SparkNotes Blog

11 Quotes That Sum Up the Entire Book

It took Herman Melville 135 chapters (and an epilogue) to say, “A bunch of guys fight a whale and they lose.” That’s 585 pages, depending on the publisher. That’s 206,052 words. That’s weeks of my life that I’m never getting back. (Although, do I relate to Melville? Absolutely.) (Who among us can say they’ve never become fascinated with one particular subject and then blew up the group chat with everything they learned about it during a late-night Wikipedia binge?)

Most books, in my opinion, can be explained in a single sentence. And sometimes? Well, sometimes that one single sentence can be found right there in the book itself. Here are eleven quotes that succinctly sum up the story from which they originated.

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