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Date: 01/31/06 02:20 AM

60 Responses to 100 best first lines from novels

  1. Profile photo of buddy
    buddy Male 30-39
    10116 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 1:53 am
    Link: 100 best first lines from novels - How many of these do you recognize?
  2. Profile photo of DaWeirdo
    DaWeirdo Male 13-17
    637 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:12 am
    Some of those I think were more about the classic-ness of the novels and less about the first line being so great.
  3. Profile photo of TeganRed
    TeganRed Female 18-29
    134 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:46 am
    I didn`t see "It was the best of times, it ws the worst of time" from Charles Dickens` `A Tale of Two Cities`.
  4. Profile photo of TeganRed
    TeganRed Female 18-29
    134 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:46 am
    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.
  5. Profile photo of Osprey39
    Osprey39 Male 18-29
    1408 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:47 am
    What about Dickens` famous opening to the Tale of Two Cities? I was almost sure that would be there.
  6. Profile photo of Osprey39
    Osprey39 Male 18-29
    1408 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:47 am
    ^ Beat me to it there Tegan.
  7. Profile photo of halifax_girl
    halifax_girl Female 18-29
    2244 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:49 am
    It`s in the first few, how could you both miss it?

    Some of those are so boring it makes me not want to read the book.

  8. Profile photo of manorrd
    manorrd Male 30-39
    2372 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 3:07 am
    Hey!!!

    You would have thought they would have included the one that starts that Dickens Novel....

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...etc.

  9. Profile photo of lolakitty72
    lolakitty72 Female 30-39
    1972 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 3:17 am
    5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins...

    Sounds like syphillis

  10. Profile photo of kate192
    kate192 Female 18-29
    166 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 4:50 am
    I still say that the best first line of any book is "Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn`t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have," from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  11. Profile photo of cstrdmnd
    cstrdmnd Female 18-29
    50 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 5:01 am
    They DID include Charles Dickens #9
  12. Profile photo of ShishKebab
    ShishKebab Female 18-29
    192 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 6:07 am
    I recognised a few. Mostly from coming across them in English Literature, others from having flicked through books mindlessly. #95 is an impossibly big sentence.
  13. Profile photo of lovesmcr
    lovesmcr Female 13-17
    55 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:20 am
    14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino`s new novel, If on a winter`s night a traveler. —Italo Calvino, If on a winter`s night a traveler (1979; trans. William Weaver)

    haha that should be number 1

  14. Profile photo of signed_in
    signed_in Male 18-29
    122 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 8:07 am
    Fight club has some of the best lines for starting a book or a chapter

    1 min, just get my copy

    Tyler gets me a job 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.

    classic

    Or the start of chapter 6:

    Two screens into my demo to Microsoft, I taste blood and have to start swallowing.

    Chaper 7:
    One morning there`s the dead jellyfish of a used condom floating in the toilet.
    This is how Tyler meets Marla.

    Thats enough

  15. Profile photo of vachement
    vachement Male 18-29
    129 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 8:13 am
    That is an excellent post- very cool. Favorites have got to be The Great Gatsby and Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I was positive that the Iliad`s rage thing would have been here-- or something Agatha Christie.
  16. Profile photo of bigdanprice
    bigdanprice Male 18-29
    5 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:35 am
    I think this has a bit of a slant towards american literature... What about:
    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
    - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker`s Guide to the Galaxy
    Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse.
    - Louis de Bernieres, Corelli`s Mandolin
    Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
    - Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
    Who`s there?
    - William Shakespeare, Hamlet Prince of Denmark

    When shall we three meet again
    In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth

    Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
    - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
    Just a few of my favs!

  17. Profile photo of farquaadhnch
    farquaadhnch Male 18-29
    1225 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:48 am
    I agree with bigdanprice that there was a slant towards American Literature. There definately should have been a few of Shakespeare`s on there, as well as Adams`.

    However, why isn`t the opening line to To Kill a Mockingbird on there. That is a classic American piece.

    "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow."

    Then again, I`m not impartial. I had to do my Literary Analysis on that novel...

  18. Profile photo of lovestricken
    lovestricken Female 13-17
    712 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:57 am
    Cool.
  19. Profile photo of bigoldjeffry
    bigoldjeffry Male 70 & Over
    594 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 10:18 am
    Shakespeare wasn`t a novelist.

    His plays were in verse.

    Good Lord, you people are stupid.

  20. Profile photo of deaf_woman
    deaf_woman Male 30-39
    2720 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 10:42 am
    Just missing the list...

