book beginnings on Friday: One Out of Two by Daniel Sada

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

one out of two

This is a very slim (100-page) novel in translation from the Spanish, and I am excited and charmed by its first lines.

Now, how to say it? One out of two, or two in one, or what? The Gamal sisters were identical. To say, as people do, “They were like two peas in a pod,” the same age, the same height, and wearing, by choice, the same hairdo.

My ARC offers a blurb on the front cover from Robert BolaƱo: “Of my generation I most admire Daniel Sada, whose writing project seems to me the most daring.” Sada died in 2011.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

book beginnings on Friday: Red Dirt Women: At Home on the Oklahoma Plains by Susan Kates

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

red dirt women

My first review for Concho River Review is of this slim collection of stories about Oklahoma’s diverse and powerful women. It is a fine and auspicious beginning book, and in that spirit, today’s book beginning:

In her chronicle of life in Kenya – one of the great grasslands of the world – Isak Dinesen explains that it is impossible to live any place for a time and remain unaltered by one’s surroundings. “It does not even make much difference,” she says, “whether you have more good or bad things to say of it, it draws your mind to it, by a mental law of gravitation.”

You know I am a little obsessed by a sense of place, and that is very much at the heart of this collection, as this Ohio native comes to feel at home on Oklahoma’s dusty plains. Good stuff. I am glad to be able to recommend this book to you. Happy weekend, friends.

book beginnings on Friday: We Were Brothers by Barry Moser

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

we were brothers

A thoughtful memoir with beautiful illustrations by the author begins with this paragraph.

I have a family photogrpah that was taken on a Christmas Eve sometime in the early 1960’s. We are in my aunt’s living room. Two generations pose in front of a fireplace that, as far as I know, never entertained an actual fire. Above the garlanded mantel hangs a portrait of my aunt’s late husband that I painted when I was in high school. The people in the picture are my mother’s people: her husband, sisters, and brother are there, as well as my brother and me. Most of us lived cheek to jowl on a short stretch of Chattanooga country road.

Idyllic? Don’t get too comfortable. This is the story of a troubled brotherhood; but it is told lovingly, if sadly. Stay tuned.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

book beginnings on Friday: The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

diver's clothes

I have you for today a most interesting new novel, which begins thusly:

When you find your seat you glance at the businessman sitting next to you and decide he’s almost handsome. This is the second leg of your trip from Miami to Casablanca, and the distance traveled already has muted the horror of the last two months.

I love that a lot is given away in these lines, and many mysteries are presented and left unsolved as well. Note also the unusual second-person voice: you are the star of this story, m’dear. Stay tuned.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

book beginnings on Friday: Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX by Ginny Gilder

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

course

I’ve only just begun this one, but it’s good from the get-go. How about this opening paragraph:

A well-rowed shell is art in motion. It moves smoothly. Stroke after stroke, oars drop in the water and come out together. The rowers’ bodies swing back and forth in sync, performing the same motion of legs, backs, arms at the same instant; no extraneous shrug of shoulders, flick of the wrist, turn of the head, shift of the seat. The result – perfectly spaced swirls of water trailing the shell’s wake – offers the only visual cue of the speed these on-water dancers live to create.

I’m a sucker for poetic praise of athleticism, and it looks like this story has a few other points in its favor, too. Stay tuned.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

book beginnings on Friday: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

love song

A sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: hooray! I’m so excited! Well, let’s not wait around, here’s the beginning:

Your letter arrived this morning. We were in the dayroom for morning activities. Everyone was asleep.

And I think that says quite a lot right there, don’t you? If you recall the original, the book about Harold, you’ll know what letter the narrator is talking about. And that’s a change from the original, which was told in third person: apparently we get to hear Queenie’s own voice here. I am excited, and you should be too.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

book beginnings on Friday: Untangling the Knot, edited by Carter Sickels

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.

untangling

This is an essay collection, Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships and Gender. I found it quite eye-opening and recommend it highly. From the introduction by editor Carter Sickels, a beginning for you:

I’m writing this the day after Oregon has legalized gay marriage, and I can’t stop looking at the pictures of people lined up at the courthouse or listening to the interviews of couples who’ve been waiting for this moment for ten, twenty, thirty years. Today, Portland is a city of celebration.

There is a ‘but’ coming, though. Stick around: it is interesting and enlightening.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

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