Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Fives! Favorite First Lines



I decided to tweak today's Paper Hangover prompt and tell you five reasons a book snags me at sentence one.

HUMOR:

When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose." John Green and David Levithan, will grayson, will grayson

And by the end of chapter one, Will Grayson is picking his best friend's nose. The whole scene is beyond hilarious. And the rest of the book just. Gets. Funnier.

SUBTLETY THAT SAYS IT ALL:

My mother used to tell me about the ocean. Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Okay, just so you know. When I started reading this book, I thought this was the dumbest first line EVER (okay, maybe not ever), but I thought I was reading a book about forest and teeth and ZOMBIES.

Yeah, the book’s got zombies, but this post-apocalyptic tale isn’t so much about Carrie Ryan’s Unconsecrated as it is about love and hope. And this first line sums up everything the book represents - hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a life beyond the main character Mary's village. Hope for an ocean that only exists in stories passed down by her ancestors. It’s an exquisitely written tale of the struggle between contentment and dreams and having faith in what you believe despite rigid society rules and naysayers who seek to diminish desires.

This first line says it all, peeps.

VOICE: Strong voice OFTEN has me at hello.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Marked

It was the line that kept me reading, even though I wanted to quit after book one. House of Night is the Grey's Anatomy of the Vampire World. SO freaking dramatic you swear on your box set you'll quit watching at the end of this season, then they throw in the cliffhanger to bring you back for more.

PS - did eventually stop watching Greys. Can't seem to quit HON though.

INTRIGUE:

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

I have two for this one.

The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective. James Patterson Maximum Ride The Angel Experiment

Intrigue...enough said.


CHARACTER INSIGHT:

It's been a long time since I read The Man Who Came to Dinner, but I can't forget Sheridan Whiteside. Or his first line when he graces the stage and scrutinizes his surroundings: I may vomit!

And far be it from me to limit myself to five...

CYLICALITY:

I'm totally not adhering to proper dictionary definition on this term, but I love the rare book where the first sentence is also the last. Here's the first (and last) line from The Outsiders by SE Hinton

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had just two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

Yeah...the first page is mucho important for capturing audience interest, but if you can do it in the first line? Bonus. These lines certainly did it for me.

How about YOU?! What's your favorite first line?

11 comments:

  1. The great gray beast of February had swallowed Harvey Swick alive.

    hehe...I like that one.

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  2. Ooh, great choices! I love the one from Will Grayson, Will Grayson--I embarrassed to admit that I haven't read that book yet. Will remedy soon. :)

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  3. Yowza, Alison!! Fab list - and I SO agree with what you've said for all of them, especially #2 & #3! Loved Carrie Ryan's trilogy...and you couldn't have said it better for the HON opening line - it's what kept me reading, too (even though the last few books have been tough reads!).

    Great list!

    Happy Friday / happy weekend!

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  4. I love your choices! Me and the cuz, Pam, chose Will Grayson, Will Grayson’s first line, too :) I LOVE books that have a last line that mirrors the first. I think this is a neat tactic. I might get beat up for saying this but I’ve never actually read The Outsiders. Now I feel like I must. Great list!

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  5. I'm so ashamed that I've never read The Outsiders. Great choices and reasoning!

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  6. First sentences really grab the reader and set up the story about to unfold. The ones you gave us are great. I'm a fan of the subtle sentence by Carrie Ryan. It captures the character's sadness and forlorn for a life that no longer exists. It makes me want to continue reading in order to find out why that life is no longer attainable. I unfortunately don't have any off the top of my head to add.

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  7. I'm hooked on House of Night, too. Waiting for the next book to come out.

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  8. Love your insight. I'm on kind of a zombie kick, and so I'm REALLY pumped to read forrest of hands and teeth!

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  9. Also, wow. Apparently I cannot spell "forest"..

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  10. I've heard the Marked and the Orwell first lines quoted as good examples, but I like your other ones too and your reasons for choosing them. These are all good goals to shoot for.

    I collect awesome first lines, but the one that always comes to mind is Delirium's: It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. Another I love that I haven't even read but have heard talked about a lot is from Feed: We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.

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  11. Great examples Alison. The first one is hilarious and now I want to read the Carrie Ryan one for sure.

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