24 July 2008

Beginnings ...

Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

I really like this question! Like most people, the lines I immediately thought about were "Call me Ishmael" (Moby Dick), or "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again " (Rebecca), and some of the others that anyone who has ever taken a literature course - or watched an episode of Jeopardy! - can remember. But as I thought about it, I decided that beyond all of those, these two were my favorites:

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." (To Kill a Mockingbird)

"When I was young, I used to think of ways to kill my daddy." (Ellen Foster)

I think I chose these two because, whether reading them on a page, or hearing the line spoken, I am immediately transported to the time and place evoked by them. (It also helps that these are two of my favorite books ...) Which is not to say that any book without a first line that grabs you is not worth reading. I just think that anytime something can pull you right in from the very beginning, the adventure of reading is even more fun.

Besides those beginnings ...

I have finished the first of the Bon-bon Socklettes! I consider this to be quite an accomplishment, in that I seldom make so much progress so quickly, especially when I am not working on a single project. I am pleased with the results:


On to #2!!

12 comments:

Smilingsal said...

Good examples; now, go knit another sock!

Confuzzled Books said...

I never heard of Ellen Foster ...shockingly good one though.

Sue V said...

How about: “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” Hunter Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Lorraine said...

Bridget- These days, I'm fortunate to remember the title of the book- let alone the first sentence.

I am reading "Savage Grace"- don't bother with the movie- but it's a true story, and completely fascinating.

Carrie K said...

I'm lucky to remember authors last name lately.

The sock looks good!

Bookfool said...

I'm enjoying reading this BTT, but I am not one for quoting, so I'm still thinking about it. The Ellen Foster quote is a grabber.

Love your sock!

Literary Feline said...

I have such a bad memory when it comes to remembering first lines or any quote for that matter. I recognize some of the more famous ones when I hear them, but that's about it. I love that first sentence for Ellen Foster! Sounds like my kind of first sentence. :-)

KSD said...

Interesting that both your opening lines hearkened to the past, and your reactions to them take you "backwards". . .

(Too much thinking for a Sunday afternoon?)

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Don't forget about A Tail of Two Cities "It was the best of times it was the worst of times." Plus, who could ever forget Madame DeFarge and her marvelous knitting skills! I think that line is as relevant today as it was when first written and in so many many contexts.

Brigitte said...

Funny. The one that always pops into my head? "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful". And I'm immediately back in my bed growing up when I first read it.

I love those socklettes, especially the contrast in colours.

knitseashore said...

Nothing comes to mind at the moment, though I know there must be some first lines that have grabbed my attention in the past.

I hope your socks came out all right, and you were able to finish in time for the end of the Tour!

Ann said...

I'm going to go right now and read the first lines of my favorite books! How fun! They sock is splendid -- good luck with #2!