Tag Archives: story

Great opening paragraph…23

The Last Tycoon - OP
“Though I haven’t ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party – or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.”
‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald

Book review: ‘Life after Life’

kate atkinson - life after life cover 26-5-13It’s a while since I read a book I didn’t want to put down, a book that made me continue reading in bed gone midnight.

On Saturday...

On Saturday…

Kate Atkinson manages the macro settings and the micro details with ease, from the petty sibling squabbles at Fox Corner to the camaraderie of the ARP wardens in the Blitz. Before I started reading ‘Life after Life’ I read the phrase ‘Groundhog Day’ a few times in reviews, which belittles the intricate weaving of Ursula Todd’s lives. in the bath 20-5-13In the way that Logan Mountstuart’s life runs parallel to the great historical moments of the last century, Ursula’s life stories are book-ended by the approach and aftermath of the First and Second World Wars. Ursula, little bear, is an engaging character we see born and die, again and again through her own personal déjà vu.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to work but once I stopped worrying about it and surrendered myself to Ursula, I was transfixed.

... on Sunday

… on Sunday

This is another work of art, as mesmerising as her first Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It is such an ambitious novel, that I can only guess at the intricacy of the writing process and admire her for it. in bed 20-5-13‘Life after Life’ by Kate Atkinson

Great opening paragraph…19

Catch-22 - OP
It was love at first sight.
The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.
‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller

Great opening paragraph…18

The Ghost Road - OP
“In deck-chairs all along the front the bald pink knees of Bradford businessmen nuzzled the sun.”
‘The Ghost Road’, Pat Barker

Great opening paragraph…16

The Other Boleyn Girl - OP
“Spring 1521. I could hear a roll of muffled drums. But I could see nothing but the lacing on the bodice of the lady standing in front of me, blocking my view of the scaffold. I had been at this court for more than a year and attended hundreds of festivities; but never before one like this.”
‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory

Great opening paragraph…10

Sacred Hearts - OP
“Before the screaming starts, the night silence of the convent is alive with its own particular sounds.”
‘Sacred Hearts’ by Sarah Dunant

A book I love… Wind in the Willows

One of the reasons I love this book still is the actual edition: a green cloth-covered hardback with a green paper cover. wind in the willows1 I can remember the excitement at being given a hardback book which in 1969 was expensive. I was more used to devouring as many Famous Five and Secret Seven books as possible that we could pick up secondhand at the school fete: my reading at that age was voracious. wind in the willows3The book was a birthday gift from my parents for my ninth birthday, the birthday greeting inside is written in my elder sister’s neat italic script. wind in the willows2It never dawned on me that the language was old-fashioned – Oddsboddikins! – I just lapped it up. Today the book sits on my bookshelf between Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, and Stamboul Train by Graham Greene.
‘Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame

Great opening paragraph…9

Slaughterhouse5 - OP
“All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn’t his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I’ve changed all the names.”
‘Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Great opening paragraph 8

Jamrach's Menagerie“ I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.”
‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ by Carol Birch