Saturday, September 10, 2016

First Lines: July edition

A good place to read in July:
a big chair at the Old Folks' Home

The library had a summer reading program for adults called Bookshelf Bingo, with various categories.  This inspired me to read lots. 

Here are the first lines from the books I read during July.  I won’t judge you if you don’t read my list, but please do leave a comment on what books you enjoyed reading in July (or any time).

Book # 1 (for the bingo square “Novel set on an island”)
Lamb to the Slaughter, 1953 / Roald Dahl
 Wife kills husband with frozen leg of lamb, then disposes of the “weapon” by feeding it to the cops. Serviceable enough Dahl offering, though Lambiase questioned whether a professional housewife could successfully cook a leg of lamb in the manner described—i.e., without thawing, seasoning, or marinade. Wouldn’t this result in tough, unevenly cooked meat?

Book #2 (for the bingo square “Novel set in your home state”)
In the sixty-first year of his life, Liam Pennywell lost his job.  It wasn’t such a good job, anyhow.

Book #3 (not for a bingo square- it just didn’t fit any of the categories)
DIMITRI: If Atlas holds up the world, what holds up Atlas?
TASSO: Atlas stands on the back of a turtle.
DIMITRI: But what does the turtle stand on?
TASSO: Another turtle.
DIMITRI: And what does that turtle stand on?
TASSO: My dear Dimitri, it’s turtles all the way down!

Book #4 (for the bingo square “nonfiction graphic novel”)
It was against my parents’ principles to talk about death… Nor would they discuss religion beyond a most superficial level.  “I’m Jewish.  Daddy is Jewish. You’re Jewish.  End of story.” (said my mother).  Asking too many “spiritual” questions meant that you had too much time on your hands.

* * * * * * * * *

I was also reading the following books, but didn’t finish them, for various reasons. 

Book #5
This is where I was going to put a simple Mary Oliver quote but instead I decided to replace it with the idea I had for the cover of this book because I’m pretty sure it’ll never get accepted and I don’t want it to go to waste.  The great thing about this cover is that when you’re holding the book up to read it, it will look like the bottom of your face has been replaced with and ecstatic raccoon smile.

Book #6
It was 5:00 a.m. on an April morning in 2010.  Eight teams of surgeons were preparing to operate on eight patients in four different cities.  Four healthy people would each be donating one of their kidneys to someone they had never met, and those four recipients, each suffering from end-stage renal disease, would receive a new lease on life.

Book #7
On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted fifty-eight aluminum truck bodies aboard an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey.  Five days later, the Ideal-X sailed into Houston, where fifty-eight trucks waited to take on the metal boxes and haul them to the destinations.  Such was the beginning of a revolution.

* * * * * * * *

Here are the titles and authors.

Book #1
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin. 
This book takes place on Alice Island in New England.  It’s one of those books that references a lot of other books.  I really enjoyed it.  “People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?”

Book #2
Noah’s Compass, by Anne Tyler.  This book is set in my home town of Baltimore, Maryland.

Book #3
Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes  by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
I’m not sure how much philosophy I understand after reading this book, but it was fun.

Book #4
Can’t we talk about something more PLEASANT? (a memoir) by Roz Chast.  This is a graphic non-fiction book about the author’s parents and their last years.  It rang true.

Book #5
Furiously Happy: A funny book about horrible things, by Jenny Lawson.   The style was just a bit too jumpy for me.

Book #6
Who Gets What – and Why by Alvin E. Roth.  This is a book about economics for the lay person.  I thought it would be about poverty vs wealth.  It is about game theory, which is an important part of economics, but one of my least favorite parts.  It has some interesting things in it, including a chapter which explains why it’s so hard to get the farmer’s market to open on time, when certain participants in that market can benefit from breaking the rules.

Book #7
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson.  This book had some sections that I think would be important to consider in this election year – why are some people left out of an economic upturn? Partly because of these shipping containers.  The world economy works faster and most goods are cheaper, but that efficiency means fewer jobs in traditional shipping industries. It’s easier for manufacturing to move to the cheapest labor market.  Those jobs aren’t coming back.  I got bogged down in the details, though, and didn’t finish.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I LOVED AJ Fikry. Such a sweet story.
That box book sounds interesting. I think saying "bring back manufacturing jobs" is such a simplistic and idiotic thing to say. For one, they are dangerous. For another, robots are more productive and efficient. We've morphed into a service economy, we need to pay people reflective of what they provide and so far we're undervaluing those jobs. Robots can't take care of sick people or children or wait tables. But I digress...
You read such interesting picks. And I'm skipping Jenny Lawson for the reason you wrote, even her blogs make me a bit headachy. I know she's popular and funny, but I can't keep up.

smalltownme said...

Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler
A Few of the Girls, Maeve Binchy
The Lost Art of House Cleaning, Jan M. Daugherty
The Black-Eyed Blond, Benjamin Black
Enchanted Islands, Allison Amend
Murder in Montparnasse, Kerry Greenwood
The Castlemaine Murders, Kerry Greenwood
Flight of Dreams, Ariel Lawhon
Terrible Virtue, Ellen Feldman
The Girls, Emma Cline
Death By Water, Kerry Greenwood
The Last Basselope, Berkeley Breathed
The Secret of the Old Clock, Carolyn Keene
Running, Patrice Fitzgerald
Murder in the Dark, Kerry Greenwood
All Summer Long, Dorothea Benton Frank

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I've read numbers 1, 4 and 5. While I agree that Jenny Lawson can be a bit "jumpy" I also think she covered some important truths of depression and mental illness. While my own dh is generally kind and considerate, he does not understand depression. Admittedly, this book freaked him out a bit because I could relate to what she was saying.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I haven't read any of these. I used to like Anne Taylor a lot though.