28
   

The best opening lines in literature

 
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 03:51 pm
My nomination is from George Orwell's 1984:

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


Do you have a good opening line to a book to share?
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 04:05 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I don't think I would call it the best, but I remember cracking up when I first read:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Vladimir Nabokov, "Lolita"

I thought it couldn't get any cheesier, but it did. I will never understand the appeal of this book.
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 05:36 pm
It was a dark and stormy night and the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional
intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the
streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and
fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the
darkness.
Bulwer-Lytton, Edward, Paul Clifford
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 05:39 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Great idea. I might be a while in responding.

Sometimes lines are followed by memorable novels. Not quite the same thing.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 05:45 pm
@Green Witch,
Quote:
I thought it couldn't get any cheesier, but it did. I will never understand the appeal of this book.


Well, I've never actually read Lolita. But I did listen to it as read by Jeremy Irons while driving on a long, crappy winter day from New Jersey to Wisconsin. I doubt i would like it on the page, but with that creepy dude reading it -- absolutely brilliant.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 06:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
"call me Ishmael"--Moby's Dick
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 06:54 pm
"I was in bed with the catamite when the Archbishop called to tell me the Prime Minister had resigned."

Anthony Burgess but I forget which book.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 06:55 pm
@farmerman,
As Gregor woke up one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
Kafka
The Metamorphosis
0 Replies
 
thegalacticemperor
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 07:14 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Albert Camus' The Stanger:
Quote:
Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours. That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.

Tom Robbins' Another Roadside Attraction:
Quote:
The magician's underwear has just been found in a cardboard suitcase floating in a stagnant pond on the outskirts of Miami.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 07:25 pm
"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
0 Replies
 
thegalacticemperor
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 07:25 pm
@Green Witch,
ooh, ooh, ooh!! Green Witch has a great one, but I think it has to be taken further to be fully appreciated.
Quote:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Le-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.

I always thought it was amazing the way Nabokov had us consciously observing as we tapped our tongues along to this opening just as he described.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 11:31 pm
Quote:
One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to a hill

Star Maker Olaf Stapledon
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 03:39 am
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. A Tale of Two cities. I love the oxymoron effect of that beginning
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 05:52 am
"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one."
" Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:48 am
I always loved the rebel ship being pursued by the Star Destroyer....
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:50 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
THERE WAS ME, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie and Dim and we sat in the Korova milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 07:01 am
@farmerman,
Best one so far, farmer.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. parodied that line for the opening line in his Cat's Cradle: Call me Jonah. My parents did, or almost did.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 09:54 am
"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house All that cold, cold, wet day. " - Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 10:36 am
"Hey!
CALL HER YORUBA, RIGHT?
High priestess of the Nation!
You ready for that?
Negritude? Okay?
African queen!
Black and comely was this Harlem princess.
Yoruba, her father named her."

The Cotillion by John Oliver Killens.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 12:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,
The Kandy-Kolored Tngerine-Flake Streamline Baby
Tom Wolfe

Las Vegas (What?) Las Vegas (Can't hear you! Too noisy) Las Vegas!!!!

Hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia; hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, HERNia, HERNia; hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, eight is the point, the point is eight; hernia, hernia, HERNia; hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, all right, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hard eight, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, HERNia, hernia, hernia, hernia, hernia
 

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