Start With a Bang and End With a… Bang? (Top Ten Tuesday)

July 30, 2013 Blogging, Book Club, Children's Fiction, Classics, Humor, Top Ten Tuesday 44

Happy Tuesday Bookworms!

As you know, I love making lists for Top Ten Tuesday. This week the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list out ten books with awesome beginnings and/or endings. It was tough to narrow it down, but miracles can happen, people!

TTT3WBeautiful Beginnings

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I can’t help but adore the opening line of this book. It can be adapted for so many purposes! “It is a truth universally acknowledged that…”

…Coleslaw is icky.

…Penguins are awesome.

…You are never too old to wear electric blue nail polish.

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I realize it’s not the first line or anything, but Alice going down the rabbit hole is so iconic. How else could one be expected to begin such an adventure?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser…

3. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling. The desire to be special is part of the human condition. The feeling of liberation that Harry gets when he realizes that everything in his mundane life is about to change, and the fact that his idiosyncrasies are MAGICAL? In that moment, there was not a reader alive who didn’t long for their Hogwarts letter! (Okay, so I’m sure not everyone wanted a Hogwarts letter… But I did. And I like hyperbole. Stop with the logic, it hurts!)

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This book is one of the few I’ve read more than once. Little Amy saying that “it won’t feel like Christmas without presents” tore at my ten year old heartstrings. I started reading it shortly after I’d opened the package that Christmas at my grandparents’ house. The March sisters and their generosity and their hardships and their archaic underpants took hold of me and never let go!

The copy I got for Christmas was a large hardcover. It still lives in my closet at my parents' house, as I've got a small paperback on my shelves.

The copy I got for Christmas was a large hardcover. It still lives in my closet at my parents’ house, as I’ve got a small paperback on my shelves.

Engaging Endings

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s a full fledged ride down to crazy town, but I didn’t see the ending coming. It may have caused some shouting. I believe a “holy crap!” was uttered on my part.

2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It was our first selection for The Fellowship of the Worms (have y’all started reading The Shadow of the Wind yet?) and the twist toward the end of the book caught me totally off guard. In this case, I pulled a full on Joey Lawrence “WHOA!”

Because Blossom was awesome. (Source)

Because Blossom was awesome. (Source)

3. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. Can you spoil a Harry Potter book? Since the series was SOOOOO publicized and the final volume came out 6 years ago, I’m going to go with “no.” I am a sucker for a happy ending, and coming full circle at Platform 9 3/4? I was a hot mess of snotty tears.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Again, I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but I LOVED this. Jane and Rochester’s journey was all messy and crazy and full of wives stashed in attics and life threatening injuries… But in the end? There was happiness. Sigh. Happy, happy Katie.

I know, this is a list of 8, not 10, but I’m still recovering from BlogHer. I am old, boring, and unused to concentrated amounts of awesome. What about you, bookworms? Which books have hooked you with their fabulous beginnings and knocked you flat with their amazing endings?

44 Responses to “Start With a Bang and End With a… Bang? (Top Ten Tuesday)”

  1. JoulesDellinger

    Um… spoiler alert?

    Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I cried my face off at the end of that book. CRIED my FACE OFF! That’s a lot of tears.

    • Words for Worms

      I would have, if I hadn’t been in college already by the time I read the books. I knew I was too old to expect a Hogwarts letter, and I was devastated.

  2. Rhian

    I tend to remember awesome (or awful) endings better than beginnings. One beginning(ish) I do remember making an impact was in Jasper Jones (by Craig Silvey) where the opening scene hit me like a punch in the face (in a good way!) because it was so unexpected.

    A couple of endings I remember for good reasons include the end of The Dark Tower series (by Stephen King) because it was so heartbreaking, and the end of Skin Privilege (by Karin Slaughter) because … I can’t tell you why. I can say that after I picked my jaw off the floor I dove for the Internet to find out what the hell she was thinking.

    I love your description of Gone Girl, though I would say the book was filled with “holy crap” moments and the ending was just the last of many.

    And I will respectfully disagree with you on the Harry Potter ending. I thought the epilogue was *awful* – throw the book across the room awful (not that I would ever treat a book like that!) – and nearly ruined the whole thing for me.

  3. Rory

    Any list with Jane Eyre on it (except for worst books ever) is great. And no one is ever too old for electric blue nail polish, that’s a fact.

  4. Darlene

    Great Beginning: “It was a dark and stormy night…” from A Wrinkle in Time. (This line was borrowed from a previous novel thought to be poorly written.)

    Great Ending: From A Tale of Two Cities. “Tis a far better thing than I have ever done, tis a far better rest that I go to…” or something like that. You can also catch this quote at the end of The Dark Knight Rises as Commissioner Gordon reads it at you-know-who’s funeral.

    • Words for Worms

      Good choices! I’ve not read A Tale of Two Cities. Actually, I started it once, but there were circumstances that led to me not finishing it… Namely, getting more exciting books. I’m not a good person.

  5. Megan M.

    Ahh, Joey Lawrence. I totally hearted his album and played it on my Walkman like, all the time. I’m very bad at coming up with lists like this…. of course Harry Potter, because wow, lots of sad/amazing endings. Also The Casual Vacancy had one of the most tragic endings I’ve ever read. Why do I let you do that to me, J.K.? (Because you’re amazing. I know.)

    Gone Baby Gone. I don’t know if the book has the same ending as the movie (please don’t come after me with pitchforks) but if it does, oh my God. 🙁

    Totally agree with Gone Girl. What a cray cray ending! After I let it marinate for a while I thought it was kind of perfect, though, for those two pieces of work.

  6. Kayla Sanchez

    I’ve heard a lot about Gone Girl – maybe I’ll have to check it out! I had Harry Potter (both books) on my list too. And I, for one, wanted a Hogwarts letter!

  7. Sarah M

    When does gone girl get really good? I have read 20% of it according to my kindle and had to stop reading it because it felt like I was just reading about a bad marriage. Is it worth sticking with it?

  8. tinykitchenstories

    Underworld by Don DeLilo has one of the best openers to a book I’ve ever read. It’s pages long, but you are so riveted you can’t put it down. And it’s about baseball. I hate baseball! But I LOVE this intro.

    Surprise endings? The one that got me recently was The Elegance of the Hedgehog. If you haven’t read it, you really should. It’s the first to make me cry in a long time.

  9. caitlinstern

    I just did beginnings, because I’d be so worried about spoiling a book for someone, somewhere, that I’d be cryptic to the point of uselessness.
    P & P made my list, because I adore the gentle sarcasm. There’s something about an opening line that makes you smile, isn’t there?

  10. middleagebutch

    I’m gonna go with Planet of the Apes for endings. The book was assigned reading in 7th grade. It was the first time that I realized the power that a good writer holds … and the ability to manipulate … his/her audience. Oh, and Life of Pi. Because I love nebulous endings.

  11. Sarah Says Read

    I liked the end of HP too! A lot of people didn’t like the epilogue, but I NEEDED it. This one was too hard for me to tackle this week. Especially with almost all of my books in boxes and not available for me to look at for ideas!

    And speaking of books in boxes, my copy of The Shadow of the Wind is in one of them… so I’m hopefully getting a copy from the library to re-read.

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