The folks at Lit Reactor have come up with their top ten best opening lines of novels over on their website. Some are expected, such as Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Stephen King’s The Gunslinger (the first line of which appears on many a T-shirt), but others came as a bit of a surprise. Tolkein’s The Hobbit came in at 5 with “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” and Ray Bradbury’s famous Sci-fi story Farenheit 451, which incidentally is required reading in any Library related university course, was the runner up!
Dickens failed to make the cut with “It was the best of times it was the worst of times” and surely Doug Adams’ “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun” should have had a mention?
However, JK Rowling’s 7 book epic starting with: “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” is probably rightfully left off.
What do you think should have made the cut? Are there any you think should be forgotten?
“Once a month a lumbering green van pulled up in front of our tiny school. Written on the side in large gold letters was State of Maine Bookmobile. The driver-librarian was a hefty lady who liked kids almost as much as she liked books, and she was always willing to make a suggestion. One day, after I’d spent 20 minutes pulling books from the shelves in the section marked Young Readers and then replacing them again, she asked me what sort of book I was looking for.
“I thought about it, then asked a question–perhaps by accident, perhaps as a result of divine intervention–that unlocked the rest of my life. ‘Do you have any stories about how kids really are?’ She thought about it, then went to the section of the Bookmobile marked Adult Fiction, and pulled out a slim hardcover volume. ‘Try this, Stevie,’ she said. ‘And if anyone asks, tell them you found it yourself. Otherwise, I might get into trouble.’ ”
–Stephen King, reflecting upon his discovery of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in the Telegraph’s edited version of King’s introduction to an upcoming centenary edition of the novel.
Found at Shelf Awareness, a great e-newsletter about books and the book industry.
We haven’t hosted a Big Book Club author for some time, so next week we will be visited by new author Stephen M Irwin! Irwin recently published The Dead Path, a contemporary thriller/ horror, that has been likened to Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. The protagonist returns to his childhood stomping ground to discover events have occurred that are reminiscent of terrible events from his past and he faces a ‘cunning ancient foe.’ Irwin is also an established television writer and film maker, and will chat about his life, work and writing at this event. Morning tea will be provided and Angus and Robertson will have a table there so you can buy a copy of the book and get Stephen to sign it. Check the website for more details.
Did you know that although Stephen King is renowned for his horror stories, only around 50% of his books are actually horror? Classic horrors such as Carrie, ‘Salem’s lot, and The Shining come first to mind when one thinks of Stephen King, but did you know he also wrote the books that became the films; The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Stand by Me?
Stephen King was born in Portland Maine, and although moved around the US a fair bit in his early career, returned to Maine in 1975 where he and his family still live today. His home state sets the location in a large proportion of his stories, many of the towns and folk in his books are based on those he has known in his life. His post-apocalyptic-fantasy-western- sci-fi series The Dark Tower (a nightmare to decide which genre it should be shelved under…) even stars the author himself as one of the characters.
Stephen King has written over seventy novels, short stories, and novellas, and nine non-fiction titles.
Salman Rushdie once claimed that Adelaide would be the perfect setting for a Stephen King story…