Favourite Beginnings and Endings

Some beginnings of books just suck you in to the story immediately, and some endings leave you feeling satisfied. I tried to compile a list of some of my favourite book beginnings and endings. It was a lot more difficult than I thought! I leafed through a lot of my books to come up with them – I guess these aren’t the sort of things that I remember!

Top 10 Beginnings

Maija’s Top 10 Beginnings and Endings in a Book

Let’s start with some of my favourite beginning sentences. These first three set the scene wonderfully, and make me want to keep reading to learn more. What door? What vampire? Magicians?

1. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.

2. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

”I see…” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling
In this one, the writing style and sort of conversational narrator just sucks me right in. I love the language of the first Harry Potter book, I think it’s a pitch perfect children’s book. The other books are good too (third one is my favourite), but the writing in the first one has a charm that’s completely it’s own.

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

And then beginning paragraphs that I love, because they set the mood of the story so well.

5. Naive. Super, by Erlend Loe

I have two friends. A good one and a bad one. And then there’s my brother. He might not be quite as friendly as I am, but he’s OK.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.

7. Room with a View, by E. M. Forster

”The Signora had no business to do it,” said Miss Bartlett, ”no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view, close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!”

Now it’s time for endings. I will not spoil you, don’t worry. I’ll be enigmatic, and also, use white text.

8. The Sandman (The Wake), by Neil Gaiman
Now it’s debatable whether this can be considered the ending or not, since I’m leaving out the epilogue and the two short stories that came after, but to me this is the ending.

…And then, fighting to stay asleep, wishing it would go on for ever, sure that once the dream was over, it would never come back, …you woke up.

9. A Storm of Swords, by George R.R. Martin
This book has it all – the perfect cold open in the prologue (for you show watchers, it’s pretty much the final scene of season two), and then the chilling and creepy, yet totally awesome epilogue. I’m talking about the final page here. I did not see that coming. I was both horrified or excited.

10. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
My favorite ending paragraph is this, white outed because of spoilers. Just highlight it with your mouse to read!
As Daenerys Targaryen rose to her feet, her black hissed, pale smoke venting from its mouth and nostrils. The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.

What are your favourites? Do you agree with some of mine? Leave a comment or a link to your list!


This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.


Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

This is a wrap up post for my 23 Day Reading Challenge. The challenge is originally called the 30 Day Reading Challenge, and it was started by NerdinTranslation in Youtube and came to an end last Tuesday.

I decided to take part a week after the challenge had already started, so that is where the 23 days comes from. My personal challenge was to read an average of a 100 pages a day. Based on this amount, I made a TBR pile for myself, and counted the pages – the total came to 2230 pages, so I set that as my target goal. That would make about 97 pages a day (rounded up).

So, how did I do?

  • I finished 9 books.
  • Of the 9 books, 3 were graphic novels.
  • Of the 9 books, 3 were ones that I had started to read before the challenge, but I didn’t finish 2 them during the challenge.
  • Although I didn’t finish the two planned books mentioned above, I made up the missing pages by reading 4 books outside of my planned TBR pile.
  • I met my goal, and read 2240 pages, which was 10 more than planned, and made an average of 97 pages a day (rounded down).
  • I counted the average rating from the stars I’d given in GoodReads, and it came to 3,5 stars.

I’m very happy with my result! It’s a lot more books that I’ve managed to finish in a long time, and many of them were 4 star reads! The books are listed below, and they link to GoodReads.


Doll Bones The Restaurant at the End of the Universe We Have Always Lived in the Castle Courtney Crumrin Vol.1 Hawkeye, Vol. 1 The Ocean at the End of the Lane Moon Called Anything And Something Ready Player One

Read but not finished during the challenge

A Dance with Dragons Hold Me Closer Necromancer

Current Reads: Moon Called

I am still continuing with my 23 Day Reading Challenge. Here is a look into my reading this past week. All the cover images take you to GoodReads.

I am currently reading

Moon Called
Moon Called
(Mercy Thompson #1)
By: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban fantasy
From: The library

Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She’s a mechanic – and a damn good one – who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf – literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself ia a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly a normal young lady… and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

You might recall me mentioning this book in late May… Well, I am still reading it. I just wasn’t able to get into it and set it down for a while, but I thought I’d give it another chance during this reading challenge I’m doing. So far it has only managed to slow my reading down and kept me from reaching my daily quota of 100 pages for the challenge. I’m over halfway through, and only fairly recently has the plot been giving any indications of actually moving forward. It was just exposition, exposition, exposition. Something interesting happens – pause, now let’s talk about the world for a while – something else happens, oh, perhaps this will start moving forward now – let’s tell another character’s backstory for you! If I don’t get into it soon, I will have to give this one a pass.

