100 best first lines from novels

Submitted by: buddy 11 years ago in
http://www.litline.org/ABR/100bestfirstlines.html

How many of these do you recognize?
There are 60 comments:
Female 264
i only knew the one from ulysses (if thats how you spell it)
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Female 25
Bigdanprice is right...where the hell is daphne du maurier?
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Female 97
wow, I knew quite a bit of those...
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Male 393
some of those books ere really really bad, other just plain poo
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Female 879
That was meant for Big Old Jeffery the Douche, by the way....I didnt mean to offend anybody else
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Female 879
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
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Female 221
Oh I wish they would have put the Westing Game`s line on there. That`s one of my favorite books.<3
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Male 594
"Yay, what`s more entertaining than literature?"

A slack-jawed idiot serving me fries.

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Male 943
Yay, what`s more entertaining than literature? How about everything....
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Female 23
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.

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Female 209
aww i was expecting Stephen King`s The Gunslinger :-(
"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed"
:-( tragic
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Male 601
MY HOLE ITCHES AGAIN
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Male 594
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.

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Male 601
^^^^thats my favorite first line :)

oh yeah sorry for 3 posts

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Male 601
-kylethehappy
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Male 601
MY HOLE ITCHES
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Male 48
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

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Female 9
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)

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Male 1,225
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!

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Female 395
Too bad they weren`t on there.
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Female 395
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

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Female 241
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.

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Male 3,060
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.
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Male 45
It does not have "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed"? Color me unimpressed.
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Female 275
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)

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Female 26
I love Tale of Two Cities and the Great Gatsby! Some of those brought back bad memories though...Red Badge of Courage....The Stranger...
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Female 280
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
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Male 17
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
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Male 17
lol @ mook
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Male 17
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
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Male 2,372
"One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish."

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Male 664
See spot run.
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Female 879
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....
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Male 329
It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

Bwahahahaha!

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Male 115
A large reason these are considered "best" is probably because a certain sum of them are High School curriculum reading.
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Male 221
What about Jeffrey Archer??
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Male 637
ive only heard of the Dickens one...
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Female 1,062
I`m just wondering what makes these the best?
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Male 1,407
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.
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Male 5
good point about shakespeare, though not all his characters spoke in verse.
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Male 2,720
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.

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Male 594
Shakespeare wasn`t a novelist.

His plays were in verse.

Good Lord, you people are stupid.

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Female 712
Cool.
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Male 1,225
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...

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Male 5
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!

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Male 129
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.
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Male 121
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

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Female 55
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

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Female 192
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.
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Female 50
They DID include Charles Dickens #9
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Female 166
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.
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Female 1,972
5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins...

Sounds like syphillis

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Male 2,372
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.

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Female 2,244
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.

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Male 1,407
^ Beat me to it there Tegan.
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Male 1,407
What about Dickens` famous opening to the Tale of Two Cities? I was almost sure that would be there.
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Female 134
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.
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Female 134
I didn`t see "It was the best of times, it ws the worst of time" from Charles Dickens` `A Tale of Two Cities`.
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Male 637
Some of those I think were more about the classic-ness of the novels and less about the first line being so great.
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Male 10,115
Link: 100 best first lines from novels [Rate Link] - How many of these do you recognize?
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