I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Sunday, October 11, 2009

What are your favourite opening lines from a novel?

Over the next few posts I'm going to share some of my favourite opening paragraphs/sentences from a few books I have on my "keepers" bookshelf and look at why those beginnings grabbed my attention.
While I'm deciding which ones rate a mention (yes, there are THAT many), perhaps you'd like to share your favourite "grab you by the throat and won't let go" beginnings? Any genre, I don't mind.
What's prompting these postings? Having been a judge in a few contests, and having entered several myself ;-), I've come to realise just how important those opening few paragraphs are in hooking the readers attention.
Think about it - what do you do when you go into a bookstore and thumb through a potential buy? Unless you know the author and he/she is one of your favourites that you buy on name alone, how do you choose to spend your hard earned money? Is it based on the cover, the blurb or does the opening page or two become the deciding factor?
Share your opinion and your favourites - perhaps they might end up being one of mine. :-)


  1. Hey Kylie!

    Wow, it's hard to settle on a few because there's so may out there :D But the few that do stand in my mind is Jenny Crusie's Tell Me Lies: "One hot August Thursday afternoon, Maddie Faraday reached under the front seat of her husband’s Cadillac and pulled out a pair of black lace bikini underpants. They weren’t hers."

    And I just looove Susan Elizabeth Phillips' It Had To Be You: "Phoebe Somerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father's funeral."

  2. Hey there.

    Just popped in to share a recent 1st sentence that hooked me. It was from the urban fantasy series by Vicki Pettersson and the book was called The Scent of Shadows. The first sentence......

    “He didn’t look dangerous, not at first glance. Still a girl can never be too careful on a blind date, and that’s why I’d insisted Mr Sand meet me in a popular steakhouse nestled in a casino dead center on the Las Vegas Strip.”

    Ok, thats two sentences. But I kept reading to make sure she got home safe. The entire book later I'm still waiting but I had a great time, LOL.

    And as cheeky as "It Had To Be You's" first sentence was I would have bailed at that point except for the fact this was a beloved book a pal insisted I read and I was sure the friendship hung in the balance. What the poodle did later was a total DNF. It's one of my favourite books now, but it highlights issues I have as a reader. Had I not been stretching myself to please my friend I wouldnt have read that far to the "she isnt really that much of a ditz" goodness and cracking HEA later. No points for guessing the funeral bit gets skipped on rereads.

    And yes while I know I would have missed out on a book that ended up being a total keeper (very rare for a contemporary), I wouldnt have read on thinking the author and I would never see eye to eye. Hmmmmmmmm.

    Great post Kylie.



  3. Hey, Paula! Thanks for dropping by!

    Oh, I remember that Jenny Crusie quote from conference - and I remember groaning an uh-ohh then chuckling at the numerous what if's that flashed through my head after hearing it. It sort of smacks you right between the eyes and keeps you reading just to find out how the heroine reacts, eh? Same for your second one-liner. Lots's why questions spring to mind.

    Thanks, Sandra - I appreciate your take on what caught your attention. Yours seems to be something most women can relate to or recognise as a potentially dangerous situation and it drives us to read on to find out if she made it home safely.

  4. Hey Kylie,

    I like the first line in the Anita Blake Guilty Pleasures.... "Willy McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that.".

    I’m more forgiving than just a first line, so I tend to give a book a lot of leeway. I have stopped only few books in my time and none over the first line ;))

  5. Hi Eleni - yes, I like to read a few paragraphs-and pages if the blurb doesn't immediately sell a book to me.
    I used to struggle through books I couldn't get into but now I just don't have the time to keep struggling, so I have to make the hard decision pretty much from the blurb and a few pages.