Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unforgettable Firsts...

Before I buy a book, or even check one out of the library, I always flip it open first and read the opening sentence. I have to see if the author's words grab me and make me want to read more, or if, like a bad pick-up line, I am left less than impressed. So much hangs on the first line of a book, don't you think? the best ones hook you with the first word and quickly reel you into the story. The best of the best are unforgettable. Here are 10 memorable first lines. Some are obvious, some a little more obscure; can you guess which book they're from? (Answers are below.)

1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

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

3. The Ghost in the Paris opera existed.

4. To kill a man, my dear, is not always to make an end of him.

5. Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board.

6. Who is John Galt?

7. No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

9. I am dead, but it's not so bad.

10. This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.

Have you read an unforgettable first line lately?

Answers: 1-Pride and Prejudice; 2- The Shadow of the Wind; 3- The Phantom of the Opera; 4- Treasure Mountain; 5- Their Eyes Were Watching God; 6- Atlas Shrugged; 7- Northanger Abbey; 8- 1984; 9- Warm Bodies; 10- The Woman in White.


  1. Ok, I only got 4. Three because I have read them, and the 4th (Northanger Abbey) because it is on my August reading list and I knew the name of the character. Great lines, though! Nice mix of classics and contemporary.

  2. Replies
    1. That is an awesome first line; I'd want to read that book.

  3. I love that first line from P&P! I knew the Shadow of the Wind first line but have still to read the book. The Phantom was a logical guess! The rest I didn't know. But Warm Bodies I should have got, I knew it was familiar!
    Great post, I love first lines. I always read them in a bookshop when I'm browsing. Every bit as important as the blurb.

  4. I only got a few of these. I agree, a first line is extremely important. It can either pull you into the story or leave you wondering if you should continue with the book.

  5. I only knew four! But now I'm extremely curious about the rest...Very interesting post!