Tag: First Graf

Sometimes a great book reveals itself in the opening paragraph (“graf” in reporter-speak). Here are some of my favorites.

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

First Graf: Silverlock

TAKE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, STAR A grumpy Chicagoan, people the landscape with characters and places from the world’s literature and you have Silverlock — a fable of the human spirit no less great or more complex a story than a man…

First Graf: Goldfinger

IF YOU HAVE NEVER READ the original James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, you don’t know James Bond. You also don’t know sweeping prose that zips along like a rocket; lush description with a reporter’s eye for detail; fourth-wall breaking…

First Graf: Moby-Dick

SO FAR, IT HAS TAKEN me two years to read Herman Melville’s classic of monomania and cetology, mostly because I don’t want to finish. And so I haven’t, yet. It’s the language. Melville rolls so many word-clad notions around his…

First Graf: Ringworld

SINCE 1970, LARRY NIVEN HAS written four books and a number of articles concerning the Ringworld: an Earth’s orbit-diameter ribbon made from disassembled planets and populated by its builders with all manner of adaptive species, each with its own culture…

First Graf: Winnie-the-Pooh

“GENTLE FUN FOR ENGLISH TAOISTS” is as good a description as any of A. A. Milne’s two booksful of stories of the Hundred-Acre Wood’s most famous resident. These are not children’s tales any more than “Bullwinkle” or “Le Morte d’Arthur”…