Thursday, April 14, 2011

A good beginning

They always say not to judge a book by its cover, but what about the first line? Well i recently stumbled across a list of 100 of the best first lines from novels. I couldn't resist sharing some of the beauty and creativity that people are blessed with. Enjoy the art of words...

  • He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. - Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)
  • A screaming comes across the sky. - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
  • The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)
  • The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. - William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  • 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. - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  • I am an invisible man. - Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
  • Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. - Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)
  • It was like so, but wasn't. - Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)
  • The moment one learns English, complications set in. - Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)
  • We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. - Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)
  • It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  • The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)
  • The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. - L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)
  • I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. - Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)
  • "When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets," Papa would say, "she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing." - Katherine Dunn, Geek Love (1983)
  • The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. - Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)
  • Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women. - Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990)


Brooke Shoko said...

great post. i liked that last one.

Nancy said...

I also loved the last one, but my favorite was the Ling Kong divorcing his wife every summer.

I think a book would be far too great of an undertaking for me, however, I feel that I could come up with some pretty awesome first sentences . . . maybe even first paragraphs. Just enough to bait people and make them want the rest (which, sadly, will not exist).

Do you remember that book my mom had -- The Mysteries of Harris Burdick? It just had a cool picture and one sentence with each picture -- leaving you to create the rest of the story? That's what reading these sentences made me think of.

Nancy said...

P.S. I know this is not my place . . . it's like me sitting you down to tell you that I have decided what you must do for a career -- regardless of your own feelings. Nevertheless, I have decided that you must change htis comment setting to a different setting. Of course maybe you have your reasons . . . maybe this method weeds out murderers? But it also makes me push post comment no less than five times -- giving me new things to do each time -- like sign in, then next time, type the wiggly words, and so forth. This simply can't be born . . . or maybe borne?