My Favourite Novel Openings

Reading is quite possibly my favourite way to pass the time and it has been ever since I was a child. Whenever I have a spare moment, I find no greater joy than delving into another world and becoming enthralled with its characters. However, I am one of those readers where a book has to capture my attention almost immediately – I often have a reading list as long as my arm so, if i’m not instantly swept away by a story, i’ll put it down and move onto the next. The very first line of a sentence is always the line that I pay closest attention to because it sets my expectations for the rest of the novel. If I am not intrigued, or inspired, or if I don’t resonate with the opening on the book, I’m almost always sure that I won’t enjoy it.

Therefore here is a short list of some of my all-time favourite openings.

  1.  P Hartley – The Go-Between.
    “The past is a foreign country – they do things differently there.”
  2. J M Barrie – Peter Pan~
    “All children, except one, grow up.” 
  3. Jane Austin – Pride and Prejudice
    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
  4. Charles Dickens – David Copperfield
    “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero in my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages will show.”
  5. Anne Tyler – Back When We Were Grown-Ups
    “Once upon a time there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”
  6. Joshua Cohen – The Book of Numbers
    “If you’re reading this on a screen, fuck off. I’ll only talk if i’m gripped with both hands.”
  7. Dr Seuss – The Cat in the Hat
    ” The sun did not shine
    it was too wet to play
    so we sat in the house
    all that cold, cold, wet day.I sat there with Sally
    we sat there we two
    and we said 
    how we wish we had something to do.”

  8. Ludwig Bemelmans – Madeline
    “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines,
    lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”
  9. Robert McLiam Wilson – Eureka Street
    “All stories are love stories.”
  10. J K Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
    “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

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