A Year in First Lines

The last month of the year is here, and so it’s time to play a particular game:

“Take the first line of each month’s first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year.”

It’s an idea that started with The Indextrious Reader a few years ago, and I remember that that it really is an interesting way to look back at a year.

‘An English Calendar’ by Evelyn Dunbar

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The Cat’s Cradle Book by Sylvia Townsend Warner

A few years ago I was lucky enough to come across what must have been the collection of a devoted admirer of Sylvia Townsend Warner in a secondhand bookshop.


The Fortunes of the Rougons by Émile Zola

I love Zola’s writing, I have meant to read more of his Rougon-Macquart series, but I hadn’t read anything for such a long time because I was wondering just how to set about it.


The Story of Finding the Book that I Had Always Thought Would be Just Out of Reach

Do you have a book like that?


Love by Elizabeth Von Arnim

I remember, many years ago, falling in love with Elizabeth Von Arnim’s writing as I read every one of her books that Virago republished.


Stanhope Forbes: Father of the Newlyn School

The last exhibition at Penlee House – ‘A Casket of Pearls’ – a celebration of its twentieth anniversary – was always going to be a difficult act to follow, but I take my hat off to whoever decided that Stanhope Forbes was the man for the job.



It was Jo’s idea, six years ago now, and it’s become an annual event – mark the end of the first six months of the reading year by putting six books into each of six categories.


Together and Apart by Margaret Kennedy

I love Margaret Kennedy’s writing, but I didn’t rush to pick up this book because I wasn’t that taken with the subject matter.


The Saddest Day

Just after sunset on Saturday, my mother left this life.


An A to Z for a New Month



Danger Point – or, In The Balance, – by Patricia Wentworth

I realised that it was a long, long time since I had investigated a mystery with Miss Silver.


The Trespasser by Tana French

Ten years ago, a debut crime novel was published.


The Quincunx by Charles Palliser

The Quincunx is an enticing, entrancing recreation of a Victorian novel, written in such perfect period prose and holding so much that is typical of the Victorian novel that you might well believe that Charles Palliser had excavated it and not sat down to write late in the twentieth century.

* * * * * * *

And that’s it!

I can’t say that it’s exactly right, but it is an interesting snapshot.

Do have a go – it’s a lovely way to look back , and I’d love to see your results.

30 thoughts on “A Year in First Lines

      1. I have tried a slightly different version of this idea over on my blog; I turned my blog post titles into a poem. Quite nonsensical results but fun. Thanks for the inspiration to challenge myself.


      1. Yes me too, though I remember the bookseller who introduced me to Virago when he showed me Miss Mole by EH Young. I was on a holiday at the coast. From then on every time I went to a bookshop 1 gleaned the shelves for that spine. What an exciting time that was, eh?


      1. My first post of everything month is my round up of the previous month, which also starts with the same first line… every time. So sadly it would be a very boring post if I did this meme!


          1. Yes, next year I think I’ll do the second or third. I think it’s good to have a “rule” otherwise you can “skew” to your favourite posts and we can’t have that, now, can we!!


  1. This is such a splenid idea for a look-back, but my blogging has been so sporadic this year I would have gaps for lots of months!


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