Friday, May 8, 2015

All this happened, more or less.

We are at a placeholder week. I haven’t finished a book, but I promised to write faithfully. I realized that one thing I haven’t done in this blog is include the first lines of each book. Many first sentences of books are famous in their own right because they are perfect little gems unto themselves. 

I am Ishmael.

124 was spiteful.

I am an invisible man.

It was a pleasure to burn.

I’m pretty much fucked.

The best opening lines sum up the tone of the book. They give you a taste of what to expect in one perfect grouping of words and punctuation. So, deal readers, here are the first lines of all of the books I have read so far. I have to admit that I cheated, but only because the author did first. Instead of a good first sentence, they wrote an excellent first paragraph. In those cases, I included what I considered relevant. Enjoy.

My grandfather loved to fish.
            The Boy Who Said No – Patti Sheehy

A “happiness project” is an approach to changing your life.
            The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

It was the most outrageous way to bust up a fight I’d ever seen.
Verbal Judo - George Thompson 

For a long, long time – for nearly forty years – I never had any bees. I can’t think why.
            A Book of Bees - Sue Hubbell

My mother and I talked a lot about the Burgess family.
            The Burgess Boys - Elizabeth Strout

Have I made a terrible mistake?
            American Wife – Curtis Sittenfeld

There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads.
            The Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Waller

When I was three and Bailey four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed – “To Whom It May Concern – that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson, Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.
            I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.
            The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

The fat one, the radish Torez, he calls me Camel because I am Persian and because I can bear this August heat longer than the Chinese and the Panamanians and even the little Vietnamese, Tran.
            House of Sand and Fog – Andre Dubos

The golden rays of the summer sun warmed the cobblestone streets of Rome as Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia walked briskly from the Vatican to the three-story stucco house on the Piazza de Merlso where he’d come to claim three of his young children: his sons Cesare and Juan and his daughter Lucrezia, flesh of his flesh, blood of his blood.
            The Family – Mario Puzo

"They've said some crazy things about me over the years. I mean, okay: 'He bit the head off a bat.' Yes. 'He bit the head off a dove.' Yes. But then you hear things like, 'Ozzy went to the show last night, but he wouldn't perform until he'd killed fifteen puppies . . .' Now me, kill fifteen puppies? I love puppies. I've got eighteen of the f**king things at home. I've killed a few cows in my time, mind you. And the chickens. I shot the chickens in my house that night. It haunts me, all this crazy stuff. Every day of my life has been an event. I took lethal combinations of booze and drugs for thirty f**king years. I survived a direct hit by a plane, suicidal overdoses, STDs. I've been accused of attempted murder. Then I almost died while riding over a bump on a quad bike at f**king two miles per hour.
I am Ozzy – Ozzy Osbourne

Ever after, whenever smelled the peculiar odor of new construction, of pine planking and plastic plumbing pipes, she would think of that summer, think of it as the time of changes.
            Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen

Amal wanted a closer look into the soldier’s eyes, but the muzzle of his automatic rifle, pressed against her forehead, would not allow it.
            Mornings in Jenin – Susan Abulhawa

Dear Sydney, Susan Scott is a wonder. We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food. Susan managed to procure ration coupons for icing sugar and real eggs for the meringue.
            Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he is okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.
            Time Traveler's Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

All young people worry about things, it’s a natural and inevitable part of growing up, and at the age of sixteen, my greatest anxiety in life was that I’d never again achieve anything as good, as pure, or noble, as my O-level exam results.
            A Question of Attraction  - David Nichols

“Tonight, we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.” The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed in combat, silently or otherwise, he’d done it as an infant.
            The Forever War - Joe Haldeman

First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.
            The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

I was doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God.
            A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

Charlie Asher walked the earth like an ant walks on the surface of water, as if the slightest misstep might send him plummeting through the surface to be sucked to the depths below.
            A Dirty Job – Christopher Moore

The angel was cleaning out his closets when the call came. Halos and moonbeams were sorted into piles according to brightness, satchels of wrath and scabbards of lightning hung on hooks waiting to be dusted.
            Lamb – Christopher Moore

She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window. Beyond her, in the drizzle, the other high rises in Co-Op City rose like the grey turrets of a penitentiary. 
            Running Man – Richard Bachman

Tika Waylan straightened her back with a sigh, flexing her shoulders to ease the cramped muscles.
            Dragon’s of Autumn’s Twilight – Weis/Hickman

“You are already staying in Smolensk two days, Mr. Fisher?” she asked.
            The Charm School – Nelson DeMille

One night, when she was four and sleeping in the bottom bunk of her bunk bed, Ruth Cole woke up to the sound of lovemaking – it was coming from her parent’s bedroom. It was a totally unfamiliar sound to her. Ruth had recently been ill with a stomach flu, when she first her mother making love, Ruth thought that her mother was throwing up.
            A Widow for One Year – John Irving

It was a dark and stormy night. 
            A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed.
            Me Before You – JoJo Moyes

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