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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

Welcome to my own personal exploration of life through reading the great books of the world.

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Location: Spokane, Washington, United States

"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

First Line Friday

Okay, so it's Saturday, but I meant to do this yesterday, so I'm going to pretend it's still Friday. And anyway, it's 5:30 in the morning and dark outside, so it's still Friday to me.

If I can make myself remember to do this, every Friday I'll post some of my favorite book openings. Today I'll give you two--one opening line, and one opening paragraph.

From The Princess Bride by William Goldman:
"The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette."
I just finished reading The Princess Bride to my eighth graders, and if your only exposure to the story is through the Rob Reiner movie, you really owe it to yourself to read the book.

From The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs:
Several centuries (or so) ago, in a country whose name doesn't matter, there was a tall, skinny, straggly-bearded old wizard named Prospero, and not the one you are thinking of, either. He lived in a huge, ridiculous, doodad-covered, trash-filled two-story horror of a house that stumbled, staggered, and dribbled right up to the edge of a great shadowy forest of elms and oaks and maples. It was a house whose gutter spouts were worked into the shape of whistling sphinxes and screaming bearded faces; a house whose white wooden porch was decorated with carved bears, monkeys, toads and fat women in togas holding sheaves of grain; a house whose steep gray-slate roof was capped with a glass-enclosed, twisty-copper-columned observatory. On the artichoke dome of the observatory was a weather vane shaped like a dancing hippopotamus; as the wind changed, it blew through the nostrils of the hippo's hollow head, making a whiny snarfling sound that fortunately could not be heard unless you were up on the roof fixing slates.
John Bellairs is mostly known as a writer of children's books, but this book is more for grown-up children. It's short but powerful, and both Ursula LeGuin and Lin Carter raved about it when it was first published. Try it out.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:25 AM

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