. “Do you think I’m going to be sneered at by you? Stand up, blast you! Why can’t you stand up for yourself?”
“First,” replied Peter, mildly, “Because I’m twenty years older than you are. Secondly, because you’re six inches taller than I am. And thirdly, because I don’t want to hurt you.”
July 12th, 2009 at 9:10 AM
I am on vacation far far away from all of my books right now, so I am going to have to turn to my manga for this one. I got this from Death Note, Author: Ohba Tsuqumi Artist: Obata Takeshi
Light:I am writing down all the released names of criminals and lowering the amount of evil in the world. And they will all die from a heart attack. Even an idiot will realize that evil people are being killed.
I am going to make the world aware of my existence. That there is someone passing down judgement!!
Nobody will be able to do evil. The world will advance in the right direction. Those who do evil will die of a heart attack, I can erase other useless people through illness.
Then one day people will realize that “Doing this will get me killed”… And I will build a world of only kind hearted people I accept.
Ryuuk: Then You’ll be the only Bastard Left…
http://www.onemanga.com/Death_Note/1/45/ Link for visual
July 12th, 2009 at 11:42 AM
Looking back, she saw that Town Hall was finally crumbling. After the long minutes of bombardment, even its alloy skeleton was melting, bowing under the weight of the burning building.
And it was practically on top of her.
She rose to her feet again, turning her skintenna on, her head filling with the Cutters’ chatter as they organized the hospital evacuees.
“Town Hall’s collapsing!” she said, running. “I need help!”
“What are you doing way over there, Tally-wa?” Shay’s voice answered.
Specials by Scott Westerfeld.
July 12th, 2009 at 12:19 PM
A quote from Zane in the book Specials….
“Listen, Tally. When David saw how beautiful you were, he took on five million years of evolution. He saw past your imperfect skin and asymmetry and everything else our genes select against. And know you can’t even look at me just be cause I’m SHAKING A LITTLE?”
July 12th, 2009 at 3:56 PM
“I read about it online. They installed it a few years ago after come drunk guy walked into the park in the middle of the night and decided to go swimming with Shamu, who promptly killed him.”
“Yeah. so if that guy can make it in drunk, surely we can make it in sober. I men, we’re ninjas.”
“Well, maybe you’re ninja,”
“You’re just a really loud, wkward ninj, but we are both ninjas.”
Paper Towns by John Green
July 12th, 2009 at 4:13 PM
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus
July 12th, 2009 at 4:25 PM
Well, I found my copy of Fool, which is a retelling of King Lear from the court jester’s point of view. So here goes a bit of bawdiness from Christopher Moore:
“Pocket,” she once said, brushing her red-gold hair near a window, where it cuaght the sun and seemed to shine as if from within. She was perhaps sevnteen then, and had gotten in the habit of calling me to her chambers several times a week and questioning me mercilessly.
“Pocket, I am to be married soon, and I am mystified by man bits. I’ve heard them described, but that’s not helping.”
“Ask your nurse. Isn’t she supposed to teach you about such things?”
“Auntie’s a nun, and married to Jesus. A virgin.”
“You don’t say? She went to the wrong bloody convent, then.”
“I need to talk to a man, but not a proper man. You are like one of those fellows that Saracens have look over their harems.”
“See, you are worldly and know of things. I need to see your willie.”
“Pardon? What? Why?”
“Because I’ve never seen one, and I don’t want to seem naïve on my wedding night when the depraved brute ravages me.”
“How do you know he’s a depraved brute?”
“Auntie told me. All men are. Now, out with your willie, fool.”
“Why my willie? There’s willies aplenty you can look at. What about Oswald? He may even have one, or knows where you can get hold of one, I’ll wager.” (Oswald was her footman then.)
“I know, but this is my first, and yours will be small and not so frightening. It’s like when I was learning to ride, and first father gave me a pony, but then, as I got older…”
“All right, then, shut up. Here.”
“Oh, would you look at that.”
“That’s it, then?”
“Nothing really to be afraid of then, was there? I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s rather pitiful if you ask me.”
“It is not.”
“Are they all this small?”
“Most are smaller, in fact.”
“May I touch it?”
“If you feel you must.”
“Well, would you look at that.”
“See, now you’ve angered it.”
July 12th, 2009 at 5:36 PM
From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë!!! Ah! You gotta love that Jane!!!
“Do you know where the wicked go after death?”
“They go to hell,” was my ready orthodox answer.
“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”
“A pit full of fire.”
“And should you like to fall into that pit of fire, and to be burned there for ever?”
“What must you do to avoid it?”
“I deliberated a moment, my answer, when it did come, was objectionalbe: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”
July 12th, 2009 at 5:45 PM
It wasn’t so easy to make out what was going on in her mind. But now, as she came towards him, Dustfinger thought he saw something like concern in her eyes, perhaps even pity … What had the writer fellow said to make the girl look at him like that ?
He got up and brushed the dust off his trousers.
‘No copies left, am I right ?’ he asked, when the two of them had reached him.
‘You’re right. They’ve all been stolen,’ Silvertongue replied. ‘Years ago.’
His daughter never took her eyes off Dustfinger.
‘Why are you staring at me like that, princess ?’ he snapped. ‘Do you know something I don’t ?’
Bull’s-eye. An accidental one, too. He hadn’t wanted to score a bull’s-eye at all, certainly not a direct hit on an uncomfortable truth. The girl bit her lip, still looking at him with the same mixture of pity and concern.
Dustfinger rubbed his hand over his face, feeling his scars on it like a picture postcard saying ‘Greetings from Basta’. He could never forget Capricorn’s rabid dog for a single day even if he wanted to. ‘To help you please the girls even better in future !’ Basta has hissed in his ear before wiping the blood off his knife.
‘Oh, curse it all !’ Dustfinger kicked the nearest wall so hard that he felt the pain in his foot for days to come. ‘You’ve told that writer about me !’ he accused Mo. ‘And now even your daughter knows more about me than I do ! Very well, out with it ! I want to know now too. Tell me. You always wanted to tell me, after all. Basta hangs me, is that it ? Strings me up and tightens the noose until I’m dead as a doornail, right ? But why should that bother me ? Basta’s in this world now, isn’t he ? The story’s changed – it must have changed. Basta can’t hurt me if you just send me back there where I belong !’
Dustfinger took a step towards Silvertongue as if to grab him, shake him, take out on him all that had been done to himself, but Meggie came between them.
‘Stop it ! It’s not Basta !’ she cried, pushing him away. ‘It’s one of Capricorn’s men, and he’s waiting for you in the book. They want to kill Gwin and you try to help him, so they kill you instead ! Nothing about that has changed ! It will simply happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. Do you understand ? You must stay here, you can’t go back, ever !’
Dustfinger stared at the girl as if he could shut her up that way, but she held his gaze. She even tried to take his hand.
‘You should be glad to be there !’ she faltered as he retreated from her. ‘You can escape from them here. You can go away, far away, and …’
Her voice quivered. Perhaps she had seen the tears in Dustfinger’s eyes. Angrily, he wiped them away with his sleeve, and looked round like an animal in a trap, searching for some way out. But there was no way out. No going forward and, even worse, no going back.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.
