Thursday, 24 July 2008


Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

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?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Great question! I started recording the first lines of books I read this year just out of interest. One of my all times favourite first lines is the very famous -

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

Out of the books I've read this year my favourites are:

The day she would try and kill herself, she would realise winter was coming again.
After You'd Gone - Maggie O'farrrel

"Though not, in hindsight, so startling as the misdeeds she would perpetrate when she returned to boarding school as a sophomore, what happened to Frankie Landau-Banks the summer after her freshman year was a shock.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landu-Banks - E.Lockhart

My Mother is a wrench"
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight - Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

They're all intriguing and instantly make questions form in your head, which is the point of a good first line.


  1. I do like what you quoted here. Some good openings there!

    Here is my BTT post

  2. I used the Austen line too.

  3. I knew Pride and Prejudice would get quoted, how could it not? It's such a great line, especially first line, especially a first line by a woman of that time period.

  4. I like your idea of keeping track of first lines read this year.

  5. Everyone has such good lines. I can't remember lines that well maybe I should keep a book next to me to write them down.

  6. I used the P&P quote too.

    Here's my BTT post. Everytime I try leaving a comment on the BTT site, the comment never appears. :-(

  7. What an interesting thread this is. I pay special attention to opening sentences and opening paragraphs - more so when I am writing my own novels!

    I reckon if you don't capture the attention of a reader immediately, it's an uphill battle from that point on ....

  8. "The day she would try and kill herself, she would realise winter was coming again." - This sentence alone makes me want to read more.

  9. I also pay close attention to the first paragraph as well as the first line. I enjoyed reading your post and comments. Sometimes, I purchase a book just because of the first line. This was the case with Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I bought his book when it was first translated. Hardly anyone had heard of the book.

    His first line:

    I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.


I adore comments, so thanks so much for taking the time. I'll try and return the favour :D