An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."
"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."
David McKenzie Federal Way, WA
Also, apparently there's a book called Top Ten wherein famous authors list the 10 greatest books of all time, according to them. Time magazine has a rundown of it. What's most interesting is that they compiled the top 10 or the top 10 of all the authors. It is as follows:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Hamlet by William Shakespeare The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov Middemarch by George Eliot
I'm not surprised by the Tolstoys (though both Tolstoys are intriguing), Lolita or Hamlet. I thought Huck Finn and The Great Gatsby were a little surprising, but then I thought the book might be mostly American writers.... I've never read Proust or Chekhov or Eliot so I couldn't say....any thoughts?
And if I had to list my Top 10.....
Without thinking too hard about it: 1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck 5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (though really just William Shakespeare in general) 6. ....and now I need to think about it......