Category: Book Beginnings Meme (page 2 of 2)

#BookBeginnings The Last Child by John Hart

Today we’re highlighting The Last Child by John Hart for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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The Last Child* by John Hart

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Johnny Merrimon’s twin sister disappeared a year ago when she was seen being dragged into a van. Now everyone seems to think she’s dead. Thirteen-year-old Johnny can’t give up on her, though, so he decides to start a search of his own.

First Sentence of the Prologue:

Asphalt cut the country like a scar, a long, hot burn of razor-black.

Discussion: 

Doesn’t it sound like this book is going to be intense?

I recently read A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. which is her memoir about how she was dragged into a van and held many years by a sexual predator. It will be interesting to see if there are any parallels in this novel.

Did anyone else notice that John Hart named his main character Johnny? Do you know of any other books where the main character has the same or a similar name to the author?

I’m also curious about the protagonist being a thirteen-year-old boy, which is a bit unconventional for an adult novel. Young protagonists are more common in middle grade and young adult fiction.

There is a police detective working on the case, too. I wonder how the two will interact. Is Detective Hunt a mentor? What about a detective who is searching for someone being named Hunt? Sounds like John Hart is a bit playful when it comes to naming his characters.

Can you tell I’m excited to be reading this one?

What do you think?

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What are we reading next for The Bestseller Code challenge?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog.

The next book is number 96, The Last Child by John Hart (2009) – Discussion begins January 2, 2017

#BookBeginnings Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Today we’re participating in a fun meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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We are reading  Little Bee: A Novel* by Chris Cleave (Also published as The Other Hand.)

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: The novel explores the relationship between a young Nigerian refugee and suburban Londoner who was recently widowed.

First paragraph:

Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead — but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold coca=Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each others names.

Opinion:  I have to admit I had to read the first sentence twice because it struck me as odd. Once I grasped it, however,  I thought Chris Cleave does a lot with the first sentence. He introduces one of his main characters and reveals a little bit about her. He shows she’s imaginative, playful and at the same time insightful. Plus he entices the reader to ask why she is saying she’d rather be money than a girl.

Would you be interested in reading more?

#BookBeginnings Downfall by J.A. Jance

Let’s look at the first paragraph of J. A. Jance’s Downfall  for Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted at Rose City Reader.

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Downfall* by J.A. Jance

(*Affiliate link)

Summary:

Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady has recently lost her mother and stepfather. Now she must investigate the death of two women at a local landmark, while at the same time running for re-election for her job.

First Paragraph of Prologue:

Sheriff Joanna Brady pulled into the parking place in front of Higgins Funeral Chapel, put her Buick Enclave in park, and then sat staring at the storefront before her, only vaguely aware of her surroundings. Lowering clouds blanketed the Mule Mountains in southeastern Arizona. It was the last day of August. The summer monsoons had arrived early and stayed on, leaving the desert grassland valleys of Cochise County lush and green.

 

Discussion:  As we can see, Jance describes the weather in the first paragraph, along with introducing the main character and setting. In his famous essay for writers, Elmore Leonard says the first rule of writing  is never to open a book with the weather. Is there a bigger cliche than, “It was a dark and stormy night…”?

Of course rules are meant to be broken, and in this case the weather helps define the setting. In Arizona the summer monsoon marks a season of humidity and violent thunderstorms. They are unique to that time and place.

As a reader, what do you think of books that start with a description of the weather?

Do you read on, skip it, or put the book down?

 

saguaros

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Related:
Recent post about J.A. Jance

#BookBeginnings Joe Klein’s Primary Colors Starting Soon

As you may know, we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. Primary Colors by Joe Klein is number 98 on the list, and we’ll be starting the full discussion on Monday.

Today we’re participating in a fun book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics* by Joe Klein (Previously published anonymously)

(*Amazon affiliate link)

Background:   Primary Colors is an older book. It was first published anonymously in 1996, but later journalist Joe Klein admitted he was the author. A political novel, it follows an aide to a governor who is running for president.