July 12th, 2009 at 6:10 PM
I hope this isn’t too late a response, but my favourite dialogue is from 1984 by George Orwell, between Syme and Winston when Syme is explaining his work concerning the dictionaries and how they (the Government) can control thoughts through controlling language.
“How is the dictionary getting on?” said Winston, raising his voice to overcome the noise.
“Slowly,” said Syme, “I’m on the adjectives. It’s fascinating.” … “The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,” he said. “We’re getting the language into its final shape – the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words – scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050. … It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. OF course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. IT isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other words? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ‘good’ for instance. If you have a word like ‘good’ what need is there for a word like ‘bad’? ‘Ungood’ will do just as well – better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not….”
I like this exchange, not because I necessarily agree with Syme’s position (although, for the purposes of Big Brother, a simple, standard language free of nuance will more easily keep a significant population firmly in line), but because any discussion of language really excites me.
July 12th, 2009 at 6:38 PM
From Watchmen, the graphic novel.
Laurie: “…My whole LIFE’S a joke. One stupid, meaningless… Aw Shit…”
Dr. Manhattan: “I don’t think your life is meaningless.”
Laurie: “Oh no, well, OBVIOUSLY that’s what YOU”RE going to say, because anything I’M stupid enough to believe is true, you just have to DISAGREE with it… and… uh.. …You DON”T?”
Laurie: “But… You’ve just been saying life IS meaningless, so how can…?”
Dr. Manhattan:”I changed my mind.”
Laurie: “But WHY?”
Dr. Manhattan:”Thermodynamic Miracles …events with odds so astronomical they’re effectively IMPOSSIBLE, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. i long to observe such a thing.
‘And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply THOSE odds by countless GENERATIONS, against odds you’re ancestors being ALIVE; MEETING; siring THIS precise son, THAT exact daughter…
‘…Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to HATE, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was YOU, ONLY you, that emerged.
‘To distill so SPECIFIC a form from that Chaos of IMPROBABILITY, like turning air to gold… THAT is the crowning of unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.”
Laurie: “But… if me, my birth, if THAT’S a thermodynamic miracle… You could say that about anybody in the world!”
Dr. Manhattan:”Yes. Anybody in the World.
‘…But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget… I forget.”
I don’t usually read comics or graphic novels so I don’t know if that’s how you quote them.
July 12th, 2009 at 6:53 PM
That passage is the signature for my e-mail!
July 12th, 2009 at 7:32 PM
WILMORE; So would it be fair to say that you are involved in a racial conspiracy?
THE MAN: No. Racial conspiracies are still handled by the government. You know Tuskegee, drug laws, Katrina–
WILMORE: Wait a second. You weren’t responsible for Katrina? That wasn’t the work of The Man?
THE MAN: Heavens no. Only the government could get away with that level of incompetence and cruelty.
From I’d Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts by Larry Wilmore
July 12th, 2009 at 8:31 PM
Dullboy by Sarah Cross
“That settles it.” I say stealing her spray bottle and tossing it behind the counter. “I’m kidnapping you. You are so unbelievabley cold- you need a good *altrusim to warm you up.”
July 12th, 2009 at 9:03 PM
From Paper Towns, by John Green
“Shut up bro. I’m freaked out.” he said, looking at me, his eyes almost crossed. “I don’t think I’m very good.”
“At kissing. And, I mean, she’s done a lot more kissing than me over the years. I don’t want to suck so bad she dumps me. Girls dig you,” he said to me, which was at best true only if you defined the word girls as “girls in the marching band.” “Bro, I’m asking for advice.”
I was tempted to bring up all Ben’s endless blather about the various ways in which he would rock various bodies, but I just said, “As far as I can tell, there are two basic rules: 1. Don’t bite anything without permission, and 2. The human tongue is like wasabi: it’s very powerful, and should be used sparingly.”
Ben’s eyes suddenly grew bright with panic. I winced and said “She’s standing behind me isn’t she?”
“‘The human tongue is like wasabi,’” Lacey mimicked in a deep goofy voice that i hoped didn’t really resemble mine. I wheeled around. “I actually think Ben’s tongue is like sunscreen,” she said. “Its good for your health and should be applied liberally.”
July 12th, 2009 at 9:29 PM
Another from Anne of Green Gables….
“Oh, Mrs. Lynde, I am so extremely sorry,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I could never express all my sorrow, no, not if I used up a whole dictionary. You must just imagine it. I behaved terribly to you–and I’ve disgraced the dear friends, Matthew and Marilla, who have let me stay at Green Gables although I’m not a boy. I’m a dreadfully wicked and ungrateful girl, and I deserve to be punished and cast out by respectable people forever. It was very wicked of me to fly into a temper because you told me the truth. It WAS the truth; every word you said was true. My hair is red and I’m freckled and skinny and ugly. What I said to you was true, too, but I shouldn’t have said it. Oh, Mrs. Lynde, please, please, forgive me. If you refuse it will be a lifelong sorrow on a poor little orphan girl, would you, even if she had a dreadful temper? Oh, I am sure you wouldn’t. Please say you forgive me, Mrs. Lynde.”
Anne clasped her hands together, bowed her head, and waited for the word of judgment.
There was no mistaking her sincerity–it breathed in every tone of her voice. Both Marilla and Mrs. Lynde recognized its unmistakable ring. But the former under- stood in dismay that Anne was actually enjoying her valley of humiliation–was reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement. Where was the wholesome punishment upon which she, Marilla, had plumed herself? Anne had turned it into a species of positive pleasure.
Good Mrs. Lynde, not being overburdened with perception, did not see this. She only perceived that Anne had made a very thorough apology and all resentment vanished from her kindly, if somewhat officious, heart.
“There, there, get up, child,” she said heartily. “Of course I forgive you. I guess I was a little too hard on you, anyway. But I’m such an outspoken person. You just mustn’t mind me, that’s what. It can’t be denied your hair is terrible red; but I knew a girl once–went to school with her, in fact–whose hair was every mite as red as yours when she was young, but when she grew up it darkened to a real handsome auburn. I wouldn’t be a mite surprised if yours did, too–not a mite.”
July 12th, 2009 at 9:30 PM
From an online comic strip http://www.exterminatusnow.comicgenesis.com
“But monsieur presidente, you are wearing my pants”
(Toad has just had his brand new horse and cart tipped into a ditch by a passing motor-car and is sitting in the middle of the dusty road, transfixed.)
At intervals he was still heard to murmur “Poop-poop!”
The Rat shook him by the shoulder. “Are you coming to help us Toad?” he demanded sternly.
“Glorious stirring sight!” murmured Toad, never offering to move. “The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today — in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped — always somebody else’s horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!”
“Oh stop being an ass, Toad!” cried the Mole despairingly.
“And to think I never knew! went on Toad in a dreamy monotone. “All those wasted years that lie behind me, I never knew, never even dreamt! But now — but now that I know, now that I fully realize! O what a flowery track lies spread before me, henceforth! What dust-clouds shall spring up behind me as I speed on my reckless way! What carts I shall fling carelessly into the ditch in the wake of my magnificent onset! Horrid little carts — common carts — canary-coloured carts!”
