12 Best First Lines from My Library

12 Best First Lines from My Library

Waking, my feet remained stuck under the covers while locked in a dream about a story and I’m reminded of 12 Best First Lines from My Library. Still, my story’s first line warbles into ether and left an inkling of its metaphor, one that colors my morning and makes me wish I could drag back the details as they played out beneath my eyelids. The chill of the morning breaking through prickles my skin and shakes the dream right out of my consciousness.

12 Best First Lines from My LibraryReality begins. Get the dogs out. Put the tea on. Feed the raccoons, the deer–who, by the way, rose slowly from huddling close, most definitely by virtue of the chilly morning. The deer? Too cold to eat? Now, I’ve seen everything. Or not. If tomorrow comes, and I hope it does, something new and wonderful will arise and give me pause.

But this dream, you see, it plays hide-n-seek deep in the confines of my subconscious. It shifts from story to first lines of stories. Is my subconscious sending a text message?

12 Best First Lines from My LibraryWhatever the dream intends, I decide to snag 10 books out of our library and offer up t10 opening lines. These books, these lines I’ve placed in no specific order, no first means best, no last means worst. I’ve simply listed these lines for your reading pleasure. Or, maybe, for my own.

12 Best First Lines from My Library

  1. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
  2. “Later, I would look back and wonder what I was doing the exact moment Kelli died.” Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany.
  3. “of things–when is it exactly?” The Accidental by Ali Smith. (Btw, that’s no typo. Smith’s first line starts with no capital and as though the character is in a conversation–perhaps with only herself).
  4. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
  5. “There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke.” Dubliners by James Joyce.
  6. “Then there was the bad weather.” A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
  7. “She did not intend to steal anything that day.” A Town of Empty Rooms by Karen E. Bender.
  8. “She gave a startled cry.” The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham.
  9. “We are at rest five miles behind the front.” All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
  10. “The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzing phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.” Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
  11. “”That’s an exit wound?” Nick said.” Blood & Ink by Randall Silvis.
  12. “We found the woman floating in an eddy face down where Crooked River made a slow bend north, a stone skip away from the best swimming hole this side of anywhere.” Crooked River by Valerie Geary.

I think you’ll agree that each author gave great consideration to these first lines. No one line was left to chance. It makes me wonder when they wrote their lines… at the very beginning of writing the novel, during the writing, or after the novel was written, in hopes of applying hindsight to the line?

So, which of these 12 best first lines from my library do you like best? I’d love to know.

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12 Best First Lines from My Library

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