You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Chit Chat About Books > Currently Reading First Lines

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments Whilst chatting in another thread I was reminded of something I used to do when I kept a book blog. I would write down the first sentence or couple of sentences of the book I was reading and people would comment whether they would continue reading based on that sentence or two.

I thought we could do something similar and decided to set this thread up for that purpose.

So let us know what book you are currently reading (and link to it and it's cover) along with the first sentence or two of the book. If it's a massive spoiler then be sure to use a spoiler tag. Then others can comment whether the book cover would make them pick the book up and if they'd continue reading after reading that first sentence.

I reckon we could have some fun with this and potentially add quite a lot of new books to our TBRs.


message 2: by Kristie, Moderator (last edited Jul 11, 2017 05:33AM) (new)

Kristie | 14706 comments I'll try. :) I picked up Smells Like Dog for the yearly challenge. I thought it would be good with a rating of 4.12 and my GR friends have rated it 3, 4, 4, and 5. However, it is a older children's book (368 pages). Here is the beginning. What do you all think?

Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors

What Homer Pudding didn't know on that breezy Sunday morning, as he carried a pail of fresh goat milk across the yard, was that his life was about to change.

In a big way.

What he did know was this: That the country sky was its usual eggshell blue, that the air was its usual springtime fresh, and that's chores were their usual boring, boring, boring.


message 3: by Lisa (last edited Jul 11, 2017 05:35AM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Great idea, Sarah!

I'm currently reading two books which are as follows:

The Paying Guests The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters by Sarah Waters
"The Barbers had said they would arrive by three. It was like waiting to begin a journey, Frances thought".

Assassin's Apprentice Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) by Robin Hobb by Robin Hobb
"A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the First Duchy, and if such names were remembered, would tell us of Outislanders raiding from the Sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands".


message 4: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2489 comments Neat idea Sarah - this is going to be fun and intriguing! I'm reading/listening to two books.

First, The Goldfinch The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt : "While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I'd been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anybody or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises: elevator bell, rattle of the minibar cart, even the church clock tolling the hour, de Westertoren, Krijtberg, a dark edge to the clangor, an unwrought fairy-tale sense of doom."

Second, The Maias The Maias by José Maria de Eça de Queirós : "The house in Lisbon to which the Maias moved in the autumn of 1875 was known as Rua Francisco de Paula, and in the surrounding area of Janelas Verdes, as the Casa do Ramalhete, the House of the Bouquet of Flowers, or, more simply, as Ramalhete. Despite that fresh green name worthy of some rural retreat, Ramalhete was a large stern house of sober walls, with a line of narrow wrought-iron balconies on the second floor, and, above that, a row of timid little windows sheltering under the eaves, a house which, as befitted a building dating from the reign of Queen Maria I, had the gloomy appearance of an ecclesiastical residence, and indeed, to complete its resemblance to a Jesuit college, it needed only a bell and a cross.


message 5: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments Sounds like fun!


The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit The Stranger in the Woods The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

"The trees are mostly skinny where the hermit lives, but they're tangled over giant boulders with deadfall everywhere like pick-up sticks. There are no trails."

Son of the Shadows Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2) by Juliet Marillier

"My mother knew every tale that was ever told by the firesides of Erin, and more besides."


message 6: by Sandra, Moderator (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9623 comments Great idea for a thread, Sarah! I'll be back when I am in my computer and able to link.


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments Good to see people jumping in. So what do people think of the ones which have been posted so far?


message 8: by KimeyDiann (new)

KimeyDiann | 2174 comments Love this idea!

@Kristie, I have Smells Like Dog on my TBR for the yearly challenge as well. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. I would keep reading after those first couple sentences. :)


message 9: by Lisa (last edited Jul 11, 2017 08:05AM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I have already read Son of the Shadows and I started The Goldfinch a couple of months ago (gave up on it, but that's another story) so they were familiar to me. I like the cover of Smells Like Dog but I don't really read children's books anymore and the first couple of lines haven't ignited my interest enough to add it to my TBR.


message 10: by Almeta (last edited Jul 11, 2017 09:53AM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 10477 comments The Fireman by Joe Hill "Harper Grayson had seen lots of people burn on TV, everyone had, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind the school."

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon "The first time I saw a sleeper I was nine years old."


message 11: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14706 comments Thanks! Smells Like Dog is on my nightstand to start next, but I keep thinking about switching to The Smell of the Night because I'm sure I'm for reading another kids book right now. I think I'll give it a go since I already have it from the library.


message 12: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14706 comments Of the starters listed so far, the two that draw me in the most and would make me want to keep reading would be The Goldfinch and The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, which is interesting because I wouldn't have thought to add either to my TBR based solely on their descriptions.


message 13: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14706 comments Almeta - I'd keep reading both of those.