It was made into a movie starring John Travolta in 1998. Movie trailer:

First paragraph:

He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer. I am small and not so dark, not very threatening to Caucasians; I do not strut my stuff.

Would you keep reading?

Discussion:  Klein has packed quite a bit into this first paragraph. He has chosen to start the book at the exact moment main character Henry Burton meets the governor who potentially will be his boss. In the first sentence  we learn Henry’s first impressions of the man, as well as the setting. In the second sentence, Henry introduces himself.

Opinion:  I found Henry’s description of himself confusing. The first part, “I am small” seems to be comparing himself to the “big fellow,” yet how could he be “not so dark” compared to someone who was “seriously pale?” I suspect he is exhibiting a bit of subtle humor?

What do you think?

Have you read this book? Did you see the movie?

#BookBeginnings Barry Eisler’s First Novel

Today we’re participating in an awesome book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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Our book today is A Clean Kill in Tokyo* by Barry Eisler (Previously Published as Rain Fall).

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

First sentence:

Harry moved through the morning rush-hour crowd like a shark fin cutting through water.

Would you keep reading?

Book Blurb:   Assassin John Rain has his own set of rules. Things get complicated when he breaks one of them and becomes involved with a young woman who just happens to be the daughter of the last man he killed. What could possibly go wrong?

Discussion:  This was author Barry Eisler’s first novel, published under the title Rain Fall in 2002. Many parts of the novel read like nonfiction because Eisler was once with the CIA and has a black belt in judo, plus the story is set in Tokyo where he once lived. In fact, it seems unfair that he was all that direct experience and can tell such a captivating story, too.

Although this sounds like it is written in the third person in the first line, it is written in the first person. Harry is not the main character.

Do you like spy thrillers with a realistic feel?

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Currently we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. State of Wonder is number 99 on the list, and we started the discussion on Monday November 21, 2016.

 

#BookBeginnings Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder

Last week I discovered a fun new book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. It’s easy to participate, simply share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

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This week we are reading State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett.

First sentence:

The news of Ander Eckman’s death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationary and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope.

This sentence generates a number of questions, such as why such an impersonal way to announce a death? Who is Nader Eckman? What is his relationship to the recipient? How did he die? Where did he die? It must have been far away to require an airmail letter.

I liked the description of the envelope. If you have ever received airmail, you can probably envision the flimsy blue-gray paper.

Opinion:   I’m beginning to think a death in the first sentence is an overused way to generate interest. But maybe that’s just because I read a lot of mysteries, which tend to have a dead body show up within the first few pages.

What do you think? Is mentioning a death in the first sentence overused?

Are you a fan of Ann Patchett?

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Currently we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. State of Wonder is number 99 on the list, and we’ll be starting the discussion on Monday November 21, 2016.

#BookBeginnings Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island

This week I discovered a fun book meme hosted at Rose City Reader called Book Beginnings on Fridays. The premise to share the first sentence or so of a book you are reading and your thoughts about it.

 

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The book:

Shutter Island: A Novel by Dennis Lehane.

First paragraph:

I haven’t laid eyes on the island in several years. The last time was from a friend’s boat that ventured into the outer harbor, and I could see it off in the distance, past the inner ring, shrouded in the summer haze, a careless smudge of paint against the sky.

Shutter Island is about a U.S. Marshal and his partner who travel to a hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a female inmate. The hospital is located on the island the narrator describes. From the first paragraph, would you guess this book has been labeled as a psychological thriller? The description seems deceptively peaceful.

Thanks to Elizabeth at Silver’s Reviews for helping us discover Book Beginnings on Fridays.

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Currently we are hosting a challenge to read through the list of 100 best of the bestsellers recommended in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers. Shutter Island is number 100 on the list, and we started discussing it on November 7, 2016. Please feel free to join the conversation.

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