Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Magic

Rocket Kapre asked for the first (few) line(s) or sentence of my favorite speculative fiction. For the novels in the list, I have taken the beginning line(s) from the first chapter and not the prologue. I would have wanted to include more short stories from anthologies I own but the books are still in boxes in a room where we've not gone back to fix after surviving Ondoy. So, for this exercise, I've culled some from current reads and rereads.

If you read closely, these first lines are all pregnant with possibilities or contain an action waiting to happen. Alfar's beginning for The Kite of Stars presents to us, a history that spans six decades of loving and longing. Some, like Zusak's The Book Theif, Dahl's The Witches, Rowling's Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban and Gaiman's Stardust start with wonder and intrigue. Enough to keep the reader to move further on in the story or novel. Others like Collins' Hunger Games, Hughes' Iron Giant and Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife prepare the reader to the mood and tone of the story.

Beginnings are beautiful things. I go back to these beginnings after reading the last line and then establish connections; create hypothesis; and yes, imagine. Such capabilities that make us truly human. We get that from READING!

And oh! Does it help to say that today is Literacy Day? What a way to celebrate it by blogging about books and the writers who've made them possible. Hurray to the publishers who put them together; the book designers and illustrators who enriched the cultural and artistic value of the book; to the booksellers and the librarians who provide accessibility; and to the reader who will always discover an intimate, if not engaging and enraging, relationship with the author.

Happy Literacy Day, everyone!

The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du'l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she'd first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.
Kite of Stars
Dean Francis Alfar

First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Clare: The Library is cool and smells like carpet cleaner, although all I can see is marble.
The Time Traveller's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

When I wake up, the other side of the bed was cold.
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.
Roald Dahl

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
The Fellowship of the Ring
JRR Tolkien

The Iron Giant came to the top of the cliff.
The Iron Giant
Ted Hughes

There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.
Neil Gaiman

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
JK Rowling

You must understand that all of this occurred some thirteen years ago, when I was young still and the Empire had but newly begun its campaign to rid the realm of the Wildness.
Nikki Alfar
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