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments I would keep reading both of those Almeta. Great first lines! I have actually read both of those. I would also keep reading The Goldfinch which is lucky as I own it.


message 15: by Almeta (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 10477 comments Sarah wrote: "I would keep reading both of those Almeta. Great first lines! I have actually read both of those. I would also keep reading The Goldfinch which is lucky as I own it."

Kristie wrote: "Almeta - I'd keep reading both of those."

Sounds like I have started a couple of good ones ☺


message 16: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20553 comments Kristie - I would read your dog book from the first lines, but the cover doesn't appeal to me. It is not on my TBR but I can't bring myself to add it.

Almeta - both books are on my TBR and I own them too. Someday, I will get to them!

Lisa - I'm already reading the Sarah Waters book and you beat me to the posting, but "dynasty" books are not my piece of cake and the first words say "ho hum" to me.

Janice - yes to the first (added it to TBR) and no to the second.

Lilsa - The first is on my TBR but I would not add the second from the first lines nor the cover, but the story summary would have made me think about it, if I were looking for a book set in Portugal.


message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments So here's my addition. I am reading Kafka on the Shore Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and the first lines are:
"So you're all set for money, then?" the boy named Crow asks in his characteristic sluggish voice. The kind of voice you have when you've just woken up and your mouth still feels heavy and dull. But he's just pretending. He's totally awake. As always.


message 18: by Lisa (last edited Jul 12, 2017 02:21AM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I'm going to put down a couple more lines from Assassin's Apprentice. Each chapter begins with excerpts about the history of the world the books are set in, which is what the lines I wrote in Message #3 are. The actual narrative begins as follows:

"My pen falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm's trail of ink across Fedwren's paper. I have spoiled another leaf of the fine stuff, in what I suspect is a futile endeavour".


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments That's a better first line Lisa.


message 20: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments Lilisa wrote: "Second, The Maias by José Maria de Eça de Queirós: "The house in Lisbon to which the Maias moved in the autumn of 1875 was known as Rua Francisco de Paula, and in the surrounding area of Janelas Verdes, as the Casa do Ramalhete, the House of the Bouquet of Flowers, or, more simply, as Ramalhete. ..."

I would struggle to continue with this one for a few reasons.
1 - I'm really bad with names and there are so many in the first paragraph that my mind is already in danger of switching off. I start skimming over the names and then don't engage properly with the text.

2. I can tell the book has been translated (from Portuguese?) and I wouldn't be able to relax until I'd confirmed this was the case and who the translator was. I'd probably want to flick ahead and check a few passages to make sure the English flows ok.

3. I know that if I continue reading I'll be worried about the details I'm missing (those lost in translation) and will be trying to find nuances in the English that I 'need to conceptualise' to try and get the full benefit. I'll also be trying to re-arrange the English to what I think it should be. There are a great deal of clauses and sub clauses here... could these be expressed in a more English way? Would shorter sentences be better? Is this style something inherently Portuguese that I should consider a feature of the storytelling?

4. I'll also be beating myself up that I don't speak Portuguese and so can't read the original. (Is it feasible to learn?)

If the book has been recommended, I know the subject matter really interests me or a detail has captured my imagination, I will read on in a slow, exhausted kind of way and try to keep my language thinking to a minimum

This may be a really good book but I've already started on the wrong footing with it. Maybe I should read more in translation and stop beating myself up about these things? (I'll be beating myself up about these issues too, as I read)

Thoughts?

Is it a really good book Lilisa?


message 21: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments The beginning of the following would have me curling up with the book wanting more:

The Goldfinch
The Stranger in the Woods
Winter People
The Fireman


message 22: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments Sarah wrote: "That's a better first line Lisa."

Yep, excellent writing. I definitely want to read on


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments Your post about the translated book made me laugh Annerlee. But also feel your pain. If I had thoughts running through my head like that I wouldn't read the book either. lol.


message 24: by Rusalka, Moderator (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17698 comments Annerlee wrote: "Thoughts?"

As someone who, if we are honest, speaks a dialect of English and who has been challenging themselves to read more translations from around the world, I would say two answers to one question. Are you over thinking it?

Yes. No translation will ever be as good as the original. There are nuances you just cannot capture. Slang doesn't translate, even across English. Punctuation is, depending on your side of the fence, unfortunately, fluctuating within English. Should that be a colon or a semicolon? Is it a clause or sub-clause (whatever they are, Australia in the 90s wasn't big on grammar)? Is that sentence too long? Relax and go for the ride.