    101. Despair is like a cable that is buried just under the surface of the ground. You pull it up and pull it up, but that cable just keeps right on going, clear across a field, until you come to a bunch of guys who are burying the cable. Then just walk up to them and go, "Hey, have you seen Fred?" And they`ll say, "Fred who?" And you say, "Fred of snakes?" Then cover your ears, because big laughs are coming.

  21. Profile photo of bigdanprice
    bigdanprice Male 18-29
    5 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 11:37 am
    good point about shakespeare, though not all his characters spoke in verse.
  22. Profile photo of Osprey39
    Osprey39 Male 18-29
    1408 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 12:44 pm
    Whether or not they spoke in verse, Shakespeare was a playwright. Meaning he wrote plays, not novels. And cut me some slack about missing the Dickens line, I was looking at the list at like 4 am.
  23. Profile photo of TabooPoison
    TabooPoison Female 18-29
    1062 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 1:42 pm
    I`m just wondering what makes these the best?
  24. Profile photo of KeBob
    KeBob Male 13-17
    637 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 2:11 pm
    ive only heard of the Dickens one...
  25. Profile photo of withnail101
    withnail101 Male 30-39
    221 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 3:14 pm
    What about Jeffrey Archer??
  26. Profile photo of heartagram86
    heartagram86 Male 18-29
    115 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 3:30 pm
    A large reason these are considered "best" is probably because a certain sum of them are High School curriculum reading.
  27. Profile photo of guapodude
    guapodude Male 13-17
    329 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 3:35 pm
    It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

    Bwahahahaha!

  28. Profile photo of GypsyCassie
    GypsyCassie Female 18-29
    880 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 4:06 pm
    Im pretty sure this is a matter of opinion, and I agree, where was The Hitchhiker`s Guide to the Galaxy? The only ones on there I really liked were "Call me Ishamel" ( I know it`s cliche, but it`s one of my favorites), and the Catcher in the Rye, was the Outsider`s on there either? probably not....
  29. Profile photo of Mo0k
    Mo0k Male 18-29
    664 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 4:37 pm
    See spot run.
  30. Profile photo of manorrd
    manorrd Male 30-39
    2372 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 4:43 pm
    "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish."

  31. Profile photo of simon123
    simon123 Male 18-29
    17 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 5:10 pm
    I`m sorry, most of the stuff quoted isn`t there by virtue of it being a cracking opening line - people get blinded by what they think should be good, not what actually is
  32. Profile photo of simon123
    simon123 Male 18-29
    17 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 5:11 pm
    lol @ mook
  33. Profile photo of simon123
    simon123 Male 18-29
    17 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 5:12 pm
    I`m sorry, most of the stuff quoted isn`t there by virtue of it being a cracking opening line - people get blinded by what they think should be good, not what actually is
  34. Profile photo of doZer_roZZ
    doZer_roZZ Female 18-29
    280 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 5:20 pm
    The only one I have heard and my favorite from the ones I read on the list is the one from "The Catcher in the Rye" that is a great book
  35. Profile photo of AbbyboBabbie
    AbbyboBabbie Female 18-29
    26 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 6:02 pm
    I love Tale of Two Cities and the Great Gatsby! Some of those brought back bad memories though...Red Badge of Courage....The Stranger...
  36. Profile photo of bang_
    bang_ Female 13-17
    276 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 6:25 pm
    Number #47:

    There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

  37. Profile photo of shenred
    shenred Male 18-29
    45 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 6:30 pm
    It does not have "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed"? Color me unimpressed.
  38. Profile photo of HOBYandy
    HOBYandy Male 18-29
    3060 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:11 pm
    i must agree...this was more about how popular or well recieved the novel was as a classic. Only a few of the first lines were impressive.
  39. Profile photo of x_omni_x
    x_omni_x Female 13-17
    241 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:28 pm
    8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

    Yes! Yes! I always loved that. Impending doom.

  40. Profile photo of freakyppl
    freakyppl Female 18-29
    395 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:33 pm
    Laurel K. Hamilton; Incubus Dreams: "Accidental sex, he made it sound like I fell down and there just happened to be an erection in the way.

