Top Ten Tuesday: Best Opening Lines

This week’s topic is best opening lines, which led us to flip through a couple dozen of our favorite books. It’s surprising how many first lines are a bit flat or don’t make sense without context—but we managed to find some gems.

Thanks to That Artsy Reader Girl for another great Top Ten Tuesday!

Pete’s Five

“It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.” 
~ From The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.” 
~ From A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

“It was a four-day journey by train from the coast to the desert where the Tower of Babel rose like a tusk from the jaw of the Earth.”
~ From Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

“For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops.”
~ From My Struggle Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard

“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
~ From Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Indiana’s Five

“As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious and generous thought to the state of my apartment should I get killed during the day.” 
~ From I was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloanne Crosley 

“Any way I tell this story is a lie, so I ask you to disconnect the device in your head that repeats at intervals how ancient and addled I am.” 
~ From Lit by Mary Karr

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” 
~ From The White Album by Joan Didion 

“Everything within takes places after Jack died and before my mom and I drowned in a burning ferry in the cool tannin-tinted Guaviare River in East-Central Colombia, with forty-two locals we hadn’t met yet.” 
~From You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers

“The world is dark and light is precious.” 
~From The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo 

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Opening Lines

Add yours

        1. Not a terrible cliffhanger, but the main story definitely isn’t resolved. I still think they’re worth reading, even if it’s a few years before the third one comes out.

          Liked by 1 person

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