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Best first lines in literature-- let's take a break from politics for a bit of culture.

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posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Dan00

More Lovecraft might just be the cure!




posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:38 PM
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a reply to: Justso

It's the end that gets me on that one:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:39 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

I thought of that, too. The ending destroyed me. Still does. Ultimate sacrifice.



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:40 PM
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originally posted by: Encryptor
“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice



Yep, great opening line! Ah to have seen it live at the Globe..



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: zosimov



More Lovecraft might just be the cure!





It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.

The Cats of Ulthar By H. P. Lovecraft





posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 11:58 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Your favourite is mine, too. Here’s why: in just three words, Melville establishes the following:
  • That what we are about to read is a personal narrative.

  • That the narrator sees himself as a wanderer and an outcast.

  • That Ishmael is not, in fact, his name.

  • That the narrator is a reader of the Old Testament.

  • That his concept of divinity is harsh and terrible.

Here are a few of my other favourites. All one sentence; anything more than that is cheating. Just to give other thread participants something to do, I’m leaving out the titles of the works and the authors’ names.

‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

‘Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.’

‘The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.’

‘It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.’



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:00 AM
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a reply to: Dan00

You’re doing well here. I particularly liked the Gibson.

Remember this one?

‘It was hot, the night we burned Chrome.’



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Yes, I sure do.

I read as much Gibson as I could. Purchased for myself, lent from friends, and sent from "Home". If I may: much (almost all) of his his stuff was read by me while lying in hammocks "standing by for a stand by"; I was in the service.

His stuff was such a welcomed distraction and it takes me back to remember how blown away I was by Count Zero and Neuromancer.

How's it going tonite?




posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:30 AM
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a reply to: Dan00


How's it going tonite?

It’s Saturday morning where I am. Just going down to breakfast.

Catch you later.



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:34 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Yay, Breakfast!!!

Best meal of the day!

Bon Apetit!

Now I need eggs.




posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:41 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Very interesting observation on the narrator's perception of God! It becomes abundantly clear that Moby Dick reads as an indictment against God, but to see that in his first line is perceptive indeed. One son (the legitimate) is the recipient of God's covenant while Ishmael is outcast, banished. Thanks for the insight.

Yes our narrator twice orphaned, once at birth and later the sole survivor of his comrades.

As for your picks (and thanks for correcting my error-- more than one is cheating, you're right!)

1 yep, got it

2. yes, read it


3. Too easy with the title in the line!


After that.. you got me. Great choices, thanks!

Edit: didn't want to ruin the game for all..
edit on 15-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:57 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

Thank you for the escapism


'The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of her sails, and was at rest.'

The opening line from Conrad's Heart of Darkness. There are passages in the story that have influenced, and expressed, my outlook on life and history. Despite being mischaracterised as a 'thoroughgoing racist,' I think he saw beyond the superficialities and hubris of race. He saw how vanity was merely a spark across time and how the 'greatest' civilisations follow a spark's trajectory.

'I HAD BEEN making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped.'

The opener from Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory. This is one of the relatively few books I've read where I found myself in awe of the author's brilliance. Several more of his books (including Iain M Banks) similarly made me pause and try to imagine the kind of mind Banks must have had to conjure so many novel ideas. Like Conrad, he seemed to have an awareness of civilisation and culture that he measured in centuries and millennia.

'The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers.'

The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler. This is one of those books that can be re-read and still be engrossing. I enjoy the passages where Chandler casts his jaded eye on society and the weaknesses of urban humanity. In some ways, I see similarities between him and George Orwell. Not an obvious comparison, no, but they both identified the double standards of society and power relations. Chandler probably had more optimism and yet both were tinged with misanthropy. Whereas most readers will recall the plots and characters, it's the sub-textual journalism of 1940s city life that puts Chandler novels on a higher level for me.



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 12:59 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I'm dead.

Who's running a cleric?




posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:02 AM
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Just noticed the (Freudian?) slip/misspelling in my op, oops!


Ha ha thanks K for the edit


(And right after Moby Dick no less!)
edit on 15-10-2016 by zosimov because: cheers!



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:10 AM
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I like Astyanax's game. Here are a couple of good ones:

Around quitting time, Tod Hackett heard a great din on the road outside his office.

and

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

Nice to have you Kandinsky! Thanks for the contribution and recommendation (Iain Banks).
edit on 15-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:13 AM
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a reply to: Dan00

I remember reading Gibson quite late in the day. It was likely around 1998-9 by the time I read him. It was during a time when I was at Uni and reading multiple books a week. Some people read books and I was reading genres lol.


Philip K Dick and Vonnegut probably bookended the Gibson ones.



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:18 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I would also become fixated on genres. It's true. I was captivated by the idea, and wound up reading vats of Doc Savage "novels".

Here's an unexpected one:




"In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting--with various combinations of dread, hope, and ennui--for something momentous to occur."

-Tim Robbins Still Life with Woodpecker 1980



edit on 15-10-2016 by Dan00 because:




posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:22 AM
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a reply to: Dan00

Now it's my turn to slink off to bed.. great posts everyone! Dan, you're right, unexpected but great!

More to follow, I hope!



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 01:33 AM
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a reply to: Dan00

I like the line and the wiki so I've ordered it off Amazon


Coincidentally, thanks to this thread, I've finally identified a book that's been 'on the tip of my tongue' for several years. I thought it was either Paul Auster or Don DeLillo and couldn't seem to nail it. One more look reveals it was Mao II by DeLillo. I read it around 2000 and it seemed topical with all the terrorism and the way ISIS seem to have read Baudrillard lol.

"Post-modern Hyperrealism and the Art of Terrorism for Dummies."

^^^ Is that a book?



posted on Oct, 15 2016 @ 02:10 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

And I just ordered Mao II

We have to stop meeting like this.




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