Monday, August 13, 2007


I just love reading a first line. I think you can tell so much about the book from the first line alone!! What tone is it? Funny? Dark? Introspective?

When buying books, I usually take a small peek at those first lines, and I know right then if that particular book just has to come home with me.

Some books start right at the action. Some start in the past. Some start with a single name that might make you wonder...who owns that name? Who IS that person?

DIVINE ASSISTANT, coming out in Ellora's Cave this Friday, starts like this;
Lucy's new job did not come from heaven.

My VILLAIN, darker in tone, and out from Loose ID on August 21, starts like this;
There were stories about him.

I love both lines, as I love both books. DIVINE ASSISTANT is more of a light-hearted and fun romance, while VILLAIN is dark and brooding in tone.

Now let's take a look at other famous first lines, just for fun, and to realize once again there is possibly NO rule to make a good, catchy first line. These are varied as they are wonderful!

1. 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 (1813)

2 Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

3 It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

4 I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

5 The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

6. 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, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

7. This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)

8. 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)

9. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)

10.Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942; trans. Stuart Gilbert)

11.Mr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. —Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)

12. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

13. It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

14. It was love at first sight. —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

15. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together. —Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)

16. It was a dark and stormy night; 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 house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

Pick a fave!!!! I think I'd have to go with...ooooh, these are all so great. I might go with number 2. =) What about you?


Blogger julia said...

The Jane Austin one is so wonderful. But I'll pick #8 as the classic opener that I love best.
In your list I found #9 to be the most compelling page-turner-y one of the lot.

August 13, 2007 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Red Garnier said...

Hey Julia! =) You're right! Number 9 just gives you an urge to Turn. That. Page!!!

August 13, 2007 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Dawn Halliday said...

Hmm...#s 2 and 12. But then again, I've read those books, and I might not be objective with the weight of those stories behind me!

August 13, 2007 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I vote for #9 too. The rest of them probably wouldn't have me turning the page.

August 14, 2007 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Red Garnier said...

Dawn, ooh, yes I love those too. The books and those first lines.

And yes, Cathy, #9 is really genius, isn't it?!!!! =)

August 14, 2007 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Definately 1, with Jane Austen. When ever its asked about classic openers I always think of Jane Austen. I don't know many but this one rings so true.

By the way I'm here from Rowan's invite. Thanks. Cathie

August 16, 2007 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Red Garnier said...

Hey Cathie, Glad you stopped by. We love to have you here. =)

August 19, 2007 at 11:40 PM  

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