Discussions: Epigraphs

Hallo everyone, hope you’re enjoying your weekend! I decided to post this today instead of my usual Monday post as I am in work 8-5pm tomorrow, so it’ll probably be easier for me if I post this now. Due to working lates over the weekend (4pm-2am), I’ve not been able to get much reading done, which means I probably won’t have a review up until thursday at earliest (however, I am going to read a chunk this afternoon and my posts on tuesday/wednesdays are memes so it isn’t like the blog will be dead this week)


ANYWAY, moving on. My topic of this post is “Epigraphs”. Inspired by the booktuber “Booksandquills”, (follow the link to the video)- I’ve decided to do a post celebrating my favourite Epigraphs among the books I own.

Now for those of you who don’t know, because I didn’t until the other day, an “Epigraph” is the short piece of writing often placed before the novel begins but after the dedication. It tends to be a relevant quote from another work which helps to set the tone of the story out.

Of the 250-so books I currently own on my bookcases, only 39 of them contain Epigraphs. Of those thirty nine, here are my favourites, in no particular order. Some of these books I didn’t actually even like (looking at you, Hourglass.), but the Epigraphs in them are just lovely.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

I remember my own childhood vividly … I knew terrible things.

But I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew. It would scare them”

– Maurice Sendack

The entirety of  this story is surrounding a man who returns to his childhood village and finds he remembers more than he thought about it. As a child, he witnessed something strange, and this epigraph fits the story very well because people like to talk down to children. To treat them like “children”, as in “innocent-who-know-nothing”. Whereas children are often just as capable of dealing with stressful information/incidents better than some adults are.   I think, in fact, I know that the idea that children can comprehend the scary world around them terrifies some adults.

Half Bad- Sally Green

Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so

  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    The basic moral of Sally Green’s Half Bad, which I reviewed here, is the “Nature vs Nurture” debate, which is ever popular amongst psychologists and criminologists alike. This quote from Shakespeare just proves that this theory has been around for hundreds of years. Good Ol’ Shakey. I suppose this could also be applied to the criminological theory of “Labelling Theory”, which in one way or another, is pretty much the same thing. Aka, if you label a person as “bad” in society, sooner or later, they will behave that way because they are getting all the grief and pain without actually doing anything, so why not earn the stripes?

The Everafter- Amy Huntley

There is a solitude of space,

a solitude of sea

a solitude of death, but these

Society shall be.

Compared with that profounder site

That polar privacy,

A soul admitted to itself-

finite infinity

  • Emily Dickinson

Another book I need to re-read and review on here, the Everafter is about a girl who has died. She wakes up somewhere surrounded by key objects from her life, and she finds she can revisit these moments to remember her life, her loved ones- their job is to help her find closure…but they actually help to tell her exactly what happened the day she died. After having read this book, this epigraph fits the story very well and I just think it is a beautiful poem, personally.

Coraline- Neil Gaiman

Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist.

But because they tell us that dragons can be beaten”- G.K Chesterton

This quote is actually one of my all time favourites. As you all know I enjoy reading fairy tales, and this is part of the reason why. They mirror reality. Not in real life, but it helps to teach you from a young age that even if the odds are against you, you can still have a good chance at turning it all around. Coraline is not one of my favourite Gaiman works (the whole buttons-for-eyes things freaks me out, even now), but this fits very well with the story!

Hourglass- Myra McEntire

What lies behind you, and lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what is inside of you

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Uuuugh this book. I read it about a month ago, and there is a reason I did not review it. I did not enjoy this book at all. I basically snored through it. But thankfully, I’m not here today to talk about the book, but rather the Epigraph. I really enjoy this quote by Emerson. There are always going to be ambitions you have previously wanted or currently want in life which, for one reason or another, you simply will not be able to make them into a reality. Sad but true. But what matters, I believe, is not the fact you can not do these things, but the fact that you wanted to do them in the first place. The fact you have ambition and goals and you at least think about the possibility of doing them and you dream them up, is brave. Personally, that is part of a strength which has kept me going through some of my roughest times. It is part of what has kept me living. I believe that in terms of not letting life get you down, having a positive/ambitious mental perspective is winning half of the fight. Because as Disney said, “if you can dream it, you can do it”. I don’t care what you have or have not done in the past, and what you may fail to do in the future. You have an ambitious idea right now? Use that fire and fight! *gets off Soap Box*

Let the Great World Spin- Callum McCann

All the lives we could live, all the people we will never know, never will be,

they are everywhere. That is what the world is”.

-Aleksander Hemon, The Lazarus Project

This book has been shamefully sitting on my TBR shelf since…September? Oops. I really, really want to read it, but when I ordered it in hardcover, I was not expecting the brick of the book I got. It’s one of those things where the sheer size of it kind of scares you into putting it off. But it looks like it could be a really good contemporary novel. It’s about the lives on different people in New York City on the day the man tight-rope walked across the Twin Towers. I think it will be an interesting work on people’s perspectives of themselves and those around them.

Smoke and Mirrors- Neil Gaiman

But where there’s a monster, there’s a miracle

  • Ogden Naash, Dragons are too seldom.

Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of short works by Mr Gaiman. Which as you can guess, focuses on how we perceive tales and magic, as such. It’s all a trick of “smoke and mirrors”. I feel this quote by Nash fits that bill perfectly. A magic trick and an illusion, of any kind really, is a double sided sword. Do we treat lies, even white lies, we are told, as a kindness or a cruelty?

Heaven- Christoph Marzi

When there’s ‘ardly no day,

‘ardly no night.

There’s things ‘alf in shadow,

‘alfway in light.

On the rooftops of London,

Coo, what a sight!”

  • Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Chim Chim Cher-ee

I don’t know how well this book is known in the bookblogosphere, but I highly recommend it. I plan on re-reading it this year and I originally gave it 4 stars. It focuses around a young boy who, one night whilst stargazing on a roof, comes across a girl who claims some bad men have stolen her heart, but she is still alive. This book reminds me very much of Gaiman’s Neverwhere- but it is so enjoyable. And when you add that epigraph to the book and really take in the worlds, it’s pretty bloody creepy!


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