Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Back.........With Some of my Favourite Opening Lines

As Mini-Falaise bellows whenever she returns home from an outing, “I’m BACK, Daddy!”.  Well, more precisely, I am now fully recovered from my encounter with viral meningitis (which, fortunately, sounds more deadly than it actually is).  I’ve got even more books backlogged for review but it’s Friday afternoon and I’m not in the mood for it so, instead, I’m going to be very self-indulgent and share with you a list of ten of my favourite opening lines for no other reason than it seemed like an enjoyable thing to do – at least for me, if not for you.  I’m only allowing myself to choose from books I have read which will explain the absence of a number of the classic openers.

Here goes:

1.         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

2.         “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.” - Anthony Burgess, Earthly Powers

3.         “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984

4.         Marley was dead to begin with.” – Charles Dickens (again!), A Christmas Carol

5.         “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

6.         We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

7.         “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.” – Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

8.         “In the year 1872, No. 7 Savile Rowe, Burlington Gardens--the house where Sheridan died in 1814--was occupied by Phileas Fogg, Esq.” – Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days

9.         “Afterwards, in the dusty little corners where London's secret servants drink together, there was argument about where the Dolphin case history should really begin.” – John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy

10.       “Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.” – Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Do you have any particular favourites?


Ben Carroll said...

That Pratchett one is fantastic. I forget how endlessly inventive he is.

'Waking up begins with saying AM and NOW' is from Isherwood's A Single Man. I don't know if I love it, but I love how efficiently it starts up that whole book.

KarenSi said...

I don't have favourite opening lines sadly. I am so bad at forgetting these things. Should probably keep a notebook by my side for this reason. Although your list did include some books I have loved; Earthly Powers, A Christmas Carol, 1984, The Hobbit, Casino Royale and The Hogfather. 80 Days Around the World and A Tale of Two Cities are at the top of my TBR pile.

Glad you are on the road to recovery.

KarenSi said...

I should probably have said I am good at forgetting these things and bad at remembering. :/

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Good choices! There was once a round at pub quiz just with literary first sentences. It was a good night...