Thursday, July 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Beginnings


Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?


Although I know that first lines are important, I don't work to remember them. Of course, I remember, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." by Charles Dickens, but that doesn't count because I don't know if I remember it from having read the book or from hearing it quoted over and over.

Some books are slow going at the beginning; not all grab me from the get-go. There are times that I push through to the third or fourth chapters before I begin to like what I'm reading. By the time I'm halfway through, I can tell if the book is terrific, fluffy, or one I wish I hadn't begun. These are fiction books I'm writing about; nonfiction is in another catagory: I don't remember any first lines being quoted from a nonfiction. Do you?

How do you feel about this question of beginnings?


17 comments:

thekoolaidmom said...

I don't think I've ever read Tale of Two Cities, but I know that first line, too, simply from it being quoted all the time.

I remember a few first lines, but mostly those are books I've read recently.

I don't know that non-fiction first lines really matter. You're either reading the book for school (work, whatever), in which case you won't ditch the book because it's for a grade, or you're reading it because you're interested in the subject matter and don't need a hook. :-)

Bluestocking said...

Of all the lines, I forget to add this one!

Shannon H. said...

I feel the same way. And I do remember the Charles Dickens line...but I think it is because I have heard it so many times.

Alix said...

I love a good opening line but as you say I don't think I remember any from non-fiction.

happyone said...

I too remember The Tale of Two Cities. I've read it a couple of times. That is one LONG sentence.

I can usually tell with the first few pages of a book if I'm going to like it. If it doesn't grab me by the first couple of chapters I move along to something else.

The Holistic Knitter said...

I don't remember non-fiction beginning lines either.

jlshall said...

Interesting point about the first lines of non-fiction books. I've read a lot of memorable non-fiction over the years, but not one of them had an opening that I remember. Probably says something about the way my brain is wired.

Confuzzled Books said...

I agree there are times when I have to get through a couple of chapters and then i enjoy the book. Usually that goes for anything written by a British author.

Charli and me said...

I always had a problem reading Dicken's although I love to see movies about them

Leya said...

My biggest problem with Dickens, it was forced on me. I was one of those students that had to read Tale of Two Cities. At the time, I thought it was boring and way too long. The only thing I remember about the book was the first line.

I re-read it a few years and enjoyed it, although I still think it's too long. The first sentence does set the mood of the book... Long... lol

Ruth said...

You know, I can't think of a single non-fiction first sentence. Good observation there.

Melody said...

Ha! I don't remember any great opening line of a non-fiction. Anyway, I rarely read them nowadays.

literatehousewife said...

All this talk about Tale of Two Cities is really making me want to read it again. It's been a long, long time.

Book Zombie said...

Both "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." and "Late night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." are forever etched in my memory but I've honestly never read either book.
Funny the way pop culture references effects us.

smariek said...

I've done that before, read halfway through and then have to decide whether to finish the other half since I've already invested the time to read the first half.

http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/booking-through-thursday.html

Deb @ Sugarfused said...

Some non-fiction books do hook me right away with the first line and first paragraph but I can't recall them later on. I was only able to recall the single one which was my very favorite.

I thought this was a very interesting question :)

Chris said...

No, I don't remember any non-fiction first lines either.