Chorlie's picture
Chorlie from Philadelphia, PA is reading The Rules of the Tunnel October 2, 2011 - 3:01pm

What is one of your favorite opening sentences in a book?

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 2, 2011 - 3:05pm

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 2, 2011 - 3:07pm

"This one's about the stuff that Lucy said. Lucy, a woman I knew once. Lucy who took seventy hits of acid in one day and, in a way, lived to tell."

-Phrase Book, a short story by Rick Moody from his book "The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven".

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 2, 2011 - 3:10pm

Two from novels:

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

Stephen King - Dark Tower 1

All this happened, more or less.

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5

And one from a  short story:

A blind date is coming to pick me up, and unless my hair grows an inch by seven o' clock, I am not going to answer the door.

Amy Hempel - Tonight is a Favour to Holly

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore October 2, 2011 - 3:12pm

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."

(Actually, it's the whole paragraph that I love, which the first sentence doesn't really do justice, I guess.)

 

"I can count my overdoses on one hand:" ~ The Contortionist's Handbook

Joseph_Falcone's picture
Joseph_Falcone from Maple, Ontario, Canada. is reading The Elemantary Particles by Michel Houellebecq October 2, 2011 - 3:18pm

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." 

Bret Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero

Chorlie's picture
Chorlie from Philadelphia, PA is reading The Rules of the Tunnel October 2, 2011 - 3:45pm

Very nice! I just finished reading Lolita last month. Always a great novel to pick up again and again. I haven't read Fear and Loathing in over three years, but I could go for some Gonzo. I read The Metamorphosis last weekend, which was refreshing. The Dark Tower series was one of the first collections that totally captavated me. In retrospect, it helped me become an avid reader. I am actually rereading Slaughterhouse-Five right now, only about ninety pages into it, so it goes. And Falcone, yes. Absolutely in love with Ellis. My favorite opener is from him as well.

"and it's a story that might bore you but you don't have to listen, she
told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it
was, she thinks, her first year, or, actually weekend, really a Friday,
in September, at Cam-den, and this was three or four years ago, and she
got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was
eighteen) in Lorna Slavin's room, because she was a Freshman and had a
roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or a Junior and usually
sometimes at her boyfriend's place off-campus, to who she thought was a
Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from
N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed To
Get Screwed party, or a townie."

The Rules of Attraction

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers October 2, 2011 - 3:51pm

We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge. 

 

John D. MacDonald- Darker Than Amber.

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged October 2, 2011 - 10:00pm

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God

I just started this, only read the first chapter so far, but I think that may be the best opening to a book I've read. I don't even know if I agree with her, I just know it's a really good metaphor.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 2, 2011 - 10:04pm

"what i remember most about my father are his suicide notes. at least that is what i tell the detective on the other end of the line" - stephen graham jones, the long trial of nolan dugatti

.'s picture
. October 2, 2011 - 10:59pm

"If your going to read this don't bother." - chuck palahniuk, Choke.

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce October 2, 2011 - 11:32pm

I love the opening line of Stardust : there was one a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.

My other favourite is the opening line from Motley Crue's biography 'the Dirt': Her name was Bullwinkle. We called her that because she had a face like a moose.

lyndonriggall's picture
lyndonriggall from Tasmania is reading Going Bovine by Libba Bray October 3, 2011 - 12:42am

Gaiman wins mine too, only this one from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK:

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce October 3, 2011 - 1:10am

Neil Gaiman's why I joined this site actually! I saw him tweet a link to a PDF of advice from him, Chuck and various other writers on this site.

deadlybacon's picture
deadlybacon from Lincoln, Nebraska is reading Ulysses by James Joyce October 3, 2011 - 2:46am

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed -Ulysses

Gian Patricio's picture
Gian Patricio from Philippines is reading Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli October 3, 2011 - 3:24am

"Puke. My life is puke. Literally." - Nothing by Robin Friedman

Gareth's picture
Gareth from Melbourne is reading Franz Kafka October 3, 2011 - 4:32am

Love the Less than Zero one, Ellis writes fantastic openers.  I get the feeling that when he wrote that he must have known it was special.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 3, 2011 - 4:39am

"Somebody stabbed the sun."

Stay God by Nik Korpon

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 3, 2011 - 5:00am

The game was called on account of dogs.

 

-Amy Hempel

 

Dear friend now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of the watertrucks and now when the drunk and the homeless have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys or abandoned lots and cats go forth highshouldered and lean in the grim perimeters about, now in these sootblacked brick or cobbled corridors where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no soul shall walk save you.

- yeah, guess who fucking wrote that

MFSullivan's picture
MFSullivan from Tucson is reading Selby Jr.'s The Room October 3, 2011 - 7:05am

Wow, that's difficult. There's a couple I really love--Lolita's opening in particular, but that's more an opening page than an opening sentence--but I suppose the one that jumps out at me is Bukowski's Post Office.

