The Last Lines From 19 Popular Books

The last lines from The Great Gatsby are also on F. Scott Fitzgerald's gravestone.
The last lines from The Great Gatsby are also on F. Scott Fitzgerald's gravestone.
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

While you might remember what happens at the end of all (or at least most of) the books you read, the exact words printed on the last page may not embed themselves in your brain quite so well.

To celebrate National Book Lovers Day on August 9, WordTips writer Sam Walker compiled a list of last lines from 19 beloved books of all eras. Without context, these final sentences don’t give away much, if anything, about the plot, and many of them—like Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—are long-standing classics that hardly qualify for spoiler alerts anyway. That said, there are a few more recent novels on the list (Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower among them), so proceed with caution if you like to read your books from front to back.

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room.”

Sylvia Plath’s only novel is technically fiction, but it’s loosely based on her own experience as a “guest editor” at Mademoiselle.

Buy it: Amazon

2. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

“But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”

A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh was based on a black bear cub named Winnipeg (“Winnie” for short), though the real Winnie was a female bear.

Buy it: Amazon

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The 2012 film birthed a whole new generation of Perks fans.MTV Books/Amazon

“So, if this does end up being my last letter, please believe that things are good with me, and even when they're not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you. Love always, Charlie.”

As Stephen Chbosky’s coming-of-age novel climbed the bestseller list in 1999, some people tried to have it banned for its frank discussion of things like homosexuality, sexual abuse, and substance abuse.

Buy it: Amazon

4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Dickens’s final line in A Tale of Two Cities might be better remembered if it weren’t overshadowed by the book’s opening quote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”

Stardust isn’t Neil Gaiman’s most famous novel, but it did get the blockbuster treatment in 2007; the all-star cast included Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Claire Danes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

“I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.”

Before Huckleberry Finn got his own novel, he appeared in Tom Sawyer as the “juvenile pariah of the village.”

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Looks dusty.Penguin Classics/Amazon

“She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.”

Steinbeck was inspired to write this Dust Bowl epic after witnessing the poor living conditions at California’s migrant labor camps.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this.”

Louisa May Alcott was undeterred when fans begged her to have Jo marry Laurie. “I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone,” she wrote in her journal.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

“But now I know that our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the ocean. Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.”

Steven Spielberg bought the rights to Arthur Golden’s bestselling novel, intending to direct the film, but passed it to Rob Marshall to free himself up for A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

Buy it: Amazon

10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

“In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.”

Haruki Murakami’s Yomiuri Prize-winning novel wasn’t without critics. The New York Times review called it “fragmentary and chaotic.”

Buy it: Amazon

11. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Alice Walker's novel broke literary barriers and helped Oprah nab an Oscar nomination.Penguin Books/Amazon

“But I don't think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.”

Alice Walker’s 1982 epistolary novel—meaning it was written in the form of letters—won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award, and has since been adapted for stage and screen.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

“How wonderful the flavor, the aroma of her kitchen, her stories as she prepared the meal, her Christmas Rolls! I don't know why mine never turn out like hers, or why my tears flow so freely when I prepare them - perhaps I am as sensitive to onions as Tita, my great-aunt, who will go on living as long as there is someone who cooks her recipes.”

Laura Esquivel’s classic novel, rife with recipes and magical realism, proves that there’s much more to cooking than simply getting food on the table.

Buy it: Amazon

13. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

“Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions.”

Coming off an unproductive decade, Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1952 to prove to critics that he wasn’t washed up.

Buy it: Amazon

14. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

“Then starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.”

When Truman Capote traveled to Kansas to investigate the Clutter family murders for In Cold Blood, he was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author, Harper Lee.

Buy it: Amazon

15. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac's prose is just as meandering as his protagonist's road trips.Penguin Classics/Amazon

“... I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

Jack Kerouac drew inspiration for his 1957 novel On the Road from his own cross-country road trips, as well as from the experiences of fellow Beat writers like Neal Cassady.

