Wednesday, May 24, 2006
…any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)
As noted on the annual "happy everything and don't expect any other card until this time next year" card I sent out last year, tomorrow is Towel Day.
Towel Day, you ask,
what the bleep? On Towel Day, you carry your towel with you throughout the day to show your participation and mourning.
Currently I'm making my way through Life, The Universe, and Everything, part three of Douglas Adams' trilogy in five parts. And tomorrow I'm taking my towel with me.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Same old song and dance
After the publication of The DaVinci Code hundreds of spin-offs appeared, books in the same genre.
With the redesign of this website, I lost the original version of The Book Title Generator, but I've cooked up The Book Title Generator 2.0, which isn't in alpha, beta or gamma, but just plain finished.
Coincidentally, today the Dutch Roman Catholic Church launched a website — davincicodefan.nl — trying to debunk the "truths" that are presented in The DaVinci Code. Just in time for tomorrows release of the movie. Coincidence? Naah.
The main point of this website is this that TDVC is a work of fiction, and that the so called facts aren't facts at all. They suggest that Dan Brown should make a statement saying that
the objective bearing-power of his book has the reliability of quicksand.
Yeah, well, just like TDVC, this website is poorly written and full of crap. Ex-fuckin-scuse me if I don't buy that shit and think they're hypocrites. On the one hand they suggest that a novel with "scientific pretension" should support its claims, but on the other hand they want you to blindly believe in a book which describes a man raising the dead, walking on water, dying on a cross and coming back to life again.
Can you see the logic in that? 'Cause I sure don't.
Monday, May 08, 2006
On first lines
Here's a secret. The primary function of the first line is to get your reader to read the next one. That second line, in turn, needs to convince the reader to read on. And so those first few sentences string on to form the first paragraph, that tries to lure the reader deeper in.
Take a line like
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. Consider it for a moment. How many questions does it raise? Who is this man in black? Why is he fleeing across the desert, and what has he done to make that gunslinger follow him? And who is this gunslinger character anyway?
Of course, this is the first line from Stephen King's The Gunslinger, and it also happens to be one of my favourite lines of one of my favourite books, by one of my favourite authors.
To be completely honest, today I stole an idea for a new 'feature', if you like, for this weblog. I came across two links, one to a rather old list of supposedly the "100 Best First Lines from Novels" (why, then, is King's line about the man in black, the desert and the gunslinger missing?), and one to a weblog about first lines.
That made me think that since I still haven't found a decent place for my list of books I've read this year (I dare you: try and find it!), wouldn't it be a nice idea to post the first line of whatever book I'm currently reading?
So without further ado, here is the list of books I've read so far this year, with their first lines.
- Stephen King — The Tommyknockers
For want of a nail the kingdom was lost—that's how the catechism goes when you boil it down.
- Susanna Clarke — Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.
- Tommy Wieringa — Joe Speedboot
Het is een warm voorjaar, in de klas bidden ze voor me omdat ik al meer dan tweehonderd dagen van de wereld ben.
- Maarten 't Hart — De Schrift betwist
In 1962 deed de religieleraar van onze hbs-B-klas, dominee Krijger, een opzienbarende mededeling.
- Stephen King — Cell
The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon on October 1.
- Douglas Adams — The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
So tell me, do you have any favourite first lines?