Archives for first paragraph

Great Opening Paragraph 97… ‘The Curious Incident…’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.” ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn ‘Bel Canto’ by Anne Patchett And if
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 96… ‘The Secret History’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.” ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt  Amazon Read my review of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Herzog’ by Saul Bellow ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote ‘The Murder Room’ by PD James And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: THE SECRET HISTORY by @DonnaTartt #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2qp
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 95… ‘Perfume’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages. His story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name – in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de Sade’s, for instance, or Stain-Just’s, Fouché’s, Bonaparte’s, etc. – has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immortality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of smell.” ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Süskind  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Mara and Dann’ by Doris Lessing ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ by Andrea Newman ‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: PERFUME by Patrick Süskind #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2ql
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 94… ‘Tipping the Velvet’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Have you ever tasted a Whitstable oyster? If you have, you will remember it. Some quirk of the Kentish coastline makes Whitstable natives – as they are properly called – the largest and the juiciest, the savouriest yet the subtlest, oysters in the whole of England. Whitstable oysters are, quite rightly, famous. The French, who are known for their sensitive palates, regularly cross the Channel for them; they are shipping, in barrels of ice, to the dining-tables of Hamburg and Berlin. Why, the King himself, I heard, makes special trips to Whitstable with Mrs Keppel, to eat oyster suppers in a private hotel; and as for the old Queen – she dined on a native a day [or so they say] till the day she died.” ‘Tipping the Velvet’ by Sarah Waters Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Mara and Dann’ by Doris Lessing ‘Lucky You’ by Carl Hiasson ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: TIPPING THE VELVET by Sarah Waters @ViragoBooks #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2lj
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 93… ‘Death in Summer’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“After the funeral the hiatus that tragedy brought takes a different form. The suddenness of the death has gone, irrelevant now. Thaddeus has stood and knelt in the church of St Nicholas, has heard his wife called good, the word he himself gave to a clergyman he has known all his life. People were present in the church who were strangers to him, who afterwards, in the house, introduced themselves as a few of Letitia’s friends from the time before he knew her. ‘And where is Letitia now?’ an undertaker a week ago inquired, confusing Thaddeus, who for a moment wondered if the man knew why he had been summoned. ‘It’s Letitia who has died,’ he said, and answered, when the man explained, that Letitia was in the mortuary, where she’d been taken.” ‘Death in Summer’ by William Trevor Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ by Carson McCullers  ‘Astonishing Splashes of Colour’ by Clare Morrall  ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ by Thomas Pynchon  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: DEATH IN SUMMER by William Trevor #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Vz
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 92… ‘Back When we were Grown-Ups’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. She was fifty-three years old by then – a grandmother. Wide and soft and dimpled, with two short wings of dry, fair hair flaring almost horizontally from a center part. Laugh lines at the corners of her eyes. A loose and colourful style of dress edging dangerously close to Bag Lady. Give her credit: most people her age would say it was too late to make any changes. What’s done is done, they would say. No use trying to alter things at this late date. It did occur to Rebecca to say that. But she didn’t.” ‘Back When We Were Grown-Ups’ by Anne Tyler Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Couples’ by John Updike  ‘Jack Maggs’ by Peter Carey  ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami    This is my old Chatto & Windus paperback edition, 2001 Read my reviews of Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread and Vinegar Girl. And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWN-UPS by Anne Tyler #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Tg
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 91… ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don’t know where I am, how I came to be here. I don’t know how I’m going to get home.” ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by SJ Watson Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis  ‘Sea Glass’ by Anita Shreve  ‘I’ll Take You There’ by Joyce Carol Oates  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by @SJ_Watson #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Vw via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 90… ‘Queen Camilla’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, stood smoking a cheap cigarette on the back doorstep of Number Sixteen Hell Close. It was a cold afternoon in late summer. Occasionally she turned to watch her husband, Charles, the Prince of Wales, clattering the luncheon pots in the red washing-up bowl he’d bought on impulse that morning from the ‘Everything A Pound’ shop. He had borne the bowl home and presented it to her as though it were a precious religious artefact plundered from a sacked city.” ‘Queen Camilla’ by Sue Townsend  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote  ‘The Collector’ by John Fowles  ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? QUEEN CAMILLA by Sue Townsend #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Vr via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 89… ‘The Children Act’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“London. Trinity term one week old. Implacable June weather. Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, at home on Sunday evening, supine on a chaise longue, staring past her stockinged feet towards the end of the room, towards a partial view of recessed bookshelves by the fireplace and, to one side, by a tall window, a tiny Renoir lithograph of a bather, bought by her thirty years ago for fifty pounds. Probably a fake. Below it, centred on a round walnut table, a blue vase. No memory of how she came by it. Nor when she last put flowers in it. The fireplace not lit in a year. Blackened raindrops falling irregularly into the grate with a ticking sound against balled-up yellowing newsprint. A Bokhara rug spread on wide polished floorboards. Looming at the edge of vision, a baby grand piano bearing silver-framed family photos on its deep black whine. On the floor by the chaise lounge, within her reach, the draft of a judgment. And Fiona was on her back, wishing all this stuff at the bottom of the sea.” ‘The Children Act’ by Ian McEwan  Amazon Read my reviews of The Children Act and Nutshell. Try one of these 1st paras
