One of the fabulous gifts I received at Christmas was a box of cards, each featuring the opening line from a famous book. The challenge is to identify the novel from just one sentence. I am amazed at how many I actually know and equally embarrassed by how many I don’t.
Openings are important. A good opening line or paragraph should entice, tease or engage a potential reader leaving them hooked and wanting to read more.
I recently accepted a challenge through Facebook to post covers of seven books that I love. Seven? I found it tricky to narrow the list to seventy, never mind seven, but in the end I did.
I thought I would combine both challenges: my chosen seven books and their first lines (although I admit to cheating a little with Mark Wallington’s book).
What do you think? Would any of these opening lines encourage you to read further? What’s the most intriguing opening line you have read? Or written?
The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
My father had a face that could stop a clock.
Father and Son, Edmund Gosse
This book is the record of a struggle between two temperaments, two consciences and almost two epochs.
The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll
‘Just the place for a Snark!’ the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care.
Curiocity, Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose
‘Find the Seven Noses of Soho,’ goes the legend, ‘and you’ll attain infinite wealth.’
Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.
500 Mile Walkies, Mark Wallington
Some towns inspire. Minehead isn’t one of them. Vladivostok is, but Minehead isn’t. I was in Minehead.
Up the Tyne in a Flummox, Leonard Barras
The Rope Works fire, my Uncle Hal always said, was like Shaw’s description of a General Election in a capitalist society.