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Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite First Lines

In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, we want to share our favourite first sentences of books with you. These are the sentences that pulled us into the books we love most. Some of us even have our favourites sentence memorised! And who knows, maybe one of these lines will make you rush to the nearest bookshop and library to start a new adventure.

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  1. “Probably the first really noticeable thing was Mum coming back from the hairdresser’s on Friday afternoon, wearing a small black beard.”
THE TROUBLE WITH MUMMIES by F.R. Hitchcock – Sara O’Connor

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2.  “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk
is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness

It tells you all you need to know – that dogs talk, that it’s a normal thing but hasn’t always been, that Todd’s voice is rough around the edge, that he says things as he finds them – and it’s funny. – Jenny

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 13.46.413. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith  – Livs

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4. “Where’s Papa going with that axe?” said Fern to her mother
as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White

A nice set-up for the horror of the rest of it. – Noami

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5. “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 – Monique

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 13.47.086. “I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions that were then uppermost;—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded that I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.”
TRISTRAM SHANDY by Laurence Sterne – Kate

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7. “This is my favourite book in all the world, though I haven’t read it”
THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman

The careless bravado tone hints at the delightfully subversive and playful creature that you are about to encounter. I suppose some people will read the book before seeing the film but if you start with the film that’s totally fine. It’s a wild ride (with longueurs), a bit of a postmodern, swashbuckling fairy tale and if you like names – Goldman is good at them. It contains one of the best sword fights in the history of film and some epic lines like “My name is Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die”.  And the very large person who plays the giant, Fezzik, was taught by Samuel Beckett.   – Ruth

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 12.20.448. “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”
HOLES by Louis Sachar.

Even now when I read it it fills me with excitement of what is to follow.  – Sarah Odedina

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 12.20.519. “I’m wondering what if?”
MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardner

What a way to start such a powerful book that forces you to wonder, not just about how Standish’s life might have been different based on just one different moment, but all of ours, at any moment in time. About those tiny decisions that change the course of your life, and sometimes history. I know I wonder what if many times, so having this at the start of a book was the best way to draw me in. – Sarah Benton

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10. “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn’t seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, ‘Be My Baby’ on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.”
AMERICAN PSYCHO by Bret Easton Ellis

This is a first line that hits you like a freight train – it’s nothing compared to the book that follows. – Cait

We would love to hear what your favourite first lines are. You can leave them as a comment or Tweet them at us @hotkeybooks!