20 of the best T-shirts with quotes from books

T-shirt Quote, Head Image

When it comes to personalised T-shirts, there’s no question that the ones with quotes on them are some of the most popular. Which is why we were surprised to find out that we hadn’t really addressed them on the blog.

 

 

So in order to make it right, we decided to put together the best ones we could find in a single post. As for the theme, we chose authors and their books because who better to write a quote than an actual writer?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

‘Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me? Very, very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big, wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name — ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?’
— Douglas Adams

In this science fiction classic, the main characters get turned into a flower pot and a whale. As they fall to their deaths, each has their own opinions about the universe. The first is more optimistic, while the second negative. In the end, it doesn’t matter because regardless of how we live our lives, we’re all going to end in the same place.

 

t-shirt quote, the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

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Watership Down

‘All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.’
— Richard Adams

Watership Down is a fantasy novel that was turned into a feature film in 1978. Till this day it is often noted as one of the creepiest animated movies ever made.

 

T-shirt Quote, Watership Down

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The Handmaid’s Tale

‘Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.’ (‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.’)
— Margaret Atwood

Even though this quote is not grammatically correct (the author herself has stated that it’s mock Latin), many fans of the novel and TV show have embraced it by going as far as tattooing it on their bodies.

 

t-shirt quote, The Handmaid's Tale

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Pride and Prejudice

‘You have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. And wish from this day forth never to be parted from you.’
― Jane Austen

To any straight woman and gay man who has ever read Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy will always be the perfect man. Of course, there’s no such thing in real life but we can all rejoice with this cute T-shirt.

 

t-shirt quote, Jane Austen

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

‘It is the brain, the little grey cells on which one must rely.’
— Agatha Christie

As one of the most iconic detectives of all times, Mr Poirot makes this list thanks to this unforgettable line.

 

T-shirt Quote, Agatha Christie

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Mockingjay

‘“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.”’

— Suzanne Collins

The only dialogue on this list. Aside from the great action scenes, Collins is also known for truthfully portraying teenage angst and this quote is a great example of it.

 

T-shirt quote, Mockingjay

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The Sign of the Four

‘… when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes needs no introduction and this quote represents him down to a tee.

 

Sherlock Holmes, T-shirt quote

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Jane Eyre

‘I would always rather be happy than dignified.’
— Charlotte Brontë

For today’s standards, Jane Eyre is pretty tame but back when it was published in 1847 it caused quite the stir. A reviewer described it as ‘pre-eminently an anti-Christian composition,’ — the quote above highlights the free-spirited nature of the protagonist which was frowned upon.

 

T-shirt quote, Jane Eyre

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The Great Gatsby

‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

The first sentence of a novel is meant to hook us, while the last one is designed to leave the reader in a particular state. When it comes to The Great Gatsby, we feel like we just finished reading a book that will stay with us for a long time.

 

the great gatsby, t-shirt quote

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The Fault in our Stars

‘Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.’
— John Green

So I tried to understand what John Green said here, but I didn’t get very far. Maybe you’ll have better luck with this explanation. It sure looks pretty, though!

Note: Want to print a quote on a T-shirt? Find out if they’re protected by copyright.

 

T-shirt Quote, The Fault in our Stars

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The Metamorphosis

‘What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense.’
— Franz Kafka

We often hope that all our troubles will be fixed when we wake up but, as they say, be careful for what you wish for because it might just come true.

 

T-shirt quote, Franz Kafka

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On the Road

‘…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”’
― Jack Kerouac

As the only paragraph in our list, this quote perfectly represents On the Road. Fast, energetic and enlightened.

 

T-shirt quote, On the Road

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To Kill a Mockingbird

‘It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
— Harper Lee

Mockingbirds only sing and bring joy to the world, which is why it would be an awful thing to kill them. In the novel, it makes reference to innocent people and how unfair the world can sometimes be to them.

 

T-shirt quote, How to kill a Mockingbird

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Moby Dick

‘Call me Ishmael.’
— Herman Melville

We already spoke about the last sentence but it is the first one most authors lose sleep over. ‘Call me Ishmael,’ may seem simplistic but it sets the tone perfectly and, since then, has become iconic in the literary world.

 

T-shirt quote, Moby Dick

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Anne of Green Gables

‘I don’t wan to be anyone but myself’
— Lucy Maud Montgomery

A feel-good quote from a feel-good novel.

 

T-shirt quote, Anne of the Green Gables

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1984

‘War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.’
— George Orwell

Unlike the rest of the lines on the list, this one is not a piece of dialogue but a slogan instead. The one from the ruling party in Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.

 

T-shirt Quote, 1984

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.’
— J K Rowling

We couldn’t have a list of T-shirt quotes without one from the Harry Potter books! Dumbledore is probably one of the most quotable characters ever. There are so many to choose from! But we went with this one from the third book in the series for its practicality.

 

T-shirt Quote, Harry Potter

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Le Petit Prince

‘On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux’ (It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.)
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At this point, I don’t know if Le Petit Prince is fiction or a self-help book. Either way we love it!

 

T-shirt quote, Le Petit Prince

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Slaughterhouse Five

‘Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.’
— Kurt Vonnegut

In the novel, this sentence is suggested for an epitaph, which makes sense. We don’t know if things are beautiful after we die but it surely doesn’t hurt anymore.

 

T-shirt Quote, Slaughterhouse Five

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Mrs. Dalloway

‘Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.’
— Mrs. Dalloway

Another first sentence. This one comes from one of my favourite novels. It is a peculiar way of starting a novel but considering Woolf’s style, we wouldn’t expect anything else.

 

T-shirt quote, Mrs. Dalloway

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