The authors’ original words do their work more justice than any book review I write, and when grouped together, the quotes become atmospheric of the state they are set in. I hope you enjoy this addition of a “Favorite Quotes” series to my Andrea Reads America coverage.

True Grit by Charles Portis book cover on

From True Grit by Charles Portis

“People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood.”

“I can still see him mounted up there on Judy in his brown woolen coat and black Sunday hat and the both of them, man and beast, blowing little clouds of steam on that frosty morn.”

“You must pay for everything in this world one way and another. There is nothing free except the Grace of God. You cannot earn that or deserve it.”

“‘The youth of Texas are brought up to be polite and to show respect for their elders.’
“‘I notice people of that state also gouge their horses with great brutal spurs.'”

“As he drank, little brown drops of coffee clung to his mustache like dew. Men will live like billy goats if they are let alone.”

“You have misjudged me if you think I am silly enough to give you a hundred dollars and watch you ride away.”

“‘They say he has grit,’ said I. ‘I wanted a man with grit.'”

“Shooting cornbread out here on this prairie is not taking us anywhere.”

“I had not the strength nor the inclination to bandy words with a drunkard. What have you done when you have bested a fool?”

“Lucky Ned Pepper laughed. He said, ‘I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!'”

Ark of Bones and Other Stories by Henry Dumas book cover on andreareadsamerica.comFrom Ark of Bones and Other Stories by Henry Dumas

From “Ark of Bones”

“His body was so ate up by fish and crawdads that they couldn’t tell whether he was white or black. Just a dead man.”

“I aint want nobody with a mojo bone following me.”

“By and by the clouds started to get thick as clabber milk. A wind come up. And even though the little waves slappin the sides of the bank made the water jump around and dance, I could still tell that the river was risin.”

“If that Ark was Noah’s, then he left all the animals on shore because I ain’t seen none.”

“The under side of the whole ark was nothin but a great bonehouse.”

“We all be leavin if the Sippi keep risin.”

From “A Boll of Roses”

“That little brown girl ’bout the prettiest thing I ever seen in a cotton field.”

“He was off the porch, into the sun, passing the garden, when the smell of cotton… then the rose garden, and then wet dew…”

“He felt ashamed of staying out of school just to pick cotton.”

“‘I picked cotton all my life, chopped, planted, cleared land, and I aint got nothin to show for it. You younguns oughta get out of the field and get with them rights people. They got the Lord on their side.'”

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield book cover on andreareadsamerica.comFrom The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

“Everybody knew that preachers (especially Methodists, like Samuel) were the vilest bunch of bandits alive.”

“Swan yearned to get close to somebody. Really close. Soul deep.”

“From Swan’s observations, there seemed to be a conspiracy among church members to keep the preacher and his family from knowing them too well. Playing cards were hidden when they came to visit. Liquor was suck back in the pantry…”

“Preachers’ kids are the worst kind.”

“She could feel Ballenger… No direction was safe. The June breeze was his hot breath. The rustle of leaves was a sinister whisper.”

“The long, lead-colored banks looked as if they had been sheared off, flat across the bottom, and regular sky showed underneath.”

“‘Why is the sky turning green?’ Bienville wanted to know.”

“Maybe the answer is that we’re supposed to cut a watermelon and let the juice run down our chins.”

“I think sitting in the backyard watching the kids catch lightning bugs is a pretty good way of worshipping God every once in a while.”

“It seemed to her that, when you’re constantly seeking God’s will, you may just be ignoring the obvious.”

“He stood out in the yard, sucking in air that smelled of damp earth and autumn, and he wondered why people even had houses.”

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