Wise and joyful quotes from books that’ll inspire and uplift you

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50 inspiring quotes from books about love, self-belief, protest, creativity and anything else you could think of. 

Uplifting, comforting, courageous, funny, insightful and wise: we’ve scoured our favourite novels, memoirs, poetry and children’s books to find 50 inspirational quotes that will hit the spot no matter how you’re feeling. 

Whether you need picking up after a setback (see inner-self guidance from Untamed writer Glennon Doyle and Elizabeth Gilbert), want to revel in all that’s good about the world or uncover inspiring voices that give you the strength to protest, create or find self-belief, we’ve got gems for you from Toni Morrison, Angie Thomas, Tove Jansson, bell hooks, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Joan Didion to name a few. 

There’s also brilliant poetry from Amanda Gorman and Tracy K. Smith; childhood wisdom via Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte’s Web and Tracy Beaker and wit-filled insights by Jenny Lawson, Elif Batuman, Patricia Lockwood and David Nicholls. Share, save, write them down – these are 50 inspiring quotes for every occasion. 

  • Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne

    50 inspirational quotes: Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne

    “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

    Shop Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne (£8.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

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  • All About Love by bell hooks

    50 inspirational quotes: All About Love by bell hooks

    “I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”

    Shop All About Love by bell hooks (£10.99, Harper Collins) at The Feminist Bookshop

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  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    50 inspirational quotes: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    “You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

    Shop Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (£8.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

    50 inspirational quotes: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

    “I hope that you won’t be afraid to make the same kind of choice again, if you feel that this is what you need to do to survive. Question yourself, yes, but don’t doubt yourself. There’s a difference.”

    Shop Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (£14.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

    50 inspirational quotes: Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou

    “The woman who survives intact and happy must be at once tender and tough. She must have convinced herself, that she, her values, and her choices are important. In a time and world where males hold sway and control, the pressure upon women to yield their rights-of-way is tremendous. And it is under those very circumstances that the woman’s toughness must be in evidence.”

    Shop Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou (£9.99, Little, Brown) at Bookshop

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  • One Day by David Nicholls

    50 inspirational quotes: One Day by David Nicholls

    “Live each day as if it’s your last,’ that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at… something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

    Shop One Day by David Nicholls (£9.99, Hodder & Stoughton) at Bookshop

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  • Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    50 inspirational quotes: Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    “You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”

    Shop Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (£10.99, Text Publishing) at Bookshop

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  • Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

    50 inspirational quotes: Furiously Happy – A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

    “You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.”

    Shop Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (£9.99, Pan Macmillan)

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  • Brick Lane by Monica Ali

    50 inspirational quotes: Brick Lane by Monica Ali

    “If you are strong you withstand the storm. Can you see? The storm comes and everything is blurred. But all that is built on a solid foundation has only to stand fast and wait for the storm to pass.”

    Shop Brick Lane by Monica Ali (£9.99, Transworld) at Bookshop

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  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    50 inspirational quotes: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

    “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

    Shop The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (£8.99, Walker) at Bookshop

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  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

    50 inspirational quotes: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

    “I got to a point where I thought I didn’t need to put up with the bullshit of gender in order to satisfy my sense of self.”

    Shop Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (£8.99, Profile) at Bookshop

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  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    50 inspirational quotes: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    “Even the silence

    has a story to tell you.

    Just listen. Listen.”

    Shop Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (£10.99, Penguin) at Daunt Books

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  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

    50 inspirational quotes: Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

    “Morning is the time for deep breaths, and discovering ourselves anew in our bodies.”

    Shop Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (£8.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

    50 inspirational quotes: Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

    “There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

    Shop Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (£14.99, Vintage) at Bookshop

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  • Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

    50 inspirational quotes: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

    “We are all a great deal luckier than we realise, we usually get what we want – or near enough.”

    Shop Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (£6.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

    50 inspirational quotes: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

    “It’s one thing to be looked at, and another to be seen.”