Buy it: Amazon

16. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

“When they finally did dare it, at first with stolen glances then candid ones, they had to smile. They were uncommonly proud. For the first time they had done something out of Love.”

This bestselling German historical fantasy by Patrick Süskind follows a French orphan whose heightened sense of smell leads him into trouble.

Buy it: Amazon

17. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

Harper Lee used Truman Capote in her work, too: Scout’s neighbor, Dill, is based on him.

Buy it: Amazon

18. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Before landing on The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald experimented with many other titles, including: Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; and Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover.

Buy it: Amazon

19. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

“I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

Since female writers were so heavily discriminated against in the mid-19th century, Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights under the alias “Ellis Bell.”

Buy it: Amazon

[h/t WordTips]

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Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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14 Black Authors You Should Read Right Now

Pexabay, Pexels // CC0
Pexabay, Pexels // CC0

With the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, works on anti-racism have been flying off the shelves of Black-owned bookstores. But anti-racism doesn’t start and end with philosophical theories—it’s also a matter of shifting your current reading patterns. If you’ve found yourself purchasing Stamped but not The Hate U Give or With the Fire on High, then you’re doing yourself a major disservice. To help you get started, here are some groundbreaking Black authors you should read—and a few suggested books for you to check out.

1. Jason Reynolds

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Amazon

Jason Reynolds has a true gift when it comes to describing the Black male experience. He began writing poetry at age 9 and published his first novel in 2014. With his books—more than 10 so far—he’s created a space for Black boys to see themselves on the covers of fiction as much more than victims. On his website, Reynolds acknowledges that “I know there are a lot—A LOT—of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don't actually hate books, they hate boredom… even though I'm a writer, I hate reading boring books too.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: The Boy in the Black Suit, Ghost

2. Nic Stone

Nic Stone has been kicking down the door on issues that have been overlooked for decades. Through her books, she brings attention and nuance to subjects like grief, discrimination, and questioning one’s sexuality in a way that has rarely been seen before in Young Adult and Middlegrade fiction. Up until 2013, The New York Times bestselling author didn’t think she could write fiction. “Part of the reason I didn't think I could do it is because I didn't see anyone who looked like me writing the type of stuff I wanted to write (super popular YA fiction),” Stone writes in an FAQ on her website. “But I decided to give it a shot anyway. (Life lesson: If you don't see you, go BE you.)”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Dear Martin, Odd One Out

3. Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas made waves after the release of The Hate U Give, a New York Times Bestseller that was made into a critically acclaimed film. Thomas’s second novel, On the Come Up, takes place in Garden Heights about a year after the events of The Hate U Give. It follows a 16-year-old up-and-coming rapper who goes by the nickname Bri. As a former teen rapper herself, Thomas knows the topic well. Just don’t ask her to participate in a rap battle. “I hoped that with writing these scenes and with showing people the ins and outs of it and the internal part of it, of coming up with freestyles on the spot, that maybe—just maybe more people would respect it as an art form,” Thomas told NPR. “But I can't do it.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: The Hate U Give, On the Come Up

4. Brittney Morris

Simon Pulse/Amazon

In her debut novel, Slay, author Brittney Morris shows the ways that Black people are discriminated against in the gaming industry. In its review, Publisher's Weekly wrote, “This tightly written novel will offer an eye-opening take for many readers and speak to teens of color who are familiar with the exhaustion of struggling to feel at home in a largely white society.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Slay

5. Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Nigerian-American author who intertwines African mysticism and science fiction in her writing, masterfully addressing societal issues while showing us how the world can become a better place. Okorafor never envisioned a career as a writer; she planned to be an entomologist until, as a college student, she was paralyzed from the waist down after back surgery. She began writing to distract herself while she recovered, and never looked back. “Nigeria is my muse,” Okorafor told The New York Times. “The idea of the world being a magical place, a mystical place, is normal there.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Binti, Akata Witch

