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'Beginnings' Categories

Best Opening Lines of Novels

The editors of American Book Review selected their 100 Best First Lines of Novels. Here are some of them:

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. - Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. - Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

12. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

9. 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. - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

2. 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

1. Call me Ishmael. - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Beginnings matter. They set the tone.

Suggested applications:

  • Godís grace gives us all the chance to start again. 2 Corinthians 5:7
  • If we start our day in prayer, things will go better for us. Matthew 6:33

    Reference: "100 Best First Lines of Novels, as chosen by the editors of American Book Review," infoplease.com