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 88… ‘To Have and Have Not’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“You know how it is there early in the morning in Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by with ice for the bars? Well, we came across the square from the dock to the Pearl of San Francisco Café to get coffee and there was only one beggar awake in the square and he was getting a drink out of the fountain. But when we got inside the café and sat down, there were three of them waiting for us.” ‘To Have and Have Not’ by Ernest Hemingway Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell  ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding  ‘Possession’ by AS Byatt  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? Hemingway’s TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Vm via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 87… ‘Time Will Darken It’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In order to pay off an old debt that someone else had contracted, Austin King had said yes when he knew that he ought to have said no, and now at five o’clock of a July afternoon he saw the grinning face of trouble everywhere he turned. The house was full of strangers from Mississippi; within an hour, friends and neighbours invited to an evening party would begin ringing the doorbell; and his wife (whom he loved) was not speaking to him.” ‘Time Will Darken It’ by William Maxwell Amazon Click here to read my review of Time Will Darken It Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Such a Long Journey’ by Rohinton Mistry  ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon  ‘Death in Summer’ by William Trevor  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes you want more: TIME WILL DARKEN IT by William Maxwell http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Vh Chosen by @SandraDanby #novels
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 86… ‘The Ghost’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The moment I heard how McAra died I should have walked away. I can see that now. I should have said, ‘Rick, I’m sorry, this isn’t for me, I don’t like the sound of it,’ finished my drink and left. But he was such a good storyteller, Rick – I often thought he should have been the writer and I the literary agent – that once he’d started talking there was never any question I wouldn’t listen, and by the time he had finished, I was hooked. ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris Amazon Read my review of An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy  ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ by John McGahern  ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? THE GHOST by Robert Harris #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1V9
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 85… ‘The Pelican Brief’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“He seemed incapable of creating such chaos, but much of what he saw below could be blamed on him. And that was fine. He was ninety-one, paralyzed, strapped in a wheelchair and hooked to oxygen. His second stroke seven years ago had almost finished him off, but Abraham Rosenberg was still alive and even with tubes in his nose his legal stick was bigger than the other eight. He was the only legend remaining on the Court, and the fact that he was still breathing irritated most of the mob below.” ‘The Pelican Brief’ by John Grisham  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Diary of an Ordinary Woman’ by Margaret Forster ‘To Have and Have Not’ by Ernest Hemingway ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: THE PELICAN BRIEF by @JohnGrisham #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1V5 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 84… ‘Lucky You’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“On the afternoon of November 25, a woman named JoLayne Lucks drove to the Grab N’Go minimart in Grange, Florida, and purchased spearmint Certs, unwaxed dental floss and one ticket for the state Lotto. JoLayne Lucks played the same numbers she’d played every Saturday for five years: 17-19-22-14-27-30.” ‘Lucky You’ by Carl Hiaasen Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach ‘Super-Cannes’ by JG Ballard ‘Herzog’ by Saul Bellow And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: LUCKY YOU by @Carl_Hiaasen #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Uw via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love.

Great Opening Paragraph 83… ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream, and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.” ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘I’ll Take You There’ by Joyce Carol Oates ‘The Impressionist’ by Hari Kunzru ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ by John McGahern And if you’d like to tweet a link to
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 82… ‘Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“While Pearl Tull was dying, a funny thought occurred to her. It twitched her lips and rustled her breath, and she felt her son lean forward from where he kept watch by her bed. “Get…” she told him. “You should have got…” ‘Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’ by Anne Tyler Amazon Read my reviews of Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread and Vinegar Girl. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Philosopher’s Pupil’ by Iris Murdoch  ‘Mara and Dann’ by Doris Lessing  ‘Affinity’ by Sarah Waters 112 And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: DINNER AT THE HOMESICK RESTAURANT by Anne Tyler #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Tb via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 81… ‘Fair Exchange’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In her youth Louise Daudry, née Geuze, had committed a wicked and unusual crime. At that time, autumn 1792, she wanted money very badly, so she put aside her knowledge that what she was doing was wrong and would hurt others. She told herself that virtue was a luxury the poor could not afford. She let herself be persuaded that no one would ever find out.” ‘Fair Exchange’ by Michèle Roberts Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami ‘Possession’ by AS Byatt ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ by Andrea Newman And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: FAIR EXCHANGE by Michèle Roberts #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Ob via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 80… ‘Original Sin’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“For a temporary shorthand-typist to be present at the discovery of a corpse on the first day of a new assignment, if not unique, is sufficiently rare to prevent its being regarded as an occupational hazard.”  ‘Original Sin’ by PD James Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Rainmaker’ by John Grisham  ‘To Have and Have Not’ by Ernest Hemingway  ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ by Andrea Newman  And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: ORIGINAL SIN by PD James #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1C3 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 79… ‘Illywhacker’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“My name is Herbert Badgery. I am a hundred and thirty-nine years old and something of a celebrity. They come and look at me and wonder how I do it. There are weeks when I wonder the same, whole stretches of terrible time. It is hard to believe you can feel so bad and still not die.” ‘Illywhacker’ by Peter Carey  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘After You’d Gone’ by Maggie O’Farrell ‘Fortunes of War’ by Olivia Manning ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: ILLYWHACKER by Peter Carey #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1KP via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 78… ‘Divisadero’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“By our grandfather’s cabin, on the high ridge, opposite a slope of buckeye trees, Claire sits on her horse, wrapped in a thick blanket. She has camped all night and lit a fire in the hearth of that small structure our ancestor built more than a generation ago, and which he lived in like a hermit or some creature, when he first came to this country. He was a self-sufficient bachelor who eventually owned all the land he looked down onto. He married lackadaisically when he was forty, had one son, and left him this farm along the Petaluma road.” ‘Divisadero’ by Michael Ondaatje  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Tipping the Velvet’ by Sarah Waters ‘Back When We Were Grownups’ by Anne Tyler ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: DIVISADERO by Michael Ondaatje #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1KL via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.