No. All of the above said, do not settle for bad translations. I have abandoned books as they are poorly translated and they bugged the bejeezus out of me. Do it, do it liberally, and rate them! Anyone can "translate" if you can "read" the language. Goodreads is now a medium we can feedback to translators or the publishers. Life is too short to read bad books or bad translations. If it's a bad translation, and there is another, source it out.


message 25: by Rusalka, Moderator (new)

Rusalka (rusalkii) | 17698 comments P.S. love the thread.


message 26: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments I have read several of these and already had others on my wishlist. So far, my wishlist is safe. :)

Almeta, I have read both your books. Enjoy!


message 27: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments I set aside Son of Shadows in favour of Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West
Mississippi Jack Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West (Bloody Jack, #5) by L.A. Meyer

There is a prologue to this book which is actually the last few paragraphs of the previous book. So I will do the first sentence of Section 1, and I will put it in spoilers because it could be a spoiler for those who are reading the series.

(view spoiler)

Phew! Talk about run on sentences. The only way to read this series is by audiobook. Katherine Kellgrin brings it to life with her Cochney accent. Brilliant!


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Sorry to hear you set Son of the Shadows aside, Janice. Did you not like it or do you think you just were not in the mood for it?


message 29: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Jul 12, 2017 07:23AM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments I didn't start it, Lisa. I'm just postponing it.

When I finished book 4 of the Bloody Jacky series, I checked for book 5 on Overdrive. It was checked out, so I put a hold on it thinking that I'd be finished Son of Shadow by the time it was available.

A few hours later, I got an email saying that the book was ready for download. I decided to go ahead and start it because it has an expiry date. I own Son of Shadows, so I don't have to be concerned about a due date.


message 30: by Lisa (last edited Jul 12, 2017 07:45AM) (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments Janice wrote: "I didn't start it, Lisa. I'm just postponing it.

When I finished book 4 of the Bloody Jacky series, I checked for book 5 on Overdrive. It was checked out, so I put a hold on it thinking that I'd b..."


Oh, okay. Yes, it makes more sense to read the Bloody Jacky book first if it has an expiry date.


message 31: by Lilisa (last edited Jul 13, 2017 12:51AM) (new)

Lilisa | 2489 comments Annerlee wrote: "Lilisa wrote: "Second, The Maias by José Maria de Eça de Queirós: "The house in Lisbon to which the Maias moved in the autumn of 1875 was known as Rua Francisco de Paula, and in the surrounding are..."

Annerlee - you made me laugh my head off! Well, since you've already invested a lot of time on the book with your musings, I think you ought to check it out...:-) yes, it was written in Portuguese and translated. I'm into about 40 pages and enjoying it so far and hoping it won't disappoint - it's 600 plus pages. It's a book to be read slowly and savored. I'm liking the way the sentences are structured - they help conjure up a setting that feels historical and different. Out of the books Assassin's Apprentice sounds interesting.


message 32: by jaxnsmom (last edited Jul 12, 2017 10:47PM) (new)

jaxnsmom | 8286 comments I can see my opinion being affected by knowing the author, so those make it hard. I would be inclined to read Robin Hobbs automatically and I know Jacky Faber will be adventurous.

So, here are the first sentences in a couple of my books. Spoilers are only a little more that continued to hook me. Part of what appealed to me was the genres of the books - the beginnings fit them.

Book 1
My car idles outside of Cockfight, one of the local gay bars recommended to me that I now realize I had no business being in. I'd felt like an idiot in there, felt out of place.
(view spoiler)

Book 2
I knew as soon as I lied to my mother, the night would turn out badly. Guilt sat in my stomach like a pit stop burger as I watched the lights of my grandparents' minivan fade down the driveway. (view spoiler)


message 33: by jaxnsmom (new)

jaxnsmom | 8286 comments First I have to admit - my feelings would be more influenced by the title and blurb. I never check first few lines unless I'm starting the book. Secondly - my attention span is more like a gnat's lately, so it takes something more to hook me.

Smells Like Dog - Would have to be in the mood for a children's book. But there is a dog...

The Paying Guests - Meh, no hook for me

Assassin's Apprentice - read it

The Goldfinch - another meh

Os Maias - scared me away

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit - I'd be cheating by knowing the genre. Sounds interesting.

Son of the Shadows - Sounds like a fantasy with the references to stories, I'd add it to my tbr.

The Fireman - Possible, but might be too evil.

The Winter People - Probably not. It sounds like a thriller, which I'm not into.

Kafka on the Shore - Meh

Mississippi Jack: - Loved listening to the series.


message 34: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments I never check out first lines of books either but that first page of the book is first contact with that book once I pick it up to read and it's important. First impressions count unfortunately in all walks of life. I tend to give a book 50 pages at least before giving up but I have been known to give a book up after just a few pages. I've never done so after just one sentence though.


message 35: by Tejas Janet (new)

Tejas Janet (tejasjanet) | 3513 comments I do preview books at times when I'm wondering if the book is a good fit for me. Usually will read at least the first chapter and maybe up to three or four chapters before I might decide it's not for me.

