Tag Archives: great gatsby

Top 10 book openings

Some time ago I wrote about the Top 10 book endings. Recently I’ve been thinking about the Top 10 book openings; a ‘top 10’ which I found particularly difficult. I used the following criteria: the top 10 lines would be those I easily recalled, (meaning they were especially memorable), or they would be the lines which had most made me want to keep reading.

After much thought, I eventually came up with the following list:

1. 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.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

 

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

3. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

 

4. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

5. “Call me Ishmael”

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

 

6. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 

7. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (2001)

 

8. All children, except one, grow up

Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

 

9. In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

 

10. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

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Top 10 reads for summer

This list is my personal one. As much as I enjoy young adult fiction, the summer break means I don’t have to read as much of it and can enjoy a few indulgences. These are the books I am going to read, re-read or that I read last summer and now recommend to you:

1. Shall we Dance? by Maggie Alderson.

I read this last summer and it was divine. Maggie Alderson weaves the romantic world of vintage fashion into the modern world of motherhood and relationships. I loved this book so much it deliberately takes first place at the top of the list.

 

2. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

This is wrapped and waiting under the tree for me. It’s P.D James appropriating the characters of Pride and Prejudice to create a classic murder mystery, set in 1803.

 

3. The Shadow Girl by John Larkin

I had to put one young adult fiction on the list. Read my review of this wonderful book here.

 

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s time to re-read this in preparation for Baz Luhrmann’s movie in 2012. I last read Gatsby in 1986, so it’s definitely time for a re-visit.

 

5. All that I Am by Anna Funder

This is another one on my summer wish list. I have read numerous glowing reviews of Anna Funder’s first novel, which has been compared to Suite Franҫaise and The Reader.

 

6. Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney.

Summer wouldn’t be summer without Monica McInerney. For twenty years she has moved between Australia and Ireland, working as a writer and producing best-selling novels. I secretly covet her life.

 

7. How Now, Brown Frau by Merridy Eastman

This is the third memoir by Merridy Eastman, following There’s a Bear in There and Ridiculous Expectations. This one caught my interest as it recounts Merridy’s move to Bavaria to begin a new life with her German fiancé. Having lived in Bavaria for a short time as a teenager, I knew I would connect with Merridy’s experiences. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy her humour and wit so much.

 

8. Worse Things Happen at Sea by William McInnes and Sarah Watt.

Part biography, part love story, this is a poignant collection of reminiscences. Sarah Watt, the celebrated filmmaker, died from breast cancer earlier this year. For this reason alone, the book is somewhat confronting, but it is also a powerful salute to the vitality of the human spirit and the beauty of love.

 

9. Emma by Jane Austen

I re-read an Austen every year, and this year it’s Emma’s turn.

 

10. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich.

What can I say? Stephanie Plum, Lulu and Grandma Mazur just make me laugh.

 

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