    Shop Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (£8.99, Penguin)

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  • Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    50 inspirational quotes: Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    “Reality told us we would fail. But again and again, we fought. We persevered. We rose.”

    Shop Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (£8.99, Pan Macmillan) at Bookshop

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  • Dept Of Speculation by Jenny Offill

    50 inspirational quotes: Dept Of Speculation by Jenny Offill

    “Three things no one has ever said about me:

    You make it look so easy.

    You are very mysterious.

    You need to take yourself more seriously.” 

    Shop Dept Of Speculation by Jenny Offill (£8.99, Granta) at Bookshop

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  • Early Work by Patti Smith

    50 inspirational quotes: Early Work by Patti Smith

    “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. For nothing is more precious than the life force and may the love of that force guide you as you go.”

    Shop Early Work by Patti Smith (£11.99, WW Norton) at Bookshop

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  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    50 inspirational quotes: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

    Shop Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (£9.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

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  • Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

    50 inspirational quotes: Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

    “She was not busy dying, and there is no detritus of care, she was simply busy living, and then she was gone.”

    Shop Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter (£8.99, Faber) at Bookshop

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  • How High We Go In The Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

    50 inspirational quotes: How High We Go In The Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

    “Hope, love, ingenuity. Possibility is more than what runs through our veins, little one.”

    Shop How High We Go In The Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (£16.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

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  • I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

    50 inspirational quotes: I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

    “Most women are amazing. They just need to be with someone who makes it easy for them to express it. I think it’s called respect.”

    Shop I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan (£12.99, Broadway) at Bookshop

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  • More Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin

    50 inspirational quotes: More Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin

    “Laugh all you want and cry all you want and whistle at pretty men in the street and to hell with anybody who thinks you’re a damned fool!”

    Shop More Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin (£8.99, Transworld) at Bookshop

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  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    50 inspirational quotes: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    “I want to feel what I feel. What’s mine. Even if it’s not happiness, whatever that means. Because you’re all you’ve got.”

    Shop The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (£8.99, Vintage) at Bookshop

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  • Life On Mars by Tracy K Smith

    50 inspirational quotes: Life On Mars by Tracy K. Smith

    “I am alive in 21st century America. I have a voice. Let it serve as a corrective to the violent and reckless power that stands against the force of love.”

    Shop Life On Mars by Tracy K. Smith (£14.99, Graywolf) at Blackwells

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  • A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

    50 inspirational quotes: A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

    “People who say they don’t have a choice just too coward to choose.”

    Shop A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James (£9.99, Oneworld) at Bookshop

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  • No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

    50 inspirational quotes: No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

    “There is still a real life to be lived, there are still real things to be done.”

    Shop No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (£8.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

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  • With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

    50 inspirational quotes: With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

    “The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.”

    Shop With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo (£7.99, Hot Key Books) at Bookshop

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  • Charlotte’s Web by EB White

    50 inspirational quotes: Charlotte’s Web by EB White

    “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

    Shop Charlotte’s Web by EB White (£7.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

    50 inspirational quotes: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

    “What happens when people open their hearts?

    They get better.”

    Shop Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (£8.99, Vintage) at Blackwells

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  • Tomorrow Is Beautiful by Sarah Crossan

    50 inspirational quotes: Tomorrow Is Beautiful by Sarah Crossan

    “If you do write, you’re under no obligation to share your words with the world. You can write simply for yourself, to express a truth or ask a question. A lot of my writing stays hidden, and I think that’s OK.”

    Shop Tomorrow Is Beautiful by Sarah Crossan (£12.99, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

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  • Selected Poems by EE Cummings

    50 inspirational quotes: Selected Poems by ee cummings

    “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

    Shop Selected Poems by EE Cummings (£12.99) at Faber

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  • No Matter The Wreckage by Sarah Kay

    50 inspirational quotes: No Matter The Wreckage by Sarah Kay

    “Life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.”

