Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Answers to the Ten First Lines…

For those who want to know what the books were…

  • It was starting to end, after what seemed like most of an eternity to me.

    Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber. The first and best of the Amber series — read the first five, ignore the next five. Trust me on that.

  • A great city is nothing more than a portrait of itself, and yet when all is said and done, its arsenals of scenes and images are part of a deeply moving plan.

    Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale If I have a favourite book, this is it. Wonderful, rich storytelling, beautiful word-paintings, and an absolutely delightful set of characters. I buy used copies of this book whenever I find them, and give them away to people.

  • “Are we all now present?” the Master enquired, squinting over the top of his gold-rimmed spectacles.

    Jody Lynn Nye, Mythology 101 Undergraduate Kevin Doyle finds elves living in the library. Whimsical and fun. There are at least 3 sequels.

  • By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal.

    Emma Bull, War for the Oaks A masterpiece.

  • She had been running for four days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels.

    Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere My first exposure to this story was seeing some rough cut reels of the TV series that the novel is adapated from (also by Gaiman). I’ve still never seen the whole finished series, though I’m told it will be out on DVD this summer.

  • Years ago, when you were a kid and I was a kid, something changed in America.

    Robert X. Cringely, Accidental Empires Ok, cheating slightly, as this is non-fiction, but it’s as engrossing as any novel, and sheds a lot of light on why the computer industry is what it is today.

  • “You can always find somebody stranger than you are in Athens,” Jay Madison’s girlfriend had told him.

    Tom Deitz, The Gryphon King I read this novel shortly after moving to Athens, GA, where it is set. Still my favourite of Deitz’s novels.

  • First came the routine request for a Breach of Privacy permit. A police officer took down the details and forwarded the request to a clerk, who saw that the tape reached the appropriate civic judge.

    Larry Niven, The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton I’m not sure if this was the first Niven I read, but it’s long been one of my favourites. Niven talked in an essay about the difficulty of doing honest sf-mystery, but he pulls it off with flair in these stories.

  • When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

    Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird I don’t think I could find words to adequately sum up this book. It’s easily one of the most powerful books I’ve read, and affected me as a teenager more than anything else I was assigned to read. If you’ve never read it, run, don’t walk to the library.

  • The year Janet started at Blackstock College, the Office of Residential Life had spent the summer removing from all the dormitories the old wooden bookcases that, once filled with books, fell over unless wedged.

    Pamela Dean, Tam Lin I have a thing for fantasies set in the real world, it seems. (I could have also included Brad Strickland’s Moon Dreams on this list, but my copy has gone missing). Dean’s novel is stunning on many levels, and each time I read it, I find something else new in it.

    So that’s the ten. Go find the ones you’ve never read and read them. I recommend them all.

  • Previous



    Hey, where’d the weekend go?


    1. You know, reading this, I dunno why I have no Gaiman on my list, especially after how much I adored both _Neverwhere_ and _American Gods_.

    2. _A Winter’s Tale_ would have gone on my list had I been able to locate my copy when I was posting. I grew up in New York City and spent a good deal of my adolescence visiting the rural Hudson River Valley; the book captures the interdependence between the two in a way I never thought possible.

      New York was still like that when I was a teenager. I want it back again.

    3. “You can always find somebody stranger than you are in Athens,” Jay Madison’s girlfriend had told him.

      Tom Deitz, The Gryphon King I read this novel shortly after moving to Athens, GA, where it is set. Still my favourite of Deitz’s novels.

      I recognized this one 🙂

      So how soon after this was published did you read this? (in other words, when did you move to Athens?)

      I ask, as I read this book shortly after it first came out (while living in Athens). I was there from the fall of 1987 to the springof 1991 🙂


      • It was Tom’s newest book at the time (he was a friend of my then-girlfriend), and I think it was new. I spent the summer of 1989 in Athens, and then moved their permenantly in March of 1990. I left Athens in the summer of 1998, and it’s still probably my favourite town that I’ve lived in.


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