Friday, August 14, 2009

first words

Last night I finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie but knew I couldn't jump into another book when I was already reading with one eye closed. I shut off the light and thought about books, which led to thinking of favorite opening sentences. Here are a few that came to mind:

I do not love mankind.

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

And this:

If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head.

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall

And this:

The day we won the lottery I was wearing wax lips that my father had bought for the Nose Picker and me at a truck stop.

The Rich Part of Life by Jim Kokoris

My sisterfriend (she's not my sister but should be) surprised me with a copy of The Giant's House and this woman knows my book tastes so I always trust I'll enjoy the books from her. She's never steered me wrong.

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint was a treasure to find. I was wandering around a bookstore and from a distance saw the cover. I picked up the book, read the first sentence and was hooked. In fact, it's the only time I've emailed an author after finishing a book...and he responded!

I stumbled on The Rich Part of Life the same way. I knew nothing about the book or author. Maybe it was the wax lips on the cover that drew me in.

I'm starting While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty as soon as Bug goes down for his nap and am so eager to pick it up. It's still in the bag because I don't want to tempt myself until I can spend a little bit of time with it (please Bug take a nice 2-hour nap for Mommy). I've been patiently waiting for its arrival and now I'm ready to dive in.

Any favorite memorable first lines for you?


  1. What interesting, fun, books you have listed here - and I haven't read any of them! Time to go to the library website and reserve some! One of my favorite books is "Peace like a River" by Leif Enger. The first line is:"From my first breath in this world, all I wanted was a good set of lungs and the air to fill them with - given circumstances, you might presume, for an American baby of the twentieth century." Are you hooked? (actually that first line isn't as good as the rest of the book)

  2. im amazed you remember first lines. maybe i just havent read any memorable ones. im pretty sure id remember the mailman ran over my head one.

    my books lately have been stinkers. im hoping to start a good one soon.

  3. I can't remember amazing first lines, but I know there are so many because that's how I've fallen right into a book so many times.
    I do the same thing when I'm "trolling" for books. I'm not certain what I'm looking for but I'll find a true gem often times. And it's wonderful to find a book like that! :)

  4. In fact, now that I think about it, I found Richard Russo like that...
    how did the reading go, by the way??

  5. The one for Angela's Ashes was a good one, but I don't remember it anymore. Childbirth has burned off too many important braincells...
    like the memory ones...

  6. I just started The Devil in the White City. My neighbor loaned it to me after I raved about Chicago. It's historical so the first line didn't grab me. I'm just excited that the book itself is so interesting.

    Happy Reading!

  7. I never remember a thing from what I read! It drives me crazy but I just wrote down every one of these books you mentioned because they all sound fabulous!

  8. There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself - not just sometimes, but always.

    The first line of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

    I believe it's for younger readers (maybe starting around 5th grade), but I absolutely love the book. The way Juster weaves the story in a literal approach is just great. I need to re-read it to my kids again.

  9. I can't quote you any first lines right now, but I am so grateful for all the book recommendations! I can only re-read my favorites so many times :)

  10. I read The Giant's House. Totally forgot that I did, though, until right now! I have read so many great books, but first lines don't always jump out at me. I'll have to dig through a few and see what I come up with!

  11. I'm so glad you posted this-- I've been waiting to find a few new books to add to my reading list! Can't wait to dive into these... {{sits rules!}}

  12. You know, there's a whole section like this is Book Lust (I think that's the one), and I'm mortified because I literally just fall into books and when I emerge I just have an impression: I have trouble with the characters names or specifics--I just know the general plot and whether or not I like it. One glaring exception to this rule would be the description of a hangover in Lucky Jim--genius.

  13. Thanks so much for swinging by my Overflowing Bookshelf!! I'll hope you'll come back soon. I love your page as well-- I can already tell we have tons in common:) I'll definitely be back. Now excuse me, I must go start following you.