Tuesday, 1 April 2008

March Books

These are the books and stories I read in March, along with their first lines. If I am uncertain about a book I often read the first line or two. I thought it would be interesting having read the books to see if these lines would have hooked me. Do any hook you?

The Owl Service - Alan Garner

"How's the bellyache then?"

Eclispe - Stephanie Meyer

All our attempts at subterfuge had been in vain.

Visions of sugar Plums - Janet Evanovich

My name is Stephanie Plum and I have a strange man in my kitchen.

A is for Alibi - Sue Grafton

My name is Kinsey Millhone.

After You'd Gone - Maggie O'farrrel

The day she would try and kill herself, she would realise winter was coming again.

Petite Anglaise - Catherine Sanderson

I snap awake after three, maybe four hours of alcohol saturated sleep.

Face of a Stranger - Anne Perry

He opened his eyes and saw nothing but a pale greyness above him, uniform, like a winter sky, threatening and heavy.

Odd and the Frost Giants - Neil Gaiman

There was a boy called Odd, and there was nothing strange or unusual about that, not in that time or place.

Short Stories

Pilgrims - Julia Orringer

It was thanksgiving day and hot, because this was New Orleans; they were driving uptown to have dinner with strangers.

When she is old and I am famous - Julia Orringer

There are grape leaves, like a crown, on her head.

The Isabel Fish - Julia Orringer

I am the canker of my brother Sage's life.

Note to Sixth Grade-Self - Julia Orringer

On Wednesdays wear a skirt.

Hateship, Freindship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage - Alice Munro

Years ago, before the trains stopped running on so many of the branch lines, a women with a high freckled forehead and a frizz of reddish hair came into the railway station and enquired about shipping furniture.

Floating Bridge - Alice Munro

One time she had left him.

Family Furnishings - Alice Munro


Most of these books have good first lines because they pose a question to the reader that will hopefully be interesting enough to keep them reading. My favourites are from After You'd gone because it is so shocking, the first character introduced to is going to kill herself? Why? How? Who is she?

The other is from the Isabel Fish because of the word canker it's unusual and it leaps out at me for that reason. Far more interesting then bane or blight.

And finally from Odd and the Frost Giants. I love it because it tells you so much about the story in so short a time.


  1. Maggie O'Farrell's first line is definitely some hook! I also liked Janet Evanovich's first line too.

  2. you did a lot of reading in march!

    this is a fun exercise. most of these first lines are great. i've read Eclipse, Visions of Sugar Plums, A is for Alibi, and Face of a Stranger, so those first lines brought back memories. a book doesn't necessarily make it or break it on the first line with me - but a great first line is always a bonus!

  3. I especially enjoyed the first one. I thought a lot of these were great, but the Kinsey Millhone one cracked me up. It's SO boring, it's so boilerplate to be like "here is my name, here is stuff about me" - and yet she's sold dozens of books. Is she done with the alphabet yet?

  4. Yvonne - yes it really is!
    Alison - I know lots were short stoies though :) It was fun to do I think all these books were recommended so they first lines weren't so important.
    Oakling - I know! I'm not sure where they are on the alphabet as I only read the first one this year.


I adore comments, so thanks so much for taking the time. I'll try and return the favour :D