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A Golden Notebook Full Of Good Quotes

I always judge a book by how much I mark in it–either a note or two in the margins or underlining passages.

By that standard, The Golden Notebook should rank fairly high on my list.

I didn’t expect much from this book, but it’s been a pleasant surprise. Nothing groundbreaking. It’s not going to give The Great Gatsby or To Kill A Mockingbird a run, but it is a really good book that has held my attention–at least until the last 100 pages or so, but I’ll cover that in my review next week.

And guess what? It’s not even that heavy on plot! How I surprise myself sometimes.

The Golden Notebook is a novel that focuses on character development. And with that comes a lot of great insights from these characters.

I pulled a few of my favorite quotes from this novel so far.

“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.”

“What’s terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you’re capable of better.”

“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.”

“Art is the Mirror of our betrayed ideals.”

“Don’t you think it’s extraordinary that we are both people whose personalities, whatever that word may mean, are large enough to include all sorts of things, politics and literature and art, but now that we’re mad everything concentrates down to one small thing, that I don’t want you to go off and sleep with someone else, and that you must lie to me about it?”

“People are just cannibals unless they leave each other alone.”

So that’s just a sampler of the many good quotes from The Golden Notebook.

Doris Lessing continues to make me smile with her excellent writing.

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have the book and not read it yet–you are inspiring me to pick it up

    Like

    March 21, 2013
  2. erinorange #

    Love the 2nd and 3rd quotes!

    Like

    March 21, 2013
  3. Too often the old English Professor in me comes out and I fill the margins with comments like: “Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!” Does this imply that heavy marginalia can also be a clear indicator of dreck? Not counting rereading for study or analysis, I actually find that the best books are the ones that I read through without breaking out of the fictional world to make a pithy comment or to underscore a bit of writing that causes a wee tear to run down my cheek.

    I suspect the open acknowledgment of the artificiality of fiction (as making notes in a book suggests) is very postmodern. But pushing the lovely quotations to the side, a strong feature of Lessing’s novel is its structure. Certainly it’s worth mentioning in your review.

    “I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme.” — John Hawkes

    Like

    March 21, 2013
    • Yes, the structure is what sets this novel apart. The way it’s set up, I felt like I was peeking inside a famous author’s writing process to see how she writes a novel over the course of many years.

      Like

      March 22, 2013
  4. Reblogged this on tanilu3's Blog and commented:
    I just loved it! Do you know if its online?

    Like

    March 21, 2013
  5. Hmmm–a kinder, gentler Ayn Rand?

    Like

    March 21, 2013
  6. Art as the mirror of betrayed ideals…I’m thinking long and hard about that one.

    Like

    March 21, 2013
    • If I recall, the context on that quote is it’s a guy who started as a very idealistic writer with “integrity” and ended up selling his work to a TV show, or something like that.

      Like

      March 22, 2013
      • Very interesting. I was thinking something else. Something along the lines of the art product reflecting how the artist’s ideals have been betrayed throughout their lives. But now that you’ve given me this other context, I can see how the two interpretations are two sides of the same coin.

        Like

        March 22, 2013
  7. I definitely need to read this! I’ve been interested in Doris Lessing ever since you first blogged about her. Thanks!

    Like

    March 21, 2013
    • I like Doris Lessing more than I like this book, even though it has a lot of great quotes, as mentioned above. The book gets a little long-winded and repetitive at the end.

      Like

      March 22, 2013
  8. Carey #

    I have The Golden Notebook and Lessing’s autobiography in my TBR. I was looking forward to your thoughts on this one. I am glad you are liking it!

    Like

    March 21, 2013
    • I’m liking it and not liking it. More next week, but I thought the last quarter of the book moved very slowly.

      Like

      March 22, 2013
  9. Hey Robert
    I used the first quote on my blog ‘Fussball und Literatur’ (fussballundliteratur.wordpress.com). That’s german for ‘Soccer and Literature’. It combines soccer-picteruse with quotes from literature. It’s a perfect fit for the picture of Socrates, a Brazilian player who fighted for freedom and democracy.

    I like your blog. Keep up the good work!
    Greets from Switzerland…

    Like

    March 27, 2013
  10. Sanjay Lohia #

    Quotes send to my mail

    Like

    December 19, 2013

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