Some Tension for This First Line Friday

Some books open with beautiful and flowery language that gently coaxes me into a story. Other books grab me and don’t let go. Hide and Seeker falls into the latter category. I read it for the first time in late 2020 and, all these months later, I’m still thinking about it. Author Daka Hermon offered up some amazing writing, great characters, and some deliciously creepy tension. I was hooked from these very first lines.

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A Short First Line Friday

I love short stories. When I was in college, I fell in love with the form, and ultimately spent hours in the library tracking down anthologies and collections. These literary blips opened up my world, shining light on areas I knew nothing about and casting shadows over ideas I assumed I had figured out. They somehow managed this with only a fraction of the words used by their novel counterparts. Even today, this format still impacts me and, when I stumble across a great short story, I practically get goosebumps. So for this First Line Friday, here’s one of my favorite short beginnings.

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A Dreadful First Line Friday

Perhaps because my trajectory in life involved growing up in a rural area and later moving to a city, one of my favorite genres of books involves the opposite. I love reading about individuals and couples who move to the countryside and take control of a large property. There are a shocking amount of these, many long out of print, and I get endless enjoyment reading about these people getting accustomed to a wild amount of upkeep in old homes. Every individual has their own reasons for taking on these tasks—often that they’re not even qualified in the traditionally sense for—but they usually have one major factor in common: while it seemed like a good idea before signing the housing contract, it’s quite a different story when you actually catch the first glimpse of the house itself. Nothing in this subset of books exemplifies this dread better than the opening to Cobwebs and Cream Teas.

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Curtain up on This First Line Friday

This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but in these past few weeks I’ve started assessing some of the smaller, more trivial aspects of my life that were altered. For instance, in my adult life, this is the longer period of time I’ve gone without seeing a show in a theatre. Plays, musicals, whatever—there are few things I enjoy more than getting out and seeing a live performance. While there were plenty of companies offering digital alternatives that I took advantage of, I was also aided by the vast number of scripts publishers have made available. So for this First Line Friday, I’m sharing the beginning stage directions from one of my favorite shows as a reminder that the curtain will rise once again—and fairly soon at that, with Broadway performances scheduled to start later this year.

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A Crafty First Line Friday

Like so many people this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time finding new things I can do from home. From tracking down copies of books I’ve always wanted to read to watching as many musicals as possible, I’ve tried to enjoy the time I can. One of my biggest projects has been crafting—knitting, crocheting, felt-making. If I had a large enough space, I’d probably be quilting right now, too. Funnily enough, I’ve noticed this new interest has slowly seeped into my reading. So for this week’s First Line Friday, I’m sharing an opening from one of my recent reads that happens to use a crafting backdrop.

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An Unexpected First Line Friday

A strange thing happened the other day. I sat down, thinking I’d look through a few of my books for my next read. However, the first one I picked up had such a great opening line, I couldn’t put it down—I ended up reading it in one sitting. Maybe you can see why…

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A Fantastical First Line Friday

Growing up, I devoured most any fantasy books I could get my hands on. It almost certainly started with picture books—anything involving witches or magic immediately caught my attention. Soon I was moving on to Bruce Coville and his Goblins in the Castle and later to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and beyond. After high school, though, and mostly thanks to a college curriculum that was more focused on theatre texts, I slipped away from fantasy worlds. However, lately I’ve been been making the trek back, primarily seeking out anything both fantastical and funny, because, really, who doesn’t need an escape right now?

For this First Line Friday I’d like to share the opening to one of my recent favorites.

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Remembering Beverly Cleary

There are few writers quite like Beverly Cleary. A librarian during the 1940s, she noted that publishing companies weren’t producing books that highlighted the children who were reading them. Her response? Write them herself. Ultimately, she produced over forty books and introduced readers of all ages to characters like Ramona Quimby, Ellen Tebbits, and Ralph S. Mouse. Today, it’s hard to imagine a library bookshelf without the name Cleary on prominent display.

Cleary died on Thursday at the age of 104 and, while it’s an incredibly sad day, I take comfort in the many stories she left us—each reminds us of her brilliance.

For this First Line Friday, I’d like to celebrate her work by going all the way back to the boy, the dog, and the book that started it all back in 1950.

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A First Line Friday with Too Much Spice

It’s remarkable how certain smells have the ability to sometimes transport us into our pasts. A scent tickles the receptors in our noses and, almost without warning, our brains are slammed back in time to memories often assumed long-forgotten. Several weeks ago, after popping open a metal cannister, the tinny smell suddenly reminded me of a container of buttons my grandmother owned that I was fascinated with as a child. Similarly, after a sudden rain this week, the wet, earthy aroma permeating the air brought back a memory of watching lightning bugs with my family.

However, it’s not always happy memories that we associate with smells. In fact, this First Line Friday selection shows us how this phenomenon can sometimes be deadly…

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A First Line Friday … in Space!

Designing book covers is an art. Not only do they have to immediately capture a passing reader’s attention, but they also must showcase the overall feeling of the book while remaining aesthetically pleasing … or unappealing, if that’s their thing. So long as it’s eye-catching. This week I stumbled across a book that definitely ranks as one of my favorite covers and it’s all because of one element: cats in space. And a big bonus? I didn’t to feed long to find out where they fit into the plot.

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