Books are a big part of my life. Well, duh, you might say, since you know, I kind of write. But as a reader, some books refused to leave me after the back cover was closed.
A few weeks ago I saw an article on the opening lines for 10 of the most popular fictional books of all time, I decided to do my own version, using the books I personally loved so much!
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
Back when I was an angst teenager, pretty much lost in books and silent, I stumbled on Wrinkle in Time with its equally awkward heroine and feel in love. This story really opened my eyes to science fiction and the power of a great story. And seriously, how awesome is opening such a fantastic story, with one of the oldest openings! Soul-searching.
Crocodile on the Sandbank By Elizabeth Peters
“When I first set eyes on Evelyn Barton-Forbes she was walking the streets of Rome-“
If Meg in Wrinkle in Time represented my adolescence, Amelia Peabody showed me the woman I want to be. Practical, romantic (secretly of course), intelligent, independent and knew how to weld a mean parasol, she rocked my world. She always delighting me with her stories and her fantastic outgoing character. Over the top and not ashamed, Amelia and her crew bought to me the magic of the Victorian age in Egypt. Think Indiana Jones, just as a woman and her husband during the the late 19th century. Fantastic.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”
Jane Eyre blew my mind when I was sixteen and read it for the time in high school. Sure I had read romances before. But nothing, I mean nothing, prepared me for Jane. Her story grabbed me and won’t let me go. I feel in love with her spirit, her will and her determination to not allow anyone to make her feel less of a person simply because of her station in life. The thing I love most about her was she did all this by being herself, not by trying to change the world to see it her way. She just continued within the roles given to her, and molded them quietly to her way of thinking. Amazing.
Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
“On the 24th of Februrary, 1815, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples.”
Count of Monte Cristo introduced me to high adventure and the delicious thrill of an unabashed soap opera with layers upon layers of complications. This was one hell of a ride and I find myself watching every single movie or adaptations based on it. Luscious.
The Neverending Story By Michael Ende
I will admit, I saw the movie first, but it did lead me to the book and I am forever grateful to it! The Nevereneding Story’s opening line only services to illustrate the unique experience of reading this book. If you have never read it, I tell you to get it now. It is not only a fantastic book to read, but visually the book is an experience delighting your inner-child. This book reminded me again what it felt like to be a innocence and free from in the adult limitations we place on the world . Liberating.
The Rowan by Anne McCaffery
Torrents of rain covered the western side of the great Tranh mountain range of Altair, streaming in mudding runnels down slopes already saturated with nine days of steady precipitation.
I had enjoyed The Dragonriders of Pern, but my favorite McCaffery series is based in the Rowan universe. Telepaths flinging stuff across space, telepathic romances of minds touching, children with no names found in the snow, people with different paranormal powers—yep, sign me up! It isn’t the best of her work, but something about the world and the Rowan in the isolation really stayed with me. New Horizons.
Hiroshima by John Hersey
At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.
It is a small book. I don’t think it breaks a hundred words, and yet the way Hersey humanizes the affects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is both heartbreaking, horrifying and riveting. Its images, which in and of itself is the message, stays with you for years. Powerful.
Beauty by Robin McKinley
I was the youngest of three daughters.
Ahhhh, even reading this make me want to pick up the book and read it again! My favorite fairy/folk tale of all time is Beauty and the Beast (BB). Anything Beauty and the Beast, doesn’t matter which culture, time frame, trapping, setting, if it resembles BB in ANYWAY, I am here with bells, handing you whatever you want. Cash, clothing, small children, whatever you want so I can get my BB fix. I have seen a lot, read many different versions of the story, but none enchanted me (pun no intended—really ) like McKinley’s version. It is absolutely breathtaking and beautiful and remains number 1 on my top BB versions list! Romantic!
Anthem by Ayn Rand
It is a sin to write this.
If any book marked me, it was Anthem. I don’t know if it because I read it when I was fifteen or because the writing was spare and clean and struck in my heart. I do not what to tell you, but if you have ever see my old handle anthem2521, you now know where it comes from. I am not a philosopher nor did I understand the point of Rand’s novella when I read it. All I did was read the story, and when Equality encountered the word, “I” my hands shook.
I shook in the power of words. In the power of a writer. The power of letters formed in just the right way, in the right formation to utterly change another human being. Anthem’s purpose wasn’t to inspire future writers, but further understanding of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Even if unintended, Ms. Rand changed the life of a teenage girl one summer night in Miami, Florida in 1995. Thanks Ms. Rand, where ever you are.
Blossom Culp (The Ghosts I have Been) by Richard Peck
I tell you, the world is so full of ghosts, a person wonders if there’s a soul to be found on the Other Side.
I am very sad there are only four Blossom Culp books. Set in the early 1900’s, Blossom Culp is an teenage medium with a wealth of spunk and personality. She sparkles on the page and is always a delight. If you are looking for a good heroine to introduce your teenagers to, Blossom is your girl. Spunky!
And those are it for me! What about you? What are some of your favorite books and why?