Sep 03

Some famous first lines

Famous First Lines -- Words to draw you in to the story

Call me Ishmael
-- Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
--  George Orwell, 1984

This is the saddest story I have ever heard.
— Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)

“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”
– Holes by Louis Sachar (1998)

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.
—  Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)

A screaming comes across the sky. 
—Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
 —  Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

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

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
—   Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. Its eyes were closed.
— Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Harry Potter was a very unusual boy in many ways.
— J.K. Rowling,  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

When I was three and Bailey was four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed - "To Whom It May Concern" - that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.
—  Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.

— Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002)

All this happened, more or less.
—  Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that. He sat across from me, wearing a loud plaid sports jacket.
— Laurell K. Hamilton, Guilty Pleasures

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)