book beginnings on Friday: The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

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.


Despite a passing resemblance to The Sixth Sense, based only upon the blurb I saw somewhere, I am interested in getting into this Boy. It begins:

People look at me funny when I tell them I have a demon.

“Don’t you mean, you have demons?” they ask. “Like a drug problem or an urge to stab your dad?” I tell them no.

We shall see.

What does your weekend hold?

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

6 Responses

  1. This sounds intriguing. For a moment there, I thought that opening line was a slight reference to Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ with those kids who have demons as pets.

    My weekend will consist of being stuck at work but I hope to get a bit of reading done. Still deciding what to read next.

    • Ah, well, maybe it is! I haven’t read Pullman. You might have spotted something!

      Poo work :-/ but I hope you find some reading time when you want it – there are always lunch breaks, I hope? I get a lot of reading done on lunch breaks.

  2. Yep, lunch-break is where I get a majority of my reading done. Or sometimes I just “disappear” for a while to get some extra reading in…shhhhhhhhh. 😛

    I’m kind of in a Hemingway kick right now and might just end up reading “The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories” which is the only work by his left on my shelf. Do you happen to have any reviews of his novels or short stories somewhere on your site because I can’t seem to find them. I loved “old man and the sea” but I’m having difficulty figuring out exactly why it had such an impact on me. Your Hemingway expertise would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    • It’s a bad joke, but no, there’s not much Hemingway on my blog at all; I did most of my Hemingway reading pre-blog. Terrible, I know! I’m sorry! Here I try to be a proselytizer for his work and have no reviews to share.

      I do recommend his short stories as a great entry point: they’re short, duh, which is nice; they’re compact and incredibly impactful for very few pages. I like his Nick Adams stories, especially for men (especially reluctant men): Nick Adams was a character he writes all the way from small childhood through adulthood in a bunch of different short stories. They focus on boy and man stuff, hunting and fishing, later women, and on nature; there are some lovely, highly detailed descriptions of camping trips and fishing trout streams that I find amazing. (Also some good food and drink descriptions there – another Hemingway strength.) They’re collected in a volume, but you can also find some of them in the “greatest short stories” volume.

      I think Hemingway puts a great deal of punch into few, and seemingly simply constructed, words and sentences. The Old Man and the Sea is definitely one of his finest and most concentrated or distilled (it’s the one that won him a Nobel and a Pulitzer). The Sun Also Rises is another of the greats, and similarly short – I saw you’d already read that one, too. My personal favorite is definitely For Whom the Bell Tolls, so I might give that one a nod, next. But you could never go wrong with the short stories.

  3. Thank you very much Julia, this was most helpful. Is there a Hemingway anthology with all of his short stories that you can recommend? I couldn’t seem to find one. Those Nick Adams stories sound right up my alley.

    I definitely agree with you that his writing though often simple in structure, contains a great deal of emotional and intellectual weight behind it. He’s like the antithesis to Faulkner. “Distilled” is a very accurate word to describe his writing and I’m a fan of brevity so it was only a matter of time before his works clicked with me. Well said.

    After being severely disappointed with A Farewell to Arms, I am a little hesitant to tackle another one of his war stories but I’ll take you up on that recommendation. Thanks again!

    • Well, if it helps at all, I find A Farewell to Arms rather disappointing, myself. I think it’s two steps below For Whom the Bell Tolls, although not everyone agrees with me (what else is new!).

      There’s always The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway! Or the volume called The Nick Adams Stories; or just pick up any collection of his. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong. (Or, the only way you could go wrong is to buy less than the complete set and then have to buy more!)

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