“What are we to do with him?” asked the Mole of the Water-Rat.
“Nothing at all,” replied the Rat firmly.
—From ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame
(I never noticed before how many exclamation marks Grahame uses. Quite excessive!)
July 12th, 2009 at 9:56 PM
Well i have two:
“ou weren’t being thick after all-you were showing moral fiber!”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, do i really need to tell you who this is by?
July 12th, 2009 at 10:23 PM
Well actually I lied and only had oneand I met “You” not “ou”! Oops sorry :S
July 12th, 2009 at 10:25 PM
I have so much quotes from so many novels, but I’m going to have to pick one of my favourites from my favourite series of all time. It kind of inspires me in some weird, twisted way:
‘Voldemort’s got the Elder Wand.’
‘True. Voldemort has got the Elder Wand.’
‘But you want me to go back?’
‘I think,’ said Dumbledore, ‘that if you choose to return, there is a chance that he may be finished for good. I cannot promise it. But I know this, Harry, that you have less to fear from returning than he does.’
‘Tell me one last thing,’ said Harry. ‘Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?’
‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’
Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter’s discussion, King’s Cross, right after Harry ‘dies’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
July 12th, 2009 at 10:26 PM
capt. cockatiel Says:
From “Candide” by Voltaire (end of chapter ten with Cunegonde complaining about what has happened to her thus far):
‘I’m afraid, my good woman,’ she said to her, ‘that unless you have been raped by two Bulgars, stabbed twice in the stomach, had two of your castles demolished, seen two mothers’ and two fathers’ throats slit before your very eyes, and watched two of your lovers being flogged at an auto-da-fe, then I don’t see you bettering me. Added to which, I was born a Baroness with seventy-two heraldic quarterings and yet I have been a cook.’
‘My young lady,’ replied the old woman, ‘you do not know who I am by birth, and if I were to show you my bottom, you would not speak as you do, and you would reserve judgment.’
That story is just too hilarious. (:
July 12th, 2009 at 10:36 PM
Kim L Says:
I was reading “Audrey Wait!” today, and this little exchange cracked me up so much I read it to my husband:
“What does scare you?”
I thought for a moment, tapping my index finger against my bottom lip. “Sock puppets.”
I could hear his breath hitch in his rib cage. “Audrey, they’re just socks.”
“Yeah, I know. But they talk.“
July 12th, 2009 at 10:47 PM
“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
July 12th, 2009 at 11:04 PM
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The cheer the Colonel and the crowd does at the basketball game.
“WE GOT HIGHER SATs.”
“Hip Hip Hip Hooray!”
“YOU’LL BE WORKIN’ FOR US SOMEDAY!”
“YOU’RE MUCH BIGGER, BUT WE ARE SMARTER!”
July 12th, 2009 at 11:30 PM
Katharine Wright Says:
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes, by Beatrix Potter.
Goody Tiptoes, a squirrel, outside a hollow tree, listening to her husband Timmy and a chipmunk buddy singing drinking songs inside the tree, asks the chipmunk’s wife for help in getting Timmy back.
“You could squeeze in, through that little round hole,” said Goody Tiptoes.
“Yes, I could,” said the Chipmunk, “but my husband, Chippy Hackee, bites!”
I don’t know why I like that little exchange so much, but I do!
July 13th, 2009 at 2:35 AM
I’m going to quote Jane’s words. You’d think I’d have enough of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion after having written my dissertation on the humour contained in them this year (100-page long too!) but I don’t. I still think Jane’s a genius and I still laugh. So in honour of my still laughing after 9 months spent staring at and analysing the same sentences, I’ll quote Persuasion. This is a conversation between Anne and Mary.
“So, you are come at last! I began to think I should never see you. I am so ill I can hardly speak. I have not seen a creature the whole morning!”
“I am sorry to find you unwell,” replied Anne. “You sent me such a good account of yourself on Thursday!”
“Yes, I made the best of it; I always do: but I was very far from well at the time; and I do not think I ever was so ill in my life as I have been all this morning: very unfit to be left alone, I am sure. Suppose I were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way, and not able to ring the bell! So, Lady Russell would not get out. I do not think she has been in this house three times this summer.”
Anne said what was proper, and enquired after her husband. “Oh! Charles is out shooting. I have not seen him since seven o’clock. He would go, though I told him how ill I was. He said he should not stay out long; but he has never come back, and now it is almost one. I assure you, I have not seen a soul this whole long morning.”
“You have had your little boys with you?”
“Yes, as long as I could bear their noise; but they are so unmanageable that they do me more harm than good. Little Charles does not mind a word I say, and Walter is growing quite as bad.”
“Well, you will soon be better now,” replied Anne, cheerfully. “You know I always cure you when I come. How are your neighbours at the Great House?”
“I can give you no account of them. I have not seen one of them to-day, except Mr Musgrove, who just stopped and spoke through the window, but without getting off his horse; and though I told him how ill I was, not one of them have been near me. It did not happen to suit the Miss Musgroves, I suppose, and they never put themselves out of their way.”
“You will see them yet, perhaps, before the morning is gone. It is early.”
“I never want them, I assure you. They talk and laugh a great deal too much for me. Oh! Anne, I am so very unwell! It was quite unkind of you not to come on Thursday.”
“My dear Mary, recollect what a comfortable account you sent me of yourself! You wrote in the cheerfullest manner, and said you were perfectly well, and in no hurry for me; and that being the case, you must be aware that my wish would be to remain with Lady Russell to the last: and besides what I felt on her account, I have really been so busy, have had so much to do, that I could not very conveniently have left Kellynch sooner.”
“Dear me! what can you possibly have to do?”
“A great many things, I assure you. More than I can recollect in a moment; but I can tell you some. I have been making a duplicate of the catalogue of my father’s books and pictures. I have been several times in the garden with Mackenzie, trying to understand, and make him understand, which of Elizabeth’s plants are for Lady Russell. I have had all my own little concerns to arrange, books and music to divide, and all my trunks to repack, from not having understood in time what was intended as to the waggons: and one thing I have had to do, Mary, of a more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish, as a sort of take-leave. I was told that they wished it. But all these things took up a great deal of time.”
“Oh! well!” and after a moment’s pause, “but you have never asked me one word about our dinner at the Pooles yesterday.”
“Did you go then? I have made no enquiries, because I concluded you must have been obliged to give up the party.”
“Oh yes! I went. I was very well yesterday; nothing at all the matter with me till this morning. It would have been strange if I had not gone.”
“I am very glad you were well enough, and I hope you had a pleasant party.”
“Nothing remarkable. One always knows beforehand what the dinner will be, and who will be there; and it is so very uncomfortable not having a carriage of one’s own. Mr and Mrs Musgrove took me, and we were so crowded! They are both so very large, and take up so much room; and Mr Musgrove always sits forward. So, there was I, crowded into the back seat with Henrietta and Louise; and I think it very likely that my illness to-day may be owing to it.”
