Over the past few weeks, my cousin has been updating his Facebook Page with the opening lines from the 25 greatest novels he found in a list online. Here is that list and my thoughts on the books he presented.
25: “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.” – Great Expectations
Brad’s Thought: I doubt this book could live up to my expectations being as great as they are so I haven’t read it.
24: Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. – Gone With the Wind
Brad’s Thought: I don’t like reading a book after I have watched the movie…I guess I should soon rent the movie now so as to have an excuse to not read the book.
23: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…– A Tale of Two Cities
Brad’s Thought: It was a time of ambevilance <– spell check would help here)
22: Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.- Harry Potter
Brad’s Thought: To be honest, I only read this book because so many people told me I shouldn’t, six books later I am very thankful for my rebellious streak.
21: The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. – East of Eden
Brad’s Thought: If you keep going East of Eden don’t you eventually end up West of Eden? With confusing geography like this I have skipped reading it.
20: Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. – Ulysses
Brad’s Thought: I want to read it if I can ever find it and have nothing to do for a year or two.
19: The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon. – Lord of the Flies
Brad’s Thought: I had to read it…my english teacher, Mr Kinden said so, and it would be on the Exam.
18: The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world. – The Grapes of Wrath
Brad’s Thought: The Salinas Valley again? East or West of Eden? And I don’t think the grapes where really all that angry. (And how can I read a book that compares fog to warm cozy underware–my flannel long john’s may be gassy at times but never foggy)
17: ‘Mercy on us, what a violent attack!’ – War and Peace
Brad’s Thought: I’ve actually read this one…well the first 50 pages…I stopped and said I would finish it after my exams…That was 1985. (Technically 2011 will still be after my exams)
16: I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. – Wuthering Heights
Brad’s Thought: Sounds like something that they might turn into a musical called Rent.
15: On the 24th of February, 1815, the lookout of Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon, from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. – The Count of Monte Cristo
Brad’s Thought: Dictionary please? …and an atlas.
14: A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. – Brave New World
Brad’s Thought: If a 34 story building is squat…how many stories is a lanky building? I read this one in high school when I found out it was band from our High School English, All I remember about it was that in the copy I read, someone from the school board had underlined and made notes in the margins about all the parts they considered unsuitable for students, then they donated the book to the school library.
13: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Anna Karenina
Brad’s Thought: The last book I read named after a girl was… ummm… well… awww…oh yes! Maximum Ride (Yes, Max was a girl… with wings)
12: There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. – Jane Eyre
Brad’s Thought: There was no possibility of me ever reading this book.
11: Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of a landowner from our district, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, well known in his own day (and still remembered among us) because of this dark and tragic death, which happened exactly thirteen years ago and which I shall speak of in its proper place. – The Brothers Karamazov
Brad’s Thought: This is another book on my “to read” list since I once met a genius who was reading it…its been on the list for the last 23 years…i’ll get around to it eventually.
10: Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes. – Animal Farm
Brad’s Thought: I was once locked in a henhouse at night by a three-year old brother. I never thought of escaping through a pophole…mainly because I had no idea what a pophole is, nor do I still.
9: Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. – Lolita
Brad’s Thought: This book is brought to you by the alliterative letter L.
8:It was love at first sight. – Catch-22
Brad’s Thought: If I read this, then I can no longer say that I have never read it, meanwhile, as long as I never read it then I can never claim it as read. Oh what a catch 22.
7: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. – The Great Gatsby
Brad’s Thought: Great Caesar’s Ghost!
6: At the beginning of July, during an extremely hot spell, towards evening, a young man left the closet he rented from tenants in S. Lane, walked out to the street, and slowly, as if indecisively, headed for the K. Bridge. – Crime and Punishment
Brad’s Thought: Not what I want to read, the story of a guy coming out of the closet.
5: If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. – The Catcher in the Rye
Brad’s Thought: I was going to read this book but decided to wait a few more years till I no longer fit the profile of a serial killer.
4: 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
I am actually going to read this, at least the new updated version, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Yes it is an actual book)
3:When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. – The Lord of the Rings
Brad’s Thought: Number 3 on the list is made up of 3 books. Coincidence? I picked it up while in bible college and was rebuked immediately by one student who proceeded to point out all the demonic elvish runes. I never got a chance to tell him how I enjoyed the book because he left school a few days later due to a situation arriving. I don’t know what it is…when someone tells me I can’t read a book it makes me more eager to read it… and I read this one twice.
2:When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. – To Kill a Mockingbird
Brad’s Thought: One of the few books in High School English I enjoyed, even if it meant my classmates calling me Boo Radley instead of Bradley for a time.
1: It was a cold, bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. – 1984
Brad’s Thought : I don’t have to read 1984, I lived it. (Brad in April, 1984)