"100 Best First Lines from Novels"
"100 Best First Lines from Novels"
"It was a pleasure to burn."
The importance of a simple yet seductive and powerful opening line in making readers more curious and excited about what they will uncover and discover. This line leaves so much to the imagination and I know now that I will not be able to sleep until I get a hold of that book to find out what this is for it just might be... a pleasurable way to burn.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin and I was off on the greatest adventure of my life!" - Max Shulman, Sleep Till Noon
What was this doing not on the list?
They should have added the next sentence in The Stranger; without it it's not that interesting. Unless by line they just mean sentence, then I guess it wouldn't work.
Some great classic books here though.
I guessed what the first two would be before I even read them. The first line is important because it draws the reader in- it's not supposed to tell you anything, it's supposed to be ambiguous and mysterious. It's supposed to make you go "Wait...what was that? The clocks are striking 13?" This is why P&P and Moby Dick always top the list- "Call me Ishmael" just sucks you into the story. No long tirades, no description, no set-up- just an introduction and we're off...
What the bloody hell are #14 and #95 doing on that list?
Lists are subjective and kind of annoy me. The things I like I want to be higher; and the things I don't like, I want to be lower. That is to be expected.
It's a good collection of first-line quotes. I read the majority of them... a few of the paragraph-long sentences had me scanning through, regretably. I might return to read them later. Based on just the first lines, though, I found myself writing down Scaramouche and I, Claudius. They sounded like books that would be interesting to read.
Might not be the 100 best, but think about how useful this page is. Would be great if someone started a website where people could enter the first lines from their favorite books.
From the page: "100 Best First Lines from Novels
1. Call me Ishmael. 窶"Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)
2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. 窶"Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
3. A screaming comes across the sky. 窶"Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendﾃｭa was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. 窶"Gabriel Garcﾃｭa Mﾃ｡rquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)
5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. 窶"Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 窶"Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. 窶"James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)
8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. 窶"George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. 窶"Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
10. I am an invisible man. 窶"Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?窶"Do-you-need-advice?窶"Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. 窶"Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)
12. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. 窶"Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)"
Despite my better instincts, I ended up reading through this whole list. You can tell a lot about a book from its first sentence or two, and this list is quite comprehensive. It's a smart list too, not simply the "most amusing" but also quotes that are just freakin' awesome or really informative.
I still don't think "Call me Ishmael." is the best opening line ever. It tells a reader nothing!
Enjoy your Weekend with Reading Books
Most excellent page
If you've read these books, there is much meaning and beauty contained in most of these lines.