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Added by Dionysian Child

on 11 Jul 2009 11:10

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22572 Views 7 Comments

Impressive First Lines

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People who added this item 45  Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating
1. Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Penguin Popular Cl... - Herman Melville
'Call me Ishmael.'

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

People who added this item 98  Average listal rating (43 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating
2. Lolita (Penguin Classics) - Vladimir Nabokov
'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.'

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 14  Average listal rating (7 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
3. The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Clas... - John Wyndham
'When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.'

John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 350  Average listal rating (161 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating
4. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
'ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.'

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (1991)

People who added this item 347  Average listal rating (189 ratings) 8.4  IMDB Rating
5. Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Jane Austen
'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)
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People who added this item 146  Average listal rating (64 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating
6. A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Popular Classi... - Charles Dickens
'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.'

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

People who added this item 1092  Average listal rating (631 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating
7. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
'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)
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People who added this item 168  Average listal rating (80 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating
8. Neuromancer - William Gibson_II
'The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.'

William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

People who added this item 202  Average listal rating (124 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
9. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Dover T... - Franz Kafka
'As Gregor Samsa awoke from a night of uneasy dreaming, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.'

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1915)
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People who added this item 83  Average listal rating (52 ratings) 8.4  IMDB Rating
10. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. '

George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
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People who added this item 85  Average listal rating (36 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating
11. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

People who added this item 55  Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating
12. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
'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)
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People who added this item 444  Average listal rating (296 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating
13. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
'Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.'

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 115  Average listal rating (64 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating
14. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
'All children, except one, grow up.'

J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1911)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 62  Average listal rating (28 ratings) 8.8  IMDB Rating
15. Notes from Underground - The Double - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
'I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.'

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864; trans. Michael R. Katz)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 162  Average listal rating (85 ratings) 8.6  IMDB Rating
16. The Trial - Franz Kafka
'Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.'

—Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; trans. Breon Mitchell)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 283  Average listal rating (147 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
17. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
'I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.'

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (2007)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 156  Average listal rating (62 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
18. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
'It was love at first sight.'

Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

People who added this item 61  Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.9  IMDB Rating
19. Lady Chatterley's Lover (Bantam Classics) - David Herb Lawrence
'Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.'

D. H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 311  Average listal rating (183 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating
20. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
'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?'

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 132  Average listal rating (61 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
21. The Iliad (Penguin Classics) - Homer
'Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus
and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,
hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished.

Homer, The Iliad (Trans 1951)

People who added this item 1086  Average listal rating (596 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating
22. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
'When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.'

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1936)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 7  Average listal rating (3 ratings) 9.7  IMDB Rating
23. Cien anos de soledad (Contemporanea) (Spanis... - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
'Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.'

Gabriel García Márquez, 100 Years of Solitude (1976)

People who added this item 6  Average listal rating (2 ratings) 9.5  IMDB Rating
24. Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1 ... - Marcel Proust
'For a long time, I went to bed early.'

Marcel Proust, Swanns's Way (1913; trans. Lydia Davis)

People who added this item 11  Average listal rating (6 ratings) 9.2  IMDB Rating
25. The End of the Affair - Graham Greene_I
'A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.'

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (1951)

People who added this item 1  Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0  IMDB Rating
26. Tracks - Louise Erdrich
'We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.'

Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)

People who added this item 66  Average listal rating (39 ratings) 8.9  IMDB Rating
27. The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
'I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.'

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of The Wind (2005)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 56  Average listal rating (24 ratings) 7.9  IMDB Rating
28. The Beach - Alex Garland
'The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok, on the Ko Sanh Road.'

Alex Garland, The Beach (1996)
Dionysian Child's rating:

People who added this item 23  Average listal rating (12 ratings) 9.3  IMDB Rating
29. Holy Bible: New International Version - Zondervan
'In the beginning God created heaven and earth.'

God, Genesis- The Bible
Dionysian Child's rating:


 

The greatest opening sentences in all of literature.

I have scoured through my collection of books, and trawled through some new ones to find the words that continue linger on after the first page has been turned.

Here lies the authors chosen first line of text, which has now come to epitomise all that follows within their sequential pages.

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Comments

Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago at Jul 14 10:38
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί' Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε' ἔθηκεν,

Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilles the son of Peleus,
the destructive rage that sent countless ills on the Achaeans...

The Iliad

(English translation from Wikipedia - might not match the translation in this book.)
Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago at Sep 9 13:26
"It had thought it would be safe out here, just one more ambiently black speck deep-chilled in the vast veil of icy debris wrapping the outer reaches of the system like a frozen, tenuous shroud of tissue."

Iain M Banks; "The Algebraist"
Posted: 4 years, 6 months ago at Apr 3 21:29
How about "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" from Rebecca? It's one of my favorite books. ;) Great list btw.

Posted: 4 years, 6 months ago at Apr 20 12:15
Nice list mate! I love these books... well most of them, the others I haven't read yet, but I will now!
Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Apr 14 12:42
"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."
one of the best incipit I've ever read, from Mrs Dalloway. Great list^^
Posted: 1 year, 2 months ago at Aug 13 9:58
Hi really good site for the movies and songs, thanks for the site.

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