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Friday, June 22, 2012

Beginnings


I love book beginnings. Debra Frasier always introduces "the opening of a book, ladies and gentlemen" with a flourish, repeating it again for emphasis. Whether I am opening a picture book for the first or umpteenth (a word my mom says a lot) time, I love the anticipation of seeing artwork and how it works with the text. When I open novels, I savor the beginning phrases. Today is sunny, not humid, and not too hot, yet I am in my reading chair, enjoying library books and these first lines:

"The earth spins at a thousand miles an hour. Sometimes when I remember this, it's all I can do to stay upright - the urge to flatten myself to the ground and clutch hold is that strong. Because, gravity? Oh, gravity is no match for a force that equals ten simultaneous hurricanes." - The Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

"When it was new, the house stood alone on a bare square of earth. There was a newly planted lawn around it, but not a single tree to give shade in summer or to rattle its bare twigs in the winter cold." - House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser

"On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, there was something important she had to do. 'I want to go to jail,' Audrey had told her mother." - We've Got a Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson

As I cannot decide which to complete first, I am giving each a little time before savoring a different one again.

2 comments:

  1. One of the most memorable lines in one of my favorite books: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Anna Karenina

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  2. I thought of another (I had to look up this one!) Absalom! Absalom! I often would have my students count the words in a "typical" Faulkner sentence:

    From a little after two o'clock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that – a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that sight and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

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