|The Book of the New Sun Gene Wolfe|
"There is no magic. There is only knowledge, more or less hidden."
Book 1: The Shadow of the Torturer
Book 2: The Claw of the Conciliator
Book 3: The Sword of the Lictor
Book 4: The Citadel of the Autarch
These are also found as a two-volume set: Shadow and Claw and Sword and Citadel. There is also a follow-up book: The Urth of the New Sun
|The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky|
"You weren't quite joking, that is true. This idea is not yet resolved in your heart and torments it. But a martyr, too, sometimes likes to toy with his despair, also from despair, as it were. For the time you, too, are toying, out of despair, with your magazine articles and drawing-room discussions, without believing in your dialectics and smirking at them with your heart aching inside you...The question is not resolved in you, and there lies your great grief, for it urgently demands resolution..."
Also: Crime and Punishment
|A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.|
|“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle's eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.”|
|Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut|
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
Also: The Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse-Five
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl|
"Oh, my sainted aunt! Don't mention that disgusting stuff in front of me! Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It's made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!"
Also: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
|The Chosen Chaim Potok|
"A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives the span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here."
Also: The Promise (sequel to The Chosen), My Name Is Asher Lev, and The Gift of Asher Lev
|A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Mark Twain|
|"Inherited ideas are a curious thing, and interesting to observe and examine."|
|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick|
So I left the TV sound off and I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented. And I finally found a setting for despair…So I put it on my schedule for twice a month; I think that's a reasonable amount of time to feel hopeless about everything.
Also: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and many short stories
|Dune Frank Herbert|
|I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.|
|Ender's Game Orson Scott Card|
"It was what I was born for, isn't it? If I don't go, why am I alive?"
Also: Speaker for the Dead (sequel to Ender's Game), Ender's Shadow (parallel novel to Ender's Game), Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, and others
|Fevre Dream George R. R. Martin|
"They're sinners, and they got to ride that boat forever, that black boat with the red carpets and the empty mirrors, all up and down the river, never touching port, no sir."
Also: A Song of Ice and Fire
|Frankenstein Mary Shelley|
|"The fallen angel becomes the malignant devil. Yet even the enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone."|
|The Gormenghast Trilogy Mervyn Peake|
"I said she was wicked, and she said that everyone was--everyone and everything except rivers, clouds, and some rabbits."
Book 1: Titus Groan
Book 2: Gormenghast
Book 3: Titus Alone
|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy Douglas Adams|
"I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
"And are you?"
"No. And that's where it all falls down, of course."
Book 1: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Book 2: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Book 3: Life, the Universe, and Everything
Book 4: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Book 5: Mostly Harmless
|In Yana, the Touch of Undying Michael Shea|
Far upland ahead of them the dark peaks--shadows sharply bitten from the clustered stars--appeared no nearer. Softly Hex said aloud--not to tell but to hear the truth himself--"We cross the field of a million-million men's dreams of greatness. Does anyone ever retrieve anything, and escape with it alive?"
Also: Nifft the Lean
|The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series Steven Erikson|
“The lesson of history is that no one learns.”
Book 1: Gardens of the Moon
Book 2: Deadhouse Gates
Book 3: Memories of Ice
. . . and so on (ten books in all, of which books 2 and 3 are my favorites of those I've read so far)
|The Mistborn Trilogy Brandon Sanderson|
"Tell me, Mistress. What is it that you believe?"
Vin frowned. "What kind of question is that?"
"The most important kind, I think.”
Book 1: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Book 2: Mistborn: The Well of Ascension
Book 3: Mistborn: The Hero of Ages
|The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss|
|Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.|
|The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster|
|No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a very strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear. Day by day the buildings grew fainter and fainter, and the streets faded away, until at last it was entirely invisible. There was nothing to see at all.|
|The Princess Bride William Goldman|
“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
|Red Dwarf Grant Naylor|
Behind him he heard the bolts overshoot a turn, and their low humming throb dimmed in volume. He'd bought himself a couple of seconds; seconds he badly needed. He pulled out a mirror and checked his hair. It was still perfect.
Book 1: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
Book 2: Better Than Life
|Tales of the Dying Earth Jack Vance|
"You are evil like all existence . . . . If power were mine I would crush the universe to bloody gravel and stamp into the ultimate muck!”
Book 1: The Dying Earth
Book 2: The Eyes of the Overworld
Book 3: Cugel's Saga
Book 4: Rhialto the Marvellous
Also: The Demon Princes
|A Voyage to Arcturus David Lindsay|
“No, I have come here from Earth."
"Is that larger than our world?"
"Smaller, I think. Small, and overcrowded with men and women. With all those people, confusion would result but for orderly laws, and therefore the laws are of iron. As adventure would be impossible without encroaching on these laws, there is no longer any spirit of adventure among the Earthmen. Everything is safe, vulgar, and completed."
|Watership Down Richard Adams|
|“My Chief Rabbit has told me to defend this run and until he says otherwise, I shall stay here.”|