It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Recognize that partial quote? It’s from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and the rest of the sentence, the part we rarely hear, goes like this:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (From A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

A Tale of Two Cities


I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens but after reading a little about it online, my interest is piqued. This 45 chapter novel was originally published in 1859 over a period of 31 weekly installments. They were published in a literary periodical Dickens was writing called All the Year Round. I was surprised to learn Dickens published all of his novels but three in this same manner, doling them out chapter by chapter over weekly installments. Interesting, huh?

Back in December when I was out shopping for Christmas presents, I stopped by a local Barnes and Noble. I shared some of the gifts I bought that day in this older post: A Tartan Bag

While shopping that day, I saw a throw I really, really wanted. Showing uncustomary restraint, I resisted buying it. Later, when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I hinted rather heavily about the throw. Okay, I came right out and said, “I want this throw I saw in Barnes and Noble. It can even be ordered online!” My hint fell on deaf ears and no throw appeared in my Christmas stocking or under the tree. Hmmpff!

So what do you do when Santa accidentally forgets your one Christmas wish? You go online and become your own Santa! πŸ™‚

Quotes Throw for Reading Nook_wm


It’s true that good things come to those who wait, that is if no one beats you to it and it doesn’t sell out first! πŸ˜‰ When I checked online after Christmas, the was able to buy it at a better rpice, reduced from $39.99 to $33.95, with free shipping. Yipee!

Update: I just found a coupon online that gives you 20% off a purchase. The code is: J4P7D9K . I just tried it on another throw, acting like I was going to buy it and that code did work!

Literature Quotes Throw for Reading Nook_wm


In the store it was only available in a dark-chocolate brown and a khaki color. I noticed online today, it’s available in turquoise and gray, too. I went with the khaki color, a nice neutral for the office reading nook. I love this throw, it’s 100% cotton which I really like. Wouldn’t this make an awesome gift for the person who loves classic literature? (By the way, I’m not affiliated in any way with Barnes & Noble.)

Reading Nook with Literature Quote Throw_wm


The throw is covered with snippets of quotes from famous works of literature. Some I recognized immediately and knew the source, while others are familiar but I’m not sure I could name the book/author. So I thought we would have some fun and try to figure them all out today. Are you up for a little fun?

Reading Nook With Quotes Throw From Barnes & Noble


Here’s the throw all spread out as shown online HERE.  Leave me a comment with the quotes you recognize, along with the book title and author.

Famous Literary Quotes Throw


Here it is in Turquoise, in case that’s easier to read. Recognize some of the quotes? Together, I know we can figure them all out. Try not to use Wikipedia or an online source, if at all possible. Let’s see if we can do it without Google. πŸ™‚

Quotes Throw in Turquoise


Pssst: If you’re new to reading BNOTP, you can see more of the office in this post: Building a Home Office

Pottery Barn Office with Bedford Furniture and Buffalo Check Curtains

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 


  1. ‘Call me Ishmael’ ~Moby Dick

  2. I recognized, “My purpose in going to Wald…” from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” where he writes, β€œMy purpose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live dearly…” I cannot remember the rest. (I studied 19th century American Lit back in the day, and I love this book.)

  3. Patience is a virtue!! (Psychomachia) franki

  4. “call me Ishmael” – Moby Dick (I think Charles Dickens)
    “and the letter A in scarlet” – The Scarlet Letter, Nathanial Hawthorne
    “exactly my dear Watson” – Sherlock Holmes (can’t remember the author)

  5. Jill Kimmins says

    Hi Susan. I love to read (print, ereader ,audio CD) and try to get as many stories as I can in the course of the year while commuting, cleaning the house, etc. My goal for this year is 40 more novels! Right away I recognized the β€œHappy families are all alike” quote on your quilt from a book I read last year – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
    PS. A dear friend got me the A Christmas Carol quotation blanket from the same collection : ) It says “Bah Humbug” and other things, in red and white.

