I have always enjoyed reading Carole’s Ten on Tuesday posts, and thanks to NaBloPoMo I am now a happy participant!

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This week’s topic was to “Write 10 Sentences That You Think Would Make Great Opening Lines for a Novel.”

Okay. Wow, that is more than a little bit hard for this lackadaisical blogger!

While I do not consider myself a writer, I am very much a reader and as such it just felt right to share with you ten opening lines from novels that were influential in my reading life.

For me it all started with Laura Ingalls Wilder – her books truly fostered my love of reading. I was a voracious reader as a child and while I can remember few books that I read – her books are, for me, truly unforgettable and as such, she gets first place on my “Top Ten List”

  • Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. – Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Little House in the Big Woods

From there the next things that dramatically influenced me were things I read in high school, especially the following two novels that introduced me to two very great American writers – writers who grip you from the very first sentence and pull you into their world.

  • The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. – Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  • He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Now enter my post education years, where I graduated from silly romance novels with little or no substance to books that have some real meat for a reader. Note that the romance novels have not vanished completely, but rather have been refined, IMO. Also of note, I happen to think that Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is one of the best books I have ever read – one of the few that when translated into a series of movies actually worked well. It is at this time that I also discovered the joy that is J.R.R. Tolkien – which also has been made into a series of movies, not as great as the books, but good nonetheless.

  • It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. – Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
  • Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her. – Mario Puzo, The Godfather
  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Finally, I will end with some recent very good reads – all of which I strongly recommend you read ASAP if you have not already.

  • My house stands at the edge of the earth. – Ami McKay, The Birth House
  • It happened every year, was almost a ritual. – Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • Since Maria had decided to die, her cat would have to fend for itself. – Tom Robb Smith, Child 44
  • She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands. – Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Keeper of Lost Causes

Reading has always been something that was important to me and while I am no longer the voracious reader I was when I was ten, I still enjoy the diversion that losing yourself in a good book affords, and in this age of being “plugged in” at all moments, the simplicity that reading offers is a wonderful way to “unplug”.

So, what is on your reading list?

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