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Author Topic: Your favorite opening line of a book  (Read 940 times)
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Moliere
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« on: July 23, 2013, 07:43:26 PM »

"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured."

Shantaram By Gregory David Roberts
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 07:45:28 PM »

OMG SPOILERS!
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 07:45:47 PM »

great line and topic.  if only I could remember a book where the line stood out to me.  
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 07:50:05 PM »

""I was arrested in Eno's Diner. At twelve o'clock. I was eating eggs and drinking coffee. A late breakfast, not lunch. I was wet and tired after a long walk in heavy rain. All the way from the highway to the edge of town."

Lee Child's Killing Floor
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 07:56:13 PM »

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM »

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 08:02:02 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Message, Spock?
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Razgon
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 08:05:27 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on July 23, 2013, 08:02:02 PM

Quote from: Razgon on July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Message, Spock?

Are you asking about source? Sorry, its Charles Dickens, A tale of Two cities.

I've yet to read it in English actually, but I know that opening line very well.

Edit: Nevermind - I remember now what this refers to!
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2013, 08:06:33 PM »

“The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.” -The Gunslinger, The Dark Tower 1
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Gratch
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GO UTES!!


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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 08:19:17 PM »

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. "
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2013, 09:07:54 PM »

Dear Penthouse Letters.......
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 09:18:12 PM »

"I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”
 
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 10:04:54 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on July 23, 2013, 08:19:17 PM

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. "

Winner.
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 10:33:38 PM »

Quote from: stimpy on July 23, 2013, 09:07:54 PM

Dear Penthouse Letters.......

BAM.  Winner!   icon_lol
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 10:42:43 PM »

    "The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He's got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books." - Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2013, 12:25:33 AM »

Chapter 1
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2013, 12:34:26 AM »

"Lost and for a time so is he." Among the Living by some jerk named Timothy W. Long.
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2013, 02:19:40 AM »

The first thing I remember is being under something.

Ham on Rye
Bukowski
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2013, 03:31:29 AM »

Quote from: CeeKay on July 23, 2013, 08:02:02 PM

Quote from: Razgon on July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Message, Spock?
None that I am aware of. Except, of course, happy birthday.
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2013, 01:40:08 PM »

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."

In fact, the rest of the opening paragraph is excellent, as well:

"With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us."
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2013, 01:40:28 PM »

Quote from: WarPig on July 24, 2013, 03:31:29 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on July 23, 2013, 08:02:02 PM

Quote from: Razgon on July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Message, Spock?
None that I am aware of. Except, of course, happy birthday.

Surely, the best of times.
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2013, 01:54:59 PM »

No one plans for the end of the world. 

Beyond the Barriers
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2013, 02:52:29 PM »

Mr. and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the least people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense

J.K Rowling
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NiM$
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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2013, 03:15:28 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on July 24, 2013, 01:54:59 PM

No one plans for the end of the world. 

Beyond the Barriers

I didn't care for that line and wished I'd done a better job on the first paragraph. The original first line from that book was "The day the world ended I jumped in my SUV and headed for Walmart." (inspired by a trip from hell to walmart the day before)

You'd be amazed how long authors agonize over first lines.
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2013, 04:11:58 PM »

For what it's worth, I looked up the first page on Amazon just to post whatever I found in this thread, and thought the first line was actually a pretty fitting addition.

Also for what it's worth, your first line is definitely better than the first line in World War Z. : )
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2013, 04:41:38 PM »

They say Los Angeles is like The Wizard of Oz. One minute it's small-town monochrome neighborhoods and then boom--all of a You know how sometimes when you're drifting off to sleep you feel that jolt, like you were falling and caught yourself at the last second? It's nothing to be concerned about, it's usually just the parasite adjusting its grip

This book is full of spiders - David Wong

brings up the hairs on the back of your neck
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2013, 05:15:06 PM »

Quote from: Crusis on July 24, 2013, 03:15:28 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on July 24, 2013, 01:54:59 PM

No one plans for the end of the world. 

Beyond the Barriers

I didn't care for that line and wished I'd done a better job on the first paragraph. The original first line from that book was "The day the world ended I jumped in my SUV and headed for Walmart." (inspired by a trip from hell to walmart the day before)

You'd be amazed how long authors agonize over first lines.

I wished had the talent for writing and authoring books.   tip of the hat to you
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2013, 11:22:12 PM »

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents!" - Little Women
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« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2013, 05:57:02 AM »

“It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.”
Unpublished - Snoopy
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« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2013, 07:39:43 AM »

Quote from: RuperT on July 25, 2013, 05:57:02 AM

“It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.”
Unpublished - Snoopy

Hah! I remember that one. So awesome!
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« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2013, 02:05:07 PM »

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?'

or, if we're going with Adams:

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.”
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« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2013, 07:51:34 PM »

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."

I still can't believe how long ago I first read those words.
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« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2013, 10:16:42 PM »

Some of you guys are cheating! A full stop indicates the end of an opening line. I'm seeing entire opening paragraphs here! Tongue
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CeeKay
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« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2013, 10:21:26 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on July 25, 2013, 10:16:42 PM

Some of you guys are cheating! A full stop indicates the end of an opening line. I'm seeing entire opening paragraphs here! Tongue

that sounds like it is from Dickens.....
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« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2013, 12:00:06 AM »

Quote from: Razgon on July 23, 2013, 08:01:12 PM

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"

Great opening lines and great ending lines. Pretty good book in fact.
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« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2013, 12:22:35 AM »

Quote from: Fireball1244 on July 24, 2013, 01:40:08 PM

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."

In fact, the rest of the opening paragraph is excellent, as well:

"With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us."

Even better when listening to Richard Burton recite a good deal of it in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds
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« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2013, 03:51:26 PM »

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
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Rumpy
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« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2013, 04:59:44 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on July 25, 2013, 10:16:42 PM

Some of you guys are cheating! A full stop indicates the end of an opening line. I'm seeing entire opening paragraphs here! Tongue


Blame it on me then. as I posted a whole paragraph. First line of a Neal Stephenson novel wouldn't have been much as he's too fragmented.
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« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2013, 05:27:02 PM »

Quote from: Rowdy on July 26, 2013, 03:51:26 PM

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Oh, the book has to be fiction?   Tongue
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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2013, 09:38:28 PM »

Couldn't resist?

"Better to be silent and thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt"   Tongue
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