Sunday, December 12, 2004

Opening lines of Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer.

"It was true that at the age of twenty-five he had never left the country, that he had never got more than three days' march from his birthplace, no more than a day and a half of horse and carting or one long afternoon's locomoting. On the other hand, Gyuri mused, how many people could say they had travelled the length and breadth of Hungary naked?"

Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer.

Opening lines of Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables."

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

Opening lines of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

"1801. -- I have just returned from a visit to my landlord -- the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with."

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Opening lines of Paradise by Toni Morrison.

"They shoot the white girl first."

Paradise by Toni Morrison.

Opening lines of The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa.

"I came to Firenze to forget Peru and the Peruvians for a while, and suddenly my unfortunate country forced itself upon me this morning in the most unexpected way."

The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Opening lines of Armed Response by Ann Rower.

"'Cancel your car reservations, you can drive my Jag,' Aunt Cherrie said."

Armed Response by Ann Rower.

Opening lines of The Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn.

"Jimi Hendrix died the year the ship that brought us from Manila docked in San Francisco."

The Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn.

Opening lines of The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood.

"I know I was alright on Friday when I got up; if anything I was feeling more stolid than usual."

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood.

Opening lines of Typical American by Gish Jen.

"It's an American story: Before he was a thinker, or a doer, or an engineer, much less an imagineer like his self-made-millionaire friend Grover Ding, Ralph Chang was just a small boy in China, struggling to grow up his father's son."

Typical American by Gish Jen.

Opening lines of The River Why by David James Duncan.

"Having harbored two sons in the waters of her womb, my mother considers herself something of an authority on human foetuses."

The River Why by David James Duncan.

Opening lines of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head."

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

Opening lines of Independence Day by Richard Ford.

"In Haddam, summer floats over tree-softened streets like a sweet lotion balm from a careless, languorous god, and the world falls in tune with its own mysterious anthems."

Independence Day by Richard Ford.

Opening lines of Gloria by Keith Maillard.

"It was well past the time when anyone should feel the least bit embarrassed by asking for another drink."

Gloria by Keith Maillard.

Opening lines of The Stranger by Albert Camus.

"Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure."

The Stranger by Albert Camus.

Opening lines of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

"In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together."

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

Opening lines of Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston.

"Maybe it comes from living in San Francisco, city of clammy humors and foghorns that warn and warn -- omen, o-o-men, o dolorous omen, o dolors of omens -- and not enough sun, but Wittman Ah Sing considered suicide every day."

Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston.

Opening lines of The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath.

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath.

Opening lines of Picturing Will by Ann Beattie.

"At night, when Jody had trouble sleeping, Wayne seemed, in his sneaky way, always to be there in the shadows, his smooth voice still a whispered undertone of the breeze."

Picturing Will by Ann Beattie.

Opening lines of The Longest Memory by Fred D'Aguiar.

"The future is just more of the past waiting to happen."

The Longest Memory by Fred D'Aguiar.

Opening lines of Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dandicat.

"A flattened and drying daffodil was dangling off the little card that I had made my aunt Atie for Mother's Day."

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dandicat.

Opening lines of How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman.

"Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye; these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can ye no do it; the words filling yer head: then the other words; there's something wrong; there's something far far wrong; ye're no a good man, ye're just no a good man."

How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman.

Opening lines of The Good Brother by Chris Offutt.

"Virgil followed the rain branch off the hill and drove to the Blizzard post office."

The Good Brother by Chris Offutt.

Opening lines of I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block.

"If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model with collagen-puffed lips and silicone-inflated breasts, a woman in a magenta convertible with heart-shaped sunglasses and cotton candy hair; if Los Angeles is this woman, then the San Fernando Valley is her teeny-bopper sister."

I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block.

Opening lines of Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan.

"Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario into Catholic Quebec."

Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan.

Opening lines of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

"Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof."

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Opening lines of Nana by Emile Zola

"At nine o'clock the auditorium of the Théâtre des Variétés was still virtually empty; a few people were waiting in the dress circle and the stalls, lost among the red velvet armchairs, in the half-light of the dimly glowing chandelier."

Nana by Emile Zola

Opening lines of Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man by Thomas Mann.

"As I take up my pen at leisure and in complete retirement -- in good health, furthermore, though tired, so tired that I shall only be able to proceed by short stages and with frequent pauses for rest -- as I take up my pen, then, to commit my confessions to this patient paper in my own neat and attractive handwriting, I am assailed by a brief misgiving about the educational background I bring to an intellectual enterprise of this kind."

Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man by Thomas Mann.

Opening lines of A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay

"Some nights she still goes over every detail, beginning with the weather and proceeding to the drop of blood on the old sheet -- her quick wish for a man with straight white teeth and red lips -- and then his arrival."

A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay

Opening lines of Come Back to Sorrento by Dawn Powell.

"Evenings she sat on the porch hidden from the street by honeysuckle and morning-glory vines, through their tangled foliage she watched the sun go down and grey light change to a black screen on which the vine-leaves gleamed in a silvery frosted pattern."

Come Back to Sorrento by Dawn Powell.

Opening lines of Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara

"On this Sundary morning in May, this girl who later was to be the cause of a sensation in New York, awoke much too early for her night before."

Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara.

Opening lines of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Opening lines of Shopgirl by Steve Martin

"When you work in the glove department at Neiman's, you are selling things that nobody buys anymore. These gloves aren't like the hard-working ones sold by L.L. Bean; these are so fine that a lady wearing them can still pick up a straight pin. The glove department is ..."

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Opening lines of Love Story by Erich Segal

"What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And Brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me."

Love Story by Erich Segal

Opening lines of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Opening lines of Moby Dick by Herman Melville

"Call me Ishmael."

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Opening lines of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongye taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta"

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Opening lines of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Opening lines of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Opening lines of 1984 by George Orwell

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

1984 by George Orwell

Opening lines of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Opening Lines of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. "

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger