Books have thousands upon thousands of sentences but none are as important as the first few lines to grab the reader’s attention. As a reader these first lines should entice you, give you a taste for the author’s voice, style and even humour.
Here are some of the books that have made an impression on me within the first few lines:
Two of my personal faves
To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor. — Deanna Raybourn, Silent in the Grave (2012)
Short ‘n Sweet
You are going to die. -- Markus Zusak, The Book Thief (2006).
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. — J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
I’ve been locked up for 264 days. — Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me (2011)
“To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)
And you can’t forget the classics!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. — Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” — J.D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Authors have a tall order when it comes to the lines they put on the first page of their books. But if it’s done well these lines can stay with their readers long after they close the book. What books have made their mark on you within their first few lines?
– – Laurie P.