Monday, August 13, 2012 | By: Lynn

What's Your Line?

Back years ago, a joke of a pick-up line recited by men and women went like this, "What's your sign?" But that line more often than not just turned off the person addressed. It was a line that sounded clichéd and shallow.

Maybe you remember some bad lines from your dating days and maybe you're in your dating years now so you're presently going through that interesting/obnoxious experience. I remember one particularly terrible line a date said to me when I was newly divorced: "When I was first divorced all I wanted to do was have sex. Are you like that now?" Needless to say I was glad I had insisted on driving myself to meet this guy for the date.

Lines can get really bad, as evidenced by the list of Top 10 Bad Pick Up Lines at Ask Men. Number eight on the list is pretty dreadful: “Hey girl, what’s up? Guess what? It’s your lucky day. Out of all the girls here, I picked you to talk to.” Number one is just sad: "Do you come here often?" While a bad line can sink possibilities for a new relationship, a good line defies identification as a "line." It communicates genuine interest and a degree of thoughtfulness, as in spent some time thinking before opening mouth. In the same way a good introductory line is engaging and can offer possibilities, a good line in a novel is rewarding to read.

Reading a good book is a very rich and absorbing experience, but there's nothing like a good line from a novel for bringing satisfaction of some sort. Those well thought out sentences are pieces of brilliance that can touch a reader's heart. They can influence our perception of life. They can shape us. They stay with us and remain memorable. They can make us smile, laugh, fume, and cry. A good line from a novel can resonate with our own life experiences and help us understand our feelings. A good line can make us fall in love again with a well-crafted sentence. A good line can draw us to our center and refuel our hope, simply because it was well written.

From Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities we got: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…" I first read that sentiment in the book when I was in grade school, but even today it remains a pertinent frame to life. From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery we got the beautiful line, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." From the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien we got, "Not all who wander are lost." From Madeleine L' Engle's A Wrinkle in Time we got, "Some of the most brilliant battles have been won by the most unlikely warriors."

But we don't have to look at just the classics to find beautiful lines:

"I felt as tough as wet Kleenex." Greywalker by Kat Richardson

"It is a blessing as well as a burden to love so much that you can hurt so badly when love is gone." Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

"How frequently do we search for a song of guidance that can only come from inside us?" The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

"Tucci stared at me, uncomprehending. A not-uncommon reaction when I open my mouth." Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

"Yet the world still looks for black and white. In me, supernaturals want to see a meddler or a savior. I am neither, so I disappoint." Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong

"I've never given much thought to how I would die—though I'd had reason enough in the last few months—but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this." Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Obviously from these examples you can see that I enjoy reading paranormal, but there are many lovely and fun and interesting and engaging lines in all types of books. What are some lines and phrases you've read in books that have had a lasting effect on you?


Cal said...

"Stop looking at me as if I’d lost my mind. (It’s not true anyway. I know exactly where I left my mind – University Hospital delivery room, Charlotte, NC, 21 years ago. I’m sure it’s still there, in the corner. Cowering.)"


not a line in a novel, but one that left me laughing on a grey morning. :)

Lynn said...

LOL! That's great, Cal! Thanks for stopping by and contributing.