What’s the First Line of the First Book You’re Reading in 2023?

New year, new books! New Years resolutions can be a pain, but tackling a reading pile feels oh-so satisfying. Do you have any goals? Number of books to read? A series you’ve been dying to tackle? An author you’d like to get to know?

And more importantly: what is the first line of the book you’re reading right now?

We’ll give you a few of our own to start with—add yours in the comments!


“So they ran threaded through the breaches, found the seams.”

Vanessa’s Book Pick: Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandermeer

Why This Book: Borne, another book by Jeff Vandermeer, is one of my favorite novels, so when Dead Astronauts came out a couple of years later, I eagerly picked it up. Life got in the way for a bit, and when I tried to read it in Spring 2020, my mind wasn’t quite ready for the complexity of the prose and I had also forgotten the details around those titular dead astronauts who we saw in Borne. I’ve given Borne a re-read, however, and am now giving Dead Astronauts another try.


“Every morning just after dawn, Lin Chong taught a fight class for women.”

Christina’s Book Pick: The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang

Why This Book: After S.L. Huang’s incredible piece on SFF Writing Workshops last year, I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Water Outlaws—a fantasy epic inspired by the classic Chinese novel Water Margin. Plus, the description uses the phrase “ungovernable gender”, which, let’s be real, is aspirational.


“Disaster can lead to transcendence, but the journey between the two may require time and suffering.”

Leah’s Book Pick: Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus by Reggie L. Williams

Why This Book: I got a little obsessed with Bonhoeffer a few years ago. Like a lot of us, I had trouble reading during the early pandemic, but now that my brain is closer to full operational status I want to tackle this fascinating look at the ways social justice-oriented Harlem theologians influenced Bonhoeffer’s fight against the Nazis. Maybe then I’ll be able to dive into Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy—a chonk of a biography by former Veggietales contributor Eric Metaxas.


“It was the best job I ever had.”

Emmet’s Book Pick: I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels

Why This Book: I used to read Daniels’ “Wonder Column” in the Star Wars Insider as a kid, and always found him endearingly wry and full of great behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Also, C-3PO is my favorite. And I liked the idea of starting the year with nonfiction for my exhausted brain, but I expect more Monk and Robot will be next on my list.


“The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored.”

Sarah’s Book Pick: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Why This Book: I’m forever behind on my TBR wish list, so it’s not surprising that it took me over 5 years to even get my hands on a copy of Emily St John Mandel’s acclaimed novel about a swine flu pandemic and the subsequent collapse of modern society. Which means I added it to my nightstand book pile in early 2020, and I just kept adding more to the stack so I didn’t have to think about it. But now I’m finally ready for it.


Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we?”

Stefan’s Book Pick: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Why This Book: You didn’t read Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy when it was released, mainly because you have a thing about second person narrators, but at this point so many people whose taste you respect have told you to make an exception for this one that you’ve given in. And you know? You’re not complaining.


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