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Best first sentences of novels... (1 Viewer)



"When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta."

Just finished reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. What a book...

bob rulz

Senior Member
I'm gonna have to agree with:

"The story so far: In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
-The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglass Adams

Anarkos said:
"It was the day my grandmother exploded."
- Iain Banks, The Crow Road

Best one yet. It can't get any more "WTF?" than that. Haha.

Anarkos said:
And the very worst:
"Meteorites fell through the night sky like a gentle sleet of icefire, their sharp scintillations slashing ebony overload streaks across the image Gregor Mandel's photon amp was feeding into his optical nerves."
- Peter F Hamilton, Mindstar Rising



Okay, I just read it for the 8th time (no exaggeration, I counted them), and finally got it. But still...




Senior Member
I'd like to second the previous Douglas Adams ones. That man was a genius. I love the Hitchhiker's series.
I'd also like to add 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink' from I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. Probably my favourite book, and that line is great. So simple.


I was stealing salt shakers again.

Apathy by Paul Neilan
(This book is brilliant and totally, completely, absolutely crazy.)


Senior Member
From what I can remember off the top of my head:

"In the darkness, the tower."

Blind, by Matthew Farrer.

I'm sure I've read better ones, but I just can't get at the books right now...


Senior Member
'Under normal circumstances, Faith and I should not be home when my mother calls and invites us to come see her brand-new coffin.'

Keeping Faith, Jodi Picolut. This first line drew me in quickly.


Senior Member
"It was a pleasure to burn."
-Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

"For the weekly docket the court jester wore his standard garb of well-used and deeply-faded maroon pajamas and lavendar terry-cloth shower shoes with no socks."
-The Brethren, John Grisham

Scott Tuplin

Senior Member
"I awoke on the morning of my hundred and fifty second birthday with every intention of being born again."
- Quail and Riches, Anonymous
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Senior Member
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."


Senior Member
"ABANDON HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First"
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis


Senior Member
bret easton ellis has some doozies. less than zero has one...something about people being afraid to merge on the freeway outside LA...


Senior Member
strangedaze said:
bret easton ellis has some doozies. less than zero has one...something about people being afraid to merge on the freeway outside LA...

Yeah it's: "Peole are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city."


"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

King might think he has a tin ear for language, but this is the third time in this thread he has gotten props for that opener.

Also, the description of Black Thirteen:

"..sat crouched on velvet, like the slick eye of a monster that grew outside of God's shadow."



These are the ones that I could find that I remember really pulling me in. Some of them are actually the opening couple of lines, though.

The Bad Beginning- Lemony Snicket
If you are interested in stories with happy ending, you would be better off reading some other book.

Elsewhere- Gabrielle Zevin
"The end came quickly, and there wasn't any pain." Sometimes, the father whispers it to the mother. Sometimes, the mother to the father. From the top of the stairs, Lucy hears it all and says nothing.

Cobwebs- Karen Romano Young
The first time Nancy saw Dion he was balancing on the rail of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Manhattan shimmered across the river. Annette was telling Nancy again how much she wanted a boyfriend, and Nancy was pretending to listen.

Th Last Dog on Earth- Daniel Ehrenhaft
Before the sickness, the pack had always hunted at night.

Animal Farm- George Orwell
Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.

Premonitions- Jude Watson
I think I was a nice person before my mom died.

The Last Days- Scott Westerfeld(this is actually kinda the prologue, sorry if it's long, but I love it)

Ever hear this charming little rhyme?
Pocket full of posies.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Some people say that this poem is about the Black Death, the fourteenth-century plague that killed 100 million people. Here's the theory: "Ring-arond-the-rosy" was an early symptom of the plague: a circular rash of red skin. In medieval tmes, people carried flowers, like posies, with them for protection against the disease. The words "ashes to ashes" appear in the funeral mass, and sometimes plague victims' houses were burned.

And "we all fall down"?

Well, you can figure that one out for yourself.

Sadly, though, most experts think this is nonsense. A red rash isn't really a plague symptom, they say, and "ashes" was originally some other word. Most important, the rhyme is too new. It didn't appear in print until 1881.

Trust me, though: it's about the plague. The words have changed a little from the original, but so have any words carried on the lips of children for seven hundred years. It's a little reminder that the Black Death will come again.

How can I be so sure about this rhyme, when all experts disagree?

Because I ate the kid who made it up.

Night Mayor Tapes:
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Senior Member
"High atop the steps of the Great Pyramid of Giza a young woman laughed and called down to him. 'Robert, hurry up! I knew I should of married a younger man!' Her smile was magic."
-Angels and Demons, Dan Brown

"Blood, blood everywhere."
-After Human, Michael Cross

"The word Irish is seldom coupled with the word civilization."
-How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill

"Many survival case histories show that stubborn, strong willpower can conquer many obstacles."
- US Army Survival Manual, Headquaters, Department of the Army

"This is a true story."
-The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson


Senior Member
"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

-- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

"Somebody must have made a false accusation against Josef K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong."

-- The Trial by Franz Kafka
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Senior Member
Being, like many others, a bit of a sceptic for advertising, I had to check when I saw a cover emblazoned with the line 'GRIPS FROM THE FIRST SENTENCE', and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was, for once, literally true:

"Can you see how the pieces fit together?"
-The Towers of the Sunset, by L.E. Modesitt Jr.