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May 19th, 2009

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Great First Sentences

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

I am addicted to words, which probably comes as no surprise to any of you; chances are, you are similarly affected by the myriad ways in which our language can be constructed to elicit emotion, convey fact, and capture a moment in time. While most books require a few pages to really engage me, some are so brilliantly crafted that all it takes is a single sentence. One such work I’ve just begun as my next e-read: Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

“Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.”

Care to share a favorite first sentence?

There’s no wrong way to…

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

… read a classic! I’ve just finished J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, my first ever e-book, read entirely on my iPod Touch. Given how quickly I read it and how small my screen is in comparison to a standard paperback, I need to purchase a copy just to be sure my e-book wasn’t condensed! (At least, this is the “logical justification” I will use regarding the necessity of a hard copy. I think it makes perfect sense, don’t you?)

Even though I’ve been online for well over ten years, I’ve only recently entered the electronic age of literature; I ended up listening to more of Jane Eyre than I read last semester (though I still fully intend to read the book, I promise!), and listened to most of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland for one of my history book reports this semester, as well, but those and my very recent e-reader application on the iPod are my only forays into non-print books. While I love being able to multitask, I’m VERY picky about the voice of audiobook readers, and have a difficult time tuning out any background noise, so if I’m at the office, those are probably best for re-reads. The nice thing about the e-books on my iPod is that if I’m in an unexpected situation where I wish I’d brought a book (like my 45-minute wait to see a doctor last week), I have several from which to choose without having had to think about it ahead of time. Which, as any of you who know me can attest, is a good thing. Really.

What about you, do you e-book, or are you a paper purist? Do you read full-length books on your computer, an e-reader, an iPod, or other hand-held device? How about audiobooks? I’m currently using Stanza on my iPod Touch, which has multiple sources for public domain books; I’ve used LibriVox for audio on the computer, and am familiar with Gutenberg, as well. Have any favorite sources I’ve not listed?