A Year-End First Sentence Meme

I rarely do memes, but today I feel like joining the party (which also means I am in a lazy bout). This meme, that has been around for some days, allows me to look back at this whole blogging year, which was a lot of fun all the way. 

January: First of all, a very happy new year! [this hardly count as a first sentence for the first day of the year] I’m quite good at making resolutions and drafting to-do lists and not following them and feeling guilty afterwards, so I won’t even start on that topic. 

February: While I like very much Alice Munro’s short stories, I never before looked into her personal life. 

March: I’ve been meaning to write a review of Nancy Huston’s “Diary of the creation” for two weeks now, and I do so reluctantly, being afraid that I might not do justice to this book. 

April: There are various ways why this novella [The Aspern Papers] is striking: the first is James’ keen eye for expressing the beauty of Venice: 

May: I found this refreshing novella by chance at the library, and I nearly missed it, because the cover was so shockingly pink, with girly boa feathers and a Carnival mask with fake diamonds that even in an airport novel I would have found clichés. [on Louisa May Alcott, Behind the mask] 

June: I’d never tackled Dickens’s masterpieces before: like Balzac or Zola to a non-French, it seemed something too huge and typically British, I didn’t know where to start. [on Oliver Twist] 

July: This is a terrifying, compelling, moving novel. Oh… but wait, is it really a novel? [on Marc Dugain, An ordinary execution] 

August: Holidays are within reach now… Time to start the big, agonizing project: select books to take with me. 

September: This is the story of a book that started with a lot of promises and didn’t keep them all. [on Philippe Delerm, Sundborn]  

October: This is one article that both depressed me and infuriated me: Stephen King in the New York Times predicting the early death of the American short story with those ominous words (…) 

November: P.D. James novels are like casseroles: it starts with nearly nothing, events that may seem bland to some people, and then simmers for hours before revealing all its flavors: they require the reader to be patient and unhurried. [on Original Sin] 

December: It’s been ages since I delved into a serious history book. [on Vilna, Wilno, Vilnius] 

Fiction and non-fiction, European and American, recent publications and 19C classics: these first sentences reflect well how diverse my interests have been this year. I’d already forgotten about some of those books! (another reason why I definitely should keep blogging…) If you haven’t done this yet, consider yourself tagged!

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4 thoughts on “A Year-End First Sentence Meme

  1. I’d love your opinion on Nancy Huston. I’ve been so interested in her since I learned that she does her own translations and that they can be quite different from the original. Have you read her only in French? I have Instruments de Tenebres waiting on the shelf, but haven’t started quite yet.

    I also like your July first line!

  2. I love Nancy Huston. I was fascinated to learn that she didn’t write in her home language, because, well, I don’t either… I reviewed her novel Lignes de failles/ Fault lines during summer, and essays in spring too, but I only ever read her in French. Her French is very playful and quirky, I wonder how the English version might be.

  3. I love November’s PD James metaphor! So perfect. I’m currently reading Aspern Papers and James is making me want to go to Venice, a place I never really wanted to go before.

  4. Thanks – I am hoping to try my first Nancy Huston some time soon. I read great things about Lignes de Failles but haven’t picked that one up yet, so I will start with Instruments de Tenebres. I’ll let you know what I think!

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