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Friday, July 25, 2008

TBIF - Thank blog it's Friday!

Tuesday Thingers (hosted by Marie of The Boston Bibliophile)

Today's topic: Recommendations. Do you use LT's recommendations feature? Have you found any good books by using it? Do you use the anti-recommendations, or the "special sauce" recommendations? How do you find out about books you want to read?
I've glanced over the Recommendations that pop up on my LibraryThing home page, but really haven't followed up on any of them. Since they're based on my catalog as a whole, and not just on the books I've already read and/or given a high rating, I really don't know why they'd be any better than the recommendations I get from Amazon based on past purchases. LibraryThing more directly influences my interest in particular books through the Early Reviewers program. If I spent more time trolling around the libraries of my LT friends, I'm sure I'd get a lot of ideas about books to add to my wishlist, but I just don't seem to find enough time to do that much.

When I read newspapers and magazines more regularly, they were my main sources for learning about books that might interest me; they still play a role in that, but it's much smaller now. Sometimes I'll hear about books from friends, particularly the ones in my book club, but these days I find out about books from the place that most book-bloggers do - other book-bloggers!

Booking Through Thursday: Beginnings (hosted by Deb)

Suggested by: Nithin
Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.
What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
In my comment on Gautami's post for this week's BTT, I summed up my thoughts on the general topic of first lines from books:
A great opening line - or even better, opening paragraph- can definitely hook me, but by the time I'm further into the book I've probably forgotten it. (I)t's how the story develops from there that interests me more, and a good beginning doesn't guarantee a strong ending.

I know some classic first lines from works of literature that I've never read, and they're probably the same ones everyone else knows too, like "Call me Ishmael," and "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." As a grade-school kid, my favorite book opened with these lines:

"'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

This year, I started recording the first sentence of every book in its review post, and without doing that I'd have no memory of most of them. I don't intend that as a reflection on the writing; I've just reached an age where my mind is quite cluttered, and it takes more for things to stand out. Also, I find that if a novel is so well-written that I'm making note of it, chances are there will be other passages besides the beginning that are memorable, and these sentences may well surpass the first one. This first line from a recent read sticks with me because it's a recurring phrase throughout the novel:

"Here is the truth, this is what I know..."

A recent post at Books. Lists. Life. reminded me of another recent novel whose opening sentence is a classic in its own way:

"There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus."

But for the most part, I just don't tend to remember things like this if I've only read a book once, and since I rarely re-read these days, I've forgotten a lot of first lines. What about you - do you have any favorites that you can remember?

Friday Fill-Ins #82 (hosted by Janet)

Questions 4-6 this week are courtesy of Sherry! I like it when people give me questions on a wicked busy day :-) Thanks!

Here we go:

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you is weaker than you are.

2. If you're good at something, it's really nice if it's something you can get paid to do.

3. Why so tired?

4. Something is out there, it sounds like a train going by. (We live right by the train station, so it probably is, actually.)

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled "Murphy's Law."

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see the hills wearing their lovely summer color - dried-out brown. (Ah, southern California...)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting home after work and an airport run, tomorrow my plans include reading, writing, and grocery shopping (oh, yeah, probably better get some housecleaning done too), and Sunday, I want to have a nice, relaxing pedicure, and read some more!

8 comments:

  1. a pedicure sounds nice; I need a manicure myself! Thanks for playing :-)

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  2. First sentences will drag me into a book and if it's a good one I'll remember it. I'll also remember it if I hear it enough. ;) Like Dickens.

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  3. Janet - I probably need a manicure too, but I can't seem to leave the salon without already messing up the polish on at least one nail, so I'm conflicted :-).

    Bev - I noticed you quoted the same first line I did, and for the same reason!

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  4. Like you, I tend not to remember first lines either, except for a few of the classic ones that everyone knows.
    And my life could probably be called Murphy's Law at times as well. Sigh.
    Hope you're having a nice weekend.

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  5. Tanabata - Hope your weekend is going well too - or did, since you're on the other side of the International Date Line.

    I think Murphy and his law show up in most people's lives every now and then - they just visit some of us more often :-).

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  6. #2 would be great. Enjoy your pedicure!


    My FFI post:
    http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/friday-fill-in-82.html

    My BTT post:
    http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/booking-through-thursday.html

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  7. I don't really use the recommendation feature at LibraryThing. Like you, I find it's much like the Amazon recommendations. I tend to get more recommendations via blogs and fellow book lovers.

    That's a great first sentence for gods in Alabama. :-)

    And hopefully if you are good at something and you are getting paid to do it, you actually like it. ;-)

    I hope you have a nice weekend, Florinda.

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  8. SMarieK - I'm sure I will :-). Thanks for stopping by!

    Literary Feline - The rest of the book is pretty good, too - Southern-gothic/mystery elements, and humor as well (if you couldn't tell from that first sentence).

    Good point about liking what you're good at as well as getting paid to do it; people aren't always lucky enough to have all three at once!

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