Jamie Anderson Probably Drove All Night to Get Here
Jamie Anderson entertains in her memoir Drive All Night, a collection of stories from 25+ years of touring, recording, singing and writing.
The Horse Race for Literature’s Top Prize
Place your bets now
Think you know something about literature? Maybe you should put your money where your mouth is.
Ninja Meets Navajo Code Talker
The YA collisions of Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani
Author Leza Lowitz on women as ninja, the power of multiculturality and the what it’s like to write with your spouse.
Shift Your Paradigm
Jimmy Santiago Baca to appear at Bookworks
Jimmy Santiago Baca is one of New Mexico's treasures—the living, breathing kind. Born in Santa Fe, he spent five years in prison back in the '70s on drug charges. Since then, with words as words sharp and clear as a knife, he's become an award-winning poet and a powerful voice for social justice.
7 Books in 7 Categories That’ll Delight This Christmas
Need something special for the reader in your life? Here are 7 unique books more than worth the paper they’re printed on.
First line rundown pt. 7
Novel openings, continued
“Aliens suck at music.”
—Year Zero, Rob Reid
“We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.”
—Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness
“They were hanging white folks in Louisiana and shooting black folks in Richmond.”
—The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen L. Carter
“Lin Daiyu crushes apricot kernels and black sesame seeds in a marble mortar.”
—The Red Chamber, Pauline A. Chen
“It felt like the first morning of spring.”
—The Crowded Grave, Martin Walker
“ ‘Oh mon dieu,’ Cloquet said, when he opened the lodge door and saw me on the floor.”
-Talulla Rising, Glen Duncan
First line rundown pt. 6
More openers to new novels
“Here is the first thing you need to know about me: I’m a barefoot girl from red-dirt Oklahoma, and all the marble floors in the world will never change that.”
—In the Kingdom of Men, Kim Barnes
“At first glance, she mistook him for something else.”
—Inside, Alix Ohlin
“Her steps were leaden as though La Llorona rose from the dead, which indeed she had.”
—The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation, Belinda Vasquez Garcia
“I keep the Beast running, I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I foresee attacks.”
—The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
“The lights go out.”
—The Undertow, Jo Baker
“Lord God is talking again.”
—The Bird Saviors, William J. Cobb
First line rundown pt. 5
Usually this blog column is used to highlight the first lines of a plethora of new works of fiction. But since I just read and reviewed Ted Heller’s Pocket Kings—a novel about a novelist full of quotes from said novelist's fake novels—I thought I'd just draw from there.
"It is a cold and harrowing morning in the life of a man the day he wakes up, looks at himself in the mirror, and finally realizes that he is not, never has been, nor will ever be George Clooney.”
—Opening line to Ted Heller's Pocket Kings
"In the small village in which my grandmother was born, the giant men flew down from the violet mountain mists after every monsoon season to take our women away."
—Heller's protagonist Frank W. Dixon positing the kind of opening line that usually gratifies NY Times book critics
"Things were very bad then but still we carried on."
—The opening line to one of Dixon's books; an opening line that Dixon is incredibly proud of
“An hour late to work I’m riding the D train to work in a short tight black BCBG mini skirt and not only do I feel Seth the Sommelier dribbling down my right thigh but I also see some of Antonio the Busboy sticking to my left calf.”
—The lead sentence from Saucier: A Bitch in the Kitchen, a novel Dixon reads and criticizes within Pocket Kings
First line rundown pt. 4
More (potentially) famous first lines
“The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted.”
—The Beginner’s Goodbye, Anne Tyler
“The one clear thing I can say about Wednesday, the worst and most amazing day of my life, is this: it started out beautifully.”
—From “The Infamous Bengal Ming,” the first in Rajesh Parameswaran’s collection I Am An Executioner: Love Stories
“They live on a housing estate outside of the town of Worcester, between the railway line and the National Road.”
—Scenes from Provincial Life, J.M. Coetzee
“This is when and where it all begins, with all the dreamers champagne-drunk and stumbling on the head of the Needle.”
—Truth Like the Sun, Jim Lynch
First line rundown pt. 3
More novel openers to weigh against “Call me Ishmael”
-Unnatural Acts, Stuart Woods
“If you had been across the street, pretending to investigate the local summer roses outside Holliday’s Flower Shop, you could have seen them through the café’s plate glass, the two sitting in the booth by a window, eating lunch.”
-What You See in the Dark, Manuel Muñoz
“The left engine backfired again and began to stumble as Jabe Rainwater rolled the old Beechcraft left and right in an effort to drain the last of the fuel from his nearly bone-dry wing tanks.”
-Bad Medicine, R. Barry King
“Just as the keynote address was winding down, the rain came hissing up the little valley in sheets.”
-West of Here, Jonathan Evison
“‘Read this,’ my father said as he tossed a leather-bound journal at my chest, trying to catch me by surprise.”
-Until the Next Time, Kevin Fox
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