In mid-October 2018, I posted my 200th #bookcovers and #firstsentences photo and quote to Instagram (posting as @tallandtruebooks). The series is an eclectic mix of fiction and nonfiction books, all from my bookcase.

As I observed in earlier blog posts, First Sentences on Instagram (May 2018) and Writing First Sentences (March 2018), while I know “you should never judge a book by its cover”, I often make exceptions. And after opening a book cover, for me, the first sentence (or paragraph) is generally the best indicator of whether I’ll keep turning the pages and enjoy reading a work of fiction or nonfiction.

Belated 200th celebration

So to celebrate (a little belatedly!) my 200th post, here is another selection of my favourite book covers and first sentences from Instagram.

If a book piques your interest, then click on the cover to browse and buy it on — or visit your preferred online or bricks-and-mortar bookshop for a copy!

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Douglas Adams

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression “as pretty as an airport”.

Penguin Bloom - 'The odd little bird who saved a family'

Penguin Bloom – ‘The odd little bird who saved a family’

Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Greive

Our story is deeply painful to share, but it is also beautiful and true.

The Complete Book of Thunderbirds

The Complete Book of Thunderbirds

Chris Bentley with foreword by Gerry Anderson

Although to date I have made some 600 episodes of entertainment using puppets, live action, stop motion and computer-generated images, I am mainly known as the man who made Thunderbirds, and that’s OK with me!

The Travels of Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo

Marco Polo

Emporers and kings, dukes and marquises, counts, knights, and townsfolk, and all people who wish to know the various races of men and the peculiarities of the various regions of the world, take this book and have it read to you.

The Everything Labrador Retriever Book

The Everything Labrador Retriever Book

Kim Campbell Thornton

It’s not often that a dog’s name says exactly what it does, but that’s so in the case of the Labrador Retriever.

I am Spock

I am Spock

Leonard Nimoy

Let’s open this book with a couple of shattering confessions right up front: 1. I talk to myself; and 2. I hear voices in my head.

Light and Shadow - Memoirs of a Spy's Son

Light and Shadow – Memoirs of a Spy’s Son

Mark Colvin

The first time I set off to cross a national border as a foreign correspondent, I forgot my passport.

Adrian Mole : The Cappuccino Years

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years

Sue Townsend

I take up my pen once again to record a momentous time in the affairs of men (and, thank God, because this is intended to be a secret diary, I am not required to add ‘and women’).

The Courage to Write -- How Writers Transcend Fear

The Courage to Write — How Writers Transcend Fear

Ralph Keyes

If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage. ~ Cynthia Ozick

David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Charles Dickens

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

Doff my hat to Dickens

I doff my top hat to Charles Dickens, his is a powerful first sentence — perhaps because it resonates with middle-aged me?

Do you have a favourite book cover or first sentence?

© 2018 Robert Fairhead

N.B. Don’t forget to read the companion blog posts, Writing First Sentences (March 2018) and First Sentences on Instagram (May 2018).

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Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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