A little further perseverance in patience and forced cheerfulness on Anne’s side produced nearly a cure on Mary’s. She could soon sit upright on the sofa, and began to hope she might be able to leave it by dinner-time. Then, forgetting to think of it, she was at the other end of the room, beautifying a nosegay; then, she ate her cold meat; and then she was well enough to propose a little walk.”
It’s incredible just how manipulative Mary is, really. It still shocks me. I just love Jane, her humour’s second to none. Have a beautiful day, Justine!
July 13th, 2009 at 2:58 AM
I thought, dialogue? Do I remember *any* dialogue? It occurred to me that the only conversation that really sticks in my brain is one between the characters of Katin and Mouse in Samuel R. Delaney’s book Nova. So I picked up the novel, and naturally, I can’t find that particular conversation, but I found many others, including this one which I thought you might find interesting:
He switched off his recorder and looked at the Mouse.
“What you doing?”
“Making notes on my novel.”
“Archaic art form superseded by the psychorama. Alas, it was capable of vanished subtleties, both spiritual and artistic, that the more immediate form has not yet equaled. I’m an anachronism, Mouse.” Katin grinned. “Thanks for my job.”
The Mouse shrugged. “What are you talking about?”
“Psychology.” Katin put the recorder back in his pocket. “Politics, and Physics. The three P’s.”
“Psychology? the Mouse asked. “Politics?”
“Can you read and write?” Katin asked.
“Turkish, Greek, and Arabic. But not too good in English. The letters don’t have nothing to do with the sounds you make.”
Katin nodded. He was a little drunk too. “Profound. That’s why English was such a fine language for novels. But I oversimplify.”
This dialogue is enough to remind me of why I love this book so much. I think I’ll re-read it now…
July 13th, 2009 at 11:34 AM
This may not be particularly interesting to many people, but I do remember enjoying it when I read it. This short conversation comes from Anne Brashare’s book Forever in Blue. This may be just because Bridget was always my favorite out of the four girls, and her parts of the books always got my best attention.
Bridget: Where are you digging?
Maxine: I’m not, I’m a conservator. I’m working on pottery in the lab. What about you?
Bridget: Mortuary. For starters, at least.
Maxine: Ooh. How’s your stomach?
Bridget: Good, I think.
July 13th, 2009 at 12:48 PM
Rob Charron Says:
Thanks for a very interesting contest. I loved reading all the dialogue in the comments. My favorite dialogue comes from the novel THE NIGHTLIFE OF THE GODS by Thorne Smith, which I re-re-read until the paperback fell apart into a mess of loose pages held by the cover like a folder. Also, for those interested in this amazing author you can download his books for free here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/forgottenfutures/smith/smith.htm
Now, on to the dialogue:
…..The small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion—a singularly self-centred sort of explosion.
‘Well, thank God, that’s over,’ said Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert, swathing her sentence in a sigh intended to convey an impression of hard-pressed fortitude.
With bleak eyes she surveyed the fragments of a shattered vase. Its disastrous dive from the piano as a result of the shock had had in it something of the mad deliberation of a suicide’s plunge. Its hideous days were over now, and Mrs Lambert was dimly aware of another little familiar something having been withdrawn from her life.
‘I hope to high heaven this last one satisfies him for this spring at least,’ was petulant comment of Alfred, the male annexe of Alice.
‘I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting,’ came a thin disembodied voice from a dark corner. ‘Night and day I’ve been waiting and expecting—’
‘And hoping and praying, no doubt, Grandpa,’ interrupted Daphne, idly considering a run in her stocking and wondering what she was going to do about it, if anything, and when would be the least boring time to do it if she did, which she doubted.
‘Alice,’ complained Grandpa Lambert from the security of his shadows, ‘that baggage has no respect for her elders.’
Stella, femininely desirable but domestically a washout, made one of her typical off-balance entrances. It started with a sort of scrambled hovering at the door, developed this into a mad dash into the room, and terminated in a tragic example of suspended animation somewhere in the immaculate neighbourhood of Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert.
‘Been an explosion, ma’am,’ announced Stella in a deflated voice. ‘Mr Betts says so.’
‘Now all you need to do is to fall dead at our feet to make the picture complete,’ remarked Daphne.
‘Yes, Miss Daffy,’ said Stella brightly.
‘And if Mr Betts says there’s been an explosion,’ Daffy continued, ‘then there must have been an explosion. Betts is never wrong. You go back, Stella dear, and thank him for letting us know so promptly.’
‘But, Miss Daffy, what shall we do about it?’ asked Stella, vainly looking for some light to guide amid the encircling gloom.
‘About what, Stella?’ asked Daffy.
‘This explosion, miss,’ and Stella extended her hands as if she were offering a young explosion for the inspection of Daphne.
‘Stella,’ that young lady explained with sweet but jaded patience, ‘one doesn’t do things about explosions. Explosions are quite competent to do things for themselves. All sorts of things. The most one can do for an explosion is to leave it entirely alone until it has decided to become a ruin. Also, you can blink at an explosion respectfully in the news reels and feel good about its ghastly results. You’ll probably gasp at this one on your night off next Thursday.’ She paused, then added, ‘With that stout fellow Tim breathing heavily in your ear.’
This last realistic observation was enough to effect the untidy departure of Stella.
‘Oh, Miss Daffy,’ was all that maiden said.
‘I do wish she would refrain from calling you by that vulgar sobriquet,’ said Mrs Lambert.
‘Why, Mother?’ the daughter asked. ‘I am. Very. That’s why I like myself, and that’s why I like him. He’s daffy too.’
She pointed in the general direction of the explosion.
‘In that you’re right, for a change,’ agreed her father. ‘He belongs in some institution. What does he mean by getting us here in this house and then having explosions all over the place? I call it downright inconsiderate.’
If Mr Alfred Pollard Lambert had forgotten the small detail that after having lost his wife’s fortune in various business misadventures he had sought sanctuary for himself and dependents in his brother-in-law’s previously tranquil home, Daffy had not been so remiss. However, out of an innate sense of sportsmanship she rejected the opening her bumptious parent had offered her, merely contenting herself by observing:
‘Well, if I had a home of my own I’d explode all over it as much as I jolly well liked. I’d explode from attic to cellar just as long as I felt the least bit explosive.’
‘I know, my dear,’ said her mother. ‘No one is saying your uncle hasn’t a perfect right to explode whenever and wherever he pleases, but you must admit there’s a certain limitation, certain restrictions of decency. One explosion, even two, we could understand and condone, but a series, a constant fusillade—it isn’t normal. Good taste alone would suggest a little less boisterous avocation and a little less dangerous one.’
‘But, Mother,’ protested the girl, ‘he has never invited any of us to participate in one of his explosions. He’s been very decent about it and kept them entirely to himself.’
‘Most of these scientific johnnies are content with a couple of explosions,’ said Alfred, ‘but your uncle is never satisfied. He seems to think that life is just one long Fourth of July.’
‘The day will come,’ intoned the devitalized voice from the corner. ‘Mark the words of an old man. The day will come when we’ll find ourselves completely blown to bits.’
This dire prediction struck Daphne as funny. She allowed herself several contemplative giggles.
