Best First Sentence [UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED]

    The Journal Pulp is offering a $100.00 cash prize for the following:

    Best first sentence for a novel about a lovely librarian who secretly burns the books she loves because she wants no one else to read them.

    Rules and guidelines:

    No outrageous run-ons. You can submit anonymously or under your real name, it doesn’t matter.

    No minimum length requirement.

    Submit as many separate entries as you’d like.

    Leave your sentence in the comments section below.

    The winner will be selected by the Journal Pulp.

    The contest will be open for two weeks from today: March, 21st, 2013, through April 4th, 2013, at midnight.

    If your sentence doesn’t appear in the comments after you’ve submitted, it’s almost certainly because of this aggressive SPAM filter. Please note that I check the SPAM folder carefully and regularly, and that your sentence, if it’s not SPAM, will be approved. I do not censor.

    March 21st, 2013 | journalpulp | 210 Comments | Tags: ,

About The Author

Ray Harvey

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning at the core of my life.

210 Responses and Counting...

  • Tristen 03.21.2013

    Ms. Sandy slid her red painted finger nail slowly behind the last page of the novel; her lips curved up in a crooked smile knowing she’d keep the secret held within those pages forever.

  • It can, can it, can it be that in order to savor the love, the story, the life I live through these which I can not share must be burned?

  • She caught a spark on her tongue like a fiery snowflake; Russian literature always burned almost better than it read.

  • Books can not be killed by fire. People die, but books never die.

  • Gretchen Sanders hissed at the gangly teenager to quiet himself, unaware — momentarily — of the all-too-familiar paperback waving in his right hand.

  • She came to this coffee shop on her lunch breaks to read, publicly unaware of what the handsome young businessmen and students would give for a moment of her attention, but keenly and privately aware of the extreme pleasure of keeping it from them.

  • She burned every last copy of her favorite books, including the one with the bottle of moonshine hidden between the covers; the skin grafts begin Monday.

  • Hardly a loss.

  • Better licked by only her eyes, fingers, and flames than to cast pearls before swine.

  • Closing time.

  • The pages before her curled a familiar curl, as though in accusation of the contortions they once shared.

  • “The catalogue said you had it on shelf.”

  • “It was a pleasure to burn.”

    [Note: Couldn’t resist.]

  • Her eyes were the only ones that had seen the pages in these books, that is how the greed began to grow.

  • Upon reading ‘The End’ she knew it really would be the end for this wonderful, delicious book she loved.

  • She looked out across a sea of mediocrity and shook her head, knowing that she would have to burn it.

  • As she strolled from her garden swing she looked back and saw her love burning and she smiled.

  • The fire crackled a popped in anticipation of the lovely feast.

  • On a plume of smoke, three souls flew up into night, book spirits released by Miranda’s fire, burned free from the fetters of their bindings, the bendable, dog-eared confines of their pages, cages really, the tender tinder of physicality upon which foul others might breathe and defile, the soft pressed flesh of paper where filthy fingers might gently trace those sublime lines, where groping eyes and the quivering twitch of lusting lips might speak the words, taking them for themselves, which, of course, was unthinkable, and so the had to burn.

  • [okay, now with all the words this time (sigh)]

    On a plume of smoke, three souls flew up into the night, book spirits released by Miranda’s fire, burned free from the fetters of their bindings, the bendable, dog-eared confines of their pages, cages really, the tender tinder of physicality upon which foul others might breathe and defile, the soft pressed flesh of paper where filthy fingers might gently trace those sublime lines, where groping eyes and the quivering twitch of lusting lips might speak the words, taking them for themselves, which, of course, was unthinkable, and so they had to burn.

  • She silently noted that the semi-glossy pages of this latest tome would ignite slowly and leave a sooty mess, but that was one aspect of her job–disposing of the charred detritus.

  • Oli

    The smokey tendrils swept through the streets, obscuring everything, everything but the glint of light from a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.

  • “If I burn these books, no one else can read them.” Raven thought as she threw her favorite books into the vent of her smokestack.

