100 best first lines

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hugh
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Post by hugh » January 31st, 2006, 5:10 pm

http://www.litline.org/ABR/100bestfirstlines.html

#41 is perhaps relevant to recent discussions ;)

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » January 31st, 2006, 5:47 pm

Lo, Hugh. You know, Twain would like to tell you something about german.
But what can i do, i picked up my "english" from mtv, and from paramount, universal, 20th cent. fox. :lol:

"fire of my loins" hehehe. I think i deliberatly wait another 20 years before i read lolita...just to make sure that i understand it right.
Last edited by Stephan on February 1st, 2006, 12:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by kayray » January 31st, 2006, 6:50 pm

#8 gives me shivers.
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hugh
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Post by hugh » January 31st, 2006, 9:59 pm

lolita is one of my all-time favourites, though it is a little ... challenging.

jefuchs
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Post by jefuchs » February 1st, 2006, 5:53 am

By all means, don't delay in reading Lolita. Nabokov was a true wordsmith. I've never read a book that seemed like it was so fun to write.

Izze
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Post by Izze » February 1st, 2006, 9:29 am

I got half way through Lolita before I was too terrified to continue... and I was 21 when I got that far. O.o
8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ?George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
I always laugh at that line, because I had a clock with thirteen roman numerals to mark time when I was younger (don't ask, it also had two second hands). It was awesome. Of course, since I've been required to read 1984 for six years straight, I kinda had to start liking the book. :roll:

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Post by pberinstein » February 1st, 2006, 6:21 pm

Oooh, I loved Lolita. I read it in an English class in college, and then again for myself--or was it the other way around?

Then I tried Ada, and couldn't get through it. Go figure.
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Post by Shurtagal » January 1st, 2008, 3:53 pm

links broke... Anyone kknow where it is?
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Post by Cori » January 1st, 2008, 3:59 pm

Try here: http://www.pantagraph.com/articles/2006/02/04/news/doc43e3e6b004381080724526.txt

Searching on "8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. ?George Orwell, 1984 (1949)" (inc. quotes) did the trick for me, and there are a number of other sites who've preserved the whole list.
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by Shurtagal » January 1st, 2008, 4:20 pm

love it!!! TY
[size=92]Have you always wanted to act?[u][url=http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=230731#230731]Well Now you Can!![/u][/url] [url=http://librivox.org/sandpit/librivox_catalog/people_public.php?peopleid=240]My Projects[/size][/url]

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Post by Planish » January 2nd, 2008, 8:51 pm

#22 immediately calls to mind the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, consisting only of first lines for books that are never actually written.
Read the 2007 winners at #http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/2007.htm

---------------------------------------------------------
My favourite opening line of all time is from Richard Matheson's (very) short story, Born of Man and Woman.
Here are the first four lines (punctuation is supposed to be the way it was posted):
X-- This day when it had light mother called me a retch. You retch she said. I saw in her eyes the anger. I wonder what it is a retch.
I first read that about 35 years ago, and it still haunts me.
You can find the rest of the story at http://journal.pcvsconsole.com/?thread=16346

PS. The short music video that the site's author mentions in connection with the story, at http://www.wimp.com/rubberjohnny/ , is quite disturbing too. In a good way.
There is no frigate like a book / To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page / Of prancing poetry.

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Post by puffin1 » January 2nd, 2008, 9:05 pm

Ah, but Bulwer-Lyttony is supposed to be so "bad" that you would not want to read the novel, if it existed. It's not easy to be bad enough to win.
[size=84][color=#483d8b][b]Is it weird in here, or is it just me? [/b][/color][/size]- [size=75][i]Steven Wright[/size][/i]

ExEmGe
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Post by ExEmGe » January 3rd, 2008, 12:22 pm

It actually was the first line of 'The Day of the Triffids' (Which they have not got) that first made me first read it all those years ago.
"When a day that you know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere."
Regards
Andy Minter

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Post by Gesine » January 3rd, 2008, 1:06 pm

23. When I'd read that line, I knew I would love Pynchon. And I did. It still makes me laugh now, and that's after reading the book for pleasure, *and* writing a part of my thesis about it.

All the Joyces there as well.

I wonder how they determined what makes a good first line? Some I think are not so remarkable, but are merely well-known because the book is.
[size=92] "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world." Albert Einstein[/size]

FNH
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Post by FNH » January 5th, 2008, 4:20 pm

I just read through the list and was a bit disapointed. Some of them are truely great lines but most of them are quite pedestrian.

I would love to know what makes ....

"Call me Ishmael"

... a great opening line.

There's nothing special about that. "Call me John", "Call me Fred". It may be the opening to great book, but as an opening line it's pretty boring.

It's not a great line, where the hook? Where's the incentive for me to read on?

Great opening lines need to be bold, inquizative perhaps even audacious.
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