6. Tiffany D. Jackson

If you love psychological thrillers and haven’t read Tiffany D. Jackson’s first two novels, you’re missing out: Jackson has an ability to twist elements of her story to include new perspectives while keeping readers second-guessing their own theories. Her writing was influenced by many of the authors she discovered in her teen years. “I was, and still am, a HUGE R.L Stein fan, so his Fear Street series took me into my teen years," she writes on her website. "But then I was introduced to Mary Higgins Clark, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Jodi Picoult, to name a few.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Allegedly, Monday’s Not Coming

7. Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nafissa Thompson-Spires catalogues the plights of the Black community with stories that are so intricate, they could be true. One story follows a Black cosplayer shot by police; another addresses post-partum depression. She also showcases the joy that surfaces throughout our lives, despite the hardships. Thompson-Spires’s writing has earned her comparisons to the likes of Paul Beatty, Toni Cade Bambara, and Alice Munro. “I think the goal of a writer should be to tell the truth in some way, even if it’s to tell it slant—or to imagine a better version of the truth," she told The Guardian. "We have to find ways to confront difficult subjects.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Heads of Colored People

8. Justin A. Reynolds

Katherine Tegen Books/Amazon

No, Justin A. Reynolds isn’t related to Jason Reynolds, but he’s just as talented. In his debut novel, Opposite of Always, Reynolds uses common YA tropes in an innovative way; a star-crossed lovers plot with the added effect of time travel truly sets this story apart.

Add to Your TBR Pile: Opposite of Always, Early Departures

9. Tony Medina

Tony Medina, the first Creative Writing professor at Howard University, has published 17 books, and his fight for social justice is evident in his writing. In his graphic novel, I Am Alfonso Jones, Medina uses Hamlet as inspiration for explaining issues of police brutality and social justice to Young Adult readers.

Add to Your TBR Pile: I Am Alfonso Jones

10. Elizabeth Acevedo

Quill Tree Books/Amazon

The Black experience is not a singular one, and Elizabeth Acevedo—whose debut novel, The Poet X, was a New York Times bestseller and won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2018—expands the canon with beautifully detailed Afro-Latinx narratives. “I feel like it’s hard to dream a thing you can’t see," Acevedo said in an interview with Black Nerd Problems. "And I think growing up like I knew I loved music and I loved poetry and I loved the feeling of being with other poets and listening to other stories and thinking, like, I think I can do that just as good.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: The Poet X, With the Fire on High

11. N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin is a voice for the marginalized in science fiction. She has won a number of awards for her work, including a Nebula Award and two Locust Awards, and she was the first person to win three Hugo Awards for Best Novel in a row, for her Broken Earth trilogy. "I’ll use whatever techniques are necessary to get the story across and I read pretty widely," Jemisin told The Paris Review. "So when people kept saying second person is just not done in science fiction, I was like, well, they said first person wasn’t done in fantasy and I did that with my first novel. I don’t understand the weird marriage to particular techniques and the weird insistence that only certain things can be done in science fiction."

Add to Your TBR Pile: The City We Became, The Fifth Season

12. Renée Watson

Renée Watson uses her novels to address gentrification, discrimination, and what it’s like to grow up as a Black girl. “My motivation to write young adult novels comes from a desire to get teenagers talking," she said in an interview with BookPage. "I hope my books are a catalyst for youth and adults to have conversations with one another, for teachers to have a starting point to discuss difficult topics with students.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: This Side of Home, Piecing Me Together

13. Maika and Maritza Moulite

Inkyard Press/Amazon

In their book Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, Haitian-American sister-author duo Maika and Maritza Moulite have created an exciting and riveting story of self-exploration and the meaning of family. These two have already secured a publishing deal for their next novel, One of the Good Ones.

Add to Your TBR Pile: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

14. Talia Hibbert

Although you may have heard her name more recently due to her USA Today bestselling novel Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Talia Hibbert isn’t a newcomer to the world of adult and paranormal romance: In books, she writes narratives that often follow characters who are diverse in race, body types, and sexuality—because, as her website bio states, “she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation.”

Add to Your TBR Pile: Get a Life, Chloe Brown, A Girl Like Her

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