Kindle-Sourcing: These Are The Most Highlighted Passages From Classic Books You’ve Surely Read

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, Amazon Kindle has tracked the quotes that kids think they should know.


Back in the day, student readers looking for a short cut would turn to Cliff’s Notes (or, in Canada, Cole’s Notes) digests. In a 140-character world, those booklets probably fall into the same TL;DR category as the tomes they summarized.


Amazon has gone one better and boiled down essential works of literature to a line or two–the passages all Kindle readers considered important enough to highlight. As part of a back-to-school promotion, Amazon’s Kindle arm has curated a list of the most popular quotes from reading-list standards. The 13 titles include favorites like The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984, Macbeth, and Jane Eyre. Though readers often gravitate toward thematically relevant moments in the book, some of the passages that most readers mark would probably not impress their English instructor. Granted, readers probably struggle with the Middle English of The Canterbury Tales, but the most-frequently highlighted quote from that collection isn’t even Chaucer–it’s from the book’s introduction! (it’s the same for a post-war classic from American literature).

The quotes are in the gallery above. Answers appear in the slides too, but try and guess before clicking to see whether you’re smarter than a high schooler.

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. Invisible Man
  3. Moby Dick
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Lord of the Flies
  6. 1984
  7. Catch-22
  8. Slaughterhouse 5
  9. One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest
  10. Death of a Salesman
  11. Beowulf
  12. The Glass Menagerie
  13. Macbeth
  14. Jane Eyre
  15. The Canterbury Tales

About the author

Jennifer Miller is the author of The Year of the Gadfly (Harcourt, 2012) and Inheriting The Holy Land (Ballantine, 2005). She's a regular contributor to Co.Create.