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I think someone’s done this before but it’s been a while, so...*shrugs*

 

What is your favorite opening line you yourself have written or from a book you liked?

 

 

“It. 

 

It was not a usual item, certainly. It was one of those things you might find lying under a shelf at a garage sale and then stash away in your attic for seven years, promptly forgetting about it within two hours of purchase.”

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sarah Daffy said:

I think someone’s done this before but it’s been a while, so...*shrugs*

 

What is your favorite opening line you yourself have written or from a book you liked?

 

 

“It. 

 

It was not a usual item, certainly. It was one of those things you might find lying under a shelf at a garage sale and then stash away in your attic for seven years, promptly forgetting about it within two hours of purchase.”

 

 

 

 

 

haha this:

 

 "I gasp for breath as he tightens his hold around my neck."

 

{yes my current novel's beginning 😉 )

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Am I cheating if I say, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." 😄 😮 😛 

 

Okay here is a first line from a book I enjoyed reading

 

“Far Out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

Edited by Amosathar
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OK - My fav is from  'Happy as a Dead Cat' by Jill Miller but I can not print it here.

2"nd choice is 'Dear Nobody' by Bernie Doherty.  One of the most beautiful written books I have ever read.

 

Maybe we all want to burn off across the horizon, into space, perhaps, to take off into some unknown territory and meet ourselves out there.

 

 

 

 

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It was a dark and stormy night...

 

Kidding KIDDING  KIDDING!!!!

 

Actually, though I've never read the book, I am always intrigued by:

 

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

 

 

Edited by Wes B
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I don't have a copy near to me so I apologise that I misquote.  "In a hole, in a hill, there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty worm filled hole something something or a dry sandy hole.  This was a hobbit hole and that means comfort."  The Hobbit.

 

"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.

"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..."  The Catcher In The Rye.  (I actually like the whole sentence but I'll stop before the swearing starts since I know that most people here don't like swearing.)
 

Again I don't have a copy near me.  "Once there was a little princess and she was very sad for her parents had just died.  Then she met a prince who wrapped her in a rose scented embrace and said, 'never lose your purity even as you grow up'.  This was all well and good but so impressed was she that she decided to become a prince.  But was that really such a good idea?"  Revolutionary Girl Utena (anime only if I remember rightly)

"Same old thing, day after day... what a bore."
"This world is a rotten mess..." Death Note manga.

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Here's the opening to my uncompleted story titled, "Evening in Oaxaca".

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    He wrote on the back of a postcard.

    "I'm in Oaxaca (Pronounced "Wah-Hah-Kah") Mexico, on the first Tuesday in February.  I'm enjoying very warm days, very hot food and good cold beer.  Wish you were here.
                                                                             Frank."

    23 year old Frank Sandrell was glad he'd made his airline and hotel reservations back in October.

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   The words on the fictional postcard, were originally written by me on a real postcard, that I actually sent to a real person, when I was on vacation in Mexico.  I think it was in back in 1971.

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There's so many good ones, but I've always been partial to the saltiness of:

 

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." - C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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On 1/13/2021 at 11:40 PM, Amosathar said:

Am I cheating if I say, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." 😄 😮 😛 

 

I came across a version called Voice and it says, "Out of nowhere, time, space, and all living whirl forth as God speaks the universe into existence..." I found it bizarre 🤷‍♀️.


Anyway, to answer the thread question, my favorite opening line is from a poem not a book, so I guess it doesn't count. 😁

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I can’t think of a specific opening line that is my favorite. However, the books I gravitate toward immerse me in a different world within the first page. There’s usually some sort of conflict at the beginning that draws me in. 

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14 hours ago, quietspirit said:

I have always been intrigued by, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."  A Tale of Two Cities.

 

I have to admit, I have never taken the time to read it.  I think I will put it on my reading list for this year.

