Do you like to read for fun?
Find books in the University of Guelph Library's leisure reading collection, Gryph Reads, by reading the first paragraphs of some of the books from the collection.
"My brain was drowning in grease."
"I was stealing saltshakers again. Ten, sometimes twelve a night, shoving them in my pockets, hiding them up my sleeves, smuggling them out of bars and diners and anywhere else I could find them. In the morning, wherever I woke up, I was always covered in salt."
"He stopped trying to bring her back. She only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken down déjà vu."
"The letter that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday."
"I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body."
"This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren't. Its basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing."
"Did you have a dream last night?" my father asked me. We were sitting in the car, waiting for my mother and sister. I was four years old."
"At first, there's just darkness and silence. Are my eyes open? Hello?... On my wrist is an orange plastic band. I squint, unable to focus on the words, but after a few seconds, the block letters sharpen: FLIGHT RISK."
"Many, perhaps most, American adults have heard of "Typhoid Mary". The phrase connotes a polluted woman, someone who carries and gives disease to others."
"Catastrophism, a geological theory championed by zoologist Georges Cuvier, holds that time lurches forward in sudden disasters."
"The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don't know where I am, how I came to be here. I don’t know how I’m going to get home."
"Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder. The floor of the bookstore is far below me, the surface of a planet I've left behind... My eyes trace a line above my knuckles, searching the spines – and there, I spot it. The book I’m looking for. But let me back up."
"It's early September. Jodie Brett is in her kitchen, making dinner."
"Here is what I know: My name is Budo. I have been alive for five years.Five years is a very long time for someone like me to be alive. Max gave me my name. Max is the only human person who can see me."
"On November the 21st, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there in a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision which would lead inexorably to her death."
"Jane salutes you from an age where to be an aficionado is to find yourself foolishly situated in the world."
"As a food photographer, I've taken pictures of all kinds of food: drippy, sugary, grilled, sautéed, tossed and frozen. Whatever the subject, my job is always the same: to make it look delicious... I spend so much time looking at food that I can't help but be a little obsessed about it. I wonder what's in it, where it came from, how it was grown, and even who grew it."
"The cat had a party to attend, and went to the baboon to get herself groomed."
"There is no this or that world."
"Three days shy of her fifteenth birthday. Alison Pope paused at the top of the stairs."
"It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn't very big. Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly. She said they'd come here across the ocean from the old country. Her mother said that Lettie didn’t remember properly, and it was a long time ago, and anyway, the old country had sunk. Old Mrs. Hempstock, Lettie's grandmother, said they were both wrong, and that the place that had sunk wasn't the really old country. She said she could remember the really old country. She said the really old country had blown up."
"The Weirds acquired their surname through a series of events that some would call coincidence and others would call fate."
"I, Valdimar Haraldsson, was in my twenty-seventh year when I embarked on the publication of a small journal devoted to my chief preoccupation, the link between fish consumption and the superiority of the Nordic race."
"The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches."
"I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old Earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time."
"The first time Cora heard the name Louise Brooks, she was parked outside the Wichita Library in a Model-T Ford, waiting for the rain to stop."
"Mister hit Josephine with the palm of his hand across her left cheek and it was then she knew she would run."
"I believe in ghosts. They’re the ones who haunt us, the ones who left us behind."
"Behold: In the beginning there was everything, just as there is now. The giant slap of a thunderclap and, bang, it's raining talking snakes"
"The cottage sat at the edge of the lough. She could hear the wind and rain whipping across the expanse of open water: it hit the trees and muscled its way into the grass."
"It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts."
"I am not as I once was. They have done this to me, broken me open and torn out my heart. I do not know who I am anymore. I must try to remember."
"I remember being born. In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rush symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me, and I was safe."
"I hate First Friday. It makes the village crowded, and now, in the heat of high summer, that’s the last thing anyone wants. From my place in the shad it isn’t so bad, but the stink of bodies, all sweating with the morning work, it enough to make milk curdle."
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well."
"A boy, blond-haired, about twelve years old, clambered to the top of a pile of ruins, feeling his way over broken bricks and burnt timbers and shattered glass."
"He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air."
"I seem to have trouble dying. By all rights, I should not have lived this long. But I still can smell trouble riding on any wind, just as surely as I could tell you whether it is a stew of chicken necks or pigs’ feet bubbling in the iron pot on the fire.
"You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to inform his surroundings of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long."
"I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job."
"Nine months Landsman's been flopping at the Hotel Zamenhof without any of his fellow residents managing to get themselves murdered. Now somebody has put a bullet in the brain of the occupant of 208, a yid who was calling himself Emanuel Lasker."
"It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna."
"In which a stranger arrives in Hokitika; a secret council is disturbed; Walter Moody conceals his most recent memory; and Thomas Balfour begins to tell a story."
"While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I’d been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anybody or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises: elevator bell, rattle of the minibar cart, even church clocks tolling the hour, de Westertoren, Krijtberg, a dark edge to the clangor, an inwrought fairy-tale sense of doom."
"When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil."
"I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war."
"When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed. She is wearing on of his T-shirts, and her long hair is tousled in a way that prompts reflexive thoughts of the previous night. He stands there, enjoying the brief flashback, rubbing the water from this hair with a towel."
