Opening Lines

I don’t often read the synopsis of a novel before I dive in but I love a good opening line – one that is pregnant with imagery and suspense,  thought provoking and flowery, yet with substance, promising an exquisite literary experience from beginning to end.

I’m going to share some opening lines below and before I tell you which books they’re from – see if you can match the book with the sentence.

The Opening Lines
  1. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
  2. On the boat we were mostly virgins.
  3. I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.
  4. Dear Mr Richard Gere, In Mom’s underwear drawer – as I was separating her “personal” clothes from the “lightly used” articles I could donate to the local thrift shop, I found a letter you wrote.
  5. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

The Novels

Scroll down to see which books the lines are from or simply click to watch my video on YouTube.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is about a professor who is ready to trade in the freedom of bachelorhood and find a lady to wear his ring. It begins with,

I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem. As with so many scientific breakthroughs, the answer was obvious in retrospect.

Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now is about a man trying to understand his mother after she dies and it begins with a letter.

Dear Mr Richard Gere,  In Mom’s underwear drawer – as I was separating her “personal” clothes from the “lightly used” articles I could donate to the local thrift shop, I found a letter you wrote.

Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic by is about Japanese women traveling to the US to become mail order brides. The first story begins with,

On the boat we were mostly virgins.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens has one of the most well known opening phrases and one that reminds me of a Bible passage found in Ecclesiastes:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on us being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is another tome with a short but memorable first sentence.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

What’s your favorite opening line in a book? Please share in the comments below or tell me which of these would make you want to read the book.

Affiliate links are included so that if you click and make a purchase, I make a small commission to buy more books that I can share with you. Thanks!

Linkup: Meet @ The BarreApril

8 Comments Add yours

  1. I really enjoy your posts. Although, they make me wish I had more time to read…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Simon says:

    I really liked those, the take of two cities is magical ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I managed to match 2 of the 5.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never read Anna Karenina, but hearing you read the opening lines…this was my favorite. I also really like how you shot your video! It was entertaining and informative!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Thanks so much, Elysha. I haven’t ever finished Anna Karenina either. I’ve started several times but its size is daunting.

      Like

  5. Tara Patrick says:

    This is such an interesting concept. I have Anna Karenina as well and am yet to read it.

    Like

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