Today’s Friday Firstliner comes from Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again.
“Part One, Saigon
1975 Year of the Cat
Today is Tet.
the first day
of the lunar calendar.”
The entire book is written in poems! What a discovery, and what a reading treat. I will write more about this book on Saturday Mornings for Kids, and then I will pass it on to a student I have this semester who is of Vietnamese background, and whose mother’s war experiences resemble this author’s.
Friday Firstliners were originated by either Hoarding Books or Wandering Words, the two blogs I first saw it on. Several of my blogging friends participate, and when Iremember it’s Friday (Don’t the days run together during CoronaVirus time?) so do I.
My Friday Firstliner today is from a kid’s book, Pieces of Why by K.L. Going:
“Certain days ought to come with warning notices. WARNING: This day will be hazardous to your health.“
I expect to finish this book by tomorrow and review it on “Saturday Mornings for Kids.” Stay tuned and see you tomorrow!
The idea is to copy the first line of a book to see if it grabs another reader. This meme is hosted by Hoarding Books and Wandering Words. Place YOUR first line along with the title and author of the book it comes from and play along.
Here is the first line of Anna Quindlen’s Alternate Side:
” ‘Just look at that,” Charlie Nolan said, his arm extended like that of a maitre d‘ indicating a particularly good table.”
Whatever it is, it pleases Charlie and also his wife Nora. It is something they have wanted since moving in to the dead-end block, their “tranquil village amid the urban craziness,” as described by the book’s cover. This was a book set in New York that I had intended to read after seeing for myself what New Yorkers were like during my girlfriends’ weekend in The Big Apple this past March 19th-23rd. Obviously, that trip was cancelled, but I can still read about NYC as I begin this novel by one of my favorite NY Times bestselling authors.
First Line Fridays asks the reader to “tempt’ another reader to add the book they are currently reading to their TBR Lists/folders/ shelves. I have found several of my favorite reads in just this way. All you have to do is read the author’s “hook,” the first sentence or couple of sentences.
My Firstlines today are from Goodbye Mr. Spalding, a fabulous middle school novel by Jennifer Robin Barr and concerns all things baseball history/baseball.
“Jimmie Foxx is definitely dead. I can tell by the way his glassy eyes are staring at me through the fishbowl.”
Jimmie Fox, the fish, is named for Jimmy Frank’s favorite ball player. Jimmy’s life revolves around baseball. I have read half to three-fourths of the book, and at the moment the human Jimmie Foxx is hospitalized for an injury from the game. I am hoping the first line is not a foreshadowing of the man’s demise! LOL
First Line Fridays was begun by Ms. B at Daily Rhythms and has been kept alive by several bloggers who carry on the tradition of recording the first line of a book they are ready to read. Here’s mine from Rachel Caine’s Ink and Bone of The Great Library series:
“Text of a historical letter, the original signed of which is kept under glass in The Great Library of Alexandria and listed under the Core Collection.
From the scribe of Pharoah Ptolemy 77 to his most excellent servant, Callimachus, Archivist of The Great Library in the third year of his glorious reign… Pharoah has also heard your words regarding the unaccompanied admission of females to this sacred space (The Great Library) of the Serapeam, and in his divine wisdom refuses this argument, for women must be instructed by the more developed minds of men to ensure they do not wrongly interpret the riches that the library offers. For a perversion of such things is surely worse than the lack of it.”
Oh my, exclusion of women even back then! This is one of several books I am reading within the category of Books About Books. More on this at a later date.
KEEP READING, and share with us your first lines this beautiful, sunny Friday.
“He rode the awkward steam-cycle along the ridge to catch glimpses of the domes and spires of Paris to the east, then turned west and careened headlong down the long steep hill toward the village of Bougival and the Seine. With his right elbow cast in plaster, he could barely reach the handlebar, but he had to get to the river. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Now. Idleness had been itching him worse than the maddening tickle under the cast. Only painting would be absorbing enough to relieve them both. Steam hissed out of the engine, but it built up inside of him.”
This is our first glimpse of Auguste Renoir, wobbling and sliding down an embankment on a steam-cycle, presented by historical novelist, Susan Vreeland. How Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party came to be, changed the school if Impressionism, epitomized by Renoir. This hefty 434-page novel was selected by our Third Tuesday Book Club only because one of our two male members mentioned he had read all of his friend’s historical novels when he knew her years ago in California. None of us had ever heard of her. My understanding of historical novels is that they are about real people, about real events, set in real places, then the author imagines what these people think, say, and do. A good historical novel, for me, cannot include too many facts or be too researched. Looking at the painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party, even a novice art critic/appreciator can tell the difficulties presented in painting it: Many people, light issues, representing movement, and showing France, La Vie Moderne. Reading this book is not a mental action, but an experience. Vreeland shares the passion of the artist, the drive to paint and create, and the lighthearted conversation and enjoyment of the moment and the age–all captured by slashing, hurried brush strokes over several sessions. Vreeland captures the Jois de Vie of the moment and of the times.
I enjoyed this book so much that I am going to make reading all of Susan Vreeland’s books a goal to finish by New Year’s Day, 2021. I think there are seven, and all are about artists and paintings. At our club meeting last Tuesday, the assignment was to read any Susan Vreeland. I heard about three of them besides Luncheon, and immediately thought, I’ve got to read that one!
Instead of writing the first line from a book I’m about to start, I’m giving the first line of a book I finished Thursday evening. Mitch Landrieu’s In the Shadow of the Statues is an eye-opening read that gives the “inside skinny” on New Orleans, including what really happened during Hurricane Katrina and the controversy involved when the Mayor (Landrieu) gave the order to “take the [Confederate] statues down”! Here are the first lines of his book:
“Here I was, mayor of a major American city in the midst of a building boom like no other, filled with million dollar construction jobs, and I couldn’t find anyone in town who would rent me a crane. Are you kidding me?!”
Landrieu faced some strange circumstances as he tried to make New Orleans the city it should be post-Katrina instead of the city it used to be. His story of why he made those decisions is the story of a man with ethics, integrity, and perseverance.