When I was a kid, my mother and I had the regular habit of going to Sunday matinees after church. Then when I was in college, I worked at a video store during summer and holiday breaks, as did my husband. Between the three of us, we can quote thousands of movie lines. My favorites are comedies from the '80s and '90s.
I can watch a good movie over and over, just as I can read a good book over and over. My paperback books are well-worn, and well loved. I’ve even had to buy second copies of some of my favorites, specifically Julie Garwood’s The Prize, Peter Mayle’s Anything Considered, and Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect. It's money well spent.
But if you’re like me, you can identify great books from a couple lines of text—or, at the very least, a couple great lines are enough to whet your appetite for more. Let’s test out that theory with a couple of movies first.
• “‘Scuse me while I whip this out.”
• “You using the whole fist, doc?”
• “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”
• “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
• “We thought you was a toad!”
• “I'm the Dude, man.”
• “They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.”
• “I'm just jazzed about being on the show, man.”
• “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”
• “Shut up, just shut up. You had me at ‘hello.'”
Are you smiling yet? Man, I love great stories, whether it’s onscreen or in print. Now for the good stuff … here are some great lines from some of my favorite books.
“But off men or not, she still appreciated art, hovering somewhere between classic Grecian statue and porn star.”
– Linda Howard, Mr. Perfect
“Could it be that this woman under the studio lights was one part Martha Stewart to one part Carmen Electra?”
– Susan Donovan, Knock Me Off My Feet
“I’m not a prize.”
– Julie Garwood, The Prize
“You’re too busy beating your chest and playing Tarzan, which makes me want to clock you for being a jackass, and I need a liquid pick-me-up in a bad way before I put up with any more of your macho bullshit.”
– Lori Foster, Simon Says
“She could’ve led him right off a cliff and he’d never have noticed.”
– Jill Shalvis, At Last
“She felt like she was riding a rocket. Jeanette was a beast—all ugly on the outside and pure animal from the rims up.”
– Tara Janzen, Crazy Hot
“He went from utterly disinterested one minute to rather startlingly intense glances the next. She supposed one liked to know where one stood with others.”
– Erin Knightley, More Than A Stranger
“Unattached Englishman…Mid thirties, personable, fluent French, seeks interesting and unusual work, preferably in the Aix/Avignon area. Anything considered except marriage.”
– Peter Mayle, Anything Considered
“A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
Got any to add to the list? I’m always on the prowl for a new book, author, or great movie.
Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and in the spring of 2012, her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.