  • The smells of burnt cardboard and melting glue fill the air as Phoenix, librarian, tosses some more books on her furnace.

  • Phoenix stares madly into her fire place, her mind filling with rapturous thoughts, “If I burn my favorite books,” she giggled, “No one else can read them.”

  • Cathy inhales the smells of ash while some light music plays in the background.

  • For f**ks sake I forgot the matches again.

  • The room is darkly lit; a young woman stares happily into her chimney stack while the smell of burning ink and paper fills the air.

  • She looked as mean as she could, peered down at the small boy clutching his favorite book in his hands and said “So you think I am going to lend that precious book to you?

  • Strawberry blond hair whips in front of her face, as she heaves some more books into the fireplace.

    (Picture is mom but words are Joanna’s)

  • As the last customer leaves, I stuff my backpack without concern, and stuff and stuff and stuff. This secret will go with me to my grave, but I thought, “how can I betray the people who trust me with the answers.

  • Lisa, the lovely librarian, looked at the pile of dying embers that used to be her favourite books and thought, ‘there, now you are where you belong, with the lovers who wanted to leave me.’

  • The last light brings darkness to the room, she gathers her things and heads to her home. She positions herself on the coach, reads the last page, stands up and walks stoicly to the fireplace.

  • I almost liked it. The way the burning of the books smelled, their crisp pages and leather covers turning into ashes before my very eyes.

  • Silvia smiled as she closed the door to the furnace and for the thousandth time thanked the cosmos that she was married to the town’s only mortician.

  • KR

    Her hair matched the color of the flames dancing around the pages of the book reflected in her wire framed glasses.

  • Oh look – the burning cover is giving us orange, green and red flames!

  • KR

    Remnants of the book she loved floated about her face like snowflakes and the grin that spread across her lips revealed her satisfaction, knowing that no one else would have the opportunity to read the words that she had enjoyed before setting them aflame.

  • Liz

    Some would call her a typical bibliophile, those who knew little of the tidy yet elegant librarian; however, molten green eyes belied her timid facade, setting fire to whatever she loved too well.

  • Liz

    Books – the only lovers she could burn alive, legally anyways.

  • In the end, it was the smell that brought it all to a halt.

  • Only graying reference books remain; every page worth poring over has been squirreled away by her delicate nail-bitten paws into an unmarked cardboard box, smelling faintly of fire.

  • Brenda took her job seriously, every word on each printed page was from her heart.

  • Her tears left little black spots in the gray smoldering ashes, but it wasn’t the first time she’d burned something she loved.

  • She would lose herself in the pages of the books. Many nights, she’d spend the hours reading endless amounts of stories. They made her smile; they made her laugh; they made her cry. Such vivid illustrations surrounded her head. They were the only thing she had in this world. She would not rest until she was sure they’d always be hers; and only hers. She gathered up the books she so loved and one by one tossed them into the library’s fireplace. How would she explain this? What was to become of her if they linked this to her? All of these thoughts ran through her head. She hesistated to throw the last book in, when something by the fireplace caught her eye. As she turned her head, her sight narrowed on a bright blue and orange flame. Something about the sight of the paper burning gave her comfort. The smokey smell soothed her very essence. She closed her eyes and imagined dancing with the embers. She had a problem. She knew it; but this event was the start of her biggest struggle yet.

  • She dropped the match, blew on her scorched fingers and thought, ‘I suppose I need lighter fluid if I want these bloody books burn!’

  • *She dropped the match, blew on her scorched fingers and thought, ‘I suppose I need lighter fluid if I want these bloody books to burn!’

  • The burning of each page equalled the pleasure she had had in reading it because the words remained in her head and no one else would share them.

  • Turning the last page, Emma sighed deeply and stared like one hypnotized at the crackling log in the fireplace.

  • The night was dark and the fire was bright as the pages began to burn.

  • In the palms of her cupped hands, Emma cradled the small tin that contained the beloved remains of those that were dear and now departed, pressing it tenderly against her heart, she closed her eyes to deliver a brief but poignant eulogy, murmuring, “It was the best of times…it was the worst of times,” before placing a final farewell kiss and setting it on the shelf beside Anna Karenina.

