Friday, October 11, 2013

Express yourself--Great Opening Lines

Some books hook you from the very first lines: "Scarlett O'Hara wasn't beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charms as the Tarleton twins were." Don't you want to keep reading?

This week's Express Yourself Meme asks us to list some of our favorite opening passages from books.

“You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by a Mr Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.”
Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
Ludwig Bemelmans

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

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

I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled.
Robert Graves
 I, Claudius

To finish up with, here is my favorite. No one could start a book better than Charles Dickens:

  Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to.
   Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
   Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

This post is part of Express Yourself Weekly Meme, a group of bloggers writing on the same topic each week. Click here to see other bloggers' picked for their favorite first lines.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Claudia. Glad you enjoyed the list.