Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday: August 19, 2011

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

Since I'm going to be spending the weekend reading and grading essays for my summer school class, I'll share the first line of the book that all of those essays are about. My class read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass this quarter. Here is the beginning:

I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland. I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant.

As you can tell, Frederick Douglass was a slave, and this was his story. Douglass was a brilliant man, and I love that his book includes a variety of themes that I find profoundly interesting, especially his discussion of religion and southern whites. This is probably one of the best slave narratives out there. And it's great from the very beginning. It kind of punches you in the gut that he had no idea when his birthday was and that most slaves didn't know theirs either. It's rather dehumanizing when you think about it.

What is the first line of your current read, and how did you like it? Please leave the link to your specific post, not just to the front page of your blog.


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