    Shop No Matter The Wreckage by Sarah Kay (£16, Write Bloody) at Blackwells

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  • Selected Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    50 inspirational quotes: Selected Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    “She lived, we’ll say,

    A harmless life, she called a

    virtuous life,

    A quiet life, which was not life at all

    (But that she had not lived enough to know)”

    Shop Selected Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (£9.99, Mount Orleans Press) at Bookshop

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  • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

    50 inspirational quotes: Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

    “The sea does not ask permission or wait for instruction. It doesn’t suffer from not knowing what on earth, exactly, it is meant to do.”

    Shop Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (£8.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

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  • A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

    50 inspirational quotes: A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

    “Sometimes you don’t need words to say what’s in your heart.”

    Shop A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (£9.99, Canongate) at Bookshop

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  • Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason

    50 inspirational quotes: Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason

    “For want of another, beauty is a reason to live.”

    Shop Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason (£8.99, Orion) at Bookshop

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  • Tales From Moominvalley by Tove Jansson

    50 inspirational quotes: Tales From Moominvalley by Tove Jansson

    “You can’t ever be really free if you admire somebody too much.”

    Shop Tales From Moominvalley by Tove Jansson (£10.99, Sort Of) at Bookshop

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  • Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

    50 inspirational quotes: Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

    “I’m not ashamed of wanting many things in life. Tomorrow when my daughter grows up I will tell her to want whatever she wants, the same thing I will tell my son.”

    Shop Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (£8.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

    50 inspirational quotes: The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

    “Like life – you don’t remember when you were born. Or the sky – sometimes dark clouds came, sometimes it rained, but the next moment the sun burst through and the sky was limitless.”

    Shop The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (£8.99, Oneworld) at Bookshop

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  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman

    50 inspirational quotes: The Idiot by Elif Batuman

    “’Whenever I’m worried about anything,’ said this guy Ben, ‘I like to think about China. China has a population of like two billion people, and not one of them even remotely cares about whatever you think is so important.’ I acknowledged that this was a great comfort.”

    Shop The Idiot by Elif Batuman (£9.99, Vintage) at Bookshop

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  • The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

    50 inspirational quotes: The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

    “I don’t like to be in a dark where stars don’t shine.”

    Shop The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (£7.99, Chicken House) at Bookshop

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  • The White Album by Joan Didion

    50 inspirational quotes: The White Album by Joan Didion

    “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

    Shop The White Album by Joan Didion (£8.99, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

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  • Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout

    50 inspirational quotes: Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout

    “I suspect the most we can hope for, and it’s no small hope, is that we never give up, that we never stop giving ourselves permission to try to love and receive love.”

    Shop Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout (£8.99, Simon & Schuster) at Bookshop

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  • The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

    50 inspirational quotes: The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

    “If I can manage to write up to about a thousand words early in the morning, no matter what else I’m doing that day, I feel at least I’ve got some work done. Often I find my ideas are clearer then. It’s as if I’ve got all the imagination going through all my dreams as if it’s still there in my head. I think that’s a good writing tip to pass on. Write when you wake up.”

    Shop The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson (£6.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle

    50 inspirational quotes: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

    “When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.”

    Shop Untamed by Glennon Doyle (£14.99, Ebury) at Bookshop

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  • Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

    50 inspirational quotes: Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

    “Wherever life can grow, it will.

    It will sprout out,

    and do the best it can.

    I give you what I have.

    You don’t get all your questions answered in this world.

    How many answers shall be found

    in the developing world of my Poem?

    I don’t know. Nevertheless I put my Poem,

    which is my life, into your hands, where it will do the best it can.”

    Shop Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks (£12.29, Harper Perennial) at Blackwells

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  • The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

    50 inspirational quotes: The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

    “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”

    Shop The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (£9.99, Penguin) at Bookshop

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  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    50 inspirational quotes: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”

    Shop The Road by Cormac McCarthy (£9.99, Pan Macmillan) at Bookshop

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Images: courtesy of publishers

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