Next up

Ready Player One
Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
Genre: Sci-fi
From: My bookshelf

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty and disease are widespread.

Like most humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who died with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

I’m really looking forward to this! I’m an 80s kid, so this should be a treat.

Last week I finished

We Have Always Lived in the Castle Courtney Crumrin Vol.1 Hawkeye, Vol. 1 The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Last week I posted

July Book Haul
Egads! A Big Book! – Top 7 Most Intimidating Books


This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

July Book Haul (2013)

I don’t know whether to call this a June or July book haul, since I bought most of these books last month… But anyway, here you go, a book haul! The links take you to GoodReads.

July Book Haul 1
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Courtney Crumrin, vol.1: The Night Things by Ted Naifeh
Doll Bones by Holly Black

You might have seen these books around my blog, since I’ve already read them all. I have to say that the new colored hardcover editions of the Courtney Crumrin graphic novels are SO beautiful. I will just have to buy all the volumes although I own all the paperback black-and-white editions!

July Book Haul 2
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Daughter of Hounds, Murder of Angels and Low Red Moon
by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Misty over at The Book Rat often buys books from Better World Books. It made me interested, so I looked into them, and saw that they had free shipping to my country! After a bit of browsing, I was more than happy to find out that they had a lot of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s books in stock. She is such a hard author to find in book stores in Finland, and my library doesn’t carry her. I immediately ordered all the books by her I could find (that I hadn’t read). If I remember correctly, they were all less than 3 dollars! I went ahead and also bought The Discovery of Witches at the same price, since I’ve heard good things about it and it was a hardcover to boot!

The only trouble I had was that the shipping had damaged the cover of Murder of Angels, which was sold in “Like New” condition, so it arrived looking more battered than the other “Very Good”-labeled books. The books were in plastic wrapping, not in a box. But hey, I’m not complaining. It still doesn’t look too bad for a used book.

Night Creatures
Burn Bright, Angel Arias and Shine Light by Marianne de Pierres

I also picked up the Night Creatures trilogy for my Kindle, since the whole series was available for free on Amazon. I don’t know much about the books, but I thought it would be better to go ahead and order them all now in case I enjoy the first book.

Have you read any of these? Or have you bought something exciting lately yourself? Let me know in the comments.

This haul is linked at the weekly haul memes Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and Showcase Sunday, hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea.

Egads! A Big Book!

We all have books that we kinda sorta want to read, but for some reason or other are intimidated to pick up. I gathered some of those scary books into one list. I realize that it is a bit ridiculous that I am intimidated by some of these books because they are ”big”, while at the same time I read George R.R. Martin’s novels… But for some reason big epic fantasy books have just never intimidated me!

Maija’s Top 7 Most Intimidating Books

Intimidation factor #1:
New author to me, writes big books

1. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
2. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
3. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Intimidation factor #2:
Authors whose other works I like, but am not certain about some books

4. The Left Hand of Darkness (or any science fiction book) by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Intimidation factor #3:
Hyped books that I’ve bought but not yet read for fear that I won’t like them

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth

What are you intimidated by in books? Is there one in my list that I should definitely pick up as soon as possible?


This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Current Reads: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Like I wrote about in my last post, I’ve been doing an abbreviated version of Nerdintranslation‘s 30 Day Reading Challenge, where I’m trying to read a 100 pages a day for 23 days (I started the challenge a week late). Here is my progress so far!

I am currently reading

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By: Neil Gaiman
From: My bookshelf

o(^▽^)o A new book by Neil Gaiman dance! I will start reading this today. I’ve already read a two chapter preview that I got with a free short story of Gaiman’s that I downloaded for my Kindle, and from that snippet I can say that I enjoy the almost storybook-like narrative focused on small village life with a bit of the supernatural thrown in, and can’t wait to keep reading and find out what the more fantastical elements of the book are about.

I’m also continuing with A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin.

I just finished reading

Doll Bones The Restaurant at the End of the Universe We Have Always Lived in the Castle
In the past week I’ve finished three books for the challenge. Doll Bones by Holly Black was an enjoyable middle-grade coming-of-age story with some horror/creepy tones thrown in, about three friends going on a quest to bury a doll. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams was a re-read of the second book in Adams’ hilarious sci-fi adventure series – my favorite part of this book was the Total Perspective Vortex. And earlier today I finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, a wonderfully creepy gothic horror novel filled with the great atmosphere that is always guaranteed by Jackson’s writing.

I previously posted

My 23 Day Reading Challenge
The Best Books of 2013 So Far
My Summer Reading List


This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.