‘I can see it all,’ she said. ‘A lot of bits rushing busily about in a mad scramble to find one another. Hands collecting feet, legs, livers, and such, and putting them aside in a neat pile until all the bits have been assembled. Well, I hope I don’t find some of this,’ she continued, spanking herself resoundingly. ‘I’m getting altogether too self-assertive in that quarter.’
‘Daphne!’ Mrs Lambert exclaimed. ‘You’re positively obscene.’
For a moment the young lady stood in rapt contemplation of some inner glory.
‘I have it,’ she said at last. ‘Listen:
Said a certain king to his queen:
“In spots you grow far from lean.”
“I don’t give a damn,
You’ve always loved ham,”
She replied, and he said, “How obscene!”
From the dark corner inhabited by Grandpa Lambert issued a strange and unexpected sound, a sound which partook of the nature of both a cough and a cackle, such a sound as might clatter from the lipless mouth of a skull well pleased by some macabre memory.
‘Why, Father!’ exclaimed Alfred Lambert. ‘You’re laughing, actually laughing.’
‘And at such a thing,’ added Mrs Lambert with deep disapproval.
‘Can’t help it,’ wheezed the old gentleman. ‘Always had a weakness for limericks. Got a few of my own if I could only remember them.’
He promptly fell to brooding not uncheerfully over those lost limericks of other years.
‘You old darling,’ said Daffy, going over to the thin, crouched figure. ‘You’ve been holding out on me.’
‘Disgraceful,’ sniffed Alice Pollard Lambert. ‘Demoralizing.’
Alfred made no further comment.
‘There’s one thing about the Persians,’the old man was saying to his granddaughter. ‘Oh, a delightful thing, my dear child, an exquisite bit of vulgarity. Of course, I couldn’t repeat it to you. Maybe after you’re married. I’ll tell your husband, and he’ll tell you—if he’s the right sort of a husband.’
‘I’m sure Alfred never sullies my ears with such indecencies,’ said Mrs Lambert, with a rising inflexion in her overcultured voice.
‘He doesn’t get out enough,’ grated the old man. ‘Do you both good.’
‘Your suggestion, Grandpa, is the greatest inducement to matrimony I’ve ever had,’ said Daphne, patting the old man’s shoulder. ‘I’ll look for a victim immediately.’
‘A full-legged girl like yourself shouldn’t have far to look,’ the old man said with an unedifying chuckle. ‘In my day young men had to depend almost entirely on the sense of touch in such matters. Nowadays the sense of sight seems to play a more important part. It simplifies things, perhaps, but robs courtship of a lot of adventure.’
‘Disgusting!’ pronounced Mrs Lambert, then added with a view to changing the subject, ‘Don’t you think, Alfred, that Stella was right? Shouldn’t we do something about this explosion?’
‘Perhaps,’ agreed Alfred. ‘He usually comes out after he’s had one.’
‘Rather rapidly,’ remarked Daffy. ‘The last time he came out through the side of the house with a couple of bricks in his pants.’
‘But he hates to be disturbed,’ went on Mrs Lambert. ‘You know how he is.’
‘I know how he was,’ replied Daffy. ‘How he is now, God only knows.’
‘Perhaps it got him this time,’ suggested Grandpa Lambert, not without a touch of complacency.
‘Think we should go, Alfred?’ asked his wife.
‘Well, if that explosion failed to disturb him,’ Mr Lambert observed, ‘I don’t see how the intervention of mere mortals could make much of an impression. But why ask me? You’re his sister. You should know best what to do about his explosive highness.’
At this stage in the deliberations Alfred, Junior, age seventeen, lolled into the room. He tossed his hat at a chair with which it failed to connect. He thrust his hands deep into his pockets and looked ugly. He confronted his mother and began to speak in one of those voices which had it been a face one could have instinctively slapped. ‘How long am I going to be made a laughing-stock out of?’ he demanded. ‘How long, I ask you?’
‘If you ask me,’ put in his sister, ‘I’d say as long as a suffering world allows you to live.’
‘What is it now, darling?’ Mrs Lambert asked with cloying solicitude.
The youth laughed unpleasantly.
‘You ask me that?’ he exclaimed. ‘Does another explosion mean nothing to you? Am I to have my friends saying, “That loony uncle of yours has blown up his house again”? Am I to be made the butt of all the humour and wisecracks of the community? Do you know what all my friends are saying? Would you like to know?’
‘No,’ said Daffy. ‘Emphatically not.’
‘Shut up, you,’ snapped her brother. ‘They’re saying that they wouldn’t be caught dead in this house. That’s what they’re saying.’
‘If they’re caught in this house they will be dead,’ remarked Daffy with great decision. ‘I’ll jolly well blow the whole kit and boodle of ‘em to smithereens.’
‘Children, children,’ Mrs Lambert protested.
‘We’ve got to put a stop to it, Mother,’ announced Junior. ‘We’ve got to have a talk with him. I can’t afford to be saddled with the stigma of a mad uncle.’
‘Yes, darling,’ his mother agreed. ‘I know-how you must feel.’
‘Why don’t you go yourself, dearie, and have a talk with him now?’ asked his sister. ‘Lace it into him good and proper Give him what for. Also, a microscopic portion of your infinitesimal mind.’
‘Think you’re funny, don’t you?’ retorted the hope of the Lamberts.
‘I do,’ replied Daffy. ‘I am.’
‘What I want to know is, why does he have all these explosions?’ Alfred Lambert inquired in an injured voice. ‘Are they essential to his happiness? What is he trying to prove, anyway?’
‘Cellular petrification through atomic combustion,’ quoted Daphne weightily, ‘and vice versa. It’s highly electrical and can be, when it feels like it, no end smelly.’
‘And noisy,’ came from the corner.
‘I’ll tell you what let’s do,’ suggested Mr Lambert with the verve of one who has just conceived a bright and original idea. ‘Let’s all go see him.’
‘Why not?’ replied Daffy with a slight shrug.
‘All but me,’ amended Grandpa Lambert. ‘I’ll sit here and think up limericks. It’s safer.’
‘And naughtier,’ said Daffy as she led the way from the room. ‘Horrid old man.’
‘Wanton,’ he retorted.
What I LOVE about this dialogue is that it reveals the characters so well and sets the tone of the novel and is realistic as well as light.
Love from Canada
July 13th, 2009 at 12:50 PM
Not a dialogue exchange, but my favorite line in all of literature, from Bilbo’s speech in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring:
“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
July 13th, 2009 at 12:52 PM
Rochelle Thompson Says:
This is from John Green’s Paper Towns.
“Can we call Ben then?”
“No. Ben’s an asshole.”
Radar looked at me sideways. “Of course he is. You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpuntucal and fro never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend- but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. I’m too obsessed with a reference Web site to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”
“Yeah, well, I wasn’t complimenting you. Just saying: Stop thinking Ben should be you, and he needs to stop thinking you should be him, and y’all just chill the hell out.”
“All right,” I said finally, and called Ben. The news that Radar was over and wanted to play video games led to a miraculous hangover recovery.
“So,” I said after hanging up. “How’s Angela?”
Radar laughed. “She’s good, man. She’s real good. Thanks for asking.”
