Saturday, July 26, 2008

Booking through Thursday & Friday Fill-In - July 26


Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?


My favorite first sentence (and it's a long one!) is both the first sentence and paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It was one of the only things that I had to memorize in high school that I still remember:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

In this way Dickens sets the scene for the novel as a metaphor of the rich and the poor, and links 1850's England to the atmosphere in France before and during the French Revolution. It is the perfect opening passage for a novel that explores duality through characterization, setting, and narrative. In short...it's perfect. :)

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

2. If you're good at something, don't stress out trying to be perfect at it.

3. Why so serious.

4. Something is out there, it's going to get found.

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled lollipops.

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see my neighbor's fence and my poor, dead lavender.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to a Shabbat dinner, tomorrow my plans include a picnic at the park and Sunday, I want to relax!

11 comments:

Janet said...

poor lavender...

Have fun this weekend, thanks for playing :-)

Nyssaneala said...

janet - I know. It didn't survive our move very well. :(

Ghost said...

Thanks for dropping by. I love what you've said about Dicken's Tale of Two Cities. It is on my Dicken's TBR pile. I'm slowly working my through it. For some odd reason I like to read Dicken's in the winter. Maybe it's because the first one I read was during a January snow storm and now when I think of reading his books, I think of cold weather. ;)

Bookfool said...

Tragically, my lavender also died. However, I got a nice harvest after it turned brown and dried out. Every now and then I take a whiff of my lavender.

I think that's one of my favorite opening lines, as well.

smariek said...

I love your answer to #2, that is good advice.

I like that Dickens line too and wonder how long it took him to come up with it.

Here's my BTT post:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/booking-through-thursday.html

Here's my FFI post:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/friday-fill-in-82.html

Phoebe said...

Found you from the Comment-o-thon. I'd turn around #1. My DH said to me once, "whatever doesn't make us stronger will kill us!" I laughed at this, but I think it's true!

Dreams Come True said...

The beginning of A Tale of Two Cities is one of the strongest book beginnings ever! What a great choice.

I love the answers to your sentences, too.

Lollipops, huh? haha.

(ICLW)

bendingbackwards said...

Loved your Friday Fill-Ins.

I do agree that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

A visitor from ICLW.

Sassy said...

My dog very carefully pulled out one of my lavender bushes. Then he dragged it to the back door and bit right through it. WTF? Seriously weird dog.

Chris said...

I'm impressed, that's a big one!

Literary Feline said...

That is a great first line. I haven't yet read Tale of Two Cities myself, but I am familiar with the opening of the book.

You make a very good point in #2. So true. I hope you were able to relax this weekend like you wanted. A picnic in the park sounds wonderful.