I stumbled upon this meme at the adorable blog, Tessa’s Wishful Endings. Really it’s as simple as the name; you talk about a favorite book related subject on Fridays. It could be anything from favorite authors, books and genres to favorite reading spots, opening sentences and love triangles. Basically the world of novels is our oyster and with Friday Favorites, we can conquer it.
Favorite Opening Lines
Call it cheating if you will, but I have more than one. Hey, don’t look at me like that you try to pick just ONE opening line throughout the entire novel universe and tell me it’s easy. Not likely. There’s just so many great ones that it would be unfair to only share one with you fellow bookworms. So read on if you would like to learn my favorite opening lines in novels (if you don’t then scroll down anyway, you’ve read this far might as well read the entire thing).
1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”– Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It’s a classic for a reason, in ONE line she sets the tone for the entire novel leaving the reader with no question of subtle (and not so subtle) satire. When I read this I instantly get a feel for Austen’s humor and want to know more. From this line we can see that we are in for a novel full of wit and fun in the best kind of way. Not many people can sum up their novel in one line, but this right here ladies and gentlemen is a prime example. Bravo, Austen!
2. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”– The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
I couldn’t help but laugh when I opened up this book to find this hilarious opening line. Right away Lewis breaks the rule of the ‘Fourth Wall’ and interacts with the reader, adding a level of excitement to the tone. I immediately wanted to know more about Eustace and already had an idea of what I was in for with this character. The opening line’s job is to get the reader hooked, and Lewis does just that with this one.
3. “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”– The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Again, we see another master with the ability to stroke our curiosity. Snicket also breaks the rule of the ‘Fourth Wall’ by interacting directly with the reader and this only adds to the overall tone of the novel. Plus, it is an inevitable truth that telling someone not to do something only enhances the want to do it. Snicket knows how to grab a reader.
4. “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”– A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle
I guess for this line to resonate with a reader the reader has to have had a familiarity with Sherlock Holmes otherwise, it’s an ordinary line. However all the Sherlock fans will recognize the greatness that is this line. Sherlock was always this person that was more brain than human so to refer to a true love captures our attention right away. The line refers to a side in Sherlock that we have never seen before, therefore we can’t resist the temptation. As Yoda would say, “A true master, Doyle was.”
5. “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, I have an issue. I just can’t help but find a way to mention Harry Potter in almost every post, but you know what the reason why; is because it is an EPIC story and therefore justified in every way. In this line J.K. Rowling like Lewis sets a tone of playfully poking at characters. The way she implies the Dursleys of being proud of being normal suggests almost a type of satire as if we should laugh at these characters. The reader can’t help but wonder why someone would pride themselves on being normal, an explanation being that abnormal must be abundant. Why is it abundant and why is it bad? From line one J.K. Rowling has the readers inferring about her book and it a genius move on her part.
What’s your favorite opening line in a novel? Share it below and happy reading!