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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Beginnings and Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings in Books. (All covers courtesy of goodreads.com unless otherwise posted.)

(In no particular order)

The Classics:

10. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens--One of the few books I can quote both the first and last lines of: "It was the best of times it was the worst of times...'It is a far, far  better thing I do now than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.'" And between those first and last lines is one of the greatest stories written. Ever. Seriously.

9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo--I read this not long after seeing the Disney movie because I wanted to know how the story really went. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless you are a very strong reader and have the time to commit. It's a long, at times very dry, book. But, the ending was epic! I couldn't believe how it ended. When my brother found out I'd read it, he asked me about it. He said he'd never actually read it so I told him the ending and he sat on my couch with his mouth hanging open. Yeah, it was really that holy cow! of an ending.

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--I know I don't have to explain how great this book is to all of you, but I especially loved how it ended. Lee did this thing where she had Scout stand on Boo Radley's porch and look down the street. She visualized everything--even seemingly small things--as they would have looked through Boo's eyes. I thought this was very effective in terms of characterizing both Scout and Boo, and had a very nostalgic affect on the reader, re-hashing the events of a book but painting them in a totally different light, all in the space of a few sentences. SUCH a great conclusion to a wonderful story!

7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Man could this guy tell a story!)--I read this for the first time in high school. I just remember reading the last line--"I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her."--and thinking, What a beautiful story! It may not mean much if you haven't read the book and don't know the story, but if you have, it's one of the most romantic lines written EVER!

The Fantasy

6. Liar! by Isaac Asimov--This is actually a short story by Asimov that I had to read for a college class. I won't give spoilers--and it's such a psychological read that I probably couldn't if I wanted to--but let's just say that Asimov writes robot logic, which is so different from human logic, so well that I couldn't even imagine where he was taking the story while I was reading it. When I finally got to ending. When I read it, I sat their with my mouth open, blinking at the page for five minutes. I think I finally managed to get out the word, "Whhoooaaaa!" Yeah.

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling--I think I've said this on the blog before, but book 4 was the one that made me a die-hard fan. I'd read books 1-3 and really liked them; enough to keep reading, anyway. But I couldn't believe how book 4 ended. I really think that was the moment it kind of ceased to be a kid's story and became a very epic, real-world, adult story, in the guise of middle-grade. You better believe I lined up at midnight to get my hands on book 5!

4. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin--I won't give spoilers for those who haven't read the series, but this is book 3. It's the game-changer in the series. It's the book you throw against the wall and then have to go pick up and keep reading. It's gory and tragic and shocking and completely awesome! Beware: this author doesn't mind pissing off his readers!

3. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan--You all knew I couldn't leave Wheel of Time off the list, right? I've said this before, too, but when I picked up book 1 of The Wheel of Time, I was completely hooked and hopelessly in love with this story by the end of the Prologue. Yup, that's right: the Prologue! It's tragic and compelling and I just had to keep reading to find out what it was all about. 

The Others:

2. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer--I know this one will get some tomatoes thrown. Yeah, yeah. This series was just meh for me, but I don't hate it the way others do. For me, the end of book 2 was especially compelling. As someone who isn't always crazy about love triangles, I felt like Meyers handled hers very tastefully. The end of New Moon is just. So. Freakin'. Sad. It propelled me forward to read book 3.

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy--While this is fast heading toward classic status, it hasn't been out long enough to be considered one yet. McCarthy is kind of a writer's writer, which is another way of saying that his writing can be hard to read, but most writers love it. The Road is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Many people find it to be distastefully dark (a sentiment I don't share, as a lover of dystopia) but I guarantee the award has to do with the ending. It's just so beautifully written and imagined. It made me cry, which I didn't at all expect during the first 9/10 of the book. A truly great ending!

So, what are your top ten favorite beginnings/endings?


  1. The ending of The Goblet of Fire is definitely intense and a transition into the darker HP years. I'm reading The Road now so I'm glad to hear that it has such a great ending!

    My TTT

  2. I recently read Notre-Dame du Paris and I agree, it was quite an experience dragging myself through that novel, lol =/ But the ending totally made up for it, that was some powerful imagery there.

    The opening and closing to A Tale of Two Cities is fabulous and perfect <3 (even though I didn't feature it on my list this week, lol)

    A Storm of Swords = mind was blown the first time I read it. I totally agree, it was such a game changer on so many levels.

    My TTT

  3. Goblet of Fire was the one that made it from just small adventures to EPIC ADVENTURE for me. Great book and a great pick. I enjoyed your list :)

    My TTT

    Kate @ whYAnot

  4. Great choice to put Great Expectations on your list. I completely forgot to include that one!

  5. ooooh Good choices!

  6. The ending to HP 4 is awesome. I had to wait three years for book 5 to be released, and oh my gosh, it was painful. HP3 is what hooked me on HP, though. I realize that Rowling had everything planned out, and I loved that.

  7. Thank you for not spoiling Storm of Swords! I got a little nervous when I saw that. :) I'm obsessed with the show, and I want to at least get started with the books sometime this year.

    The Road was wonderful - both the film and the book.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

  8. Always see Harry Potter somewhere in these various question memes!

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  9. I LOVE To Kill a Mockingbird. It's my all-time favorite read and made
    my Top Ten too :)

  10. HP #4 is probably the same for me, partially because there are dragons >.> But omg so much crying! I think that was the start of the crying every book hehe