First lines

Over on A Tale Unfolds, Arkenaten listed opening lines of books he found on his shelves.

I thought I’d do the same, but with only the first line from some of my favorite books.


Which would you read or not?

Ramón Espejo awoke floating in a sea of darkness.

~ Hunter’s Run by George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham

Idle reader, you need no oath of mine to convince you that I wish this book, the child of my brain, were the handsomest, the liveliest, and the wisest that would be conceived.

~ Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; be could hear them squealing as only happy children do.

~ Wool – Part 1 by Hugh Howey

 I was twelve when it all happened – when Jasper Leatherstone escaped Death Row and everything changed.

~ Leatherstone by David Patrick Pabian

The morning express bloated with passengers slowed to a crawl, then lurched forward suddenly, as though to resume full speed.

~ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.

~ The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

A flattened and drying daffodil was dangling off the little card that I had made my aunt Atie for Mother’s Day.

~ Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

It was a death that began it all and another death that led us on.

~ Morality Play by Barry Unsworth

I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.

~ The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Old maps lead you to strange and unexpected places, and none does so more ineluctably than the subject of this book: the giant, beguiling Waldseemuller world map of 1507.

~ The Fourth Part of the World (nonfiction) by Toby Lester

“We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.

~ A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.

~ The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.

~ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Anyone who watches even the slightest amount of TV is familiar with the scene: An agent knocks on the door of some seemingly ordinary home or office.

~ Me Talk Pretty One Day (nonfiction) by David Sedaris

There are many other books’ first lines that I could list, but those are a smattering of some of my favorite books.

Your turn!


15 thoughts on “First lines

      1. Absolutely amazing. One that stays with you long after. I don’t usually reread books, but if I ever do, A Fine Balance will be at the top of my list.

    1. Ha! Aunt Jane is…um…interesting!

      Sorry about the gender mix up and I thought of putting numbers, but promptly forgot. Will do next time.

      And, yes, these are fun. 🙂

  1. I’ve discussed favourite final lines before on my blog and I should get around to opening lines. My personal favourite is from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    “Marley was dead to begin with”

  2. The gale tore at him and he felt its bite deep within and he knew that if they did not make landfall in three days they would all be dead.
    Shogun, James Clavell

    “And I say you will!” bellowed the burly sheeparmer, Dorthan Kanason.
    Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Elizabeth Moon

    “Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.”
    The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

    They say his father was a comet and his mother a cosmic wind, that he juggles planets as if they were feathers and wrestles with black holes just to work up an appetite.
    Santiago, Mike Resnick

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

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