    • I listen to several books a month but almost all non-fiction. I think this year I’ll listen to more novels, that’s a great idea! Jill, I looked for the A Christmas Carol throw (since I like this one so much) and unfortunately, B & N is sold out of it online. I will have to look for it next year. Check this one out that I found while searching online. Sooo funny…the look on the sheep’s face. I love it but it’s a bit pricey! It looks huge, though!

  6. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    We studied “…Two Cities” in high school English, so I’m very familiar with the tale. And I went through a period of time as a teen/young twenty something when I read all of Dickens. Do I remember all of Dickens? Heck no! *L*

  7. Carolyn Price says

    “And the letter A in scarlet for …. ” is from “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I finally read the novel 4 decades after it was assigned in my 11th grade literature class. The scarlet “A,” for adulteress, was embroidered on the bodice of every dress worn by Hester Prynne per the order of the court or magistrate.

  8. Carolyn Price says

    “Curiouser and curiouser” is an Alice quote from “Alice Through the Looking Glass” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

    • Hi Carolyn! Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are by Lewis Carroll. They are two of my all time favorites!

      Robert Louis Steven is author of an adventure of another kind, Treasure Island & The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide.

      • Carolyn Price says

        Lewis Carroll!! Of course!! Got. “Louis/Lewis” correct.
        Should not have relied on my memory. : /
        Thanks, Vanessa!

  9. “It is a far, far better thing I do” is the last of “A Tale of Two Cities”
    Beowulf, obviously. And Sherlock Holmes also.

  10. Connie Callahan says

    I love this throw and what you did in the office.

  11. What a happy nook! I could sit there and read all day – love the bee pillow!

  12. “Half of it’s Hucks…” must be from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by
    Mark Twain πŸ™‚ Vikki in VA

  13. Iris McCloud says

    “Reader I married him” is from “Jane Eyre”.

  14. Great throw, Susan!! That’s just the kind of thing that I would like, too. πŸ™‚ I love quotes from literary classics (I worked at a bookstore for four years) your throw is a great conversation piece. πŸ˜€ Let’s see, the first one is obviously A Tale of Two Cities, and closer to the bottom, “It is a far, far better thing (I do…) is also from a Tale of Two Cities. The second one is from Tarzan of the Apes (can’t remember the author, maybe Edgar Rice Burroughs?) The third one is from the epic Old English poem, “Beowulf”. I had to read that in high school English, bor-ring. “Curiouser and Curiouser” is from Lewis Carrol’s Alice and Wonderland. Two lines below that is Wuthering Heights, by one of the Bronte sisters. Two lines below that, “Call Me Ishmael” is Moby Dick and the furthest I ever got in reading that book. πŸ˜€ The line below that, “It is a truth universally (known…) is from Pride and Prejudice. “Exactly my dear Watson” is from Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the next line is from On Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau. “Half of its Hucks” is probably Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, and farther down is “The Scarlet Letter”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    I love, love “A Tale of Two Cities” — I hope you read it Susan. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed your post and your throw is really pretty. Stay warm!



  15. Sherlock Holmes was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  16. Without cheating to double check on it I believe ” Now Beowulf abode in the bur…” is from “Beowulf”. Apologies to literature majors but I have a vague memory of painfully reading it in some English class many years ago.

    • Regality (aka The Quing) says

      Iris, we didn’t actually read Beowulf ourselves. Our teacher read it to us in the original Old English dialect, which was her major in college. I doubt that any of us really understood anything that she didn’t explain to us. But it was a fascinating experience.

  17. I got most of them but I couple of them I either couldn’t remember the full title and author (like Beowulf, I remember it’s the oldest epic poem known to man but can’t remember who wrote it!), or I couldn’t figure out at all. I love this throw!!

    Best of times – Tale of Two Cities, Dickens
    Curiouser & Curiouser – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Louis Caroll
    Wuthering Heights – Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
    Call Me Ishmael – Moby Dick, Herman Melville
    It is a truth universally acknowledged – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    Exactly my dear Watson – The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    My purpose in going to Walden – Walden, Henry David Thoreau
    Reader I married him – Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
    And the letter A in scarlet – The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
    It is a far far better thing – Tale of Two Cities, Dickens

  18. I am Tarzan… Tarzan Edgar Rice Burroughs
    It is a truth universally acknowledged… Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
    Gregor Samsa awoke… Metamorphosis Franz Kafka
    Dear Reader I married… Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

  19. Oh my! One of the best pieces of fiction EVER! You will be enthralled. DO take the time to read Mr. Dickens’ wonderful story! Thanks for sharing that throw: it is lovely….I think I love the khaki as well!

