Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sentences that take your breath away

55 comments:

LCulp said...

"Within seconds of that thought, the train entered Washington, where she was to come to her end more than sixty-eight years later, a mother to seven living and two dead, a grandmother to twenty-one living and three dead, a great-grandmother to twelve, a great-great grandmother to twins."

Author: Edward P. Jones
"Tapestry," from All Aunt Hagar's Children

Bonnie Prejean said...

"That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and tht angelic face gave place to that of a demon."

Author: Fredrik Douglas
Narrative of the life of Fredrik Douglass

Jesse Beeson said...

Father, forgive me wherever you are, but this world has brought one vile abomination after another down on the heads of the gentle, and I'll not live to see the meek inherit anything.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover

Jesse Beeson

Amy Gaffney said...

"He betroths Himself to us, we take His name, and then we go about our lives looking for love, attention, and affection from every source under the sun exceot from the Son of God, the Lover of our souls. Oh, how Jesus longs for us to acknowledge Him, to introduce Him to our friends, to withdraw to be alone with Him, to cling to Him for our identity, to gaze longingly into His eyes, to love Him with all our heart and soul."
(Every Young Woman's Battle-pg. 210)

Ramiro Rivas-Flores said...

He Drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place."
-ZORA NEALE HURSTON (p.128)

Jamie K. said...

"Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you- oh, God! Would you like to live with your soul in the grave?!"

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, page 139

Jamie K. said...

"She was the little cinder girl, living in the shadows of an inaccessible palace, in love with the unseen prince, who would one day hear her music."

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, page 31

Mirwais Sarbaz said...

"In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them-"
-"You beat them."
Ender-Valentine Pg. 238

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

Mirwais Sarbaz said...

"Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for that created us."

Angels and Demons
Dan Brown

laine smith said...

"...I run after her,not really giving chase. I'm running because I can,because I must. Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop."

Author: Libba Bray
"A Great and Terrible Beauty" (403)

mhmmitsmaria said...

"That's something you can say because your stomach is full," Mansur yells.

Asne Seierstad, The Bookseller of Kabul, page 237-238

Jessica Rocha said...

"I can still see the hole like it was yesterday, and it was.Life is a perpetual yesterday for us"

The Lovely Bones
by: Alice Sebold

Bailey rupe said...

"The first time my husband hit me i was ninteen years old. One sentence and I'm lost. One sentence and i can hear his voice in my head, that butterscotch-syrup voice that made goose bumps rise on my arms when i was young, that turned all of my skin warm and alive with a silibant S, the drawling vowels, its shocking fricatives. It awlays sounded like a whisper, the way he talked, the intimacy of it, the words seemed to go into your guts, your head, your heart. "Jeez, Bob," one of the guys would say, "you should have been a radio announcer. You should have done those voice over things for commercials." It was like a genie, wafting purple and smokey from the lamp, Bobby's voice, or perfume when you took the glass stopper out of the bottle."

Black and Blue, pg. 1

Emily K. Period 2A said...

But she couldn't not look at the blood matting Simon's brown hair, his torn throat, the gashes along his dangling wrists.
City of Ashes-Cassandra Clare

Jenny Bolton said...

"But one man trying to sponge Seabiscuit would have about as much chance as a kindergarten kid trying to jimmy his way into the United States mint with a fountain pen."

Author:Laura Hillenbrand
Seabiscuit

Jenny Bolton

karole hardwick said...

"the entire church seemed to sink beneath her feet as her eyes met the lifeless form on the floor. No stream of liquid flowed from the body. No signs of voilence tattooed the flesh. there was only the fearful goemetry of the commender's head... torqued beckward, tisted 180 degreesin the wrond diretion."

Dan brown
"angels & deamons"
pg. 462

Ashley Cabrera said...

"What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep. you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, you went to Heaven and plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you held the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?"

Author: Jostein Gaarder
Sophie's World

Ashley Cabrera said...

"But when these basic needs have been satisfied will there still be something that everybody needs? Philosophers think so. They believe that man cannot live by bread alone. Of course everyone needs food. And everyone needs love and care. But there is something else apart from that which everyone needs, and that is to figure out who we are and why we are here."

Author: Joistein Gaarder
Sophie's World

Ashley Cabrera said...

" Out of the blackness of sleep a dream formed."

Carson McCullers- The heart is a lonely hunter

Foxinsox1 said...

"He sits down across from me and drawls, 'Man, they got mosquitoes 'round this place big enought to rape a chicken.' Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard from Texas has arrived."

By Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love - page 138

Debbie Harper said...

"Such a simple concept; yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves."
Author: Garth Stein, from The Art of Racing in the Rain, pg. 43

Anonymous said...

"Closing Sohrab's door, I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."

Author: Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner, pg 359

dk said...

"With a grin and a giggle, a hug and a whistle, we'd slap our knees and Mama would say: 'Bless the world it feels like a tip-tapping song-singing finger-snapping kind of day. Let's celebrate!' And so we did."

Libba Moore, My Mama had a Dancing Heart, p.2

NR said...

There ought to be a whole separate language, she thought, for words that are truer than other words. For perfect, absolute truth. It was the purest fact of her life. She didn't understand him, and she never would.

Anne Tyler
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, p.10

Denise Grandits said...

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

Hamlet

Anonymous said...

The creature in the mist was glaring at us with piercing, menacing eyes.

Anonymous said...

And then the girl said something that caused the blood to completely drain from my face.

Anonymous said...

