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100 best first lines
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palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
100 best first lines  Reply with quote  

I thought people might find this interesting:

100 Best First Lines from Novels.

Here are the first ten:

1. Call me Ishmael. —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. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

3. A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —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. —James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —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. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

10. I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

For the rest:

http://www.litline.org/ABR/100bestfirstlines.html

Anone want to contribute any others?

Personally, I like this one:

Sundown painted purple across the great Pyramid while the Emperor enjoyed a steaming whiz against a dumpster in the alley below. (several other possibilities by the same author Wink )

Post Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:25 am   View user's profile Send private message
JennyO



Joined: 28 Apr 2004
Posts: 2775
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I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

-- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Kurt Vonnegut

Post Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:37 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
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It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future. Gene Wolfe, Book of the New Sun.

Post Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:43 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kennyjb



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 465
Location: Clovis, CA
 Reply with quote  

The Breeze blew into San Junipero in the shotgun seat of Billy Winston's Pinto wagon.

Christopher Moore - Practical Demonkeeping
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"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - Benjamin Franklin

Post Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:58 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Thom



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 57
Location: Seattle Area
 Reply with quote  

What, no love for "It was a dark and stormy night."?

Post Fri Apr 14, 2006 6:59 pm   View user's profile Send private message
DanSRose



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 1034
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. - Stephen King, The Dark Tower, part 1: The Gunslinger


Tyler gets me ajob as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die. - Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club
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From a fortune cookie: Only those who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Adventures!

Post Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:37 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
JennyO



Joined: 28 Apr 2004
Posts: 2775
 Reply with quote  

It's not exactly a first line, more like a first paragraph, but I've just started reading Arthur & George by Julian Barnes, and I was captivated by this opening:

Quote:
A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.

He was able to walk, and could reach up to a door handle. He did this with nothing that could be called a purpose, merely the instinctive tourism of infancy.


It was the phrase the tourism of infancy that got me.
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"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Kurt Vonnegut

Post Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:49 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rizak the Really Horrible



Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Posts: 1158
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MADE TO FEEL UNWELCOME

Last edited by Rizak the Really Horrible on Mon May 15, 2006 8:07 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:29 pm   View user's profile Send private message
ansky



Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 16
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Thom wrote:
What, no love for "It was a dark and stormy night."?


It's #22 on the list...
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

Post Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:30 pm   View user's profile Send private message
MrEMann



Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 1642
Location: I'm much better in real life than I am in person
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Best line I have never seen in print:

She was draped across the bed, naked and dead.

Tell me that wouldnt make you want to read more...
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Socially irresponsible, morally irredeemable and pretty god-damned glorious to behold @mremann

Post Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:20 am   View user's profile Send private message
Signal 30



Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
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No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

-- Shirley Jackson, "The Haunting of Hill House"

Post Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:59 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
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"In five years, the penis will be obsolete."

...then 2 paragraphs later...

"With the right promotional campaign, it might take as little astwo years."

STEEL BEACH- John Varley (I highly recommend his work)

Post Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:25 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
LostInWalmart



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 1900
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"Once again his wife had not been killed in a car accident."

The Beginning of Sorrows by David L. Martin


(not the first line, but pfft)

Post Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:35 am   View user's profile Send private message
_rudegirl_



Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Location: Academic Hell
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"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." -Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I can't believe that wasn't on the list.

Post Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:12 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
KKnight



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 12
Location: O-H.....I-O
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I wish I owned the book so I could post it, but the 1st line of Richard Dawkins' latest, "The God Delusion" is jaw dropping. The guy has some HUGE balls.

Post Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:42 pm   View user's profile Send private message
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