"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Year of First Lines

A Year of First Lines hosted by Beyond Eden Rock

The last month of the year is here, and so it’s time to play a particular game:
“Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year.
So here goes …
January: The Yearling, a mid-book review
Tonight when I stood to make dinner, having put next to no thought into the meal prior to standing up, I retrieved some frozen chicken from the freezer, where I also found some frozen vegetables. In the pantry I found some instant rice and a can of creamed soup. I was in business. 45 minutes later dinner was on the table.
I was making the point that dinners were way more complicated to make for the characters in the book. They had to kill their food, or grow it from seeds. I just have to go to the freezer.

February: High Tech - Low Tech
My school became an iPad school this year. What does that mean? It means that every student is checked out an iPad like a textbook and most teachers are conducting lessons using the tools available to them on the iPads like Canvas, Notability, Pages, and many other subject-specific APPs. 
Not exactly the most riveting opening. I went on to explain how low tech things like books, puzzles, talking-to-one-another, were going by the wayside in the library and the school.

March: Melancholy and springtime
I have been feeling so melancholic lately. I am hoping this blog post will be cathartic for me. 
 Oddly, this post was about poetry and its ability to speak to me when I am feeling down. I quoted quite a bit of it in the blog post. If I was a visitor to the blog, however, I doubt I would have read on. Note to self: don't start blog posts all moody and depressive.

April: Staycation, highlights from day 3
Today, after a stopover at the GKHS library for a little work boxing up surplus books, Don and I drove south to explore more weird and curious aspects of our state. Today we explored the Mima Mounds, a ghost town, and the Black Houses of Olympia.
Don and I spent our Spring Break close to home exploring the weird and the curious. It was lots of fun.

May: Billy Collins and Education
Last week I attended a program at a local theater called A Night with Billy Collins and Aimee Mann. Billy being a poet and Aimee being a singer/songwriter one might wonder what was the appeal...well, the answer is simply---POETRY.
It was a fun event. After it I went back home and read more of Billy's poetry and included some insights from his works in the post.

June: The Art of X-Ray Reading, a review
I love books about books and this book adds an extra layer of wonderfulness---it is about the special aspects incorporated by authors which made their books special...special aspects we can learn from if we want to improve our writing. I honestly (and obviously) am not as interested in the writing tips as I was in the reading tips.
Ha-ha. This review talks about how I view my writing skills. (Not so good.) But I also gained quite a few reading tips which I have tried to incorporate into my reviews since then.

July: Ask Me How I Got Here, a conflicted review
Young adult literature is rarely straight-forward. No one would want to read it if it was. But Christine Heppermann's Ask Me How I Got Here is even less predictable than most and I am very conflicted in how I feel about the book.
I honestly think this is a pretty good opening to my review. It sets the stage for a review which vacillates with my feelings about it, hot to cold.

August: The Raven King and thoughts on books in a series
I love, love, love Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle series and its concluding book, The Raven King is wonderful capstone for the the whole series.
I see now that my opening sentence only introduces half of the topic for this blog post.

September: Essential Maps for the Lost, a review
Madison (Mads) has her life mapped out for her. She even graduated early from high school to get going on her plan.
The opening sets the tone for the book and picks up on the theme introduced by the title.

October: Heavy Heart
My beloved father-in-law died last Monday night. He and his wife were in Arizona for a quick vacation and he collapsed and died while taking a shower in the evening. My heart is just broken.
At least once a week I let my blog go personal, talking about my life. This was one of those times. Because of the death of my father-in-law, I spiraled into a reading/blogging funk. Grief sometimes has other plans.

November: My very own blog-n-readathan
Over the course of the next three days I plan to cobble together 24-hours of reading and blogging. I am so behind on my reviews it is ridiculous and talk about a towering TBR pile of books. It is time to take action.
Not a very gripping introduction to my readathon. Oh well, I guess the point was to read and write reviews. But the thing did the job. I wrote a ton of reviews that weekend and jump-started my reading muscle.

December: Little Women, a retrospective review
As a young girl I adored Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I must have been in 5th or 6th grade when I read it. I remember laying on my bed with book in hand dreaming of the life that the March sisters led, pining for a time I would never know. I loved Jo the most. I wanted to be Jo, so sure of herself and so talented, yet fun-loving, independent, and strong. 
I hope I set the stage for the review to follow which explained how I  wasn't as enamored with the book second time around.

This was a fun exercise. Taking the time to look back at what I reading and writing about during the past year was a good walk down memory lane.


  1. It's lovely to meet you, and thank you for joining in this annual game. I loved Little Women as a girl too - my mother had loved it and saved her copy hoping that she would have a daughter to share it with - so your December entry really strikes a chord for me.

    1. Thanks for hosting this. I will definitely jump in next year, again.

  2. I think all your first lines give a lovely glimpse into your life. Personable and authentic :-)

    I started my year with the book you finished yours with - a reread of Little Women.

  3. What a great reason to go back and revisit the wonderful and painful memories that you wrote about on your blog! I revisit old posts frequently, but rarely mention it.

  4. Your first lines are great - they give a real impression not just of what you're going to talk about but also you as a person. I tend to start my reviews with a brief blurb, so my first lines are relatively meaningless by themselves. But I enjoy reading everyone else's round-up of first lines...

  5. I love the way you analyse the relationship of the first line to the actual piece it was introducing and your reaction to it now looking back on it. Very interesting, and I'm enjoying the different ways people are approaching this simple-sounding idea!

  6. Wonderful openings! You obviously put a lot of thought into your blog posts. And it is interesting to look back and see a "snapshot" of your past year.


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