 

It will be worth your time -- and more. The great thing about this opening line is that it goes beyond just sounding like an invite to a pleasant conversation. It suggests something big is coming, but in a thoughtful way that catches us by surprise. Lines like that suggest that the author put some real thought into it, and hopefully put some real effort into what will follow.

 

There are others that really dazzle, like, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there," from Hartley's The Go-Between (actually from the prologue...) like the Dickens line, it suggests some huge contrasts, but the clever metaphor also suggests the narrator is also very clever, has a unique outlook, and that we will also be drawn into a foreign country, where they do things differently.

 

 

We can even use other people's brilliance, I think. The wonderful line, "Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law." from Gaddis', A Frolic of His Own, takes a well-worn truism about wanting justice but merely getting the law and makes it fast, forceful, and once again suggesting contrasts and something significant to come. Okay, this "opening line" was actually two sentences, but it's spat out so powerfully we'll barely notice.

 

Sometimes, throwing in a sense of mystery with the promise of Big Things To Come can really pay off. I love "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." from Sabatini's, Scaramouche. Like Dickens' book, it also showcases the French Revolution, and a world gone mad.

 

BTW, before reading A Tale of Two Cites, you'll really do yourself a favor if you spend a full hour or two reading up on the French Revolution. The story will come alive twice as brightly if you really understand what's going on. When Dickens wrote it, it was more recent history than WW II is for us. There were people alive who still remembered the atrocities that happened just across the narrow English Channel, and Dickens was among those concerned that something like that could happen in England.

 

Happy reading...

 

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   How about this opening to my Sherlock Holmes fan fiction story titled: "The Case of the Dreadful Poet"?

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   The sky over London was overcast. The air that day was chilly and damp. Soot fell like snow, around the clopping horses and rattling carriages that moved along the crowded, narrow streets of the City. My elderly patient should have stayed inside, and nursed her consumption at home; but she was insistent that I bring her along with me, so she could speak in person to my friend Sherlock Holmes.
 

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On 1/14/2021 at 4:31 AM, Sarah Daffy said:

What is your favorite opening line you yourself have written or from a book you liked?

My favorite is from George Bryan Polivka's Blaggards Moon (I'm typing it from memory, so might not be 100% accurate):

 

" 'On a post. In a pond.' 

 

Smith Delaney said the words not because anyone could hear them but because they needed saying." 

 

Close second is this:

 

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

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1 minute ago, Zee said:

And there’s always “Call me Ishmael.” Am I really the only Moby Dick fan on this site?

My dad loves this one. I'm personally not a fan, nor do I like Shakespeare. 

 

I like Charles Dickenson, A Christmas Carol. "Marley was dead, to begin with. " 

 

My kid's love me to tell stories that start with, "Once upon a time, in a land far far far far far far far far faaaaaaar way... Quick, guess where!" 

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1 hour ago, Zee said:

And there’s always “Call me Ishmael.” Am I really the only Moby Dick fan on this site?

I haven't read it yet. I have the ebook, but don't like reading ebooks, so.... One day I'll get the real book, read it, and then maybe there'll be two Moby Dick fans here 😀

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It's not a great, old, highly-respected classic (and it's also more than one sentence), but one of the best opening lines that comes to my mind is the narrative hook of Lemony Snicket's first book in All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be at This Hour?

 

"There was a town, and there was a girl, and there was a theft. I was living in the town, and I was hired to investigate the theft, and I thought the girl had nothing to do with it. I was almost 13 and I was wrong."

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I think the way that Son by Lois Lowry begins is fantastic, but I don't have the book right now, so I can't do that.  So instead, I'll do this from my book called Inspire:

"RUN, RUN, RUN!" screams the young male voice behind me.  "KEEP GOING!"

***

Or here's a great one from The Christmas Carol (I don't have this book with me, so forgive me):

Marley was as dead as a doornail to begin with.

***

The first line of The Landmark Herodotus The Histories by Herodotus:

Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents his great and wonderful deeds so that human events do not fade with time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Great Gatsby.

 

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

how to rate books.jpg

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