First lines printed on a page. It can capture or lose readers.
Reading a good one is like receiving an embrace and welcoming words from a new friend. Encountering a bad one is like listening to a stranger with bad breath talk gibberish or hearing nails scratching on chalkboards.
Here are some first lines that I find arresting:
"It was love at first sight."
~Catch 22, Joseph Heller
"Woof! Woof woof! Woof! Woof!
Barking in the night. Barking, barking. I shriek but no one answers. I scream but there's not even an echo."
~Nexus, Henry Miller
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."
~Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
"In the middle of the twentieth century three men were charged with the task of removing the tension between minute and vast things."
~Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, Lydia Millet
"Who is John Galt?"
~Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
What are your favorite first lines?