Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Reading Program

I've been thinking of great first lines to books lately. I really love language and I remember the really good lines that meant I was about to become embroiled in a story that swept away all else in the world. For a time, anyway. I am getting excited because the school year is almost over, and I will have days upon weeks to read what I choose. I'm really excited about this. I already have some books lined up- Leaving Cold Sassy, the unfinished sequel to Cold Sassy Tree, which a friend kindly lent me. An old Grisham law thriller, any old one will do. Angel Harp, a book that another friend had said was terrible but she sent it to me all the way from Kansas for me to try my hand at it, so I will. Lol. The Rainbow Men, by Douglas Sheldon. I found it in a swap pile, and there was no cover and very little is available on the internet about it as far as a synopsis goes. But I was taken by the first line:

"So this is how it ends for David Fulton Webster, he thought, in a dinghy with a dying girl." Intriguing! I'm hooked!

Topping the list will be bible study. Opening line: "In the beginning..." Pretty good if you ask me!.

My two favorite classic opening lines are below. The first is from my favorite author, Thomas Hardy: from The Return of the Native:

"A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment. Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath for its floor."

That's just beautiful. Simply wonderful.

And this one from Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez--

"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." Who wouldn't love that? So creative, and so immediately relatable.

My favorite joke about an opening line is from the wonderful comedy, Cheers. In the bar, Frasier tries to get the guys interested in classic literature. He begins reading the first line from Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities".

"Dr. Frasier Crane: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
Norm Peterson: Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa. Which was it?"

It's much better seen. Skip to 2:40 - 3:40 on the video below. After that joke about the opening line, Frasier continues to read, and the guys immediately mock Dickens for being too indecisive. As they begin lose interest, Frasier spices it up...

Happy Summer Reading!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

angel harpe....could have been summed up in about 150 pages. I know the reviewers on Amazon LOVED it, but I had trouble with it. Remember the line in Princess Bride where Prince Humperdink and Buttercup are getting married? "Skip to the end!" is what I wanted to say over and over.