book beginnings on Friday: choices

Thanks to Katy at A Few More Pages for hosting this meme. To participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence.

I’m still working on Lee Child’s 61 Hours but I already gave you a Tuesday Teaser from it, so I’ll refrain from moving backwards to begin it. Instead I’ll give you a few choices on my possible next read.

I still have Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream, by Steven Watts, waiting for me to begin. It starts:

“Mention of Hugh Hefner instantly evokes a host of images that dance through the imagination: visions of voluptuous women and uninhibited sex, mansion parties and celebrity entertainers, grotto hot tubs and rounds beds, smoking jackets and sleek sports cars.”

This is a strong start. Nonfiction and/or biography is in danger of beginning in a dull fashion: “Hugh Hefner was born in 1926 in Chicago, Illinois, the elder of two sons born to Grace Caroline and Glenn Lucius Hefner” (thank you wikipedia for the paraphrased perfect example). Beginning instead with imagery and a straightforward reference to Hefner’s notoriety gives me a good feeling about how Watts is going to treat his subject. I like my nonfiction to be nice and readable. I am hoping for a biography that will fairly handle both the notoriety as mentioned, and his cultural rebellion, and his aid to a number of causes of social justice, without taking sides. We shall see.

My other option is Norman Mailer’s The Castle in the Forest, which begins:

“You may call me D.T. That is short for Dieter, a German name, and D.T. will do, now that I am in America, this curious nation.”

A matter-of-fact start with a hint of suspense: Why is Dieter in America now? Why does he feel the need to rename himself? What does he find so curious about this nation? I’m excited about beginning my experience with Mailer, and the ambitious subject matter both intimidates and interests me. This book was well-received, so I’m not concerned that the illustrious Mailer will fall short; that’s not what I mean by intimidated; I mean, it’s heavy stuff.

Which book shall I dive into this weekend? Any thoughts?

2 Responses

  1. […] it was easy to get into! I observed in last Friday’s book beginning that it had a strong start; seemed readable (what a drag to have to force oneself to follow really […]

  2. […] entertaining me. Have a lovely Wednesday and perhaps (fingers crossed) I’ll get to do a Book Beginnings post with you on Friday! Hope […]

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