July 13th, 2009 at 12:56 PM
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
“If we die for them, I’ll kill you Harry!” -Ron Weasley
July 13th, 2009 at 1:05 PM
Andrew M Says:
From A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, after Bill’s Appalachian Trail hiking partner gets lost in the woods for the better part of a day before eventually (miraculously) finding his way back to it.
Bill Bryson: “You should never leave the trail, Stephen.”
Katz: “Oh, now there’s a timely piece of advice, Bryson. Thank you so much. That’s like telling somebody who’s died in a crash, ‘Drive safely now.’”
July 13th, 2009 at 1:17 PM
39 clues, book 3- the sword thief by Peter Lerangis
Dan Cahill- “Hey, Amy, did you ever want to, like, get on the conveyor belt and see what happened? Like, ‘Hey, don’t mind me, I’m just hanging with the cargo’?”
July 13th, 2009 at 1:52 PM
Catie S Says:
This is one of my favorite lines from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
“It seemed like clouds & a sense of humor didn’t mix. A few more months of this & I’d forget how to use sarcasm.” -Bella Swan
July 13th, 2009 at 2:10 PM
“The Light Fantastic” from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.
“If you’re going to suggest I try dropping twenty feet down a pitch dark
tower in the hope of hitting a couple of greasy little steps which might
not even still be there, you can forget it,” said Rincewind sharply.
“There is an alternative, then.”
“Out with it, man.”
“You could drop five hundred feet down a pitch black tower and hit stones
which certainly are there,” said Twoflower.
Dead silence from below him. Then Rincewind said, accusingly, “That was sarcasm.”
July 13th, 2009 at 3:34 PM
I have way too many bits of dialogue that sound snazzy or funny or speak to me as a person. So I’m going to go the other route with one of my recent favourites from the Young Justice comics issue 7 (written by Peter David) where the kids are out camping and having a night off. Arrowette is trying to both explain and engage the others in a game of truth or dare.
ARROWETTE: You have to either answer a question truthfully or do a dare. I used to play it at school all the –
IMPULSE: I’ll go first!
ARROWETTE: Uhm, okay. Truth or dare?
ARROWETTE: Okay. You have to… uh… hmmm. You, uh… Uh…look, maybe you want to do truth.?.?
IMPULSE: No, dare. I’m ready. Let’s go. DARE me. I dare you to dare me.
I love this dialogue because it is so perfectly and exactly what each of these characters is and would do. Dialogue that flows completely natural can sometimes sparkle for me more than high-tension or quotable scenes.
July 13th, 2009 at 3:36 PM
Okay, the one I love is wayyy too long to post. But it is in GOD IS DEAD by Ron Currie, Jr.
There is a man who has finally formulated in his head that all the decisions in lis life here horribly awry rooted in one decision of his past. So, on a trip to Darfur, he veers off speech and says he will not leave until a woman (who, consequently, is God) finds her brother. So when his superiors–read, the president–calls him to demand the the F is going on, he proposes a hypothetical situation to the president.
He goes on this rant, on the phone, about the base decision that has turmoiled his life until now. It’s this huge, race issue past that involves the death of a friend and his government supressing him back then. At the end of the phonecall, before the scene ends, it’s just priceless.
“Any then you realize that you’re the only black person on this plane.”
“How would you feel? How would you talk? How would you behave, you silver-spoon master-of-the-universe MFer?”
I just love the pauses since it’s a phonecall
July 13th, 2009 at 3:46 PM
Buckley followed the three of them into the kitchen and asked, as he had at least once a day, “Where’s Susie?”
They were silent. Samuel looked at Lindsey.
“Buckley,” my father called from the adjoining room, “come play Monopoly with me.”
My brother had never been invited to play Monopoly. Everyone said he was too young, but this was the magic of Christmas. He rushed into the family room, and my father picked him up and sat him on his lap.
“See this shoe?” my father said.
Buckley nodded his head.
“I want you to listen to everything I say about it, okay?”
“Susie?” my brother asked, somehow connecting the two.
“Yes, I’m going to tell you where Susie is.”
I began to cry up in heaven. What else was there for me to do?
“This shoe was the piece Susie played Monopoly with,” he said. “I play with the car or sometimes the wheelbarrow. Lindsey plays with the iron, and when you mother plays, she likes the cannon.”
“Is that a dog?”
“Yes, that’s a Scottie.”
“Okay,” my father said. He was patient. He had found a way to explain it. He held his son in his lap, and as he spoke, he felt Buckley’s small body on his knee-the very human, very warm, very alive weight of it. It comforted him. “The Scottie will be your piece from now on. Which piece is Susie’s again?”
“The shoe?” Buckley asked.
“Right, and I’m the car, your sister’s the iron, and your mother is the cannon.”
My brother concentrated very hard.
“Now let’s put all the pieces on the board, okay? You go ahead and do it for me.”
Buckley grabbed a fist of pieces and then another, until all the pieces lay between the Chance and Community Chest cards.
“Let’s say the other pieces are our friends?”
“Right, we’ll make your friend Nate the hat. And the board is the world. Now if I were to tell you that when I rolled the dice, one of the pieces would be taken away, what would that mean?”
“They can’t play anymore?”
“Why?” Buckley asked.
He looked up at my father; my father flinched.
“Why?” my brother asked again.
My father did not want to say “because life is unfair” or “because that’s how it is”. He wanted something neat, something that could explain death to a four-year-old He placed his hand on the small of Buckley’s back.
“Susie is dead,” he said now, unable to make it fit in the rules of any game. “Do you know what that means?”
Buckley reached over with his hand and covered the shoe. He looked up to see if his answer was right.
“My father nodded. You won’t see Susie anymore, honey. None of us will.” My father cried. Buckley looked up into the eyes of our father and did not really understand.
~”The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold
(sorry I chose such a tragic one! But it’s such a great scene.)
July 13th, 2009 at 3:57 PM
I am so loving all the “Paper Towns” quotes! So I’m just going to throw my favorite “Paper Towns” quote out there as a bonus : “Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”
And AS EVERYONE KNOWS John Green wrote “Paper Towns”.
July 13th, 2009 at 4:03 PM
Julia Rios Says:
From Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding. Bridget interviews Colin Firth about his role in the film, Fever Pitch.
BJ: You know the oncoming film Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby?
CF: I do know it, yes.
BJ: (Pause. Rustling paper) Do … Oh. (More rustling paper) Do you think the book of Fever Pitch has spored a confessional gender?
CF: Excuse me?
BJ: Has. Spored. A. Confessional. Gender.
CF: Spored a confessional gender?
CF: Well. Certainly Nick Hornby’s style has been very much imitated and I think it’s a very appealing, er, gender whether or not he actually, um … spored it.
July 13th, 2009 at 4:10 PM
john cash Says:
Having grabbed their towels and placed them in the proper position, Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent ar about to travel. Arthur wonders if it will hurt, etc.
Ford: It’s a lot like being drunk.
Arthur: I’ve been drunk before, it’s not so bad.
Ford: Tell that to a glass of water.