"She's buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn. Not more than a little pile of stones, really. I didn't want to draw attention to her resting place, but I couldn’t leave her without remembrance."
"Mae Mobley was born on an early Sunday morning in August, 1960. A church baby we like to call it. Taking care a white babies, that’s what I do, along with all the cooking and the cleaning. I don’t raised seventeen kids in my lifetime."
"My solo three-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail had many beginnings."
"While engaged in some sort of home improvement project, I inadvertently block my exit from a dank cellar."
"I am my mother’s fourth daughter, born on the fourth day of the fourth month, and the only one of her children to survive past a year."
"In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Spain to look for a new westward route to Asia. He (and many other sailors) didn’t survive the journey."
"When the cancer that had spread throughout most of his brain finally took the best of him, Schlomo Lemer had, at the age of 89, been in love 274 times."
"It was a summer, I remember. I was ten or eleven."
"I stand up and look down at the bed, holding my breath in fear of the sounds that are escalating from deep within my throat."
"Perspective. I need to get perspective. It’s not an earthquake or a crazed gunman or a nuclear meltdown, is it? On the scale of disasters, this is not huge. Not huge. One day I expect I’ll look back at this moment and laugh and this, Ha-ha, how silly I was to worry—"
"My philosophy is pretty simple—any day nobody's trying to kill me is a good day in my book."
"This is how an idea becomes real."
"It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Mrs. Baird's was like a thousand other Highland bed-and-breakfast establishments in 1945; clean and quiet, with fading floral wallpaper, gleaming floors, and a coin-operated hot-water geyser in the lavatory."
"There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair."
"Sleeping in the car is cramped. Being a third-hand Honda, it's no place to begin with. It it was a van they'd have more room, but fat chance of affording one of those, even back when they thought they had money. Stand says they're lucky to have any kind of car at all, which is true, but their luckiness doesn’t make the car any bigger."
"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
"The children of the embassy all saw the boat land. Their teachers and shiftparents had had them painting it for days. One wall of the room had been given over to their ideas. It's been centuries since any voidcraft vented fire, as they imagined this one doing, but it's a tradition to represent them with such trails."
"The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another."
""Where's Papa going with that axe?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."
"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas though. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice."
"Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406—brushplane—and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation."
"Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity—Good. His dad had the pickup going. He could get up now. Jess slid out of bed and into his overalls."
"There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. There once was a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas. That was over a hundred years ago. Now it is just a dry, flat wasteland."
"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping."
"Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don't try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don't want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don't want you to find me. I didn't enclose a return address for the same reason."
"I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball."
"I'm pretty much fucked."
"The willingness of Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grown-ups remains a mystery to me to this day."
"Early in the morning, late in the century Cricklewood Broadway. At 0627 hours on January 1, 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate facedown on the steering wheel, hoping judgment would not be too heavy upon him."
"East of the Tolly Club, after Deshapran Sashmal Road splits in two, there is a small mosque. A turn leads to a quiet enclave. A warren of narrow lanes and modest middle-class homes."
"On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the emperor of Japan. Not many people would have known of him before the war, but I did. He had left his home on the rim of the sunrise to come to the central highlands of Malaya."
"I thought it was done for, that bright yellow bird flap-fluttering as Rufus closed his jaws, 'til it lie, limp beneath his whiskers."
"One evening in Toronto, the gods Apollo and Hermes were at the Wheat Sheaf Tavern. Apollo had allowed his beard to prow until it reached his clavicle. Hermes, more fastidious, was clean-shaven, but his clothes were distinctly terrestrial: black jeans, a black leather jacket, a blue shirt."
"Montgomery, Alabama. December 1, 1955. Early evening. A public bus pulls to a stop and a sensibly dressed woman in her forties gets on. She carries herself erectly, despite having spent the day bent over an ironing board in a dingy basement tailor shop at Montgomery Fair department store."
"Tony Cicoria was forty-two, very fit and robust, a former college football player who had become a well-regarded orthopedic surgeon in a small city in upstate New York. He was at a lakeside pavilion one fall afternoon. It was pleasant and breezy, but he noticed a few storm clouds in the distance; it looked like rain."
"People who are successful in life have one thing in common: They all seem to be doing something different and special with their neurocircuitry to maximize their potential and achieve their goals. We believe that's what gives these people a Winner’s Brain."
"Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia. In the style of medieval villages, the town is organized around a large central square. Facing the square is the Palazzo Marchesale, the palace of the Sages family, once the great landowner of these parts."
"About six years ago, I went to the Gap to buy a pair of jeans. I tend to wear my jeans until they’re falling apart, so it had been quite a while since my last purchase. A nice young salesperson walked up to me and asked if she could help."
"Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. In a perfect world, healthy and delicious food would be all around us. It would be easy to choose and easy to enjoy."
"An Indian kitchen can be anywhere in the world."
"We threw a party. The same party, every year, when I was a kid. It was a spring lamb roast, and we roasted four or five whole little guys who each weighed only about forty pounds over an open fire and invited more than a hundred people."
"We just eat too damn much."
"This is a true story. Imagine a New York City apartment at six in the morning. It is modest apartment in Greenwich Village. A coffee is bubbling in an electric percolator. On the table is a basket of rye bread, an entire coffee cake, a few cheeses, a platter of cold cuts."