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In your opinion, what is THE best opening sentence for a book?

Mine's a toss up between the opening for "Rebecca" and Dickens's "best of times" one.

Apologies if this has already been asked.
 

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It has been done before; probably more recently than the one NogDog linked to, which is almost two years old.  But it's always a good one.

I don't remember specific lines so much...but I do know that the reason I got hooked on Dick Francis novels is because nobody ever opened a book better....

Betsy
 

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My favourite opening to a book is one I'll never forget. Here it is:

'Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say
Nothing. It's nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that...'

I was gripped from the start. The whole opening is wonderful and can be seen on Look Inside.

It's by Martin Amis and it's The Information: Author of London Fields and Time's Arrow

One of my all-time favourite books.
 

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It's funny Rebecca was mentioned because it's one of my favorite opening lines too. "Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again." No idea why that's such a good hook but it always sticks in my mind.

I'm also partial to the first line of a book that, weirdly enough, I've never read. Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible opens with, "Imagine a ruin so beautiful it must never have existed." Thanks to Everybody Loves Raymond for teaching me that one, although they changed the title to "Devilwood" and the quote to "rain", instead of "ruin". :)
 

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1/ Oh, tut, Betsy! Even if you don't know that one directly, you can get it from its context.

2/ Nothing ages Neuromancer. You can still walk into any good bookstore and buy a copy decades after its first release.

"The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm" -- Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury.
 

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Tony Richards said:
...
2/ Nothing ages Neuromancer. You can still walk into any good bookstore and buy a copy decades after its first release.
You could join us in the GoodReads.com SciFi and Fantasy eBook club to re-read it this month. ;) (Oh, and IIRC, they're still using tape storage in it. :p )

"The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm" -- Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury.
I almost replied with that one yesterday: simple words that immediately make the reader go, "Huh?" :)

I've always been partial to the opening of Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand:

Lying, left hand for a pillow, on the shingled slant of the roof, there in the shade of the gable, staring at the cloud-curdles in afternoon's blue pool, I seemed to see, between blinks, above the campus and myself, an instant piece of sky-writing.

DO YOU SMELL ME DED? I read.
 

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NogDog said:
Oh, and IIRC, they're still using tape storage in it. :p
I've just read Neuromancer for the first time. (Yeah, I know, where've I been?) The only thing that really struck me as incongruous was that he had to keep jacking in - no wi-fi.
 

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Tony Richards said:
1/ Oh, tut, Betsy! Even if you don't know that one directly, you can get it from its context.
Sorry, guess I'm a loser. I've never read anything by Hunter Thompson and I'm not sure why a mention of Barstow should lead me there. Was there only one book ever that mentioned Barstow? Or drugs? Or deserts? :(

Betsy
 

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Yeah. . . I didn't get it either.  One can never assume that just because it is one's favorite book that everyone has heard of it and most people have read it. :-\

 

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Ann in Arlington said:
Yeah. . . I didn't get it either. One can never assume that just because it is one's favorite book that everyone has heard of it and most people have read it. :-\
OK, thanks, maybe I'm not as much of a loser as I thought. :D Didn't mean to kill the thread...
:-\
 

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This first sentence of a first in a series got me totally hooked and I read them all now.

"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

Deanna Raybourn - Silent in the Grave
 
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