  • It was foolish people thought of fire as a destructive force … when its power to purify and keep safe sacred things was so underutilized.

  • “‘Haven’t checked it out, what with being half-dead these few days,’ said Agatha.”

  • She smiled languidly across the sputtering coals, her eyes scanning the bookshelf out of habit and coming to rest on Fahrenheit 451; suddenly, she realized the pages weren’t going to be enough to keep her precious stories hidden.

  • “The incinerator makes the perfect book depository,” she mused, letting the leather slip away to appease her addiction to the creation of a vacuum; her magnum opus.

  • More covert than cutting and more discreet than drink, the pulverization of pulp served up a seething self-infliction enjoyed only by the veteran outcast who willfully shuns herself from the very least of human understanding.

  • More covert than cutting and more discreet than drink, the pulverization of pulp served up a self-infliction enjoyed by the veteran outcast; a willful shunning of herself from the least of human understanding.

  • “Her perception trickled languidly, brushing over each velvety spine and percolating down the dark space between one dust-scattered volume and the next.”

  • “She found it at once — and almost by instinct — nestling at a coquettish angle between Mansfield Park and Doctor Zhivago as if to say, “I’ve been waiting for you to kiss me goodbye.” “

  • “Its fervent willingness to surrender to her fingers made the first edition literary opus even more enticing; the volume’s ritual incineration would leave her avaricious, thirsty for the next glowing sacrifice.”

  • “Incandescent edges curled into hyperbolae as tingling, flame-saturated fingers crept into the letterpress delta.”

  • Kate made her own way into the darkness, but she blamed the beginning on Dreyken; she only murdered stories because he cast the spell to give them life.

  • It was like wine, this fire, and she knew soon one grate wouldn’t be enough.

  • They would be hers and hers alone, even if it meant she would kill them all.

  • To burn, would be the greatest ecstasy to emptiness she would ever feel, knowing the words were lost to all but her.

  • Something caught his eye amongst the smoldering shelves, a lone weathered old book, half charred with the initials L.K. etched on the cover and its pages beautifully scribbled upon covering every sentence, every word, he sealed it in an evidence bag.

  • Mrs. Liebowitz based her dislike of the town’s librarians on but these two things – the furtive, obsessive gleam of insanity in the bookish woman’s eyes and the steady stream of ash that spewed from her neighbor’s chimney and settled in a disconcerting fashion on her prized rhododendrons.

  • Jim

    Acrid nostrils, ecstatic soul, my secret pyre consumes another love affair.

  • Jim

    Although my guilt threatens to devour me, I am helpless to share any of my loves.

  • The pages began to feel warm beneath her trembling fingers tips as the heightened intensity shot through her every being with the images of what she must do flooding her mind.

  • Each time the scent of charred paper lingers in the air, the words flood my mind and the lost imagination of the author’s intent makes me question my actions.

  • Title: Narcissism in the Stacks
    Sentence: She never thought of herself as possessive.

  • The Bible, the Quran, the Torah, The Audacity Of Hope, all sat there, quietly, like sacrificial lambs soon to be erased from existence.

  • My mother was a selfish vocabulary loving bookworm witch, so I guess I am a witchy daughter who loves fire—in fact, I once set the dictionary on fire when I three just by thinking about it.

  • Again, Miss Darlene literally purred as she fancied an undetected SOS escaping the charred remains.

  • Doris the mad librarian had acquired a most ironic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

  • Jealousy and 451 degrees Fahrenheit were like old friends to her – comfortable like an old pair of shoes she could never dispose of, and ever so useful….

  • Sadness reading the last page of yet another desired escape was quickly replaced by the knowledge that soon enough, I would be the last to experience the journey.

  • As I closed the book I knew my feelings of despair would soon be replaced with satisfaction.

  • I instantly resented the patron checking out one of my favorites, there’s no way you will appreciate these characters like I do.

  • I smiled in the glow of flames knowing I was the last to turn the pages, know the characters and immerse in the setting.

