Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Beginnings and Endings

A weekly extravaganza hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Beginnings and endings. Those bits that suck us in and those bits that spit us out. They can be enthralling or wearying, but when they're done right, they're OH so memorable. For some reason I'm MUCH better at remembering beginnings than I am at remembering endings. So this post will be heavy on beginnings, with a touch of the closing lines, and I'll even preview some of my favorite openers for books I haven't read yet. But they're on my stacks! Swearsies!

Favorite Beginnings:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I think I love this opening because it sets the stage for such an epic story. You can really feel the bigness of this book and the time period of the French Revolution when you ponder the whole opening. Read the complete paragraph here.


"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." from The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. Can't you just smell the burning flesh? OK, maybe not, but it sure is a wicked start. 




"It was a pleasure to burn."
from Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. I swear, I'm not just stuck on electrocution and flames. Really. This is just an odd, sassy way to start, and it opened the door to one of my all-time favorite books. 



"When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton." from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's just so cozy, isn't it???



"Beneath a sky thickening with summer thunderheads, they rode their bikes to Lafayette Cemetery, where the dead are buried above ground." from A Density of Souls, by Christopher Rice. It's just so atmospheric! I don't see this one discussed very often, but it's a quick mystery/thriller and possibly the first LGBTQ book I ever read. 

And because I'm very bad with endings, here are some great beginnings from books I haven't read yet, but that are on my "intended" list. 



"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun." from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. I finally have this on my Nook, and I'm ready to read!



"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were." from Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. Because just HAVE to read it sometime. 
 


"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress." from Middlemarch, by George Eliot. Because I love Eliot, so I might as well tackle this chunky monkey, too.



"To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman." from "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is a short story which kinda feels like cheating. But in my defense, it's the first story in my collection of Sherlock stories! And my fave episode from the BBC's Sherlock is based on this story.



"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It's about time. I'm reading this one in August. 


What are some of your favorite beginnings and endings? 





30 comments:

  1. Mine is Rebecca.
    "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
    I hope you enjoy reading it, it's one of my favourite modern classics!

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    1. I cannot wait to read it! I just know I'm gonna love it.

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  2. I'd urge you to read Rebecca RIGHT NOW, but I guess August is good enough ;) Definitely one of my favourite opening lines ever. Love the Bradbury one too.

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    1. LOL, it's really hard for me to wait!!! Bradbury is so good. This was one of those books that really affected me in my early life. I read it in 10th grade after reading his short story, "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains."

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  3. I loved Rebecca. I am planning to make a start with Sherlock soon. This sentence sure sounds promising.

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    1. I think I'm gonna love Sherlock and I never thought I would. It's nice to have the show to give me a new context in which to imagine it.

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  4. I remember having to memorize the first paragraph in A Tale of Two Cities when I read it in high school. Loved that book!

    A Density of Souls... I remember when you read this and talked about it on the yahoo group many years ago. I still have yet to read the book, but it's on my tbr list!

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    1. Love!

      And I am curious to re-read Density. I don't even think I have it in my collection anymore. I don't think it would stand up so great to re-reading, but I do love that opening line.

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  5. Ooooh, Rebecca! No idea why it took me so long to read that one. Such a great book. Awesome list, Andi...though I haven't read most of them. I need to read more classics for sure.

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    1. Same here, Dana. I've meant to read it for years, but I blame not doing it on my old ratty copy.

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  6. Rebecca!!! Everytime I think of the book I think about that first line. I loaned my copy to my stepmom and dad but I think it's still sitting on their coffee table. Everytime I visit I want to scream at them to read it already! ;) I think you'll enjoy it.

    Middlemarch is good but be prepared for the long-haul. It's a beast of a book!

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    1. Oh noes! The horror! lol I hope they read it soon. Maybe buy it for them on audio and reclaim your copy. ;)

      Middlemarch is a beast, but in general, I find Eliot's writing very pleasant to read.

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  7. The Bell Jar, YES! Fahrenheit 451, YES! And now I really, really want to go read The Fellowship of the Ring. Cozy, indeed.

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    1. Love! Love! You haven't read LOTR??!!! Girlfriend! I think you'll love it.

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  8. Oooh ooh, so many good ones Andi!

    "It was a pleasure to burn." <~~Love that!

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  9. A Tale of Two Cities does have a fabulous opening. You've reminded me that I want to read The Bell Jar!

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    1. Doesn't it? I just never get tired of that opening.

      And The Bell Jar is great. And such a quick read.

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  10. I almost selected The Bell Jar too! :)
    Great choices, Andi! Reading all of these lists reminds me that there are a lot of books I still have to discover!

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    1. Such a good book, and I just love the opening. I've gotten lots of ideas from others' reading lists, too. So much fun!

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  11. Reading this totally makes me want to start keeping a list. I just don't remember opening lines, even ones that totally strike me when I first open a book.

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    1. I am HORRIBLE at remembering. I Googled some beginnings to help me along and then picked the ones I've genuinely liked. And as for endings -- I'm even worse with those, so I skipped 'em. lol

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  12. I love your choices!!! I'm kicking myself for forgetting Fahrenheit and Sherlock on my list, but I did have GWTW and Rebecca.

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    1. High five! I cannot wait to read GWTW and Rebecca. And I need to hurry myself along on the Sherlock stories.

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  13. Love it! Can't wait to reread Rebecca. And am now suddenly intrigued by Fahrenheit 451.

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  14. I've not read The Bell Jar but that opening slightly makes me want to. Although it still intimidates me a helluva lot. I adore the opening to Fahrenheit 451. And the rest of the novel, of course!

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  15. I haven't read A Tale of Two Cities, but I LOVE that opening so much. And Fahrenheit! I need a reread of that so much. I need to BUY it. I read it for school and loved it and convinced my sister to buy it but I don't have my own copy. I almost bought The Bell Jar today and didn't, I might check it out from the library. I want/need to read Hitchhiker, too!

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  16. I like that you included quotes from books on your TBR list, which is what I did as well! For some reason, I have horrible book memory whether it's the beginning or end of a book, so it was much easier for me to just flip through the books sitting on my desk waiting to be read instead of thinking back to stories I've already packed away. I'm so bad ><

    My favorite one here has to be... "It was a pleasure to burn." I haven't read Fahrenheit 451, and am not sure if I ever will, but that sentence definitely captivates me! And then of course I love how that's followed up by good ol' Bilbo Baggins. A little bit of contrast between the two ;)

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