  20. Peggy Thal says

    “A lady’s imagination is very rapid.” Start of a quote from one of my favorite books that I had to read for College. Love your room and your self Christmas gift. ( I have to admit I love self Christmas gifts. ) Your cute blanket is perfect for cuddling with the perfect book. I like the color you chose, the other color is so in your face. This one is nice and neutral. Enjoy your lovely room.

  21. Love the throw Susan…Glad you got it on sale~~and loved what you said about good things come to those who wait…unless someone beats you to it…or it sells out…I must remember that!!!…Cute!…I read that book waaay back when….in school.

  22. Susan – I need one of those throws! I think the quote Tell of the Storm Tossed Man is from Homer’s Odyssey, and As Gregor Samsa Awoke is from Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a strange story of a man who awakes one morning to find that he has turned into a beetle of some sort overnight (a cockroach?). It’s pretty creepy and the story has stayed with me, a sure sign of something worth reading. Love your blog!

  23. I purchased this afghan/ throw for my granddaughter THE Reader of great literary classics for Christmas last year. The whole family loved it so much I had two more requests this year. Different patterns and colors but that wonderful 100% cotton. All from Barnes & Nobles. I love getting ideas for gifts and don’t let them pass. Glad you are happy with it too.

  24. “Now is the winter of our discontent”…. Shakespeare, from “Richard III” I think…

  25. Some of my favorite literary quotations come from A Tale of Two Cities. Sidney Carton says, “It’s a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done before,” when he takes the place of Charles Darnay at the end of the book. “Recalled to life” is the password Mr. Lorry uses to let other know that Dr. Manette is being released from prison. Of course, the opening of the book refers to the aristocracy in France ignoring the plight of the poor and the king of England not doing much to help. Can you tell I love this book? I also love this throw! One of my favorite quotations from classic literature comes from Romeo & Juliet. The Friar says to Romeo, “Wisely and slow, they stumble who run fast.” If only Romeo had listened!

  26. I feel the need to order more books for my kindle or just buy the books. Dont you just love the feel of the pages? I got into reading after watching “You’ve Got Mail”. I love Meg Ryan.

    Now on to the office link! I need organization in my life like ASAP!!!

  27. Cyndi Raines says

    Susan, I’ve been meaning to thank you for the tartan post which speaks of the canvas totes at Barnes and Nobles. I ran right out that day and purchased (4) of them for Christmas gifts, of course they all had to be the red cardinal version — 2 for my sisters, 1 for a friend and 1 for myself. haha Buying gifts for ourselves is the best because they don’t disappoint! Thanks for all your posts – they are delightful.

    • Thanks, Cyndi! I’m so glad you found that helpful and were able to get some of those totes. That price was just too good to pass up! I love that little tartan bird on front. lol Yep, that’s one way to make sure you get what you want…buy it yourself! πŸ™‚ I never thought of Barnes and Noble as a place to shop for homegoods but I like a lot of the things they carry in-store and online. The prices on their cotton throws are so much better than what I normally see, plus most throws are usually part polyester or nylon or something I don’t like. I think I’ll be checking them out more often, especially around Christmas each year.

  28. Fabulous throw Susan, very apt for a library. It looks as though our readers here have captured most of the quotes.
    Dickens was part of our literature teaching in England, I do love his books, but have to confess I haven’t read one in a while. Nickolas Nickleby was a favourite of mine.

  29. Susan, Thank you for sharing what Santa did not bring you for Christmas! My sister in law, who is a recently retired librarian, is going through Cancer treatments. I have been stumped as to a real unique gift for her – then I read today’s post. The throw with all of the literary quotes!! – It couldn’t be a more perfect gift for her. She can snuggle in it on the bad days and hopefully by Spring the worst of her treatments will be over!! Thank you thank you for your inspiration!!! ~Val

    • Thanks, Val. Saying a prayer for her right now. This really does seem like the perfect gift for her, especially now. Hope it brings her much comfort. I know she is looking forward to spring…a new beginning. XO

  30. “If music be the food of love (play on)…” is also Shakespeare, from “Twelfth Night”.

