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Favourite Opening Lines

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the importance of opening lines. After all, once you get past the blurb and the cover, it’s those precious first few sentences that can captive your attention and encourage you to delve further into the story. So I’ve decided to share some of my favourite opening lines with no summaries of what the stories are about. Quite simply just the opening lines.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

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My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister – Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

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First the colours.
Then the humans.
That’s usually how I see things. 
Or at least, how I try. 

Here is a small fact: you are going to die. 
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

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In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

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All Children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful,  for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this forever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. 

I Capture A Castle by Dodie Smith

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I write this sitting in the kitchen ink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy.

Twilight  by Stephenie Meyer 

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I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly pleasantly back at me. Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something. 

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

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I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After. Like many of the extraordinary things to come, it involved my grandfather, Abraham Portman. 

 

What are some of your favourite opening lines?

 

 

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Book Mail

Recently I have been feeling deflated. After graduating university, failing to gain employment in Leicester meaning I’ve had to move back in with my parents, and also struggling to get a job here (especially after having an interview for Lush which was one of the few jobs I genuinely wanted), it’s safe to say I’m not operating at maximum Charlotte levels.  With all my friends (including my partner) now scattered across various parts of the country, and having to give up the independence and the self I spent three years building has knocked me down quite a lot. I have no life here and spend every single day switching between reading and working on my novel, which isn’t a bad thing, I just don’t have that down time to do other things because my closest friend is a two hour £30 train journey away.

On a typical, below average, boring day the post arrived and among the mainstream letters for the parents and the odd ones for my brother, was a package for me. And quite a big package as well. I knew that I hadn’t ordered anything so I wasn’t expecting anything with my name on. But I took it, opened it and this is what I was greeted with:

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A big wrapped item, a small wrapped item and a letter. From reading the letter I found out that one of my university friends, Jenny, (who I’m going to be a bridesmaid for in two years – yay weddings!) knew I hadn’t been feeling too good lately so she’d bought me a few things to cheer me up until I manage to get my life in order.

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Also, can we talk a moment to appreciate that she wrapped the presents in book themed paper? I love like-minded book lovers!

So on to the small package first!
My wonderful friend, sent me these:

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As a writer, one of the many things I seem to be collecting lately is journals. I tend to flit between periods of writing my current novel on my laptop and going back to good old fashioned pen and paper. Either way, I plan a lot on paper, so these handy little notepads will prove very useful when I need to document ideas for my character. Also, they’re Harry Potter themed. Who wouldn’t want Harry Potter themed things in their life??

Next up is the big package, and from years of receiving books for birthdays and Christmas, I can easily identify if it’s a book… and this, my fellow readers… was a book.

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This book is utterly beautiful, and I instantly fell in love, before I even knew what it was about (Well, Jenny did make reference to Alice And Wonderland in the letter she sent with these things).

So here’s a summary from the book itself:

“What happened before Alice fell down the rabbit hole?
Oxford. 1862. As Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, she is thrust into a strange new world. Mary is poor and plain and desperate for change but the little girls in her care see and understand far more than their naive new teacher. And there is another problem: Mary does not like children, especially the precocious Alice Liddell.

When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, the Christ Church mathematics tutor, at a party at the deanery, she wonders if he may be the person to transform her life. Flattered by his attentions, Mary begins to believe that she could be more than just an overlooked, dowdy governess.

One sunny day, as Mary chaperones the Liddells on a punting trip, Mr Dodgson tells the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Mary is determined to replace Alice Liddell as Mr Dodgson’s muse – and will turn all the lives around her topsy-turvy in pursuit of her obsession.”

It sounds really intriguing and I can’t wait to read it!

You can find my fantastical friend Jenny on Twitter and you can find her blog here

As always, my links:
For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

For my writing adventures follow me on Twitter

For my videos, check out my Youtube

For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings

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The Future

I know that the purpose of this blog it to deliver reviews on books I have read recently (along with the occasional bookish tag) but today I will be taking a different direction, however, for a very good reason.

On Thursday 16th July 2015, I graduated from De Montfort University with a “second class (upper division)” in Creative Writing and English.

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If it isn’t at all obvious from the title of my degree, I really love reading and I really love writing.
When I started University I was struggling with low self confidence and anxiety. I moved to a city, into a flat in halls with four other girls that I didn’t know and I would literally hide in my room watching Glee boxsets while eating copious bowls of cheesy pasta that I had made at 2am to try and avoid them. In classes, I was the stereotypical quiet one – keeping their head down hoping that the teacher wouldn’t pick me.

After the “settling in” period I knew things needed to change, that needed to change and so I began forcing myself to ask people if I could sit next to them in classes. The result was gaining (what would become) two very close best friends, funnily enough, both called Jenny.

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I have always known that I want to be a writer. Going to University helped me learn which genre my strengths lay with and what path to take with my writing: Young Adult Fantasy. I remember in my first year having a chat with one of my teachers and when she asked what my end goal was and when I said being a writer she said “then you’ve already achieved your dream” when I asked her, rather confused, what she meant she said “if you write, then you are a writer. What you want to be is an author.” This teacher in particular helped me gain the confidence to say that I am a writer and to not be ashamed of it as I had felt so much in the past. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who thought the same way as me. They were willing to have intense debates, listen to and understand opinions even if they didn’t agree with them. Being surrounded by fellow writers made me feel confident because all of them had experienced negativity from family and peers over wanting to pursue a career in some aspect of writing. They listened to my ideas for novels, encouraged me, and even made suggestions.

I was able to unapologetically be myself.
When I started coming out to people as bisexual, and when I told what would become my friendship group, I was shocked to discover that not only did it not bother them, but being heterosexual was actually the minority.

In my second year I really pushed myself to experience more from university life. I joined the Creative Writing society, run by Corey who would become a lifelong best friend. I went on nights out and tried to push myself to see how long I could stay out. The result? I eventually met my boyfriend in this society.. on a night out.

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Whether I had highs or really bad lows, it didn’t matter as much anymore (well it did a little) because I had that support network I didn’t have before. For one of the first times in my life I now have people I can turn to if needed and they won’t project their own issues on me when I confide in them.

Third year was must tougher as I had a Creative Writing portfolio (dissertation) to work on. I am now turning the piece I submitted into a novel.

Also I now have a very expensive piece of paper showing the world that I am now a good writer. So I can stick a finger up to anyone who’s negative to me.

I am now constantly bombarded with questions about the future… my future. For now, I will continue working on my novel so that it is good enough to be published. I will also continue providing review for you lovely readers. The long term plan? Write novels and work for Bloomsbury.

My intention with this post was to not only to share a special day but to show anyone out there who has doubts about what they want to do, that it is possible. You just need to work hard!

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For my writing adventures follow me on Twitter

For my videos, check out my Youtube

For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings