TCL’s First Lines Friday #1 for January 21, 2022!

First Lines Friday LogoFirst Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers that was originally hosted by Emma @ (the apparently, now defunct) Wandering Words (don’t click on the link, it isn’t there anymore). I’ve seen this on several blogs, and most recently I noticed that my fellow blogger Julie @ One Book More is still doing it. Since I don’t have a book review ready for today, I thought I’d join in! The premise is:

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? To participate, you only need to do three things:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Simple, right? So, without any further ado…

This is only my 1st time doing this meme, so… be gentle, okay?

IN THE BEGINNING

A book must start somewhere. One brave letter must volunteer to go first, laying itself on the line in an act of faith, from which a word takes heart and follows, drawing a sentence into its wake. From there, a paragraph amasses, and soon a page, and the book is on its way, finding a voice, calling itself into being.

A book must start somewhere, and this one starts here.

A BOY

Shhh… Listen!

That’s my Book, and it’s talking to you. Can you hear it?

It’s okay if you can’t, though. It’s not your fault. Things speak all the time, but your ears aren’t attuned, you have to learn to listen.

You can start by using your eyes because eyes are easy. Look at all the things around you. What do you see? A book, obviously, and obviously the book is speaking to you, so try to be more challenging. The chair you’re sitting on. The pencil in your pocket. The sneaker on your foot. Still can’t hear? Then get down on your knees and put your head to the seat, or take off your shoe and hold it to your ear – no wait, if there are people around They’ll think you are mad, so try it with the pencil first. Pencils have stories inside them, and they’re safe as long as you don’t stick the point into your ear. Just hold it next to your head and listen. Can you hear the wood whisper? The ghost of the pine? The mutter of the lead?

Do these opening paragraphs intrigue you? I can honestly say that they certainly intrigue me, and I actually want to read on very much!

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So, have you guessed that my first “First Lines Friday” Book is:

Book of Form and Emptiness“The Book of Form and Emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki!

According to Goodreads this is: “A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being.

“With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.”

How was that for my first try?

I tried to get the ARC for this book, but was denied. Instead, I went out and bought a copy in paperback, but the size of it has been a touch daunting. However, when I read this opening I remember how much I adore Ozeki’s style, and now I can hardly wait to read this!

By the way, I’m actually thinking that the first bit from this novel (which is essentially a prologue) should be the intro to ALL of the “First Lines Fridays” from now on – it just seems SO appropriate, don’t you think?

9 thoughts on “TCL’s First Lines Friday #1 for January 21, 2022!

  1. I like this idea. Thank you. I find it hard to have a review ready every Friday so this is an intriguing idea. Your choice of book and quotes reminds me a bit of Anne Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird’. Great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was an great choice, Davida. Such excellent writing – I was interested from the beginning. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your post about The Book of Form and Emptiness – I’ve heard of Ruth Ozeki but don’t know her books. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. One of the first books I got as an ARC (and one of the very few print ARCs I ever got) was for her book A Tale for the Time Being, which blew me away and was my favorite book for that year. There’s a sweet innocence to her writing that just draws you in, and warms you all over. Very special.

      Liked by 1 person

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