Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Books First Lines

They say to not judge a book by its cover.  I don't, but, I do judge it by its first lines.

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?


  1. I have one too:
    "The steam locomotive was pioneered in Britain and played a crucial role in today's world"- Classic British Steam Locomotives

    1. Your being a train aficionado shine through :)


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