Down the rabbithole

Musing Monday highlighter

Sometimes a book can grab you right from the beginning. Usually it takes more than a sentence. Sometimes it can take a paragraph. But sometimes you can be completely enthralled before the first full stop. Sometimes the first sentence is so mind-blowingly amazing that you won’t put that book down for hours. The rest of the book might be just as captivating (and isn’t it magical), or maybe it all goes downhill from there (the ultimate form of deceit).

So this post is a shrine to some wonderful first lines that I’ve read recently, either just picking them up off my shelf or as I sit down for an hour-long read.

The lines drag me into a magical world.

lips touch coverThere is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave.
Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

The first time Reginald Archer saw the thing, it was, in its simplicity, absolute.
– Story by Gahan Wilson, part of Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman

They include me in the conversation.

beat the reaperIt’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

So I’m on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some fuckhead tries to mug me!
Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell

They surprise me.

my zombie dog coverIt was a slow day, so I was reading a book at my desk and seeing into the future.
Fated by Benedict Jacka

On my 14th birthday I had to bury a dog.
My Zombie Dog by Charmaine Clancy

Or sometimes confuse me.

The first word spoken by the Indian man Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod upon his arrival in France was, oddly enough, a Swedish word.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puértolas

They might remind me of one I’ve read before.

the bone season coverThere used to be more of us.
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

I like to imagine there were more of us in the beginning.
– The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

They might even be drenched in tragedy.

more than this coverHere is the boy, drowning.
More Than This by Patrick Ness

But they’re the first lines that dragged me down the rabbithole before I even had a chance to kick and scream.

What first lines have captured you lately? Do you have a favourite first line? Leave me link to your own musings!

At the moment I’m at uni and I don’t have a lot of time for comments. I’ll be replying to and visiting everyone but it might take a few days 🙂

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!


But that’s not the voice inside my head…


As I walked past, I could hear the narrator clearly from my Mum’s headphones. This isn’t new – she’s a bit deaf and I’ve heard many second-hand audio books in my time. But this was the thought that crossed my mind.

The voice inside my head doesn’t read like that. She’s doing it wrong!

I don’t listen to audio books. I tried once when I was about 11, but nothing about it felt right. It was too slow, the voice emphasised the wrong words, the dialogue didn’t sound right and most importantly the voice didn’t match the characters’ personalities.

A lot of books are written in first person and, as a reader of YA fiction, the voice inside my head always tries to read the books as if the narrator was reading them to me. But when you go find the audio book, it will be read by a middle-age person. You can try as hard as you want, but no one can ever match the speech patterns of a different generation. I can call my friend ‘dude’, but as soon as my father tries it, it sounds ridiculous.

In third person stories, it all falls apart with the dialogue. The accents will be wrong, or the characters sound too similar. It’s the same recurring problem: it’s not the voice inside of my head.

There is, however, one audio book I’m willing to give a listen. I’ve been desperate to read The Night Circus for a while, and I saw someone’s review of the audio book narrated by Jim Dale!

Jim Dale is the narrator of Pushing Daisies, a hilarious TV show that I recommend to anyone and everyone. His voice is perfect for a quirky/strange/creepy story which is what I imagine The Night Circus to be. Although even if I enjoy the audio, you can be sure I’ll reread the written version soon after.

Something inside me is programmed to prefer the written word. Even when I listen to Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast which I absolutely love, if I think about it, I’d prefer to read it. My mind wanders and I miss parts. In a book you can go back and re-read, in an audio it’s too hard.

I guess I’m just a child of the written word. Forever distracted unless my eyes have something to see and my mind has something to imagine.

Listen to Jim Dale’s amazing voice in the prologue of Pushing Daisies.
Check out the first two minutes of The Night Circus audio book.

Do you listen to audio books? What do you look for in a good narrator? Have you listened to The Night Circus?


Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

Coming back from the dead


If you spend any time on the internet, by now you’ve probably heard the breaking Harry Potter news: JK Rowling has written another Harry Potter story.

If you haven’t heard the news yet, don’t get too excited. It’s a short article, written by Rita Skeeter, the much-hated journalist who got a kick out of tarnishing reputations (particuarly Harry’s) by manufacturing stories.

