Best books 2015: The best sentences from the year’s novels, poetry, and nonfiction.

The 23 Best Lines of 2015

The 23 Best Lines of 2015

Reading between the lines.
Dec. 1 2015 11:39 AM

The 23 Best Lines of 2015

Great metaphors, terrible sex, and talking dogs in some of the most memorable sentences of the year. 

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Illustration by Emily Flake

Slate’s Best Books of 2015 coverage:

Monday: Overlooked books of 2015.
Tuesday:
The best lines of 2015.
Wednesday:
The best comics of 2015. 
Thursday: Laura Miller and Katy Waldman’s favorite books of the year.
Friday: The best audiobooks of 2015.

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“Florida is California on a Troma budget.”
–Kelly Link, Get in Trouble

“She always expected to grow up boyish like Meg, but she took after Lee’s mother instead: an eye-popping hourglass in miniature, but nervous about it, with skinny legs and bitten nails.”
–Nell Zink, Mislaid

“She never wanted to forget this moment, this smell, these exact shades of sunshine, lemon, maize, construction hat, yolk, taxi, sunflower, bumblebee, mustard.”
–Dasha Kelly, Almost Crimson

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“She won’t mention how, for a man who is depressed, George has developed an increased, insatiable appetite for sex and at all hours presses himself upon her like a glum, murderous rabbit.”
–Sophie MacManus, The Unfortunates

“Asking me how to write a memoir is a little like saying, ‘I really want to have sex, where do I start?’ ”
–Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir

“The moon blew up with no warning and with no apparent reason.”
–Neal Stephenson, Sevenevens

“You know, there’s an expression … ‘Keep your eye on the doughnut, and not on the hole.’ A concept like ‘Lynchian’ is more like the hole. If I start thinking about that, it’s so dangerous.”
–David Lynch to Dennis Lim when asked what “Lynchian” means, David Lynch: The Man From Another Place

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“That’s how I think of New York. Someone
jonesing for Grace Jones at the party,
and someone jonesing for grace.”
–Terrance Hayes, How to be Drawn

“It all began when the genie came out of the Magic Milk bottle and asked me what I would prefer: to have a Picasso or to be a Picasso.”
– César Aira, The Musical Brain

“He reminded me of a beaver, all uncorrected overbite and senseless industry.”
–Jonathan Franzen, Purity

“It was Prince … who came up with the word for ‘human’ (roughly: grrr-ahhi, the sound of a growl followed by a sound typical of humans.)”
–André Alexis, Fifteen Dogs

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“That entire time, David polished the black dining room table, balancing on his knees, checking every inch of the surface of the table to make sure it was smooth and perfect.”
–Brian Selznick, afterword of The Marvels

“I often thought of loading baggage as a game of human-scale Tetris. Each fifty-passenger flight that I worked would usually require two standard-size luggage carts full of snowboard carriers, ski bags, Pelican cases, octagonal metal canisters, long cylindrical fishing rod holders, and hard-sided suitcases. Occasionally there would be a kayak, or a casket.”
–Christopher Schaberg, The End of Airports

“there is a pattern to all this
like a weave of a skirt
we all go crazy from looking”
–Frank Stanford, What About This

“So, is that ‘Watching the Detectives’ a real show?”
–Bob Dylan, to Elvis Costello, in Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink

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“When, in spite of her defensive manipulation of persons and things, the liquid prevailed, Lila lost Lila, chaos seemed the only truth, and she—so active, so courageous—erased herself, and, terrified, became nothing.”
–Elena Ferrante, The Story of the Lost Child

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“My favorite kind of musical experience is to feel afterward that your heart is filled up and transformed, like it is pumping a whole new kind of blood into your veins.”
–Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

“He wanted to get from his heart its full worth: natural instructions for kissing, more courage at the right moments—the reckless blood-pumping that would make him a real American lover.”
–Rebecca Dinerstein, The Sunlit Night

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“Frank and I laughed when we said this to each other: Just don’t kill the baby! And it was such a relief to laugh because of course, the baby, in so many ways, is so terrifying.”
–Amy Fusselman, Savage Park

“While you can’t hold on to everything forever, you’re a fool if you sell back your college books at semester’s end: have you learned nothing of this life?”
–Ander Monson, Letter to a Future Lover

“Everyone has at least one talent. It’s just that some talents are pointless.”
–Andrea Kneeland, How to Pose for Hustler

“We get on like a house on fire, don’t we, Claude?”
I picture the flames, the screaming. “Yes,” I say.
–Paul Murray, The Mark and the Void

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Laura Bennett is Slate’s culture editor overseeing the Slate Book Review and television coverage.