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First Paragraph Book Recommendations

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"Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey" by Isabel Fonseca [Feb. 9th, 2007|11:21 am]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

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"Her real name was Bronislawa Wajs, but she is known by her Gypsy name, Papusza: 'Doll.' Papusza was one of the greatest Gypsy singers and poets ever and, for a while, one of the most celebrated. She lived all her life in Poland, and when she died in 1987 nobody noticed.

Like most Polish Gypsies, Papusza's family was nomadic-part of a great kumpania, or band of families, traveling with horses and in caravans, with the men at the front and the women and children following behind in open carts. Some of the richer families had elaborately carved hard-top caravans with narrow glass windows, sometimes diamond-shaped and set in painted wood frames. There might be as many as twenty caravans in the kumpania. Men, women, children, horses, carts, dogs: until the mid 1960s they moved along, down from Vilnius, through the eastern forests of Volhynia (where thousands of Polish Gypsies waited out the war), crossing into the Tatra mountains in the south. On the road, the silhouette of the Polska Roma would sometimes include the shape of bears, their living, dancing livelihood. But Papusza's people were harpists, and from the northern Lithuanian towns to the eastern Tatras they hauled the great stringed instruments, upright over the wagons like sails."
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Cell, by Stephen King [Jan. 5th, 2007|02:07 am]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

[Current Location |my dorm room]
[mood |excitedexcited]
[music |my own typing, and the occasional word from my roommate]

This appears to be a zombie novel, but I haven't read it yet. Here is the first paragraph--a short one, but whatever.

The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1. The term was a misnomer, of course, but within ten hours of the event, most of the scientists capable of pointing this out were either dead or insane. The name hardly mattered, in any case. What mattered was the effect.
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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace [Oct. 27th, 2006|12:11 am]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations


Chapter One: Year of Glad

I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies. My posture is conciously congruent to the shape of my hard chair. This is a cold room in University Administration, wood-walled, Remington-hung, double-windowed against the November heat, insulated from Administrative sounds by the reception area outside, at which Uncle Charles, Mr. deLint and I were lately recieved. I am in here. Three faces have resolved into place above summer-weight sportcoats and half-Windsors across a polished pine conference table shiny with the spidered light of an Arizona noon. These are three Deans-- of Admissions, Academic Affairs, Athletic Affairs. I do not know which face belongs to whom.

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Brimstone, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child [Sep. 25th, 2006|11:55 pm]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

Here's the first paragraph:

Agnes Torres parked her white Ford Escort in the little parking area outside the hedge and stepped into the cool daw air. The hedges were twelve feet high and as impenetrable as a brick wall; only the shingled peak of the big house could be seen from the street. But she could hear the surf thundering and smell the salt air of the invisible ocean beyond.

And since that doesn't reveal much, here's what's on the back of the book:

A body is found in the attic of a fabulous Long Island estate.

There is a hoofprint scorched into the floor, and the stench of sulfur chokes the air.

When FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that thirty years ago four men conjured something unspeakable.

Has the devil come to claim his due?

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(no subject) [Sep. 25th, 2006|02:29 pm]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

Title: Einstein's Dreams
Author: Alan Lightman

First Paragraph of the Prologue:

In some distant arcade, a clock tower calls out six times and then stops. The young man slumps at his desk. He has come to the office at dawn, after another upheaval. His hair is uncombed and his trousers are too big. In his hand he holds twenty crumpled pages, his new theory of time, which he will mail today to the German journal of physics.

First Paragraph of the First Real Chapter:

Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly. For the most part, people do not know they will live their lives over. Traders do not know that they will make the same bargain again and again. Politicians do not know that they will shout from the same lectern an infinite number of times in the cycles of time. Parents treasure the first laugh from their child as if they will not hear it again. Lovers makeing love the first time undress shyly, show surprise at the supple thigh, the fragile nipple. How would they know that each secret glimpse, each touch, will be repeated again and again and again, exactly as before?
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The Twelfth Card, by Jeffery Deaver. [Sep. 24th, 2006|08:53 pm]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

(this is actually the first few paragraphs, because the first one isn't long at all).