Hey, my eyes aren’t glistening with the ghosts of my past!

I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. They are my favourite books. I call Daughter of Smoke and Bone books my favourites, but that’s because Harry Potter isn’t just a set of books to me. I’ve read them so many times (10+) that they’re a part of me. I grew up with those books, and for several years they were all that I would read. Harry had a piece of Voldermort inside of him, but I have Harry Potter inside of me.

So here’s he kicker: I haven’t read JK’s new story. I’ve seen it, I’ve read about it and I even know what’s in it, but I haven’t read it. Because Harry Potter finished. It finished with tears, anger and a tonne of denial, but it finished. And with it, Harry Potter rolled itself up in a little cocoon and buried itself deep within me. For me it finished with the end of the novels, but for some it finished with the end of the movies.

Much like we’d lost a family member, we waded our way through the five stages of grief and accepted it for the amazing ride it was. Yes, I still revisit the books every 1-2 years, in much the same way as you reminisce with old photographs, draped in a cloak of nostalgia.

So imagine if you got a letter about that family member. Surprise! They hadn’t died. They were living their life somewhere else. How do you find a place for that information? How exactly do I bring Harry Potter back to the surface?

JK Rowling’s new story has brought with it too many questions. The largest, is Harry Potter really finished? This new story, the rumoured TV show, they’re setting Harry Potter up as a franchise I don’t think it should become. Harry Potter, to me, is the holy grail. It can never be beaten. It should be left alone.

So will I read the new story? Probably. I’m weak. Of course I’m going to give in. But I’ll read it like fan fiction. Anything that isn’t, right now, inside my Harry potter cocoon (my head canon, for those in the know) will never penetrate it. Harry Potter doesn’t exist outside of the books. To me, Harry Potter is dead.

What do you think about the new Harry Potter story? Have you ever loved something that turned into a disappointing franchise? Leave me links to your own musings!

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

Where in the World?


This week The Book Depository released a map showing their most-purchased book by country.

I, of course, went straight to Australia: Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. I wasn’t even surprised.

New Zealand? Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Now that’s interesting. Why 15 minutes, New Zealand? Do you really have 15 less minutes then us is your day? Are they busy herding sheep? Chasing feral kiwis? Maybe New Zealanders have adopted the hobbit diet. Six meals is a lot to schedule in one day. Thirty minutes preparation for each meal would mean second breakfast would run into elevensies and all hell would break loose.

Indonesia is particularly keen on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy boxset. Someone ought to explain there’s better erotic fanfiction to be found free, on the internet. At least France is only ordering Fifty Shades of Grey book #1.

Thailand is ordering 1984. Maybe they’re feeling oppressed by their political unrest. Near neighbour Vietnam is getting into the true spirit of George Orwell and are looking into the future with their Deviant Moon Tarot Decks.

China is stuck with the Moleskin Large Ruled Notebook. Maybe words on the page would encourage thoughts of the world outside of China. No one wants that.  Although the Japanese are also buying blank, but opting for the Moleskin Large Squared Notebook instead. South Korea, clearly worried about North Korea, seems to have decided where they’re moving next and are preparing with Sing and Learn Spanish.

Norway is reading How to Brew. It’s just not fair that Denmark and Germany get the famous reputations. But they’re preoccupied with keeping their beer businesses booming, getting help from Business Generation Model.

Plenty of countries are worried about their test scores. Italy is preparing with The Ultimate EU Test Book 2013 and Jordan with SAT. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia is sharpening their anatomy skills with The Concise Human Body Book and Oman is trying to do some good, studying Statistics for Geography and Environmental Science.  Watch out for those nerds.

The US has even less time than New Zealand (and they don’t even have hobbits!), and they’re struggling to manage it with The One Minute Manager.  Up North, Canada is finally figuring out the difference between their stomach and their brain thanks to Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Peru has gone Lego-mad and can’t put down LEGO Ninjago Character Encyclopaedia.

It’s so interesting to have a look and see what people around the world are ordering. Even bordering countries have such different top picks. What has your country been ordering? Did it surprise you or did you roll your eyes like me? At least we’re all ahead of Chile. They’re still learning the basics with Let’s Cut Paper!

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!