wren_kt7oz: (w_Wren)
It's an article in the UK Daily Telegraph from back in October (here if you want to look for yourself):

30 Great Opening Lines

I admit that some of these really pack a punch, one way or another.

It starts with Jane Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Continues with lines like:

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina (1878)

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar (1963)

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”
Franz Kafka: Metamorphosis (1915)

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”
Samuel Beckett: Murphy (1938)

I didn't have any quarrel with any of those, or with most of the others selected, come to that, until I came to this:

"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day."


Seriously? A "great" opening line?

For those who don't recognise it (because it's hardly memorable), it's from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Now I admit I am not an admirer of the Brontes. At some point in my life I've had to read just about all their stuff for one class or another and personally, I think they write total tripe.

However, I accept that some people love their stuff, and that's fine.

But surely a "great" opening line has to have more going for it than that it's the first line of a book that someone likes.

I'm putting the rest of this under a cut so if you don't read purely for enjoyment you can just ignore it completely. ).


I know I said I'd put the rest under a cut, but while I was looking up the first line of the Colour of Magic I came across this website:

The Colour of Magic Quotes by Terry Pratchett"

If you've never ready the Discworld books, I can only feel regret that you've missed out, alongside envy that you have all that pleasure before you. If you want to start, The Colour of Magic is the first.

Here are a few highlights:

“Rincewind tried to force the memory out of his mind, but it was rather enjoying itself there, terrorizing the other occupants and kicking over the furniture.”

*****

“No, what he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk.”

*****

“Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.”

*****

Seriously, the man was a comic genius. Go read his stuff. If you find the thought of all those Discworld books to much to cope with, try Good Omens, the book he wrote with that other genius Neil Gaiman.


And because I can't resist, just one quote from that (seriously, to cover all my favourite lines I'd have to quote just about the whole book):

“IT WASN’T A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. It should have been, but that’s the weather for you. For every mad scientist who’s had a convenient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is finished and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who’ve sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor clocks up the overtime.”












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