July 13th, 2009 at 4:18 PM
From “The Sweet Far Thing” by Libba Bray. The conversation takes place while Gemma is attempting to plung a dagger into an ancient tree that contains trapped souls, however she is trapped in an illusion created by Eugenia Spence, a women who is seeking control of the Realms.
(Eugenia Spence:) “Give yourself to me, Gemma, and you will never be alone again. You’ll be worshipped. Adored. Loved. But you must give yourself to me- a willing sacrifice.”
(Gemma:) Tears slipped down my face. “Yes,” I murmur.
“Gemma, don’t listen,” Cirice says hoarsely, and for a moment, I don’t see Eugenia: I see only the tree, the blood pumping beneath its pale skin, the bodies of the dead hanging from it like chimes.
I gasp, and Eugenia is before me again. “Yes, this is what you want Gemma. Try as you might, you cannot kill this part of yourself. The solitude of the self that waits under the stairs of your soul. Always there, no matter how much you’ve tried to get rid of it. I understand. I do. Stay with me and never be lonely again.”
“Don’t listen…to that…b****,” Circe croaks, and the vies tighten around her neck.
“No, you’re wrong,” I say to Eugenia as if coming out of a long sleep. “/You/ couldn’t kill this part of yourself. And you couldn’t accept it, either.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” she says, sounding uncertain for the first time.
“That’s why they were able to take you. They found your fear.”
“And what, pray, is it?”
“Your pride. You couldn’t believe you might have some of the same qualities as the creatures themselves.”
“I am not like them. I am their hope. I sustain them.”
“No. You tell yourself that. That’s why Circe told me to search my dark corners. So I wouldn’t be caught off guard.”
Circe laughs, a splintered cackle that finds a way under my skin.
“And what about you, Gemma?” Eugenia purrs. “Have you ‘searched’yourself, as you say?”
“I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve made mistakes,” I say, my voice growing stronger, my fingers feeling for the dagger again. “But I’ve done good, too.”
“And yet, you’re still alone. All that trying and still you stand apart, watching from the other side of the glass. Afraid to have what you truly want because /what if it’s not wnough after all?/ What if you get it and you still feel alone and apart? So much better to wrap yourself up in the longing. The yearning. The relentlessness. Poor Gemma. She doesn’t quite fit, does she? Poor Gemma- all alone.”
“Gemma, you’re not alone,” Circe gasps, and my hand touches metal.
“No, I’m not. I’m like everyone else in this stupid, bloody, amazing world. I’m flawed. Impossibly so. But hopeful. I’m still me.” I’ve got it now. Sure and strong in my grip. “I see through you. I see the truth.”
July 13th, 2009 at 5:11 PM
Amy M. Says:
It comes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After Cedric Diggory was killed, Dumbledore gives his speach.
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identicle and our hearts are open.”
July 13th, 2009 at 5:58 PM
Ariel Zeitlin Cooke Says:
From Going Solo by Roald Dahl
He’s on a ship to Africa in World War I and early one morning sees a couple running around the deck in the buff, presumably for exercise.
“A couple of hours later, I was sitting opposite the Major and his little memsahib at breakfast in the dining-room, and the knowledge that not long ago I had seen that same little memsahib without a stitch on her made my spine creep. I kept my head down and pretended neither of them were there.
“Ha!” The Major cried suddenly. “Aren’t you the young fellow who had his head sticking through the port-hole this morning?”
“Who mea?”I murmured, keeping my nose in the cornflakes.
“Yes, you!” the Major cried, triumphant. “I never forget a face!”
“I-I was just getting a breath of air,” I mumbled.
“You were getting a darn sight more than that!” the Major cried out, grinning. “You were getting an eyeful of the memsahib, that’s what you were doing.”
The whole of our eight people suddenly became silent and looked in my direction. I felt my cheeks beginning to boil.
“I can’t say I blame you,” the Major went on, giving his wife an enormous wink. It was his turn to be proud and gallant now. “In fact, I dno’t blame you at all. Would _you_ blame him?” he asked, addressing the rest of the table. After all, we’re only young once. And as the poet say…” he paused, giving his dreadful wife another colossal wink…”a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
“Oh, do shut up, said the wife, loving it.”
July 13th, 2009 at 6:22 PM
from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith:
This short–very short–dialogue takes place after Mr. Darcy has saved Jane and her family from zombies, and has walked with Jane for some distance. Mr. Darcy wants Jane to come inside, but she refuses. She then remember that she has his rifle on he back and his ammunition in her pocket.
She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. “Your balls, Mr. Darcy?”
He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, “They belong to you, Miss Bennet.”
Upon this, their colour changed, and they were forced to look away from one another, lest they laugh.
July 13th, 2009 at 6:43 PM
This is from Wide Awake by David Levithan. [Pages 164-165.]
As soon as we were far enough away from our group’s new base camp, Janna asked me what the plan was for Jimmy’s birthday.
“I bought him a pony,” I told her.
She slapped me on the shoulder. “That’s not fair – I bought him a pony, too!”
“Did you take the tag off? Can you still return it?”
“I bought it used?”
“You bought my boyfriend a used pony?”
“Yes,” Janna replied, looking skyward.
July 13th, 2009 at 7:40 PM
Ninja Fanpire Says:
Spoiler: “So…what happened, exactly.”
Oracle: “I’m not sure. They fought at some temple devoted to the worship of Shiva, and Batgirl won. Oh, but first Shiva killed her and then brough her back to life.”
Spoiler: *Pauses a beat.* “What?”
July 13th, 2009 at 8:20 PM
Oops, forgot the book
Batgril Fists of Fury
July 13th, 2009 at 8:21 PM
I doubt I could ever choose (or find) my favorite lit quote, but here’s one I read recently and loved:
When Bee woke up, there was a girl standing in her room.
“You are me,” the girl said.
Then she was gone.
It’s from The Waters and the Wild by Francesca Lia Block.
July 13th, 2009 at 8:55 PM
Becky J Says:
From Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson
(the characters had to do writing exercises. This is what one person wrote.)
DOD: Yes, but I mean -
JED: Look, there isn’t any point.
DOD: I mean-
JED: It’s all finished now anyway. It’s over, we just don’t know it.
DOD: If I thought for a minute that you were-
DOD: I mean…
Kenny: It’s meaningless. Meaning less. Less and less. Why bother?
DOD: But do you know what I”m talking about(shouts)? DO you know what I mean?
I also liked this from the same book, page 172
Proteus was ‘asleep somewhere’ according to a rather vague Kara but Jill’s unpronounceable child was up long past her bedtime and had to be force-fed her rice-carrot-wax sludge before falling asleep with her head on the table, by which time she had acquired an almost feverish complexion.
‘You should try Heinz toddler jars,’ Bob said earnestly to Jill, who said, equally earnestly,”Never”.
‘Babies should eat what we eat,’ Sara said.
‘I think we should just eat babies,’ Terri murmured, a remark which, luckily for her went unheard.
July 13th, 2009 at 9:28 PM
From My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger…
I used my downtime to explain the story of Kiss Me, Kate to Hucky, which was clearly going to be a challenge. The signs that Mamita and I downloaded from the Internet had certainly covered basic English, but I wasn’t sure how well they embraced Cole Porter lyrics.