I've read and liked Smells Like Dog, The Goldfinch, Kafka on the Shore.

Son of the Shadows, Stranger in the Woods, and The Paying Guests interested me based on their first lines.

Fireman and Winter People sounded scary. Not for me is my reaction.

The Maias I'm insure about. Meh.


message 36: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments Lilisa wrote: "Annerlee - you made me laugh my head off! Well, since you've already invested a lot of time on the book with your musings, I think you ought to check it out...:-) yes, it was written in Portuguese and translated..."

Happy to keep you amused Lilisa... ; )

I've never consciously considered the thought process before - it's an interesting exercise. If I'm browsing in my local library, this is the way I choose books. It's good to have Goodreads friends' suggestions, otherwise I'd miss out on so much.

And being extremely obtuse, I've added The Maias Os Maias to my TBR list.


message 37: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I started The Proof of Love The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall by Catherine Hall
"The sun was almost at its peak when Dorothy Wilkinson noticed the black speck moving down the mountain. It was nearly noon and she was hungry for her lunch".


message 38: by KimeyDiann (new)

KimeyDiann | 2174 comments jaxnsmom wrote: "I can see my opinion being affected by knowing the author, so those make it hard. I would be inclined to read Robin Hobbs automatically and I know Jacky Faber will be adventurous.

So, here are the..."


Book two has piqued my interest! Do tell, what is this book?


message 39: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments I agree - Book 2 sounds promising,,


message 40: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments Ahhh - j'mom ever the tease. Aren't we to link to title and cover?

There's nothing evil about The Fireman, nor is it scary. It has its moments of tension, but I wouldn't classify it as horror. It fits more in the sci-fi genre.

The Winter People is more horror.


message 41: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments Janice wrote: "Ahhh - j'mom ever the tease. Aren't we to link to title and cover? "

I didn't even noticed the lack of book names/links until Kimey asked what it was called. lol.


message 42: by Sandra, Moderator (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9623 comments Many good first lines! I specially got caught for the Assassin's Apprentice.


message 43: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2489 comments Annerlee wrote: "Lilisa wrote:
Oh my, Annerlee that's above and beyond! if you do end up reading it you'll have to share your reactions in this threads:-)



message 44: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I started Child of the Prophecy Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters, #3) by Juliet Marillier by Juliet Marillier
"Every summer they came. By Earth and sky, by sun and stone I counted the days. I'd climb up to the circle and sit there quiet with my back to the warmth of the rock I called Sentinel, and see the rabbits come out in the fading light to nibble at what sparse pickings might be found on the barren hillside".


message 45: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments Lilisa wrote: "Annerlee wrote: "Lilisa wrote:
Oh my, Annerlee that's above and beyond! if you do end up reading it you'll have to share your reactions in this threads:-)"

You're on. Will do.

I like a challenge. I even read a Barbara Cartland for a toppler recently eeekk.. I still shudder at the thought(Luckily, I wasnt alone in my ordeal... A few other YLTO friends sacrificed some reading time too.)


message 46: by Annerlee (new)

Annerlee | 2713 comments My next book ...

"My Dear Reader Chum, a very hearty hello to you. What an honour and privilege it is to have you perusing my written word. It is nothing short of tremendous to have you to chat to and, I hope, now that we’re on sentence three, you are sitting comfortably. Or maybe you’re lying. Lying, perhaps, on a beach, or snuggled in your bed; perhaps you’ve constructed a small fort out of cushions, in which case I applaud you. Or maybe you’ve thrown caution to the wind, and you’re lying on the bookshop floor having a little breather (if that’s the case, I’m not being rude, but you’re a bit weird). "

Which book? (view spoiler) This is not my usual type of read, but I'm really looking forward to it. I love the author.


message 47: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14706 comments Lisa - I would not have been sold by the cover, but the first lines are interesting. I'd probably read more.


message 48: by Lilisa (new)

Lilisa | 2489 comments Annerlee wrote: "Lilisa wrote: "Annerlee wrote: "Lilisa wrote:
Oh my, Annerlee that's above and beyond! if you do end up reading it you'll have to share your reactions in this threads:-)"
You're on. Will do.

I l..."

:-) and the things we do for a toppler!


message 49: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments Lisa wrote: "I started Child of the Prophecy Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters, #3) by Juliet Marillier by Juliet Marillier
"Every summer they came. By Earth and sky, by sun and stone I counted the da..."


Sold! LOL! First I need to read book 2 in the series.


message 50: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51081 comments Annerlee wrote: "My next book ...

"My Dear Reader Chum, a very hearty hello to you. What an honour and privilege it is to have you perusing my written word. It is nothing short of tremendous to have you to chat to..."


I'm intrigued without looking at the spoiler.


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