100 Best First Lines from Novels

Interesting. The lines below are the ones that I like. The lines in italics are books I have read.

1. Call me Ishmael. ?Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. ?Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. ?Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ?George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

9. 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. ?Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

10. I am an invisible man. ?Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

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)

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

59. It was love at first sight. ?Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving. ?W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge (1944)

65. You better not never tell nobody but God. ?Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. ?Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)

99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. ?Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. silverneurotic
    Jul 11, 2007 @ 11:42:33

    Email me when you know the new URL…please. 🙂

    nylusmilk: of course – you needn’t asked actually, as i plan to e-mail all the ones who i know read regularly. 😀


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