One of my blogging friends–Fork in My Eye, go visit her–wrote a post about first lines of her favorite books and invited others to do the same. So here’s mine. My favorite books in English, that is. Some of them. And literature. I’ll do another list with books from other languages, and also one from popular fiction. I’m not going to tell you which books the lines–and one paragraph, you’ll see why–are from. Some are obvious because a name gives it away. Let me know which ones you recognize. No looking them up, though. That would be cheating.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter.”
“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 talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”
“On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology.”
“It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.”
“There once lived, in a sequestered part of the county of Devonshire, one Mr. Godfrey Nickleby a worthy gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of a lady of fortune, had wedded an old flame out of mere attachment, who in her turn had taken him for the same reason.”
“Died on me Finally. He had to.
Died doing his bad bugle imitation, calling for the maps, died bellowing orders at everybody, horses included, “Not over there, dunderdick, rations go here.” Stayed bossy to the last. He would look down in bed, he’d command the sheets to roll back. They didn’t.”
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 boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon.”
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.”