His face wet with sweat and with tears, the man runs for freedom, he runs for his life.

"There! There he goes!"

The former slave does not know exactly where the voice comes from. Behind him? To the right or left? From atop one of the decrepit tenements lining the filthy cobblestoned streets here?

Amid July air hot and thick as liquid paraffin, the lean man leaps over a pile of horse dung. The street sweepers don't come here, to this part of the city. Charles Singleton pauses beside a pallet stacked high with barrels, trying to catch his breath.

A crack of a pistol. The bullet goes wide. The sharp report of the gun takes him back instantly to the war: the impossible, mad hours as he stodd his ground in a dusty blue uniform, steadying a heavy musket, facing men wearing dusty gray, aiming their own weapons his way.
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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius [Aug. 20th, 2006|08:37 pm]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Through the small bathroom window the December yard is gray and scratchy, the trees calligraphic. Exhaust from the dryer billows out of the house and up, breaking apart while tumbling into the white sky.

Okay, so the first paragraph's not that long. It is actually follows a preface that is about 45 pages long and should not be skipped, as it is extremely humorous and well worth your time. It actually begins on the bottom of the copyright page:

Height: 5'11"; Weight 175; Eyes: blue; Hair: brown; Hands: chubbier than one would expect; Allergies: only to dander; Place on the sexual orientation scale, with 1 being perfectly straight and 10 being perfectly gay: 3.
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Dorian: An Imitation [Jul. 13th, 2006|03:03 am]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

Title: Dorian An Imitation
Author: Will Self

     Once you were inside the Chelsea home of Henry and Victoria Wotton it was impossible to tell whether it was day or night-time.  Not only was there this crucial ambiguity, but the seasons and even the years became indeterminate.  Was it this century or that one?  Was she wearing this skirt or that suit?  Did he take that drug or this drink?  Was his preference for that cunt or this arsehole?
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women of algiers in their apartment [Jul. 1st, 2006|11:42 am]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

Author: Assia Djebar
Title: Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

First paragraph:
A young woman's head, blindfolded, neck thrown backward, hair pulled back - the fog in the narrow room prevents one from seeing its color - either light chestnut, auburn rather, might it be Sarah? no, not black... The skin seems transparent, a drop of sweat on the temple... The drop is going to fall. That noseline, the lower lip with its bright pink edge: I do know it, I recognize it! And the profile pitches sharply; to the right, to the left. A light rocking without the lullaby voice of the wet nurse who would keep us warm together in the tall and somber bed of childhood. It pitches down to the right, to the left, without the weeping of gentle sorrow, the droplet of sweat has become a tear, a second tear. Smoke rising in spirals. The left half of the blindfolded face (white bandage, not black, she is not condemned, she must have put it on herself, she's going to rip it off, she's going to burst out laughing, explode with life in front of me, she...), the left half streaming wet all over in the silence, rather in the severed sound, the gasps stuck in her throat like a fishbone; the other part of the face, profile of stone, distant statue that's going to float backward, always backward. Sound severed... Sarah... Call her, quavering in the call to prevent the sacrifice, what sacrifice...

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(no subject) [Jun. 29th, 2006|07:44 pm]
First Paragraph Book Recommendations

Has anybody read this book? I just read the first chapter, and it kind of reminds me of A Clockwork Orange; in the same way where there's a mad bad character who makes me feel like a dweeby nerd.

Title: What We Do is Secret
Author: Thorn Kief Hillsbery

This is supposed to be about Darby Crash, but I don't think it's going to be. All my so-called life it seems it's this boy here and that girl there and once they see my Germs burn and hear it's real they know what they want as in word on the old-school LA punk scene and they know how to get it as in Tell it, Rockets, but now that I'm at their service sitting down to let my fingers do the talking the first clue card on the table says the only secrets I'm spilling are mine all mine alone, which sounds like here comes trouble if missing in traction from slippage in the spillage are the bleed-all-about-it excess-clusives that all those jacks and all those jills are pitching pretty pennies to read.
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