The Whimsical Mama

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Top Ten Tuesday #4: Best Beginnings/Endings in Literature July 30, 2013

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is

Top Ten Beginnings/Endings in Literature

This post is requiring much more thought than I originally anticipated. Three books immediately came to mind: Cinder, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Love You Forever. Lucky I finished Cinder last night for this list! Finishing out the lists is proving to take quite a bit of reflecting. Which books have struck me the most over my years if reading? Was it the first pages that sucked me in? Was it the end that blew me away? I also wanted to do books that meant more than their popularity. Harry Potter is an obvious for someone my age, but this series is the reason I fell in love with reading. I couldn’t pass it up. There are a great many of books that have stuck with me, so I may have enough for ten of each as well as a few bonus beginning/end duos.

Beginnings
1. Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi
This isn’t exactly the beginning, but this is the first page in my edition.
“Do you know how despicable a sneak is?”
A spy. He was a spy for the Americans! My head whirled in dizzy understanding as I looked up at him, standing in front of me, tall and lanky and broad-shouldered, still tanned from his trip, his dark looks spoiled by his anger.
“Answer me!” he snapped.
“Yes, sir.”
“What have I taught you in these last two years about decency and honour? Nothing?”
“I thought –”
“You thought what?”
” I thought you were a Tory.”
“And would that be reason to go into my private papers?”
“No. But you aren’t a Tory. You’re a Patriot, after all. You deceived me.”
“I had to. It’s part of my job. My life depends on it, can you understand that?”
“You mean –”
“I mean that I’ll hang from the highest tree or the nearest gallows if the British find out.”

I love all things American Revolution, and this was the first book I read by Ann Rinaldi. It was love at first read, and I frequently re-read it. To me, there isn’t a dull moment in this book, and after that excerpt, I was hooked and had to find out more about these characters!

2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
The first time I attempted to read this was when it came out, just before Breaking Dawn. I was too wrapped up in Twilight to give this book a fair chance. The next summer, I went back to give it another shot. The beginning then hooked me and I flew through it.

3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
I was very reluctant to read this book when I received it for Christmas. It was under great protest that I actually trudged through the first few chapters. I didn’t realise then that my life would be forever changed once I started this incredible series.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Does this one even need an explanation? I delight in the sarcasm of the opening sentence. (:

Endings
5. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
World War II/the Holocaust is a difficult subject to read in most circumstances. There are few books that can make it a topic of interest for children. Lois Lowry is a fantastic author, and the way she wraps up Number the Stars is incredible. Friendship prevails over prejudices.

6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Luck that I finished reading last night for this topic! “…looking for a ghost.” Spectacular cliffhanger! I love how she has the most obvious secret out in the open, but part of you still questions if it really could be THAT obvious. Well done, Ms. Meyer, well done! I had to force myself to only read a few chapters of Scarlet last night, and I’m hoping it’s ever bit of the hype that surrounds it!

7. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I’m not usually over fond of Epilogues, sometimes they just seem too forced – trying to please everyone or the sort. I LOVED the epilogue in Clockwork Princess. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it.

8. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
Okay, I’ll admit that when I first started it, the vulgarity in it shocked me. Then I remembered it was written as an adult book, and yes, it was very much typical Scot. Seeing Rihanna’s “Umbrella” cracked me up to no end. When I was visiting my friend in Elgin, Scotland, I swear that song was on repeat every time we got in the car. It was ALWAYS on the radio and she and I laughed about it. When I saw it, I immediately messaged Lyndsay and said that JKR had stalked us during my visit. The end was like one I swear I had dreamed about. It was eerie!

9. Le Petit Prince/The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
In my multiple readings of this delightful book, I definitely feel that it hits being an adult right on the head. Adults often forget what it was like being a child and disregard children in general. I identify with the pilot being stuck in that world of being an adult, but still relating to those younger than myself.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
I will openly admit that upon hearing that JKR changed the last word from “scar” in the final drafts, I opened it to the last page to see the final line to see what it’d changed to. I was pleased to see “scar” was still in the last line even if it wasn’t the last word. Again, this defies my not so fond of epilogues deal. I grew up with Harry, and it feels that it wrapped everything up nicely. It was closure for me, even if I am still in denial that I AM an adult and Harry Potter will never have another midnight book or movie release.

Beginning/Ending Combo
I had two books that have to be on both lists. From the beginning to the end, it was perfection.

1. Lamb by Christopher Moore
Not for the fainthearted when it comes to religion. It is a comedy, it does poke fun at almost every religion, but if you go into it not taking it seriously, it is a spectacular read. It’s basically Jesus, the missing years, told by his best friend Biff.

2. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
My mom read this to me as a child, and I always wanted to read it to my children when I had them. The first time I read it to my son, I bawled my eyes out. The first time I read it to my daughter, I bawled my eyes out. I still cry when I read it to them. This is such a touching story, and I will love my children forever, and they will forever be my babies.

Once I had this list going, I ended up with about 20 books on my list, and I decided to cut it down to 10 plus my two special cases. I was going to try 10 of each, but I have things that need to be done other than dig through the bookshelves all day! Are any of these books on your list? I’d love to see your lists!

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One Response to “Top Ten Tuesday #4: Best Beginnings/Endings in Literature”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I totally forgot about Time Enough for Drums! When I hit puberty I read that book over and over. God I loved it. I’m sure I have it stashed somewhere, now I want to go read it again!


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