    This one`s not from a novel, its from fanfiction
    dracademented; Unexpected: "The lion may be king of the jungle, but drop him into Antartica and he`s just a penguins bitch"

    I love LOVE love those qoutes. :D

  41. Profile photo of freakyppl
    freakyppl Female 18-29
    395 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:35 pm
    Too bad they weren`t on there.
  42. Profile photo of farquaadhnch
    farquaadhnch Male 18-29
    1225 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:37 pm
    bigoldjeffry,

    Lay Off! You could have just told us without being a jerk about it. Besides, I never studied Shakespeare in H.S. You`d think I have, but I had crappy teachers. If I hadn`t worked so hard I wouldn`t have gotten into college. NOW BACK OFF!

  43. Profile photo of Luv2Dance76
    Luv2Dance76 Female 13-17
    9 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 7:40 pm
    My favorite book and first line:

    16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you`ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don`t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

  44. Profile photo of DayInTheLife
    DayInTheLife Male 13-17
    48 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 8:11 pm
    I like that one =] If it`s in there, my bad homie.


    The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange! Sunset Towers faced east and had no towers. - Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game

  45. Profile photo of kylethehappy
    kylethehappy Male 13-17
    601 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:46 pm
    MY HOLE ITCHES
  46. Profile photo of kylethehappy
    kylethehappy Male 13-17
    601 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:46 pm
    -kylethehappy
  47. Profile photo of kylethehappy
    kylethehappy Male 13-17
    601 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 9:47 pm
    ^^^^thats my favorite first line :)

    oh yeah sorry for 3 posts

  48. Profile photo of bigoldjeffry
    bigoldjeffry Male 70 & Over
    594 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 10:00 pm
    Back off? Sorry--I`ll go and sit on the other side of the lunch room, you dimwit.

    "A matter of opinion?" What kind of douchebag thing is that to say? If the best literature is merely a "matter of opinion," then EVERYTHING is a matter of opinion.

    "I believe the sky is orange."

    "But it`s blue!"

    "That`s just my opinion."

    ???????????????????????

    "I believe that Britney Spears is poetry, but that`s just my opinion."

    "Ignorant subhuman retard."

    Dang fools.

  49. Profile photo of kylethehappy
    kylethehappy Male 13-17
    601 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 11:16 pm
    MY HOLE ITCHES AGAIN
  50. Profile photo of RedRen
    RedRen Female 70 & Over
    209 posts
    January 31, 2006 at 11:42 pm
    aww i was expecting Stephen King`s The Gunslinger :-(
    "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed"
    :-( tragic
  51. Profile photo of Hemp
    Hemp Female 13-17
    23 posts
    February 1, 2006 at 10:08 am
    What about Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas?!?!?!?!

    Come on, man...give Hunter S. Thompson some love..
    I`m so dissapointed in humanity right now.

  52. Profile photo of ajr2006
    ajr2006 Male 18-29
    943 posts
    February 1, 2006 at 11:22 am
    Yay, what`s more entertaining than literature? How about everything....
  53. Profile photo of bigoldjeffry
    bigoldjeffry Male 70 & Over
    594 posts
    February 1, 2006 at 9:35 pm
    "Yay, what`s more entertaining than literature?"

    A slack-jawed idiot serving me fries.

  54. Profile photo of SassySweet05
    SassySweet05 Female 18-29
    221 posts
    February 3, 2006 at 7:11 pm
    Oh I wish they would have put the Westing Game`s line on there. That`s one of my favorite books.<3
  55. Profile photo of GypsyCassie
    GypsyCassie Female 18-29
    880 posts
    February 4, 2006 at 10:46 am
    Literature speaks to people in different ways, was all that I was saying. It`s not like I`m some dumbass, Im actually well read, but I just dont take my OPINION and change it into something resembling a fact-douche bag
  56. Profile photo of GypsyCassie
    GypsyCassie Female 18-29
    880 posts
    February 4, 2006 at 10:49 am
    That was meant for Big Old Jeffery the Douche, by the way....I didnt mean to offend anybody else
  57. Profile photo of cutbullocks
    cutbullocks Male 18-29
    393 posts
    February 6, 2006 at 6:57 pm
    some of those books ere really really bad, other just plain poo
  58. Profile photo of Aetrie
    Aetrie Female 18-29
    97 posts
    February 11, 2006 at 2:23 pm
    wow, I knew quite a bit of those...
  59. Profile photo of adnerb666
    adnerb666 Female 18-29
    25 posts
    March 1, 2006 at 11:58 am
    Bigdanprice is right...where the hell is daphne du maurier?
  60. Profile photo of monkeydrumme
    monkeydrumme Female 13-17
    264 posts
    March 30, 2006 at 7:39 pm
    i only knew the one from ulysses (if thats how you spell it)

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