Favorite opening paragraph/sentence/passages etc.

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ombak, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Shurik

    Shurik New Member

    Nov 2, 1999
    Baltimore, MD
    Russia, actually, is the world's official capital of Harry Potter knockoffs. Tanya Grotter is the most infamous one, featuring horrible writing and a vulgar red headed girl in whore-riffic outfits (if the cover is any indication).
    [​IMG]
    So, betweem that and Litvinova's translation I would say that the Russian kids are being cheated out of a whole genre of literature.

    Porry Hatter, however, a Belarusian parody about a perfectly normal kid raised by a family of wizards (apparently, upon arriving in Perverts, the wizarding school, his greatest ambition is to be transferred to a Polytechnic Institute to study communications) is at least funny. For a couple of pages.
    [​IMG]
    Yes, Porry struggle with He-Who-Can-Be-Named-Whatever-The-Hell-You-Want-Now may just captivate you. Apparently, the second book is dedicated entirely to Merhione Pager.
     
  2. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard
    It should be noted the subtitle to the second book Shurik posted is "Stone philosopher". :p
     
  3. nicephoras

    nicephoras A very stable genius

    Jul 22, 2001
    Eastern Seaboard
    This may not be my favorite, but it is the opening to one of the most read books of all time: "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres,"

    Or, Gaul is divided into three parts, since I didn't provide a translation last time. ;)
     
  4. Shurik

    Shurik New Member

    Nov 2, 1999
    Baltimore, MD
    A joke that will go totally lost on Americans, thanks to Litvinova-minded publishers.
     
  5. ChaChaFut

    ChaChaFut Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    "Ah, if I had only known you were here! [...] As I was coming home I met Lieutenant G----, from the fort, and, very foolishly, I lent him the bug; so it will be impossible for you to see it until the morning. Stay here to-night, and I will send Jup down for it at sunrise. It is the loveliest thing in creation!"

    "What? --sunrise?"

    "Nonsense! no! --the bug."


    passage of "The Gold Bug", by Edgar Allan Poe
     
  6. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    Ah yes, I recall an article in some broadsheet a few years back about Russia's love affair with the knockoff.

    Some of the stuff quoted was pure gold for the sticky in the FSU board.

    I think we can now safely assume and maybe assert what we possibly knew before, in that, creativity has ceased to exist in Belarus for sometime. As for their humour, you can't really tell whether it is painstalking clever or actually a true reflection of the standard dexterity of a Belorussian yarn.

    I mean...if you are blantly going to rip off a famous book at least have the capacity to come up with something more imaginative and less likely to look incriminating.

    Also, I don't know if you saw this, but I swear to God, there was an adult-themed Harry Potter rip off in Russia, which was actually shelved when the publishers and lawyers got wind of it...

    And no.... I will not send you any copies when I find it.
     
  7. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Page 3 and no one has mentioned Gregor Samsa waking up to find that he had been transformed into a giant insect?
     
  8. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    I actually did mention Kafka a while back, albeit in garbled speech and purely out of context.
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I was busy getting ready to go to a meeting, and did a half-ass search ("samsa" and not "kafka.". My bad.
     
  10. Speed_Racer

    Speed_Racer Neuwbie

    Jul 4, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    It's not necessarily my all-time favorite opening but it's definitely A favorite.

    From The Dispossessed - by Ursula K. Le Guin
     
  11. sardus_pater

    sardus_pater Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    Sardinia Italy EU
    Club:
    Cagliari Calcio
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    For a long time I would go to bed early. Sometimes, the candle barely out, my eyes closed so quickly that I did not have time to tell myself: "I'm falling asleep." And half an hour later the thought that it was time to look for sleep would awaken me; I would make as if to put away the book which I imagined was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had gone on thinking, while I was asleep, about what I had just been reading, but these thoughts had taken a rather peculiar turn; it seemed to me that I myself was the immediate subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I awoke; it did not offend my reason, but lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a previous existence must be after reincarnation; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to apply myself to it or not; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for my eyes, but even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, something dark indeed.

    A la recherche du temps perdu
    Marcel Proust
     
  12. sardus_pater

    sardus_pater Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    Sardinia Italy EU
    Club:
    Cagliari Calcio
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    E' vi par di toccarla colle mani - come dalla terra grassa che fumi, là, dappertutto, torno torno alle montagne che la chiudono, da Agnone al Mongibello incappucciato di neve - stagnante nella pianura, a guisa dell'afa pesante di luglio. Vi nasce e vi muore il sole di brace, e la luna smorta, e la Puddara, che sembra navigare in un mare che svapori, e gli uccelli e le margherite bianche della primavera, e l'estate arsa, e vi passano in lunghe file nere le anitre nel nuvolo dell'autunno, e il fiume che luccica quasi fosse di metallo, fra le rive larghe e abbandonate, bianche, slabbrate, sparse di ciottoli; e in fondo il lago di Lentini, come uno stagno, colle sponde piatte, senza una barca, senza un albero sulla riva, liscio ed immobile. Sul greto pascolano svogliatamente i buoi, rari, infangati sino al petto, col pelo irsuto. Quando risuona il campanaccio della mandra, nel gran silenzio, volan via le cutrettole, silenziose, e il pastore istesso, giallo di febbre, e bianco di polvere anche lui, schiude un istante le palpebre gonfie, levando il capo all'ombra dei giunchi secchi.