“Now, the scene you just saw,” I began, pointing to the stage.
“Was about you and T.C.,” he concluded, nodding like he already knew.
“She pretends she doesn’t like him and he pretends he doesn’t care.”
I had no handy rebuttal to that particular allegation and wouldn’t have been able to come up with one if I’d been given a week’s notice. So I countered with the only safe reply I could think of.
“The toilet is not working properly.”
July 13th, 2009 at 9:32 PM
Spoiler: “She broke my jaw!”
Oracle: “No. If your jaw were broken, you wouldn’t be able to talk. And my life would be much easier. Now go away. I’m busy.”
Oracle: “You broke her jaw?”
Batgirl: “Nerve strike. Makes a tiny…”
Batgirl: “Right. Tiny.”
Oracle: “Well, hit her harder next time.”
July 13th, 2009 at 9:51 PM
“You’ve been so brave.” (Lily)
He could not speak. His eyes feasted on her, and he thought that he would like to stand and look at her forever, and that would be enough.
“You are nearly there,” said James. “Very close. We are…so proud of you.”
“Does it hurt?”
The childish question had fallen from Harry’s lips before he could stop it.
“Dying? Not at all,” said Sirius. “quicker and easier than falling asleep.”
“And he will want it to be quick.He wants it over,” said Lupin.
“I didn’t want you to die,” Harry said. These words came out without his volition, “Any of you. I’m so sorry-”
He addressed Lupin more than any of them, beseeching him.
“-right after you’d had your son…Remus, I’m sorry-”
“I am sorry too,” said Lupin. “Sorry I will never know him…but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.”
“You’ll stay with me?”
“Until the very end,” said James.
“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.
“We are a part of you,” said Sirius. “Invisible to anyone else.”
Harry looked closely at his mother.
“Stay close to me,” he said quietly.
Harry talking to his parents, Sirius and Lupin using the Resurrection Stone before he walks to his death.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, pg 560-561, Chapter 34: The Forest Again, UK edition.
July 13th, 2009 at 10:02 PM
I thought I posted my entry, but I can’t find it . (was going to double check I wrote everything right) Just in case I’ll post it again.
It’s the last scene in the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It’s the last conversation between Bod and his adopted ghost mother.
“Do you know what you’re going to do now?” she asked.
“See the world,” said Bod. “Get into trouble. get out of trouble again. Visit jungles and volcanoes and deserts and islands. And People. I want to meet an awful lot of people.
Mistress Owens made no immediate reply. She stared up at him, and then she began to sing a song that Bod remembered, a song she used to sing to him when he was a tiny thing, a song that she had used to lull him to sleep when he was small.
“Sleep my little babby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken. . .”
“You’re not,” whispered Bod. “And I shall.”
Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure. . .”
Then the last lines of the song came back to Mistress Owens, and she sang them to her son.
Face your life
Its pain, its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken”
“Leave no path untaken,” repeated Bod. “A difficult challenge, but I can try my best.”
He tried to put his arms around his mother then, as he had when he was a child, although he might as well have been trying to hold mist, for he was alone on the path.
He took a step forward, though the gate that took him out of the graveyard. He thought a voice said, “I am so proud of you, my son,” but he might, perhaps, have imagined it.
The midsummer sky was already beginning to lighten in the east, and that was the way that Bod began to walk: down the hill, towards the living people, and the city, and the dawn.
There was a passport in his bag, money in his pocket. There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion.
But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and heart wide open.
July 13th, 2009 at 10:03 PM
Lis Riba Says:
From Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus:
The setup: Tamora, the empress, has just given birth. Although she and the emperor are “fair,” the baby is black.
Her sons (Chiron and Demetrius) and her lover Aaron (who is black) just got the news:
Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done? Aaron: That which thou canst not undo. Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother. Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.
That’s right – Shakespeare wrote “yo mama” jokes!
July 13th, 2009 at 10:08 PM
Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?
Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.
Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.
That’s right – Shakespeare wrote “yo mama” jokes!
[Sorry about the double-post -- line breaks got messed up]
July 13th, 2009 at 10:09 PM
From Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon:
“This is what you were born to do, isn’t it, Jamie?”
“Perhaps, Sassenach.” He looked out over the fields and buildings, the crofts and the roads, then looked down, a smile suddenly curving the wide mouth.
July 13th, 2009 at 10:27 PM
From Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon:
“This is what you were born to do, isn’t it, Jamie?”
“Perhaps, Sassenach.” He looked out over the fields and buildings, the crofts and the roads, then looked down, a smile suddenly curving the wide mouth.
“And you, my Sassenach? What were you born for? To be lady of a manor, or to sleep in the fields like a gypsy? To be a healer, or a don’s wife, or an outlaw’s lady?”
“I was born for you,” I said simply, and held out my arms to him.
“Ye know,” he observed, letting go at last, “you’ve never said it.”
“Neither have you.”
“I have. The day after we came. I said I wanted you more than anything.”
“And I said that loving and wanting weren’t necessarily the same thing,” I countered.
He laughed. “Perhaps you’re right, Sassenach.” He smoothed the hair from my face and kissed my brow. “I wanted ye from the first I saw ye-but I loved ye when you wept in my arms and let me comfort you, that first time a Leoch.”
The sun sank below the line of black pines, and the first stars of the evening came out. It was mid-November, and the evening air was cold, though the days still kept fine. Standing on the opposite side of the fence, Jaime bent his head, putting his forhead against mine.
“Of what, my Sassenach?” The darkness was rolling in over the fields, filling the land and then rising up to meet the night. The light of the cresent moon marked the ridges of brow and nose, crossing his face with light.
“I’m afriad if I start I shall never stop.”
He cast a glance at the horizon, where the sickle moon hung low and rising. “It’s nearly winter, and the nights are long, mo duinne.” He leaned across the fence, reaching, and I stepped into his arms, feeling the heat of his body and the beat of his heart.
“I love you.”
(He’s Scottish, so the “Sassenach and “Mo Duinne” are Gaelic words )
July 13th, 2009 at 10:38 PM
ok, what happened to the one i posted?
cause now i can’t see it, like it got deleted or something.
which isn’t fair lol.
but i guess i’ll quote something else.
Into The Fire by Richard Laymon
“Get her,” Boots said.
“Preferred mode of driving,” Duke added.
“At least the cops won’t be able to see us in the dark without lights.” Norman risked another peek back.
“Give the kid a doughnut.” Duke casually teased a cigarette from a pack with his teeth. “Hey, miss?”
“The name’s Dee-Dee.”
“Miss Dee-Dee. Do you know where these tracks are headed?”
“They run for miles. Only people use them are farmers.”
“You don’t say.”
“I’m trying to help, you lummox.”
“Lummox.” Duke grinned back at Norman– an alarming action, as he wasn’t looking where he was driving. “You’ve picked up a live one there, boy.
Dee-Dee fumed. “He didn’t pick me up!”
“Say, he’s not boned you yet?”
Boots turneed around to smirk. “He will soon enough. Normy can’t get enough. The guy’s a fucking love machine.”
Duke laughed. “That’s ’cause he’s been saving it up for years.”
July 13th, 2009 at 11:41 PM
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