WINNERS of the Words Move Me Contest

This contest was one of my favorites EVER. Reading through the (more than 360) entries was incredibly fun, which just underscores my love of great books, my appreciation for a beautiful sentence, and the joy I get from learning about other people’s favorite books and what moved them. THANK YOU for your entries to this contest! What a treat for me.

That said, of course it was difficult choosing winners because there were so many terrific entries. I was impressed by every single one of them, I’m not exaggerating. But you want to know the winners, so here they are.

Second Runner Up
Prize: evaluation of 20 pages
Submitted by Katethompson

Asking “why?” opens the door to a downward spiral of despair & anger. I never guessed I’d need Pausch’s question, “Why NOT me?” so soon after reading his book. Since our youngest son (20) died last month, I’ve relied on Pausch’s question. It helps a lot.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

First Runner Up
Prize: evaluation of 20 pages
Submitted by Sparrow17

People who claim they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us. It’s people who claim that they’re good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Grand Prize Winner
Prize: Sony Reader Pocket Edition
Submitted by Meadow

I’m not that sentimental, but I cried as I read this memoir about a woman who rescues an abused racehouse. She gains the horse’s love and trust and is able to face her own troubled past. A beautiful book about unconditional love.
Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards

* * *
I was moved by some of the thoughts you expressed about these books. Here are a few of my favorites:

Reading this book was the first time I became aware that a writer could create a world of their own and let the reader live there for a little while. It made me want to do the same, it’s part of why I became a writer. Heartlight by T. A. Barron

I was an atheist, and while I was undergoing a personal crisis in life, I came across this beautiful book that gave me hope to live on. I found solace in God and am so grateful to the author for having written this book that changed me and my life forever. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I’ve never read a novel that’s made me feel so blessed and grateful for those that belong to me. Marisa de los Santos has an amazing voice. Poetry and prose–it’s perfect. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

* * *

I also enjoyed reading the quotes from your favorite books, and found so many of them captivating. Here are some of my favorites:

My father may be the only person in the history of the world who changed himself because he despised a character in literature who struck chords of horror in himself that he could not face. He had the best second act in the history of fathering. My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

A writer’s job is to make the ordinary come alive, to awaken ourselves to the specialness of simply being. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

A good story is always more dazzling than a broken piece of truth. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

“Religion,” the Man with No Hands said quietly, staring at his feet. “Religion is what regular people get in order to stay out of Hell. People who have already been to Hell don’t want religion, they just want to know God.” Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer

Six o’clock. Shops filling, emptying like lungs. Dazzled pigeons like rings of scattered paper climb above the minarets. This is an hour not easy to bear, when from my balcony I catch a glimpse of her walking idly in her white sandals, still half asleep. Justine by Lawrence Durrell

Listen. Your life is happening. You are happening. The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner

“What is the function of the artist?” Amanda demanded of the talented trespasser. “The function of the artist,” the Navajo answered, “is to provide what life does not.” Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

You made me want the performer in you. And I’d wish that you’d sing and strum something that would make my insides explode. A song to communicate the words that you never spoke to me. Black Boxes by Caroline Smailes

She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would ring them out like the rain. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I could no longer afford to be a writer “someday.” I could no longer stuff my dreams into the future with a long list of justifications…I realized then that it was time for me to move my life purpose forward. It was time to go after my dream. Knit Together by Debbie Macomber

I breathe in slowly. Food is life. I exhale, take a breath. Food is life. And that’s the problem. When you’re alive, people can hurt you. It’s easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. It’s easier to lock everybody out. But it’s a lie. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Your face is wet,” he said worriedly. “I hope that’s spray. If you’ve become human enough to cry, then no magic in the world — oh, it must be spray. Come with me. It had better be spray.”
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

I understood at that moment fully and suddenly why he would not carry me, and why he had not come to my defense in times past when I was battling for my place in the world. I t was not because he failed to love me, but because he loved me so well. The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

* * *

In addition to the winners and the quotes above, there were several other entries that made me want to read the books:

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H. W. Brands
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Bitter Is The New Black by Jen Lancaster
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
The Sum of Our Days by Isabel Allende
The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

(Plenty of other entries were terrific but they were for books I’ve already read.)

Finally, I was impressed by the array of terrific authors represented amongst your entries, including many of my favorites like Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Cormac McCarthy, David Guterson, Louisa May Alcott, Sue Monk Kidd, Ken Follett, Elizabeth Gilbert, Lisa See, Corrie Ten Boom, and more.

Thanks, everyone, for visiting Words Move Me and entering your favorite books.

Congratulations to the winners! Please contact me by email.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Southern Writer on December 21, 2009 at 2:06 AM

    >Do read Belong to Me. I loved it, too.