  • Despite having taken care of this copy, I couldn’t help but worry about the other editions.

  • ‘What have I done’ she cries to herself as she watches the scarlet flames begin to diminish from the near-ashes of the novels she so loves…

  • “There are no more copies of that book available,” said the beautiful woman at the librarian’s desk remembering the flames and smoke as she watched them burn.

  • The flame flickered as the pages turned, searing the edges and licking at the lives of the characters who were to be lost.

  • Mavis was determined to realise her dream of being the most popular author at the local library.

  • Germany, 1933.

  • As the gavel pounded, punctuating her thoughts like the first clap of thunder before the storm, and she was led back to her pristine white cell for the last time, the words in the inscription were all that mattered now: My darling Ursula, go to the fourth page, ever yours, Maynard.

    Make out the cheque to Mr David Cochrane, thanks!

  • Scrap the “Germany, 1933” one, that’s rubbish.
    OK, try this (you’re gonna love this):

    Berlin, 1933.

  • The disheveled man sat in the drafty room, with the charcoal-fringed page fragments which had been compelled to rescue from icey sidewalk.

  • Fahrenheit 451.. It’s a good thing I have the only copy of this!

  • They are mine.

  • People were starting to talk about Deirdre, owing to the fact that for the ninth week running now she had returned to the Read ‘Em and Weep Book Club empty-handed.

  • As she stood in the deserted library, peering down at her loose-fitting shoes, then at the short, black laces laid out in two neat lines on the floor, it came back to her.

    Go on, admit it: you’re hooked!

  • Stella hardly dared breath as she crouched in the shadows of the book store, her eyes fixed on the red dot on the wall as it drifted slowly toward her.

    Come on Ray, this is gold!

  • She’d never believed in the supernatural; but she believed now.

  • As Carrie loaded the pistol and touched the cold barrel to her ear, she remembered the day the curse had befallen her so many years before.

    Ouch, don’t touch me, I’m on fire!

  • Smells have an uncanny way of reviving the deadest of memories; like the smoky scent of the old, blackened pages, which conjured unsettling visions of an unhappy event, one which Susie could not quite yet put together.

  • Nah, my last effort was rubbish – I’m trying too hard now.

    (That’s a comment on my last comment, not a suggestion for the book. Although on second thoughts…)

  • Stella hardly dared breath*e* as she crouched in the shadows of the book store, her eyes fixed on the red dot on the wall as it drifted slowly toward her.

    Earlier typo now fixed (I know. Anal.)

  • Anal sex was something the quiet and respectable librarian Barbara had always secretly fantasized about, although there was no way she would be the one to suggest it, lest word of her back-door ambitions got out.

  • She couldn’t put the book down, even after she turned the last page.

  • Everything changed for Gilda after laboring through a book, at times ready to give up, only to arrive at an ending that took her by surprise.

  • Few things gave as much satisfaction as burning the county’s only copy of Fahrenheit 451.

  • No one would have ever guessed that her quiet, often coquettish demeanor hid the brazen streak of a wild soul that ached to cackle in the darkness.

  • She could almost hear the voices of her beloved new friends rising with the smoke, as the flames freed them from their prison and gave them life.

  • In our own mind, hiding things we enjoy or cherish for memory, never seems like a wrongful action if we are the only ones who see.

  • There is something about the smell of a burning book, much like, the smell of an old book, simply irreplaceable.

  • When I was young I used to steal things from people I loved, not because I wanted to hurt them by stealing their items, but because it gave me some kind of joy to know that I had a piece of them, without their knowing, that was only mine.

  • Burning something means it’s gone for ever much like death.

  • The first book Sydney remembered burning had been squirreled away, never checked out and a resident of the library for two years, due to be deleted from the system and forgotten forever.

  • “Call in forensics – and somebody take care of that screaming lady,” said Pender anxiously, as he gazed in revulsion at the charred, naked remains of what appeared to be an adult female of medium build and indeterminable age and race.

  • She’d always loved the Fall; the fiery autumn leaves, translucent before the low, cherry sun, radiating warmth into the crisp late-September air, like glowing embers.

