wordweaverlynn: (reader)
[personal profile] wordweaverlynn
A few days ago I posted the first lines meme. 1) Select 5-10 (or so) books you love. 2) Post the first line from each of them. 3) Don't mention the title or author. That's for everyone else to figure out. 4) After someone correctly identifies the book, update the original entry to reflect that fact.

These are the lines nobody got, along with a brief commentary on the books.

1. Dante stared and stared at the corpse, but a blindness waited behind his eyes.

You've got to love a book that starts with the main character doing an autopsy on himself. Sean Stewart's Resurrection Man is lyrically written--no surprise if you've read any of his other books--and a tender, funny, surreal, and realistic look at a family.

2. My bandana is rolled on the diagonal and retains water fairly well.

John McPhee's prose holds water, too, and Coming into the Country is a classic look at Alaska: its history, its present, and its future. The book consists of three sections: a canoeing trip down a wild Alaskan river, the search for a new site for the state capital, and a long profile of a bush community. A couple of decades later, the capital is still Juneau, despite the enormous amount of time and money spent on planning the move.

3. All day it has been windy--strange weather for late July--the wind swirling through the hedges like an invisible flood-tide among seaweed; tugging them, compelling them in its own direction, dragging them one way until the patches of elder and privet sagged outward from the tougher stretches of blackthorn at either side.

Beautiful nature writing, but The Girl in a Swing is a novel--an erotic horror story that excels at both elements. Richard Adams is better known for Watership Down, but what draws me if the tenderness and terror of this novel, as well as its flawless coherence. The book is fractal, every element reflecting every other, and all shaped into something as exquisite and fragile as the porcelain that's one of the central metaphors of the book. The pain and guilt at the heart of it are very nearly unendurable, but Adams shapes them into remarkable beauty and a vision of home.

9. In a starless May night the town slept and the river flowed quietly through shadow.

Not Le Guin's most memorable first line, obviously, but I love Malafrena anyway.

10. Now read on. . . .

Of course you want to read on. Who ever put down a Pratchett book? This one is Lords and Ladies.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stevenredux.livejournal.com
Who ever put down a Pratchett book?

*raises hand*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callunav.livejournal.com
Pratchett is A: not everybody's cup of tea/apple scumble, and B: variable in quality (in my opinion) especially but not only over time. I think I've finished everything I picked up of his, but some of them (The Light Fantastic, Soul Music, Eric, Pyramids leap to the top of my mind) it was only in a "It's in front of me, so I suppose I might as well" kind of way.

He's still one of my favorite writers of all time, but I don't find putting down his books inconceivable.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Well, yeah. If TCOM had been the first Pratchett I'd read, it would probably also be my last. And I gather one has to be considerably more conversant with Oz to get The Last Continent. Also, I loathe Rincewind -- I'm cheering for Death to take him.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 19-crows.livejournal.com
I didn't recognize The Girl in a Swing but I agree that that is a fantastic book.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rezendi.livejournal.com
McPhee is my favourite living nonfiction writer, and by some margin.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callunav.livejournal.com
I knew I recognized the last in terms of "I have read this and liked the book it was in." I feel mildly embarrassed that I couldn't pin it, but actually happy. It means it's been long enough since I re-read it that I might be able to reread it again.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com
I OWN Malafrena, but have never READ it. Must fix this sometime.

Thank you, I would have died a lingering death of curiousity. (And by lingering, I mean another 50 years or so.)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-02-20 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
You remind me of Voltaire, who swilled down a legendary 70 cups of coffee a day. (Some sources say 50; I'm assuming they were 2-ounce cups.) When a friend warned him that coffee was a slow poison, Voltaire responded, "It must be. I have been drinking it for sixty-five years, and I am not dead yet."


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