  2. GunDiva on December 15, 2009 at 8:19 PM

    >I didn't enter. However, I do have to encourage you to read any of Gavin DeBecker's books. I noticed that he was on you list of author's to read. I love his no non-sense approach to safety. In fact, I give every future parent a copy of "Protecting the Gift".

  3. David on December 15, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    >Congrats to the winners!

    I didn't enter, but some of the book quotes makes me wish I had.

    I am particularly encouraged by the people quoting from Tom Robbins, that was well done!

  4. TirzahLaughs on December 15, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    >Just reading the entries made my mouth water.


  5. Shmologna on December 15, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    >Wow. Reading through these makes me want to read SUMMER OF LIGHT.

  6. Steph Damore on December 14, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    >Congrats to the winners. I too am glad you liked my entry. Hopefully you'll read BELONG TO ME soon. I absolutely loved it.

  7. Carla Gade on December 14, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    >This was a wonderful contest. I'm glad you enjoyed the quote from The Heretic's Daughter. It was nice so see what kind of words moved you! Thank you for participating this and introducing us to Words That Move Me.

  8. Rachelle on December 14, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    >Ken: No worries, nobody was at a disadvantage, I gave equal weight to thoughts about books and quotes from books. My contest instructions gave everyone a choice ("enter either a quote or a brief thought about a book"). I read every single quote and thought multiple times and gave careful thought to the winners.

  9. Ken on December 14, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    >After I submitted three entries, I browsed all 354 and "favorited" several more than I gave. Still, I have one small disappointment; Rachelle, your entries (all commentary and no quote, so far as I can see) led by exampleβ€”and so I'm not surprised to see that in general you received what you gave.

    It seems clear to me, however, that Sony's "Words That Move Me" campaign is meant to collect actual quotes from literature, not reader comments on the work. Having sensed and acted on this intended focus on content rather than reaction, I now can't help but feel that this choice put me (and others who did the same) at a disadvantage in your promotion.

    I realize this may not be "unfair." Maybe you did intend to favor reader comment entries; if so then those of us who offered the original author-crafted "moving words" rather than our own refracted image of them have simply fallen victim to a regrettable misunderstanding. For the record, I believe your page review runners-up prize was the real trophy hereβ€”and I congratulate those two winners!

  10. Beth Coulton on December 14, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    >I'm honored too that one of my quotes made it into your favorite quote section! Neat! This was a great contest- thanks for running it.

  11. arlee bird on December 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    >Congratulations to the winners. I agree that the evalualtion would have been the best prize.

    Speaking of winners, check out the VBT Writers on the Move blog today. I won an opportunity to be profiled on their site and it appears today:

  12. T. Anne on December 14, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    >Congrats to the winners! I had a blast, thanx Rachelle.

  13. Kristen Torres-Toro on December 14, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    >Congrats to all the winners! That's awesome!

    I'm happy right now because one of the quotes I submitted (the W. Dale Cramer one) made it into your quote section, Rachelle. Silly thing, but it made me smile just now!

  14. Cindy on December 14, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    >Congratulations to the winners! There were some great entries and some amazing authors represented.

  15. Mira on December 14, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    >This is wonderful. Thanks for posting all the entries and quotes – wery moving.

    Congratulations to the winners! You did your books proud. πŸ™‚

  16. Shelby on December 14, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    >This was so fun.. great ideas on new books to read.

    Let's do it again! πŸ™‚

  17. Maureen on December 14, 2009 at 8:41 AM

    >Yes, be sure to read Sarah's Key. It is quite good!

    And congratulations to your selections.

  18. Sharon A. Lavy on December 14, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    >I'll add my congratulations to the winners.

  19. Krista Phillips on December 14, 2009 at 7:11 AM

    >Great contest, congrats to the winners!!!!

  20. Jessica on December 14, 2009 at 6:32 AM

    >Congrats to the winners! Those quotes were SO awesome. I haven't even heard of most of the books, sadly. Thanks for the cool contest! πŸ™‚

  21. Sarah N Fisk on December 14, 2009 at 4:12 AM

    >Congrats to the winners! I must admit, I'm more jealous of the winners of the critique than the winner of the reader.

    I'm glad you liked my entry! (Heartlight by TA Barron)

  22. L-Plate Author on December 14, 2009 at 2:56 AM

    >Thanks for that Rachelle, I kinda wish that I'd been the judge!

    Congratulations to the winners and I'm glad that the words that moved me got a mention. Black Boxes will stay with me for a long time.

    All the best for the holiday season and the New Year.


  23. Terresa on December 14, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    >Congrats to all the winners & those that participated, too. Sweet entries & contest!