    (Throw water on me, Ray, I’m on fire! Again!)

  • Belinda; was there a worse abuse a parent could befall on a child than naming her Belinda?

    (World’s worst opening line. Booby prize?)

  • “What books?” she asked.

  • A flame of fear burned in her eyes when the young man asked if she would recommend the book she tucked in her purse as she prepared to leave the library for the day.

  • If she could, she’d have every last printed word for herself; if that meant rendering the whole town illiterate, so be it.

  • Mother used to burn books too, but for a different reason; censorship was all the rage for that generation.

  • This would not stop everyone, she lamented as the first thin plumes of smoke wafted upwards, some of them choosing to settle in the strands of her carefully crafted bun rather than continue on to freedom.

  • The literacy program that the library was forcing her to manage was making her physically ill; teaching little bastards to read was doing nothing to further her cause.

  • Raegan held the last book in her hand; this one was problematic, because the author had posted half of it on her blog.

  • Cradling tonight’s sacrifice, she printed out the borrower history before deleting the book’s catalog record; she’d do the same with the memories of all who knew the story.

  • She genuflected and reflected on her motivation as the flames licked languorously around Lady Chatterley (and her lover): Words were her passion, fire her fear, and jealousy her fatal flaw — it seemed only natural, then, that this ritual had become her religion.

  • Tori moistened her lips and felt her center stir at the titillating mirage of flame and fury ravaging the writhing tome, a scorching squall stoking her inner blaze, transforming her forever from timid librarian to sexy succubus, fully aroused by the sensual seductions that seared her soul, and the naughty knowledge of her cunning coup.

  • Day after day of giving one’s time in labor requires some perk beyond money, and reading books for free wasn’t enough – anyone with a library card could do that.

  • Grace loosened the pins that held her hair at the nape of her neck and let her hair fall free, her heart raced with guilt and pleasure as she reached out, feeling the heat singe her hand as she laid her latest sacrifice upon the flames that would forever distinguish the love, the joy and the heartache that had gripped her soul from the curling pages within.

  • “I love you to pieces”, she said as she poured the squid ink over her favorite book.

  • “If I can’t have you to myself, then you can be no more”, she said with a glossy rage in her eye.

  • What a wonderful book , such a beautiful story , this one I’ll have to burn .

  • I love the smell of a burning book in the morning , it smells like freedom .

  • As she poured water on the ashes a thought crept into her head , now its mine forever .

  • I’m sorry she said the last copy of that fell victim to a fire , to bad it was one of my favorites .

  • Yes , that book was hot ,very hot

  • There’s nothing like a warm fire to get a good story going.

  • She always buried the ashes after mixing them with rodenticide, because if anything in the world was going to have phoenix properties, surely it would be a book.

  • Her husband’s manuscript lay on the hearth as she stoked the coals; criticism is often misconstrued, and she wondered if he’d understand this was the ultimate five-star review.

  • JH

    As he peered over the edge of the bed, surveying the delicate footprints she left behind in the cold, grey ash, he couldn’t help but wonder: And what will become of me when she decides that our story is over?

  • As a librarian, Gilda always felt she was better read than most.

  • She was the stereotype of librarians, clutching an unknown book close to her breast as she hurried home every evening.

  • With each page Madeline became even more consumed, and that’s when she vowed only she would know the truth.

  • Torn between thoughts of justice and vengeance, Sara watched the flames consume the last piece of evidence.

  • Jocelyn felt a rush of exhilaration as she watched the embers ignite, and accept yet another habitual sacrifice.

  • That it came to this confirmed it was a sickness, but that knowledge did nothing to dissuade her from holding colorful pages of “Goodnight Moon” over the flickering candle as the unborn child settled himself quietly in her womb.

  • “I keep them in the fire where no one else can reach,” she whispered drunkenly to her blind date after a third round of cocktails.

  • Her prowess is the vice.

  • Angela the librarian knew the story better than anyone.

  • There was more to the story than words, more than all the books she read, the books she burned

  • As the flames danced around her, caressing her calves and kissing the edges of her chiffon skirt, she wondered if she had gone to far this time.