The thick gummy odor of grass filled my nostrils, and the cool, dew- covered blades tickled my lips.

Anonymous said...

"She loves you as words love a poet." Johns Shors, Beneath A Marble Sky, page 329

Anonymous said...

"If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved." William Shakespeare's Sonnet #116

JohnFx said...

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

Author: Douglas Adams
"The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Dawna Vanderpool said...

From the New York Times, September 18, 2001: "Being human, you first think of those you love. Then, if you are lucky enough, you grieve for those who are lost-- their faces still smiling out expectantly from downtown's new quilt of mass death, the vast patchwork of fliers headlined MISSING."

Kathryn said...

"As she stepped out of the school that night, into the wintery air, walking with the talking Henry to their car in the far parking lot, she had the sensation that she had been seen. And she had not even known she’d felt invisible."

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout
p. 213

Kathryn said...

But after he said that that day, she lived with a kind of terror and a longing that felt at times unendurable. But people endure things.

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout

Anonymous said...

“Too late we know the good from the bad; the knowledge is no pleasure then; being memory’s medecine rather than the wine of hope.”
Lorna Doone,
RD Blackmore

Geoff said...

Hi Lauren,

Great blog. I love to break writing down into bite sized sentences.

A sentence in my mind is really a story in itself. A collection of sentences is the grander over-arching story.

We eat our meal or create our masterpieces one mouthful at a time. This was deliciously helpful.

I write a creative Blog in seven sentences every day; would love you to submit a Guest Post.

Thanks Again
Geoff

Amy Okimoto said...

Personally, I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty. When you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if what you’ve said or read or written is a fine sentence. You can recognize a well-turned phrase or an elegant style. But when you are applying the rules of grammar skillfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. When you use grammar, you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together, see it quite naked, in a way.
Author: Muriel Barbery
"The Elegance of the Hedgehog"

SCHaase said...

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
Stephen King
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
Page 11

I just think this is the best opening line ever. It completely encompasses the feel of this story, which spans 7 novels and thousands of pages, with the brevity and eloquence only Stephen King can deliver. If you haven't picked this up before, you do not have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate this fantastic set of books--start it and you'll never put it down.

sprite said...

"Has anyone ever pinched into its pilulous smallness the cobweb of prematrimonial acquaintanceship?"

Author: George Eliot, _Middlemarch_

Anonymous said...

"Children sense how precariously the phenomenal world is held together, how thin the texture of its appearances, how easily torn to let in nothingness."
Kathleen Raine, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, "Farewell Happy Fields," page 25.

Jennifer81 said...

So, as was often the case when he was alone and sober, whatever the surroundings, he saw a boy pushing his entrails back in, holding them in his palms like a fortune-teller’s globe shattering with bad news; or he heard a boy with only the bottom half of his face intact, the lips calling mama.

Home, p.20 Toni Morrison

Jonathan said...

"And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."

Jonathan said...

And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."
From F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

Jessy Thompson said...

“Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1)

lajj said...

"In translation, two giant words were struggled with, carried on her shoulder, and dropped as a bungling pair at Ilsa Hermann's feet. They fell off sideways as the girl veered with them and could no longer sustain their weight. Together, they sat on the floor, large and loud and clumsy. Two giant words, I'm sorry."
Author: Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, page 146

lajj said...

"In translation, two giant words were struggled with, carried on her shoulder, and dropped as a bungling pair at Ilsa Hermann's feet. They fell off sideways as the girl veered with them and could no longer sustain their weight. Together, they sat on the floor, large and loud and clumsy. Two giant words, I'm sorry."
Author: Markus Zusak, The Book Thief, page 146

Vanessa said...

This darkness troubles me. I yearn for the light. This silence is so deep. I long for voices, the drumming of rain, the whistle of wind, music. Why are you being so cruel to me? Let me see. Let me hear. Let me live. I beg of you. I am so lonely in this bottomless darkness. So lonely. Lost.

Dean Koontz, Demon Seed, page 1

Vanessa said...

...she thought If I can see it, I am still alive and that simple realization filled her with a great serene happiness seeing too Mommy and Daddy waiting amid the tall grasses though she was puzzled that now they were not young but in fact old, older than she knew, their faces haggard with grief staring in horror as if they had never seen her before in their lives, Kelly, little 'Lizabeth, as if they did not recognize her running there squealing in expectation in joy in her little white anklet socks raising her arms to be lifted high kicking in the air as the black water filled her lungs, and she died.

Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water, page 154

Michael Kneeland said...

"We defy augury. There’s a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now.
If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is
all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what
is ’t to leave betimes? Let be."

Hamlet, 5.2.204-209

Jeana Rock said...

I was alone and orphaned, in the middle of the Pacific,
hanging on to an oar, an adult tiger in front of me, sharks beneath me, a storm was raging about me.

Yann Martel
Life of Pi pg. 133

Merideth said...

"It was fit and decorous that the lions should come to Denys's grave and make him an African monument. 'And renowned be thy grave.' Lord Nelson himself, I have reflected, in Trafalgar Square, has his lions made only out of stone."

Author: Isak Dinesen
Out of Africa
p. 371

Anonymous said...

Chiliad by Simon Otius, at unhappened {dot} com, is almost wholly written in notable sentences.

Anonymous said...

A black dog suffered on a hot day.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Anonymous said...

"The new one was industrial gray, hardly an exciting color, but probably a wise choice; gray things hold so few memories." Stephen King 11/22/63 p.599

Leslie said...

"The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed."

--James Joyce's The Dubliners, "Araby"