Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Opening Lines In Books
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This was yet another impossible Top Ten challenge. The prompt was officially "Favorite openings/beginnings or endings", but if you leave something that open-ended for me I'll just end up writing a thesis paper on all fifty-seven of my favorite books. So. I had to limit myself. I chose opening lines because nothing is quite so important as a first impression. There's a real art to starting off a novel. You want to write something that captures the reader's interest and generates a lot of questions, and all of these managed to do that with me.

1. I remember being born.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

2. "You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand."
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

3. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

4. After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

5. They always screamed.

Reboot by Amy Tintera

6. There was a boy in her room.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

7. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling.

8. There was once a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

9. Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt.

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

10. When Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

11. This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

12. As the iron war club scythed toward her head, Yukiko couldn’t help wishing she’d listened to her father.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

And my very favorite ever, of course:

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 by Jane Austen 

Bonus: Classics Edition!

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

1984 by George Orwell 

Marley was dead, to begin with.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 

 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, ti 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.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


  1. That line for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has me so intrigued now! I cannot wait for that book!

    Great list!
    Here's My TTT

  2. Great list! I don't even know where to begin, I featured some of these opening sentences too, left a few obvious ones out (A Tale of Two Cities, 1984). Love that opening for Fangirl, can't wait to get my hands on it and read it xD

    My TTT

  3. Glad I'm not the only one who went with this interpretation of this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic to prevent from prattling on for pages on end. Who knows what would have happened had I started listing my favourite beginning and endings of a book - We would have been there all day! :P I thought I would spare everyone this week as my Top Ten Tuesday entries normally read like a thesis paper for a master's degree. I just can't seem to help myself, unfortunately (I even seem to be doing it now) *Facepalm*

    I was excited to see that we had a little overlap in our lists - The first line of Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic and was the second to come immediately to mind when I read what this week's topic was to be (The first being the opening line to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar) I also chose the opening line to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as not only do I absolutely love it and think it perfectly captures the overall spirit and tone of the story, but I also chose it for purely sentimental reasons as I'll always adore that series and what it meant to me when I was growing up :)

    Wonderful choices this week, Gillian!

  4. I had completely forgotten about the opening of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader! I think it might be my favourite in my series too, but I'm always changing my mind on that. (I'm always changing my mind on everything. I won't be pinned down!)

  5. I love these. I love how you've chosen some very clearly humorous ones like one from the Narnia book and some like the Devil sentence that are creating this mysterious and creepy atmosphere. (As a writer, I also love how the Devil sentence breaks one of the steadfast rules for opening sentences - don't start with dialogue unless it's super important. Yeah, well, look at that!) Also, 1000X points for the P&P line & classics edition (I haven't read 1984 before, but you bet you've got me interested). Lol at Charles Dickens and the Tale of Two Cities--can we really consider that all one sentence?

    My faves would probably include some of yours plus the ones from Fire, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the Raven Boys (or Scorpio Races). There are probably a lot more--I'm with you; I looove first sentences and wish they weren't so hard to write o.O--but I can't think of them now. Have a great day :).

  6. This was such a good idea! And man first lines are so important, aren't they. The one from The Devil and... is awesome and makes me wanna read it even more. Also, I need to dive into I Capture the Castle soon! Writing in a kitchen sink is all I need to know!
    P.S. our not so favorite book might make an appearance on my list...
    My TTT

  7. Oh, I love these first lines! They are all very memorable, some mysterious, some funny:) Haven't read all of these, but their opening lines really make me want to read them.

    My Top Ten @ Eveline's Books

  8. I love The Princess Bride! Great opening line for that one.
    Your choices were great. A lot of those sound really intriguing.
    Here's my Top Ten Tuesdays Post
    Megan @ Love, Literature, Art, and Reason

  9. The beginning of Reboot WAS really good. Good call on that one. Can't believe I forgot it.

    TTT @ Krista's Dust Jacket

  10. Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, and Dawn Treader all made my list of beginnings too. (Though I did that post in 2011 before I even knew about TTT. I just linked to it because it hasn't changed, and focused on favorite ending today.)

    I do love your list of beginnings. HP almost made mine and I still toy with the notion of adding it.

    My TTT

  11. Oh wow, I've never read The Princess Bride before (love the movie though), but after reading that opening line I just need to buy it. Great list!

  12. Oh my goodness!! I've been wanting to read Seraphina and Reboot, those first lines are killer!! I'm even more excited to get my hands on them now:)

    My TTT

  13. LOVE your Narnia and the Princess Bride ones! I've never read Princess Bride but I bought it this weekend. Eager to see how it reads!

  14. Seraphina's opening is amazing--I knew I'd love it right from the start. I've been gushing about it too much, lately, but I love seeing someone else acknowledge it!

  15. We both picked Seraphina and Stormdancer, because OF COURSE WE DID WE SHARE A MIND!

    In other news, I like you. :)

    My TTT:

  16. Great list! I love #2 and #7 made it's way onto my Top Ten too :)

  17. Seriously, this one was impossible, which is why I did not do it.

    You like very simple first sentences.

    Oh man, I totally agree with Dawn Treader. Didn't love the book, but the first sentence is BRILLIANT.


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