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21 Greatest First Lines

Because now I HAVE to keep reading!

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1. ‘First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.’

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Canada by Richard Ford

2. ‘It was the day my Grandmother exploded.’

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The Crow Road by Iain M. Banks

3. ‘All this happened, more or less.’

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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

4. ‘A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.’

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The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

5. ‘It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenburgs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.’

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

6. ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’

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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

7. ‘Far out in the unchartered backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.’

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

8. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

9. ‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.’

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

10. ‘If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.’

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A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Daniel Handler

11. ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

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1984 by George Orwell

12. ‘We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.’

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

13. 'No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine.’

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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

14. ‘Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.’

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The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

15. ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’

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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

16. ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’

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The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

17. ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’

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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

18. ‘When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventyfirst birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.’

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The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein

19. ‘First the colours. Then the humans. That’s how I usually see things. Or at least, how I try. ***HERE IS A SMALL FACT*** You are going to die.’

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

20. ‘Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.’

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The Luck of the Bodkins by PG Wodehouse

21. ‘The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.’

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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