What's the best passage in literature?(Read article summary)
Amazon shares information – gathered from readers who highlight favorite lines in their Kindles – about the most popular passages in books from the Bible to 'The Hunger Games'.
Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor
Even in a crowded train or bustling cafe, few activities are as intimate as reading. It's just reader and character, traveling through a narrative journey together.
And yet, many readers turn to the same classics and bestsellers, and it turns out, among those favorites, the same passages reverberate for most. That's according to data Amazon Kindle provided to the Atlantic showing the most popular highlights in some of Kindle’s most popular books.
The passages, from such favorites as "Harry Potter," the Bible, and "Pride and Prejudice," are revealing, providing a glimpse into that intimate connection between reader and book, and what passages provide the most meaning to readers.
Perhaps most interesting is a passage from the Bible providing comfort to the anxious, outlined in the list below.
Writes New York Magazine's Melissa Dahl, "It's a passage that offers words of comfort for the religious. And for those people who are highlighting that passage, there’s kind of an extra layer of comfort to think about how many other people connected to those words. It's a small reminder that you're not alone."
In a sense, that's what all of these passages reflect.
Here are some of readers' favorite passages from some of their favorite books:
The most popular passage from Pride and Prejudice:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
"The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
The Bible (specifically, the New International Version—the best-selling electronic version on Amazon):
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind."
A Wrinkle In Time:
"But of course we can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts."
"The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins."
"'Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!'"