Originally posted to my LiveJournal on January 31st of 2003, this is a list of the first few lines of my ten favorite books in 2003. Not too much has changed in this list in the intervening twelve years.
It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.
–Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury
When I teach a beginning class, it is good. I have to come back to beginner’s mind, the first way I thought and felt about writing.
–Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg
Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books.
–84, Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff
The most important things are the hardest to say.
–“The Body”, Different Seasons, Stephen King
This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
–The Princess Bride, William Goldman
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.
–The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone.
–The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
This was an old man. Not an incredibly old man; obsolete, spavined; not as worn as the sway-backed stone steps ascending to the Pyramid of the Sun to an ancient temple; not yet a relic.
–“Paladin of the Lost Hour”, Angry Candy, Harlan Ellison
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
–Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney
Who am I to be writing a book about my life as a writer?
Let’s start by saying it wasn’t my idea.
–A Writer’s Tale, Richard Laymon