July 30, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Beginning Lines in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish. Once again, I altered the prompt slightly so I could just focus on some of my favorite literary beginnings (and I didn't want to spoil anyone by discussing book endings). I love a strong opening sentence, so here are some of my favorites.


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Not every 13-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. 
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi


It was a pleasure to burn.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
 It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


The angel Gabriel went to the oracle on Mount Sinai, looking for a wife.
Archangel by Sharon Shinn


It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 


Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
 
I am a coward. 
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

This is certainly not an exclusive list. I was going to explain why I loved these, but then I figured it was far better to let these sentences support themselves. 

Please let me know what some of your favorite story openings/endings are!
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Amanda

Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.

22 comments:

  1. I totally didn't know that line was the beginning of Anna Karenina. I've heard it, of course, but didn't know what it was from. I have learned something today. Nice collection of openings!

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    1. More people are familiar with the line than have read this book, I think (and for good reason; I've started it 3 times and haven't been able to make it through it!).

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  2. That The Hobbit first line! <3 I loved those books and of course the movies. I'm so excited to see The Scorpio Races here. I'll be reading that in September for my book club! Great list!

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    1. I know! Ooh and I hope you enjoy reading The Scorpio Races, Sara! :)

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    1. Me too! Just writing it down made me nostalgic for the book. I think a re-read is in order for very soon. :)

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  4. Code Name Verity and The Hobbit! I can't believe I forgot those. I loved both of those books. The opening lines of The Bell Jar and Anna Karenina are great too. I haven't read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but I'll be sure to check it out now. Great list and thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Oh, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is such a fun book! And Charlotte is a fantastic character who may in fact have contributed to my love of that name... :)

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  5. Aww, The Hobbit. I love that book (and opening line). I thought the most recent movie adaptation was so smart to open the film with that very iconic line. :)

    My TTT post :)

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    1. Very true! And I love that not only is that line iconic, but it (and the words following) have become so well-accepted into our culture that Hobbit is now a legit word in the dictionary. So cool!

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  6. Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice are both on my list too - they're absolute classics.

    I love the start of The Hobbit as well, and of The Bell Jar (which is just a brilliant novel), great choices.


    Here's my list.

    Sarah

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    1. The Bell Jar really is a fantastic book. I just love the way that Plath writes. It's too bad she never was able to write any other books, although I like reading her poetry as well.

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  7. Oh, I love the first line of The Scorpio Races! I have to read, but am excited as I have heard great things.

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    1. It's a powerful first line, no? And a wonderful book in general. I hope you can read it soon!

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  8. The Hobbit and Pride and PRejudice, definetly. Good list!!

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  9. I loveeee this list! I mean P&P, Archangel, The Scorpio Races, and CNV are my favorites! Also: YOU'VE READ ARCHANGEL? Gah, no one has read it (well obviously people have read it, but no one I know) so we have to discuss it some day! I both love it and hated it because its protagonist really grated on me. Actually, I'm reading Cold Fire by Kate Elliott and the romantic arc slightly reminds me of Archangel, only I like Cat heaps better than Rachel (that was her name, right?). Anywayyyy, great list!(:

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    1. Yes, I've read Archangel. :) And yes! I'd love to discuss it with you. It needs to be discussed more/just more generally in public knowledge. I liked Rachel, actually. She really does balance out Gabriel imo. And huh. I never made that comparison, but I think I can see it. I'm gonna comment on your review on gr or something so that we can discuss.

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  10. LOVED that first line of Anna Karenina and it fit so well with the rest of the book. And The Scorpio Races! YES!

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    1. Someday I hope I can agree with you on Anna Karenina. I just need to give myself the willpower to actually get through it all first!

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  11. Wonderful! Some of my favorite books made your list -- Code Name Verity, The Hobbit, P&P, Fahrenheit 451. And while I didn't love The Scorpio Races, I do like that opening line very much! I've never read the Avi book, but that is a terrific beginning -- may have to check it out. :)

    Lisa
    My TTT

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    1. The Avi book is great. I think he's pretty prolific, but this is the only one I've read. But it's just fantastic and I recommend it, although it is MG, possibly even young MG.

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