  • Once upon a time there was a lovely librarian who secretly burned the books she loved because she wanted no one else to read them.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • “Jim, I hate to tell you this, but the Book Store Arsonist has struck again, and this time it’s personal.”
    “You don’t mean… Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

  • Fire dances like a drunken bride in the reflection of her tear soaked eye, drenching her lonely soul with fear and sorrow as the pages turned to ash.

  • She could not keep her man from wondering but she knew how to keep her books from landing in the hands of another woman.

  • With stress and frustration in her finger tips, she laid the novel on the desk as she reached for her glass of wine, pack of Vergina Slims, and Zipo.

  • Snap, crackle, pop she said as she slammed the book closed and reached for the bottle of red wine on the night stand.

  • At first disturbed by a longing to hide the paper volumes she adored, the oddly aroused librarian instead found herself grappling with a blowtorch after-hours as flames made ashy minarets out of once-attentively shelved books.

  • I’ve always had a problem with impulse control, so it’s no surprise that the night I finished reading about the destruction of the Aztec codices, I splashed stolen petrol on every shelf, tossed a match, and drove my grandma’s Cutlass Ciera to Baja.

  • The library had been burned too many times by patrons failing to return new books.

  • Her beauty buried behind the book, behind the information desk, her fingers rubbing the page corners, feeling the fate of combustible fiction.

  • “Before you finish me, Francesca, I beg that you will do me the final courtesy of explaining what exactly makes you so special that you, and you alone, should have the privilege of knowing these stories.”

    (Come on, Ray! If it wasn’t for the number of “yous,” the absence of the occasional “thou,” and the generally awkward rhythm, that line would almost be poetry.)

  • The paperbacks had been relatively easy, with the hardbacks requiring slightly more effort, and the Kindles proving to be a whole other challenge.

  • It was the third fire alarm at Preston County Library this month.

  • Tongues of red, orange, white and tinges of blue sensuously licked the ink from the pages and then consumed the pages themselves for dessert.

  • Such an exquisite pain – sad the loss, in a way, but harder yet to let you play the whore with someone else, my love….

  • She couldn’t wait to finish the book, to finish the story for good.

  • The librarian got the idea from a book she read.

  • Ironically, the new novel “Playing With Fire,” made it to the shelves after the librarian’s review.

  • “Nurse, please check that the patient is all right; she should have two of everything down the sides, and one of everything down the middle.”

  • Knowledge is not power; exclusive knowledge is power.

    (Here’s hoping the HTML works, or else I’ll be left looking rather foolish.)

  • The mysterious secrets to life, the universe, and how Steven Hawking operates an unabridged digital thesaurus instantaneously just by moving his left eye, and how a lovely librarian discovered them, shall be revealed within the following pages of this book.

    (There you go Ray, I’ve done the hard part for you. The rest should write itself.)

  • Anna anxiously stared at the hot, intense flames as they fiercely devoured the sacred books that contained her deepest, darkest, most intimate secrets.

  • For her own security and well-being, Emma knew she inevitably had to destroy any evidence that did not coincide with her “perfect” appearance as a sweet and innocent librarian.

  • She still believed in the old code of silence at the library.

  • Every week, the old man bugged her about the whereabouts of a particular title.

  • A page remained in tact, burnt purely and cleanly without disturbance such that you could still read the black ink against the white ash.

  • Ms. Dorothy was unaware of the capabilities of modern publishing equipment in producing large quantities of quality printed and bound literary material.

  • I never judge a book by its cover, she thought, as she flicked her fire truck red lipstick marked Virginia Slim into the gasoline laden pile of epiphany.

  • Perusing his lovely companion across the table, Kenneth’s expectations of a first date with a librarian drifted into the doldrums, until she set his menu on fire.

  • As the adrenaline rises inside me to find my new conquest, my love… To fully enethral myself into these satisfys my passion but I must immediately burn the evidence, no one can learn about why or how I become who I turn into, I refuse to let that happen and will go to great lenghts to prevent it.

