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14 Quotes from Books Every Woman Should Read at Least Once

Add these to your reading list—then pass them along to your best girlfriends.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Favorite quote: “Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?” (These are the most quotable books of all time.)

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

Favorite quote: “There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind—wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Favorite quote: “One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before.” (These travel quotes will fuel your inner adventurer.)

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Favorite quote: “A grown child is a dangerous thing.”

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Favorite quote: “If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place.”

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Favorite quote: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” (Don’t miss these graduation quotes to inspire success.)

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Favorite quote: “’Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry . . . have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere—be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.'”

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Favorite quote: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Favorite quote: “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”

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Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Favorite quote: “A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform.”

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White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Favorite quote: “Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Favorite quote: “It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Favorite quote: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” (Check out these mind-blowing facts about Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird.)

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Favorite quote: “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” (You’ll want to memorize these other Maya Angelou quotes too.)