First things first:
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!!!
Oh yes, it’s all about the love here at the Deb Ball this month, and this week we’re looking at the books that first started our writers’ hearts beating faster, our palms sweating, our toes curling.
In my case, my first love was a fish.
No, not that fish.*
My grade-school best friend’s father had his own bathroom and when you hear someone heading to the bathroom say they’re “going to the library,” well, this one really was. You could sit on the mahogany-toned foam toilet seat and to the left, to the right, even behind you, were shelves of books. And not just any books, but the juicy, pulpy paperbacks with covers that made your ten year-old eyes pop out. Sidney Sheldon. Ira Levin. V.C. Andrews. Robin Cook. Harold Robbins. But I only had eyes for one book. Peter Benchley’s JAWS.
Who doesn’t remember seeing that cover for the first time? Well, I couldn’t resist it. But when I got comfortable on Mr. Spinney’s Throne (not his real name, but his real name for his toilet) and I pulled that book down, I had no idea that what came after that cover would really send me over the moon.
“The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail.”
To this day, that is one of my favorite first lines in a novel. It’s clean, it’s crisp, it’s totally terrifying.
I will never forget the sensation of reading that first page and while I won’t stand—er, sit here and say the light bulb went off then and there, I can say that was one of the first times—if not the first—when I thought to myself: Whoa. I want to write a line like that someday.
It was indeed, love at first read.
*Technically, Moby was a mammal. But, you know, it didn’t sound as snappy.
What about you, friends? Do you have a game-changing line in your reading past?