Tuesday, 8 March 2011


There is a certain joy in starting a new book. Or even starting an old favourite again.

Today's new book, now my middle daughter has read it, is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. The first line, of the intro, is: "The secret is how to die."

Quite different to Jane Austen's: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Pride and Prejudice).

Or, from my childhood: "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?' " Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

And who could forget: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Daphne du Maurier, (Rebecca) .

And that Welsh wizard of words: "To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black." Dylan Thomas, (Under Milk Wood).

I could never contemplate a world without books - surely that would be Hell?


  1. My problem with starting a new book is that I have such a big tbr pile (plus library books) that I spend ages trying to decide what to read next!

    I like the first line from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.'

  2. Love it Cath - a great line from a book I've never heard of!

    I never know which to read next, sometimes it's a lucky dip . . .

  3. Life without books would be hell. I've set myself the challenge of rereading all the books I already own to see if I still want to keep them.

  4. "The Mole had been working very hard all morning, spring-cleaning his little home."
    Possibly the best story I ever read. Somehow nothing else has ever seemed so magical in almost 50 years since I first read it.

    It's the Wind in the Willows of course!

    A life without books? I can't even manage a DAY without them.

  5. You must read "I Capture the Castle"--I first read it years ago and then happily reconnected with a used copy while living in Wyoming. Its one of my favorite comfort reads for a shut-in day--right up there with "Rebecca", "Jamaica Inn", Elizabeth Goudge's Elliot trilogy.
    I seem to have reached an age where I read more recent works occasionally and find them wanting, lacking in richness of detail and character development.
    I've meant to tell you that on a recent cold wet Saturday afternoon I read "Lifting the Latch" in one sitting. I began it when you so kindly sent it, then it mysteriously disappeared during renovations, only to turn up neatly stashed in the cupboard near the fireplace.
    I hope my eyesight will hold up to read to the end of my life--and that's "real" books--never mind Kindle.

  6. MM - I am so glad you enjoyed it. I have another one here to send to you but it will probably have to go pigeon post as it's hardback. By our local boy, Byron Rogers, now transplanted to Northamptonshire. I can see I am going to have to look out for I Capture the Castle now!

    MorningAJ - how could I forget WITW? One of my favourite childhood books (along with the Borrowers and countless pony books . . .)

    Mac & Janet - if I set myself the same task I would never again have time to buy another book to read . . .

  7. Our local charity shop has a super collection of books and I have got into the habit of calling in on Friday mornings, taking the ones I read last week in for resale and finding one or two more to buy.
    Have you read The Hare with the Amber Eyes?

  8. I cannot bear to contemplate a life without books.
    You picked some of my all time favourites.

  9. WG - nope! I lead a sheltered life here : ) Another one to add to my list of books I need to read. We have a similar system at our locl community-run shop.

    Cait - I see we have similar tastes. Today I have been reading Edward Thomas's beautiful poetry. A lovely lovely man.

  10. BB- I read on Sunday that Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate, would choose Edward Thomas`s Collected Poems (Faber and Faber) as the perfect book to give as a gift. I thought of you. We are in good company in our devotion to ET!

    Our house is besieged by books. On bookcases and in piles To Be Read or in piles To Be Read Again One Day.

    I love your selection of "First Lines".

    I have just started Andrea Levy`s new book, A Long Song, as I loved Small Island. She writes so well.

  11. Oh I so belong with this book. I have 7 bookcases in my home and there are still books on the floor, under the bed, next to the chair and I even still visit the library. I'm not familiar with a lot of the British books, so this gives me some new titles to look for. Love the first lines. That would be a fun game. List the first lines and see who knows the book. Lynn