It began as a mistake.

So crisp. I love it.

Annie's picture
Annie from Cape Town, South Africa is reading Walking to Hollywood by Will Self October 3, 2011 - 7:45am

I'm not sure what my favourite opening sentence in a book is, but the one in Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen (the book I'm currently reading) is definitely pretty memorable:

"Don Truby thought about Kelly Ripa's anus."

Izzy Parker's picture
Izzy Parker from Georgia is reading Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World October 3, 2011 - 8:42am

From Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera: "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."

The first line from Gaiman's Anansi Boys makes me smile, too: "It begins, as most things begin, with a song."

PROleary's picture
PROleary from central NJ is reading anything and everything October 3, 2011 - 9:01am

"When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets," Papa would say, "she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that  the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzed around her, hypnotized with longing. 'Spread your lips, sweet Lil,' they'd cluck, 'and show us your choppers!'" - Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

By eighth grade, Jesus Christ had been bone meal and rumors for most of 1,974 years, but we were only thirteen. - The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Chris Fuhrman

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this October 3, 2011 - 9:28am

"I must be dead for there is nothing but blue snow and the furious silence of a gunshot." - Will Christopher Baer, Kiss Me, Judas

Brilliant x 10. 

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 3, 2011 - 11:45am

all of my problems begin with parmesan cheese - tom spanbauer, now is the hour

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 3, 2011 - 12:29pm

The line from Less than Zero is probably my favourite.  The one from Imperial Bedrooms is okay, too.

 

They had made a movie about us.

Annie's picture
Annie from Cape Town, South Africa is reading Walking to Hollywood by Will Self October 3, 2011 - 12:46pm

'Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.' J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

A. William's picture
A. William from Minnesota is reading Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon October 3, 2011 - 12:56pm

"Monday morning and there's one less donut then there should be." - Max Barry, Company

Tina's picture
Tina is reading Drive, James Sallis October 3, 2011 - 3:55pm

124 was spiteful.

Beloved

and

Anaxagoras said to a man who was grieving because he lay dying in a foreign land, "The descent to hell is the same from every place."

The Tunnel

 

william.c.cathey's picture
william.c.cathey from Georgia is reading What Is The What October 4, 2011 - 8:50pm

"I was stealing salt shakers again." -- Apathy and Other Small Victories, Paul Neilan

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 4, 2011 - 11:32pm

I panicked and swallowed a handful of fireflies and black widows the inferno had not - Clevenger, Dermaphoria

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 4, 2011 - 11:36pm

There is a reason why William Gibson's Neuromancer remains my favourite book of all times: 

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 4, 2011 - 11:37pm

Nice.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 5, 2011 - 10:12am

I panicked and swallowed a handful of fireflies and black widows the inferno had not - Clevenger, Dermaphoria

 

that first paragraph or so is fucking boner inspiring

Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho October 5, 2011 - 3:47pm

"The day my daughter was still born, after I held the future pink rose-lipped in my shivering arms, lifeless tender, covering her face in tears and kisses, after they handed my dead girl to my sister who kissed her, then to my first husband who kissed her, then to my mother who could not bear to hold her, then out of the hospital room door, tiny lifeless swaddled thing, the nurse gave me tranquilizers and a soap and sponge." - The Chronology Of Water-Lidia Yuknatvitch

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 5, 2011 - 4:14pm

thats one of the most moving openers i've read.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 5, 2011 - 4:21pm

Yeah I keep meaning to check the Lydia Yuknavitch book out. Next time i'm ordering from Amazon I must put that on my list.

EricWojo's picture
EricWojo from Livonia, Michigan is reading The Brothers Karamazov October 5, 2011 - 4:34pm

From the novel, Damned If You Do, by Gordon Houghton:

"I had been dead for countless years when I heard a knock on the coffin lid."

Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho October 5, 2011 - 5:03pm

Yeah you guys have to get it. It really opened my eyes in what you can do with little things in a scene and make them hit home with a lot of heart. 

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 6, 2011 - 2:13pm

To Greg Eidson:

You just killed me on the inside. I'll have to check that one out.

Klassy's picture
Klassy from San Francisco is reading Reamde by Neal Stephenson, and Supergods by Grant Morrison October 6, 2011 - 2:24pm

Synchronicity! I started a tumblr blog just to curate and collect fantastic first lines early this year!

 

My favorite fantastic first line of all-time is from a poem by Margaret Atwood:

I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen.

 

My second favorite of them all is by Douglas Adams from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.”

Greg Eidson's picture
Greg Eidson from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Alchemist - Paul Coelho October 6, 2011 - 3:24pm

Yeah, buddy. Get ready to shed a few tears. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon October 6, 2011 - 8:31pm

What makes Iago evil? some people ask.  I never ask. - Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion