Sunday, May 3, 2009

Opening Lines

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I was supposed to write a review of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but I can’t for the life of me come up with an unbiased evaluation of anything related to marriage, the central concern of the novel. My own pride and prejudice hinder me from doing so.

Being the bookworm that I am, and still in line with the book review theme, I just decided to make a list of the books that I’ve read from January to April of this year, along with their opening lines:

Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels (John Updike)
“Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.”

The Trial (Franz Kafka)
“Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.”

Play it as it Lays (Joan Didion)
“What makes Iago Evil? some people ask.”

The Widows of Eastwick (John Updike)
“Those of us acquainted with their sordid and scandalous story were not surprised to hear, by way of rumors from the various localities where the sorceresses had settled after fleeing our pleasant town of Eastwick, Rhode Island, that the husbands whom the three Godforsaken women had by their dark arts concocted for themselves did not prove durable.”

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

We Were the Mulvaneys (Joyce Carol Oates)
“We were the Mulvaneys, remember us?

Bangkok 8(John Burdett)
“The African American marine in the gray Mercedes will soon die of bites from Naja siamensis, but we don’t know that yet, Pichai and I (the future is impenetrable, says the Buddha).

Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner)
“Now I believe they will leave me alone.”

Walden; or Life in the Woods (Henry David Thoreau)
“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months.”

The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
“My mother’s name was Mercy Stone Goodwill.”

Indignation (Philip Roth)
“About two and a half months after the well-trained divisions of North Korea, armed by the Soviets and Chinese communists, cross the 38th parallel into South Korea on June 25, 1950, and the agonies of the Korean War began, I entered Robert Treat, a small college in downtown Newark named for the city’s seventeenth century founder.”

The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins)
“The boy lay prone in the grass, his chin resting on his hands.”

Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories (John Updike)
“When they moved to Firetown, things were upset, displaced, rearranged.”

Operation Shylock: A Confession (Philip Roth)
“I learned about the other Philip Roth in January 1988, a few days after the New Year, when my cousin Apter telephoned me in New York to say that Israeli radio had reported that I was in Jerusalem attending the trial of John Demanjanjuk, the alleged to be the Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.”

The Jungle (Upton Sinclair)
“It was four o’clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.”

Seize the Day (Saul Bellow)
“When it came to concealing his troubles, Tommy Wilhelm was not less capable than the next fellow.”

The Known World (Edward P. Jones)
“The evening his master died he worked again well after he ended the day for the other adults, his own wife among them, and sent them back with hunger and tiredness to their cabins.”

The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
“It was Wang Lung’s marriage day.”


witsandnuts said...

I liked this post. Gave me an idea of what to read in the future. I am also smiling at the thought of judging the books not by their covers, but by opening lines. I remember I bought a few books based on titles and covers. =)

ekstranghero said...

18 books ba yun? angeli, you read 4.5 books a month! (and that's actually twice my average in a year!) do you even sleep? hehehe. kidding. current book i am reading is soul of the fire (5th of a terry goodkind series; thanks to mordsith). i started reading that book early this year. and with that rate, i can say you finish a book for every paragraph that i read. ouch.

Anonymous said...

You read some serious stuff. I read lighter and anyway; there is no way anyone who's been there can be truly dispassionate about marriage!

Angeli said...

Wits, sabi nga ni Melanie Marquez, "Don't judge my brother. He is not a book." hahahah

Ekstranghero, 18 nga siya. I just don't go out that much kaya may oras akong magbasa. :) What is the Terry Goodkind series all about? (i must admit my ignorance.)

Unstranger, another reason why I can't say anything credible about marriage - I've never been in one. and the ones I've seen didn't turn out very well.

Anonymous said...

I Sold My Soul to eBay
by Hemant Mehta

"There once was a town that was the envy of all who lived outside."

Angeli said...

what town is that?

Anonymous said...

Marriage Angeli, is for me merely a legal term but as a word it does suffice to describe the situation and the position.

I am now divorced. Made four children and found out so much about the power and presence of love that I would seek to change little if I had to do it all again.

Marriage in the time-frame of 'Pride and Prejudice' was as a rule an 'arranged' situation, it still allowed for love to find a way in.

Angeli said...

Hi Unstranger. Here's my reply.

ekstranghero said...


terry goodkind is teh author of the sword of truth series. when friends ask me to explain what the series is all about, i always say: "it is a mixture, hybrid of LOTR, HP, and R&J." the story is about Richard and his undying love for Kahlan (parang Romeo&Juliet). The setting is like that of LOTR's -- ancient world of magic and wizardry, and pinapasaya siya ng kwento ng mga wizards, sorceress, mga spells, you know, harry potter stuff. :-)

yun pala ang setting. but the story revolves on general rules of wizards that, well, wizards should live by. parang ganun. :-)

Angeli said...

hmmm.. puwede pala syang maging movie. :)

Amelia said...

that's a lot of books just for Jan-April. you have so much time in your hands ;)

thanks for sharing at least I have an idea of those books :)

Angeli said...

hahah.. you are right, amelia. ganyan ang buhay ng nag-iisa at walang magawa. :)

jacqueline said...

huh! 18 in four months? that's a lot. :)

ako, i can't even remember when was the last time i have read a book, but i believe it was Paulo Coelho's By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. don't ask me about the plot, i can't remember either... :)

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