Friday, April 23, 2010

New books

New books! Glorious new books!

Please welcome:

E.M. Forster's short story collection The Obelisk. First sentence: "Ernest was an elementary schoolmaster, and very very small; it was like marrying a doll, Hilda sometimes thought, and one with glass eyes, too."

Willy Vlautin's Lean on Pete. First sentence: "When I woke up that morning it was still pretty early."

J.C. Hallman's In Utopia: Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better Paradise, nonfiction/uncorrected proofs, and The Hospital for Bad Poets, short stories/review copy. First sentences: "Utopia is in a bad way" and "The average man is not what he used to be."

Wendy Burden's memoir Dead End Gene Pool. First sentence: "It's a testament to his libido, if not his character, that Cornelius Vanderbilt died of syphilis instead a apoplexy."

And--squee!-- two copies of David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I ordered the UK version months ago and received the US ARC after entering a drawing at Random House (I think). First two sentences: 'Miss Kawasemi?' Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon.

What's your favorite first sentence of the lot?


  1. The Obelisk is such a wonderful short story. I had to look up this book to see what other stories are included in this collection. It appears that they are selections from Forster's collection The Life to Come which wasn't published until after his death for reasons that become apparent after you read a few of these. I can't wait to hear what you think of these stories.

  2. All these books are so new to me! I have added all these to my growing list of books-to-buy.
    I love the sentence of the book Lean on Pete. It's so simple and yet so meaningful. You just want to know what happens next.

  3. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I like the line comparing Ernest to a doll with glass eyes. It's kinda creepy.

  4. Egad! This may be the first time your about-to-read pile includes nothing at all from my wish list. Usually we have at least one book in common from the current titles. The Nancy Mitford you wrote about recently looks good.

  5. Anonymous7:02 PM

    I love the first sentence of The Obelisk the best! You are so lucky to have two copies of Jacob de Zoet! I'll be getting a copy very soon..

  6. Oh, Two copies of the David Mitchell--lucky you! Actually I have yet to even read any of his books, but I have heard wonderful things about this one and already have pre-ordered it from the UK! Dead End Gene Pool looks good, too!

  7. The E.M. Forster first line drew me in immediately.


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