Monday, September 26, 2005

He stole my post!

He really did! I was thinking of opening lines yesternight and this morning, its on his site. It ain't fair! Let's forgive him though, for when you are in love with both Holden and Yossarian, you are prone to do things like this.
Aside (on stolen books): I think if anyone were to make a study of books that are stolen from people's bookshelves, these two will top the list. I have lost three copies of A Catcher in the Rye and two of Catch 22. I have learnt my lesson and so now I hide both these books under my bed.

Anyway, Falstaff's post reminds me of so many of my favorite opening lines, so let me put down a couple here. Excluding the ones Falstaff's already got on his post ofcourse.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on it being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only" - A Tale of Two Cities

How more timeless can one get?

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point" - One Hundred Years of Solitude

At the risk of starting a meme, anyone up for posting their favorite opening lines? Only caveat being you can't pick one that's already been posted!


Falstaff said...

*sheepish grin* My apologies.

As WC Williams would say:

"Forgive me
They were delicious
So sweet
And so cold"

At least I let you start the classic opening lines thing.

A few others are up on my blog now:

About stolen books - the one I seem to lose the most is the Lord of the Rings. I'm always lending it to people to get them to read it and never getting them back.

Oh, and I'm not sure that A Hundred Years of Solitude is Marquez's best opening line. Personally I'm partial to both the first line of Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Love in the Time of Cholera. Don't have them here with me, otherwise would quote.

Veena said...

Cool. Its so nice to read opening lines of books that I haven't read in a long time. I think we should have had some kind of a contest where one had to guess the book by the opening lines. That would have been fun!

Hmm...on stolen books - somehow I track down LOTR and get it back from book thieves!

And yes, I like the opening lines of Love in the time of Cholera too - its something about bitter almonds reminding someone of unrequited love(if I am not mistaken) but One Hundred Years of Solitude somehow seemed more catching to me.

Ludwig said...

Just finished reading both the first-line posts. So, in the interest of fairness, equity, and other honourable things, we will post one here and one there and so on ad infinitum

3 May. Bistritz. Left Munich at 8:35 P. M, on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.

always sends a tingle down the spine, especially when you're reading it for the nth (n>1) time. It isn't a spectacular piece of writing, by any stretch of the imagination, but but but...

Veena said...

But it is as scary as always! I wouldn't have remembered without the 'Buda-pesth'. Thanks Ludwig.

Fairness, equity? You've been visiting Locana, I see!

meditativerose said...

Nice nice ... re GGM, I absolutely love the beginning of Chronicles of a Death Foretold (Falstaff - your memory might be failing you in your old age, but there's always Amazon).

"On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on."

Also, at the cost of appearing overly mushy, here's Love Story:

"What can you say about a 25-year old girl who died. That she was beautiful. And Brilliant. And loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me."

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Hmmm. You put up two of my favourites. Both lessons in writing, each in its own way.

I also like "A small dusty man in a small dusty room." So shoot me.


Falstaff said...

MR: Too much effort. Also, yes, like the opening of Love Story - if only the rest of the book had kept up with it.

Oh, and if you're really feeling enthu, would you mind going to Amazon and typing in the first line of my favourite GGM novel - Autumn of the Patriarch.

JAP: Errr..not sure I know that one. Where's it from?

PrufrockTwo said...

For me, it will always be:

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta"

Emma said...

Here are a few that come to mind immediately:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - George Orwell, 1984

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advise that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. 'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'" - Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

"Call me Ishmael." Melville, Moby Dick

"Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically." D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover