Booking Through Thursday

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What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn't like but still remember simply because of the first line?

I recently posted one of my favorites, which is the opening line of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

There once was was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

That's a paraphrase, because I've loaned out my copy of the book to a young friend. And I'm too lazy to search the site to find the real version. You'll have to make do.

But for memorable openings, I think none take the place of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, whatever you think of the rest of the book (and I, for one, love it):

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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Wow. Sounds kinda like today, huh?



Well, who could forget:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

(Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)

I also like:

It was a dark and stormy night.

(Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time)

I remember bringing up the L'Engle quote in a lesson about opening lines. Half my students swore they had read it before, but could not place the book. When I revealed the title, however, it was as if all the wind went out of their sails. They had all imagined it as the title of very different, but equally gripping books! =P

One for Smock -- "I don't hesitate a moment to proclaim bacon to be the greatest and most beloved food on earth." From my new library book, The Bacon Cookbook.

From an unpublished novel (a situation I trust will not obtain forever) by a friend of mine: "This is the story about the end of the world in a very small place."

I also like the first line to Ironweed.

i have a fave LAST line. it is proof text of a father's love for his daughter. it was the first last line of a novel to make me weep.

"he sat down and helped himself to a piece of gypsy pie."

But, Smock, what is the book?????

glad you asked, mamaT. it's from stephen the king's thinner.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on July 24, 2008 7:01 AM.

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