Last lines of my Top 15 Faves

Do you ever open a new book and check out the last page before you start reading? Ack! I never do that! I have to start at the beginning and finish at the end. But last lines can say a lot about stories, so I thought I’d take a look at my favorites.

A couple weeks ago, I posted the first lines of my favorite books. Here are the last lines of these Top 15 Faves.

I worried a bit about spoilers in sharing these, but I don’t think any of the lines below ruin the stories. Instead, they might make you want to check them out. I know I’m thinking about re-reading them!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Until all she can hear are the sighs of cars and the rumble of trains and the sounds of everyone hurrying through the cold.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“I am haunted by humans.”

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

“After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.”

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

“I ran.”

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

“When you’re a scientist, it means that you’re doing it right.”

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

“And I say: ‘Less!’”

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

“You won’t be going anywhere in a hurry tonight.”

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

“He has just been awarded the cross of the Legion of Honor.”

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

“She did not want to leave it yet.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“Way out yonder, where the crawdads sing.”

Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk

“Then the merciful curtains closed, and she was back in the crowded automobile, in the present day, beside her husband, going home to her children.”

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

46 thoughts on “Last lines of my Top 15 Faves

  1. These last lines are really enticing. I have to admit that from very young on, I was ultra curious about how the book would turn out when I started reading it, but as you say, I didn’t want to ruin it. So, I would turn to the last page and only allow myself to read the last word. Doing this made absolutely no sense and it never gave away anything, but I still do it every once in a while.

    1. Hi Karen – that’s a great story. You must have a lot of self-control to only read the last word on the last page. That would be hard! I definitely don’t like to have a story spoiled by the last line – I want to read it in the right order. Thanks for visiting. I hope you are doing well 🙂

      1. Yes, I do have a lot of self-control, and for a little kid, I really did, but there was something that drew me to the end. I hadn’t ever thought of it before, but perhaps it was like venturing into a sort of a danger zone for a child who always followed the rules.

      1. I actually write the last three lines of my books before I start. I then work towards them for another 95,000 words. Somrtimes the lines change slightly but for the most part they are intact. 😁

  2. Barbara,
    Your post really got me thinking. One always thinks of the first line but never the last line of a favorite book. I agree with you including “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I am also quite fond of the last line of “The Remains of the Day” (which may be a favorite book title) by Kazuo Ishiguro…
    “The evening’s the best part of the day. You’ve done your day’s work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.”

    1. Hi Linda – thanks for stopping by and commenting! I haven’t read The Remains of the Day – what a nice quote. Since it’s evening now and I’ve done my work, I will follow this advice!

  3. A Farewell to Arms; The Grapes of Wrath; In Cold Blood; Madame Bovary; To Kill a Mockingbird – that’s 5 we have both read 🙂 But I couldn’t have quoted the last lines. 🙂

    1. Ah yes, there they are 🙂 I read a lot of modern literature, but I have to say many of the classics are my favorites. I was really into Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence when I was in college.

  4. Awesome last lines! I have to admit, I was afraid to read this post for fear of spoilers for the books here I haven’t read yet, but these are all excellent.

  5. I’m familiar with most of these books and just checked out Olive Kitteridge. I am finishing Olive, Again, first, so in a sense I’m reading the last “line” first. 😀

    I always page through magazines from back to front. Does that count? Ha!
    Great idea for a post, Barbara!

    1. Oh that’s interesting. I read Olive Kitteridge when it first came out, then I watched the HBO mini series. That’s very good. I want to read Olive, Again – are you enjoing it?

      I’ve never read a magazine back to front – I think that counts, Marian. 🙂

  6. Never ever never do I begin a book and peek at the end. If I do that, I’m not interested in the book. I think we owe it to the author (and the characters) to read the story from beginning to end.
    That said, this is SO clever with the endings of great books. I do this sometimes in my creative writing classes, giving them the first line of a good book, not telling them where it came from, and then saying “write for 10 minutes!” Amazingly, some of the stories are better than from the original source.
    I think I might “borrow” your last lines for one of my writing class this fall! Thanks. 🙂

  7. “I am haunted by humans.” That’s how I feel whenever I’m out for a walk or run lately and suddenly it seems like the entire neighborhood has decided to go out for a walk at the same time. Human dodging…my new pastime. That said, I’ve always been good at resisting a peek at the ending, but a good final line is always appreciated.

  8. This is a clever post, Barbara. I don’t skip to the end, though, because if I do, I may not take the time to read the whole book. 🙂 But this is a good collection, and Where the Crawdads Sing sits in my library, one of my favorite books that I couldn’t put down. Have a good weekend!

  9. It is fascinating to see last lines presented without any explanation. I find myself tempted by some of them, not just the unfamiliar, I really must get around to rereading The Grapes of Wrath soon.

    As to your question, I’ve never yet checked a back page before reading, though I will admit to checking it on books that I am about to give up on. I

    1. Hi Cath – I can definitely see checking the last line of a book I’m about to abandon – but I haven’t tried that. I’ve read The Grapes of Wrath a few times – it’s such a good book. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

    1. Hi Jacqui – I know I thought there would be more finality in the last lines, but I was also surprised when I looked them up. They often give hints about the story, but not always. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  10. Original and entertaining post, Barbara! 😀 I’ve read a lot of these books and realise I didn’t pay that much attention to the last sentence! What a shame as these are terrific … and good I get to read them again! One of my friends ALWAYS read the last few lines of the book before buying or starting one! I winched everytime I saw her doing this!

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