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.

book beginnings on Friday: Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

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.

astray

Confession: I had already finished this totally amazing book when I flipped back to the front to offer you a book beginning. And I am excited all over again by the first sentence – which, by the way, I find surprising upon a reread, based on what I now know about the character… but I’ll stop there.

Mrs. Featherby had been having pleasant dreams until she woke to discover the front of her house had vanished overnight.

Clearly I can’t contain myself. Get a copy of this startling debut novel and find out what happens to Mrs. Featherby in her frontless house.

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

book beginnings on Friday: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (audio)

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 are all

I have been hanging onto this audiobook for a while now, til a friend’s recommendation pushed it to the top of the list. I came in hopeful, based on that recommendation, and so far I am not disappointed. Check out these opening lines.

Those who know me now will be surprised to learn that I was a great talker as a child. We have a home movie taken when I was two years old, the old-fashioned kind with no sound track, and by now the colors have bled out – a white sky, my red sneakers a ghostly pink – but you can still see how much I used to talk.

I think this is an awfully effective way to get me curious. A quiet person, or a talkative person, would be one thing; but someone who has undergone such a change, and describes the juxtaposition portrayed on an old video called “ghostly,” well, there’s something there to pique the attention. Well done, Karen Joy. I continue hopeful.

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

book beginnings on Friday: Whipping Boy by Allen Kurzweil

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.

whipping boy

On the opening page, we get these lines.

Confession

You’ve been a menace and a muse. A beacon and a roadblock. My jailer and my travel agent.

Kurzweil writes to his childhood bully here, who the whole book is about. And this gets to the heart of his need to research and write it – that first line, in fact, does it alone: “you’ve been a menace and a muse.” A fine beginning, I think, because it says so much so briefly. It is still worth reading the whole story, though, I assure you.

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

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