Member Monday: Question of the Month

March Question of the Month: What is your favorite line or sentence from a book, poem or short story?





Becca Worthington

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince



Zilia L. LajeA_Tree_Grows_in_Brooklyn

My favorite sentence is from Betty Smith‘s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn:

“And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.”   (Francie Nolan looking at the East River from the great window twenty stories above)

The reason?  Because I’ve had to leave behind my life twice, at 16, when I left Manhattan, New York, and again at twenty, when I left Havana, Cuba to come to Miami, Florida.  And I’ve experienced the feeling of loss and regret for not having held it dearer and realized it more precious while I had it.



page7-220px-The_Wasteland.djvuValerie Tomaselli

“April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.”

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land



Sue McDanel51D8R4NZ2HL

The book:  Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

The sentence:  “We were young and drunk and twenty, and we could never die.”

I was young, nearly twenty, and drunk on the pure joy of being alive when I first read Look Homeward, Angel.  My college roommate and I were reading it together, stopping often to share a particularly good passage.  I read the sentence above, and it simply summed up everything I was feeling.  I re-read this book often, enjoying the wonderful word pictures of a life very different from mine and delighting in the angel imagery throughout the book.


adrienne-richPamela Milam

Title –  “Lonely”

Author – Adrienne Rich

Favorite line from a poem – it’s the last stanza:

“If I’m lonely

it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore

in the last red light of the year

that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither

ice nor mud nor winter light

but wood, with a gift for burning”

Why I like it – It’s a beautiful description of solitude — a ways of saying that solitude doesn’t exactly equal loneliness.



Sandra HurtesSophiesChoice

This one is so easy: Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. “In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so Had to move to Brooklyn.”

I was born and raised in Brooklyn. When I read this in 1976 I felt I’d never leave due to the deep tug the borough had on me. This sentence gave Brooklyn and me, dignity.



TheGlassCastle_front_coverTerri Weiss

From The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells:

“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.”

How can you NOT want to read on? This is, hands down, one of the most compelling opening sentences I’ve ever read.



Jane Kinney-Denninglucille-clifton

My favorite line would have to come from “It was a dream” by Lucille Clifton.  If I had to pick a line, it would be:

It was dream

in which my greater self

rose up before me

accusing me of my life

with her extra finger

whirling in a gyre of rage

at what my days had come to.

This poem has spoken to me at so many points in my life…I guess because it always makes me think about what I am doing with this remarkable gift of life that I have been given and about the choices I have and am making.



the-pact-06-lgRachel Weiss-Feldman

In Jodi Picoult‘s book The Pact.

“If it hurts, he said, “pinch me. So we’re in it together.”

Chris and Emily are two teens in love. They and their parents have been best friends since they were born. He is about to make love with Emily. It is her first time but not his (another part of the story). He says this to her, because she is scared it will hurt.

In the context of the story, I thought this was such an endearing line. I have loved Jodi Picoult ever since 2000 when I first read this book.

About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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