Monday, May 20, 2013

Best First Lines

Sometimes an opening sentence to a book sets you up to the whole theme of the book.  I've read books where I've seen that first sentence and just knew that I would love it.  Of course, I have been wrong, but generally it's a good thing.

*Disclaimer - I totally stole this idea from Lisa Collicut

"Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again."
The very first book I can remember the first line from was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.  I was in eighth grade and I was transfixed immediately.  You know that somehow, the reader hasn't gone back and won't go back and you need to find out why.  It is haunting and lovely and still one of my favorites, all these years later.

"Few people would look kindly on my reasons for marrying Philip; neither love nor money nor his title induced me to accept his proposal." 
And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily, #1)
And Only To Decieve by Tasha Alexander. The cover had caught my eye, so I picked it up at the library and then went to my parent's house.  My mother was intrigued by it as I was, so we sat together, on that gorgeous summer day, and stayed inside and took turns reading the chapters out loud to one another. 

"To say I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate." 
Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia, #1)
I mean, how can you NOT want to read a book that starts out that way?  Silent In The Grave by Deanna Raybourn It also has the best follow up line: "Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." I liked this book and it started me on the series which I quickly grew to love. 

"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
Well, duh!  Obviously he must be. :) How could I leave off one of the best books written and one of the best opening lines?  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
is one of the most lovely books I've ever read, and if you haven't read it, you really should pick it up.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." 
Anna Karenina
I should have paid more attention when this line grabbed my attention.  The book was to be about an unhappy family, not a happy one. I knew Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy was supposed to be a love story, but I didn't realize it would be so depressing and so political.  To say I was incredibly mislead by that first sentence would be an understatement.  I was tricked into believing I would love the book, and let me tell you - I did not.  I hated every page and considered reading it to be a person challenge, my own Mt. Everest. I trudged along, 400 pages into it, when my coworker stopped by and told me the ending.  With that, I gave up. I did not finish and have no desire to ever go back to that book. But I'll give it credit - it has a catch first line.

"I am dead, but it's not so bad." 
Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1)
I had seen the trailer for the movie for Warm Bodies and though it was beyond cute.  When I saw it was a book, by Isaac Marion, I had to read it.  I thought it was going to be funny - I had no idea how incredibly sweet it would be.  A modern day, happier-ending Romeo and Juliet.

So what books have you read and were totally caught up by the first sentence?  Or totally fooled by that first sentence?


  1. I've seen a lot about Rebecca lately. I think I saw the movie when I was younger. It is a great first line. I like "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". I never did read the Tale of Two Cities though. Great post!

    1. I love that line, too, but since I've never read any Dickens, I didn't think it was fair to use it. :) But it has to be one of the most famous first lines out of a book ever.