    Malaria
    Giovanni Verga

    You Feel you could touch it with your hand - as if it smoked up from the fat earth, there, everywhere, round about the mountains that shut it in, from Agnone to Mount Etna capped with snow - stagnating in the plain like the sultry heat of June. There the red-hot sun rises and sets, and the livid moon, and the Puddara that seems to float through a sea of exhalations, and the birds and the white marguerites of spring, and the burned up summer; and there the wild duck in long black files fly through the autumn clouds, and and the river gleams as if it were of metal, between the wide, lonely banks that are broken here and there, scattered with pebbles, and in the background the Lake of Lentini, like a mere, with its flat shores, and not a boat, not a tree on its sides, smooth and motionless. By the lake bed the oxen pasture at will, forlorn, muddied up to the breast, hairy. When the sheep bell resounds in the great silence, the wagtails fly away, noiselessly, and the shepherd himself, yellow with fever, and white as well with dust, lifts his swollen lids for a moment, raising his head in the shadow of the dry reeds.
    Translation D. H. Lawrence
     
  13. Shurik

    Shurik New Member

    Nov 2, 1999
    Baltimore, MD
    What's even mopre apalling is that the people who are pumping the dough into Yemets's talentless drivel are also paying major TV and online news agencies to sabotage Rowling's books. On the night The Half-Blood Prince was released most of Russia's media came out with headlines (or on-the-air blurps) containing the major spoiler.
     
  14. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    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 losuy 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 in to it. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two haemorrhages apiece if I told anything personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They're nice and all - I'm not saying that - but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddamn autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.



    Okay, I'll leave that open for people who haven't read it to take a guess which story it comes from...

    Go on, there may be rep in it for you! ;)
     
  15. Speed_Racer

    Speed_Racer Neuwbie

    Jul 4, 2005
    San Diego, CA
    Here's another golden oldie, although it practically gives its own name.
    btw- Great call.
     
  16. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Catcher in the Rye

    This one's fun:
    Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer

    Here's one from one of my boyhood heroes:
     
  17. jackrock

    jackrock Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Talcott. WV
    Club:
    DC United
    "Call me Ishmael."

    Come on fellas. NOBODY liked the begining of Moby Dick?


    other than me?
     
  18. CariocaEWR

    CariocaEWR New Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    EWR
    Re: Favorite opening paragraph/sentence/passages etc.


    " May I, monsieur, offer my services without running the risk of intruding?
    I fear you may not be able to make yourself understood by the worthy ape
    who presides over the fate of this establishment. In fact, he speaks nothing but Dutch. Unless you authorize me to plead your case, he will not guess that you want gin. There, I dare hope he understood me; that nod must mean that he yields to my arguments. He is taking steps; indeed, he is making haste with prudent deliberation. You are lucky; he didn't grunt. When he refuses to serve someone, he merely grunts. No one insists. Being master of one's moods is the privilege of the larger animals. "

    Albert Camus - The Fall
     
  19. CariocaEWR

    CariocaEWR New Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    EWR
    Kafka - The Metamorphosis
     
  20. oman

    oman Member

    Jan 7, 2000
    South of Frisconsin
    Yes on this as well.

    Just read a review of Garcia-Marquez' latest by John Updike, who pointed out that he is a master of the opening line.
     
  21. Michael K.

    Michael K. Member

    Mar 3, 1999
    There or Thereabouts
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "A barometric low hung over the Atlantic. It moved eastward toward a high-pressure area over Russia without as yet showing any inclination to bypass this high in a northerly direction. The isotherms and isotheres were functioning as they should. The air temperature was appropriate relative to the annual mean temperature and to the aperiodic monthly fluctuations of the temperature. The rising and setting of the sun, the moon, the phases of the moon, of Venus, of the rings of Saturn, and many other significant phenomena were all in accordance with the forecasts in the astronomical yearbooks. The water vapor in the air was at its maximal state of tension, while the humidity was minimal. In a word that characterizes the facts fairly accurately, even if it is a bit old-fashioned: It was a fine day in August 1913."
     
  22. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love. Dr Juvenal Urbino noticed it soon as he entered the still darkened house where he had hurried on an urgent call to attend a case for him had lost all urgency many years before. The Antillean refugee, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour disabled war veteran, photographer of children, and his most sympathetic oppenent in chess, had escaped the torments of memory with the aromatic fumes of gold cyanide.

    Just starting reading this one after loving 100yos.
     
  23. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    My birthday's the fourth of January 1951. The first week of the first month of the first year of the second half of the twentieth century. Something to commemorate, I guess, which is why my parents named me Hajime- "Beginning", in Japanese.

    :cool:
     
  24. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Mid-Atlantic States
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another...
     
  25. Dead Fingers

    Dead Fingers Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Club:
    Minnesota United FC
    Camus "The Stranger" (English translation)

    "Mother died today. Or was it yesterday?"
     

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