Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.
Today’s Topic: Top Ten Book Beginnings/Endings
(Don’t worry! No spoilers!)
1. Wonder– The first page in Wonder is one of my favorite first pages ever.
“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
If I found a magic lamp and I could have one wish, I would wish that I had a normal face that no one ever noticed at all. I would wish that I could walk down the street without people seeing me and then doing that look-away thing. Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.
But I’m kind of used to how I look by now. I know how to pretend I don’t see the faces people make. We’ve all gotten pretty good at that sort of thing: me, Mom and Dad, Via. Actually, I take that back: Via’s not so good at it. She can get really annoyed when people do something rude. Like, for instance, one time in the playground some older kids made some noises. I don’t even know what the noises were exactly because I didn’t hear them myself, but Via heard and she just started yelling at the kids. That’s the way she is. I’m not that way.
Via doesn’t see me as ordinary. She says she does, but if I were ordinary, she wouldn’t feel like she needs to protect me as much. And Mom and Dad don’t see me as ordinary, either. They see me as extraordinary. I think the only person in the world who realizes how ordinary I am is me.
My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”
Don’t you want to read it now?!?! [Ricki says, “YES, Kellee. Now you made me want to RE-READ it!)
2. A Tale Darm and Grimm– This first page always sucks in my students when I read it outloud to them.
“Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.
I know, I know. You don’t believe me. I don’t blame you. A little while ago, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. Little girls in red caps skipping around the forest? Awesome? I don’t think so.
But then I started to read them. The real, Grimm ones. Very few little girls in red caps in those.
Well, there’s one. But she gets eaten.”
Awesome is right!
3. Graceling– The ending of this perfect book is a beautiful allusion to Jane Eyre. I loved it.
4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe– The power of truly finding your identity is purely captured in this amazing book.
5. The Giver– Ah, one of the most controversial endings ever! I actually loved it because it causes such amazing discussion and even pure anger in its readers. This is my all-time favorite book, and I will always cherish the ambiguity that Lowry ends this novel with. (And if you really want to know what happens, read the companions.)
1. Between Shades of Gray– I told myself I was going to do just beginnings or just endings, but I felt like I would be really dropping the ball if I didn’t mention the beginning of this book. Readers are thrown into the action, where the NKVD are pounding on Lina’s door. I love reading this beginning to students because I have fifteen copies of this book, and almost every single copy is signed out by the end of class. Lina’s mother begs and barters for her son’s life. She is successful, and Lina’s words at the end of the chapter are chilling. I know them by heart. “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
2. Shine– This is the only ending of any book that made me hold my breath. My heart actually stopped for a moment (My brother, who is a physician, would argue with me, I am sure). All I can say is–HOLD ON! (Did you catch that pun—those of you who have read this one?)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird– This book almost feels like a story within a story to me. I love how the trial is separate yet connected to everything Scout learns. The final scene provides a lot of closure for readers. Overall, it is the most satisfying ending of any book I’ve read.
4. Of Mice and Men– I didn’t want to discuss two classics because there are so many great beginnings and endings in YAL, but this is one of my favorite books to read aloud to students because of the ending. There are two closing scenes (one with Curley’s wife and the other on the last few pages) that make my students audibly gasp. I have those scenes memorized so I can see the looks on their faces as I read them—and it never gets old. The final few pages of this book are great because they really allow readers to ponder the message of the book. My students always have strong opinions about the characters immediately after I read it, but after some discussion and a few differing comments from their peers, many of them change their minds.
5. The Fault in our Stars– Ah, what an ending! I love this ending not because of what happens but because of how it is said. Green masterfully weaves the words at the end of this book in a way that sticks with readers forever.
What is your favorite book beginning? Endings?