The ten books that have, as the meme goes, “stayed with me.”
The Holy Bible, especially the Gospel According to John
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
Junior Girl Scout Handbook. The Girl Scouts of the United States. 1963.
“The Girl Scout uniform can only be worn by Girl Scouts who are registered and have a membership card. The way you act when you wear your uniform shows that you really mean your Girl Scout Promise.”
Any Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, but especially the poetry volumes, When We Were Very Young, 1924, and Now We Are Six, 1927.
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
‘Mother,’ he said,
‘You must never go down to the end of the town,
If you don’t go down with me.’”
The Catcher in the Rye. J. D. Salinger. 1951.
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it if you want to know the truth.”
The Descent of Woman. Elaine Morgan. 1972.
“Freud, toward the end of his life, bewailed the fact that even after spending years trying to pinpoint it, he had never succeeded in finding out ‘what women want.’ . . . [M]any people have a subconscious idea that women are an altogether less complex species [than men], more like, shall we say, rhododendrons, or beans, so that somewhere just around the corner is a simple answer on the lines of ‘they need plenty of phosphates,’ and that once this secret has been discovered life will be simpler. . . . This concept, like the concept of an oral aphrodisiac, is a male mirage.”
The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Tom Wolfe. 1965.
“The girls . . . stand up on their seats. They begin to ululate, even between songs. The looks on their faces! Rapturous agony! There, right up there under the sulphur lights, that is them [the Rolling Stones]. God, they’re right there! Mick Jagger takes the microphone . . . .
“’M]aybe we ought to scream.’ says [Baby] Jane [Holzer]. . . . And then Baby Jane goes: ‘Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . .”
Holidays in Hell. P. J. O’Rourke. 1988.
“I’ve been working as a foreign correspondent for the past few years, although ‘working’ isn’t the right word and ‘foreign correspondent’ is too dignified a title. What I’ve really been is a Trouble Tourist—going to see insurrections, stupidities, political crises, civil disturbances and other human folly because . . . because it’s fun.”
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. William Shakespeare. c. 1599
“[I]ndeed if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.”
To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee. 1960.
“The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics.”
“When Boo Radley shuffled to his feet, light from the livingroom [Sic] windows glistened on his forehead. Every move he made was uncertain, as if he were not sure his hands and feet could make proper contact with the things he touched. He coughed his dreadful raling cough, and was so shaken he had to sit down again. His hand searched for his hip pocket, and he pulled out a handkerchief. He coughed into it, then he wiped his forehead.
“Having been so accustomed to his absence, I found it incredible that he had been sitting beside me all this time, present. He had not made a sound.”
Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847.
“Reader, I married him.”