  • She had — like the cliché lines of the books that made it to the shelves — fire in her eyes.

  • She was a lovely librarian, the oldest in the system, an unlikely suspect.

  • It began with my favorite book.

  • And like the last time, and the thousand times before that, Sara Keane methodically set the volume down on the dusty hearth, upright and opened by 90 degrees, its pages neatly fanned out.

    (If reading that doesn’t give you an erection, Ray, you’re not alive!)

  • She watched the flames devour her precious books; they slowly dissipated into smoke, she sighed and softly said, “They’re all checked out now.”

  • Holmes was still slightly intoxicated from his mid-morning syringe when he ejaculated from the Hanson cab to join me at number 17 Cobblers Nook to assist Lestrade in what turned out to be the most queer Case of the Time Travelling Lesbian Nazi Book Burner.

  • Lori the librarian blamed the missing new titles to the end of the Dewey Decimal system.

  • The story vividly burned through her imagination as the pages burned in the oven.

  • Sometimes she wanted to reach in the fire and grab one of the burning bundles, fearful she had misunderstood a particular passage or had forgotten a poignant point.

  • I felt a bit sad after the passing of each book.

  • Without regret, she held the literal flame of her passion to the pages of books; Mr. Darcy, Ahab, Scarlett, and all the rest resided firmly shelved within the study of her tortured mind.

  • The old ones scarcely needed any encouragement to catch fire, but the scent of the kerosene invariably emboldened her, annihilating her misgivings as she imagined the smoke from her chimney descending upon the town each evening like an illicit perfume.

  • The writers of these stories catalog the ideas in their individual minds, but I am the sole keeper of the collection.

  • These books, these stories, are about life, my life, and death.

  • My eyes, flammable to the metaphoric reason of expression, what marvelous works, off to the fire.

  • Snow angels in the blizzard of ashes, with footprints of their journeys, burned.

  • As she lit the match, she smiled wryly at the thought of her all-too-naive husband, whose mundane fantasy of the naughty librarian had suddenly come to life with a passion that a simple mind like his could never fathom.

  • She was a story within a story.

  • There were enough mediocre books that no one would notice.

  • The irony, she thought.

  • I vowed to quit, but the burning desire returned each morning when the greedy termites swarmed the library.

  • As the pages pealed back like onion skins, browning then igniting, the precious words like children no other mother would ever love and hold, she thought about Fahrenheit 451 and what a deceitful premise Bradbury had perpetrated, and how hard it was to actually burn a book, and that’s when she smiled, comfortable in the knowledge she’d never have to burn that bullshit book.

  • Bronte, Rand, Nabokov, everyone’s heard of them; but as far as Chilluen was concerned, there’s good reason for his obscurity.

  • She always went back and re-read the last page, like taking one last look at a loved one’s face before burial or, in this case, cremation.

  • It was a bitterly cold February afternoon as I exited the side door of the little library, and even as I shored up the cashmere scarf about my neck, I lovingly clutched the recently devoured hardbound leather book knowing with heated anticipation what was to become of it.

  • She instinctively recoiled at the violence of the act, the extremity it betokened, the black comedy of crucifixion she enacted each week in her basement.

  • In her dream the townspeople moved through the library with deliberate malice, intoning an incantation that slowly bled the words from the books.

  • SB

    She set the wine aside, in a feeble attempt to save the liver and after devouring “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, she held the heavy skillet over the flaming pages and listened to the crackle of two sticks of butter.

  • I take Cervantes’ curate as my inspiration; if he can burn books, well, then so the hell can I.

  • As her mind raced her hands trembled, knowing now that her former perception of reality was not based on reality but on perception, and in accepting that perception as reality she only perpetuated her allusions, leaving her with only one choice.

  • The thought of being caught definitely crossed Susan’s mind, but the flames were irresistibly calling her and she knew it was time.

  • “Roll me over by the dumpster” she said with a sense of urgency, “my lunch breaks almost over Jeff”, then with a farewell and a devilish grin Susan put the flame to “Skiing North America- the ultimate travel guide”, knowing she would never feel that fresh powder underneath her ever again.