  31. Martha Franks says

    Don’t know too many of the quotes! What a lovely room! I like your throw, but I covet your bee pillow!

    • Thanks, Martha! I found that at Ballard Designs a few years back…they may still make it, I’m not sure. I think it was good seller for them so they may still have it.

  32. I see quotes from Thoreau’s Walden, Alice in Wonderland and Dickens . How wonderful. As a speed reader and long time Bibliophile who always has my nose in a book I adore this. Thinking for fellow readers its a great gift .

  33. I just adore the throw. Thanks for telling us about it! I immediately went online and ordered it for one of my best friends that I taught Literature with for years. I believe we have taught every one of those stories (or poems) at some time. I did not even tell her about it, but had it shipped directly to her with a note reminding her of our years of teaching together. She is retired now, and I am teaching in a different state. It was a perfect surprise gift. Now I’m trying to decide how badly I need one for myself….Hmmmm.

    • You are such a good friend…she is going to love it and think of you each time she curls up under it. Did that code I found online work okay for the 20% discount? I tried it out on a different throw and it worked when I tested it so I hope it worked.

  34. Just stumbled across this post. Went immediately to the link and ordered a throw. The throws are available in all colors now, but not on sale. The code number still works!
    I was thinking that the Huck reference might not be from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as I remembered that Huck was the narrator in that story, and most likely would have said, “Half of it’s mine and . . .” Found a reference to the quote online that indicated it was from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
    Don’t mean to sound uppity. I didn’t recognize many of the quotes.

    • Glad the code still works…awesome! Thanks for the info about where the quote is from!

      • OH! I didn’t read carefully. I thought this post was a year old. Instead, it’s brand new! No wonder it popped up.
        I think, the second line (NOWIST) might be from Richard III. Now is the winter of our discontent. This just keeps getting more and more fun. Julie (Read the comment below.) is right though. My eyes are crossing.
        Wish someone would take a guess concerning Line 11. “I a . . . “

        • Denise, you know what I think that I on line 11 may be a break. I noticed that ever so often there a little box shape and every so often their’s an I…which seems to be used a break or something.

  35. I saw Alice in Wonderland, some Twelfth Night and some Jane Austin. Then my eyes started crossing! LOL. My daughter is a voracious reader and will love this! BTW, A Tale of Two Cities is fantastic! I love all Charles Dickens.

  36. Just had time to read this post, loved the quotes throw, immediately went to B&N online, used the coupon code, got free shipping, too! I am in the midst of creating a new, comfy reading spot for me. This is the inspiration I needed, thanks!

  37. Cheryl Simpson says

    Love the throw! I bought one at TJ Max in December. It is red with white lettering. It has phrases of things to do with Christmas.

  38. Susan, what a great throw. I am an avid reader since a very young age and one of my favorite quotes is “Books are my Friends”. I have always loved word groupings or quotes in my decor. In my first apartment I stretched a “word” dinner napkin over canvas stretchers and hung it on my kitchen wall. I do not remember the exact words but the colors were bright red, blue, green & yellow on a white background. I think I bought the napkin for 75Β’ at Pier One & the stretcher bars were maybe $1.50. This was many, many years ago and I was earning very little & my decorating had to be very creative. My stretched napkin followed me through many moves.

    I just discovered BNOTP a few months ago when I was searching for more of my Christmas China, Winter Greetings Green Band by Lenox. Thank you for.bringing much joy into my life. I would also like to extend my deepest sympathy on the passing of your dear sister, Glenda. May God give you peace & understanding as you mourn & great memories. I love the photo booth pictures of y’all. My favorite cousin, Byron, passed away on December 9th. He was my “big brother” in many ways. We talked often & reminisced about our childhood & our grandparents. Take care & cherish the memories. Ashley

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!