Get all the best yearbook quotes from books for seniors, particularly, English and literature students, to be remembered in the words of their favorite famous authors.

graduation books

These senior quotes from books were inspired by the many English students I hear from on a daily basis and my book club, The Rory Gilmore Book Club, dedicated to the literature-loving tv character who referenced all her favorite books in her valedictorian speech at graduation.

Back when I was graduating from high school myself, I eventually selected a quote from the Broadway musical, RENT, but I came close to choosing this memorable quote by John Steinbeck, in my favorite classic book at the time, East of Eden:

“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill?”

If you’re wondering, “What is a good book quote for graduation?” here you will find the above and more inspirational literary yearbook quotes about life, categorized by such popular yearbook topics as the past, the present, the future, funny sayings, and words about self-actualization.

Yearbook Quotes from Books

About the Past

“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” – Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” – Patti Smith, Just Kids

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” –  Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” – Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” – Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

About the Present

“Life is the moment we are living now.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Live in the present, make the most of it, it’s all you’ve got.” – Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

About the Future

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” – Dr. Seuss,  The Lorax

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“One day I will find the right words, and they all will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“I dwell in Possibility.” – Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Stephen King, Different Seasons

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Funny Quotes

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

About Self-Actualization

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day” in House of Light

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” – Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” – Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

“Choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.” – E.M. Forster, A Room With a View

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” – J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all.” – Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserve and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale.” – Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

“It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – Kathryn Stockett, The Help

“The moment you feel, you’re nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – E.E. Cummings, E. E. Cummings: A Miscellany Revised

“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“We must live and learn.” – Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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