#BookBeginnings A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

It’s time to start the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Anne Tyler’s novel follows the lives of a Baltimore family, Red and Abby Whitshank, and their four children.

It is literary fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015.

First Sentence:

Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny.


Someone recently told me that a novel should reveal who, what, when and where early in the first scene. Anne Tyler introduces who and when in the first sentence.

What do you think? Would you read a book that didn’t introduce everything right away? Do you think different genres might have different rules, such as mysteries giving less away than historical fiction? Do you know any examples where the author waited past the first scene to reveal setting, time, or a main character? Did it work for you?

Does this first line entice you to keep reading?


  1. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I loved this book! I can’t think of an Anne Tyler book that I haven’t enjoyed. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Roberta

      I’m not far in, but I am enjoying it.

  2. Lauren @ Always Me

    I’ve been told so many times that this is well worth picking up! Happy Friday! 🙂

    • Roberta

      If anyone wants to read this, please feel free to join us. We’re starting officially on Monday.

  3. Literary Feline (Wendy)

    I love books that keep me guessing, with each page or chapter another layer is peeled back . . . Not every other can effectively pull it off, unfortunately. How much is given away about a book in the beginning depends on the book and the author’s intent. It’s all in how an author wants to tell their story and how they want to reader to take it in. As a result, I’m pretty flexible. I can’t say I prefer it one way or another. Of course, some authors are better at using certain techniques than others.

    I haven’t ever tried anything by Ann Tyler, but a couple of friends of mine swear by her books. Maybe one day I will give her a try. I like the opening you shared!

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    • Roberta

      I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who likes to discover things and figure them out.

  4. Catherine @ Book Club Librarian

    I read this, but it wasn’t my favorite Tyler novel. She’s one of those authors who is hit or miss for me. Hope you enjoy it, though.

  5. Karen

    Five chapters into the book and I realize that the first line of the book definitely reveals “who.” Denny is turning out to be a pivotal character.

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