«Pride and Prejudice», Jane Austen (1813)
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
«Moby-Dick», Herman Melville (1851)
Call me Ishmael.
One of literature’s most famous openers that is just three words long, so startling – and, yes, impressive.
«A Tale of Two Cities», Charles Dickens (1859)
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.
A near-ideal opener A Tale of Two Cities. Parodied, imitated, enduringly familiar even to those who’ve never read the novel, the line beginning «It was the best of times, it was the worst of times» is a belter.
«The Great Gatsby», F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Whenever you feel like criticising any one, he told me just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.
Great opening and I can think of a few people right now who would do well to remember the same.
«Catch 22», Joseph Heller (1961)
It was love at first sight.
It began so well. Funny. Heart breaking. Frightening. Thought provoking.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded sun.
A true must read :-) and the start leaves you wanting more. Specially if you want to know the answer to life, universe and everything.
«1984», George Orwell
It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking 13.
An example of an anomaly that can be especially alluring when paired with the humdrum.
«Anna Karenina», Leo Tolstoy
All families are alike each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
His prepares you for a tide into the Russian dark side.
«The Princess Bride», William Goldman
This is my favourite book in the world though I’ve never read it.
Imagine reading this aloud, then you may see why it is the inspiration for one of the best movie of all time.
«The Bell Jar», by Sylvia Plath
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
This locates its narrative in time, place and, most powerfully, mood: Its eerie aimlessness is made still more affecting for having been published less than a month before Plath’s suicide.