Sunday, April 22, 2018

First lines: March 2018 edition

Now that April is nearly over, it’s time for me to tell you what I finished reading in March.

Here are the first lines of those books.

Book 1
At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim.

Book 2
Warning Signs
When I was ten years old, I wrote a letter to my future self and buried it in my backyard.  Seventeen years later, I remembered that I was supposed to remember to dig it up two years earlier.

Book 3
The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel:
Hear this, O elders,
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!

Book 4
I’m about to throw up.
I’m standing on the press riser at Donald Trump’s New York City Election Night headquarters.

* * * * * *

Titles and authors revealed:

Book 1
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. © 2016. 
I might have been in the wrong mood for this book when I read it.  In the first two-thirds of the book, I kept waiting for something to happen.  The tragic parts are described at arm’s length.  The set-up and plot mostly seem improbable.  I was always wondering how the main character was paying for living his life.  It was quite enjoyable and exciting at the end, though.  Everyone else in the book club loved this book.  They raved about the writing, and were able to suspend any requirement for realism in the plot.  There was a time when I could do that, too.

Book 2
Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh. © 2013.  Mostly done in graphic art form.  Interesting, and hilarious at times.   I wasn’t terrifically interesting in the parts about dogs, but many of you might be.  Fascinating exploration of some mental health issues.

Book 3
Joel (The Bible).  © 9th to 5th Century BCE.  Features many locusts, but it’s not an agricultural treatise.  As is usual with biblical texts, locusts are a metaphor for something else.

Book 4
Unbelievable:   My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History, by Katy Tur. ©2017.  Yes, it is unbelievable.  This book was a fast read.  Perhaps that is a merciful thing; I do not mean that as an indictment of the writer, but of her subject, the campaign of Donald Trump for president.