Friday, August 24, 2012

Best Opening Lines

One of my favorite moments when I read is the moment I first pick up a book, open it and read the opening lines. Those opening lines can often make or break the "mood" set by the story. If it's a good or great opening line, I press on with my reading, excited. If it isn't... well I find myself trudging along in my reading until either the story grabs me or I give up and move on to another book.

What are some of your favorite opening lines? What are the best opening lines? There are countless lists posted around the Internet, but here are some of my favorites:

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done..." - Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” - Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were." - Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

"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..." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’” - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

"Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail..." - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Sherry said...

Did you catch this post from a few weeks ago? 55 Favorite First Lines from Favorite Books:

Anonymous said...

You've already got two of my favorites, Rebecca and Gone with the Wind. I love the opening of Peter Pan too: "All children, except one, grow up." And then for a non-classic, there's The White Darkness: "I have been in love with Titus Oates for some time, which is ridiculous since he's been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way--in ninety years I'll be dead too, and the age difference won't matter."