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    "Here Is A Small Fact: You Are Going To Die": 28 Of The Most Captivating First Sentences From Books That Will Reel You In Instantly

    You can't always judge a book by its cover, but you *can* judge it by its opening lines.

    Books can be captivating in lots of different ways, whether through compelling characters, beautiful language, or a gripping plot. But there are a handful of books that grab your attention with the very first lines. So I browsed through the subreddit r/books and rounded up this list of the very best opening lines in literature (and I even added a few of my own favorites).

    Young woman relaxing in bad while reading a book in decorative lighting

    1. "Here is a small fact: You are going to die."

    "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

    2. "All this happened, more or less."

    "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

    3. "Your house glows at night like everything inside is on fire."

    "The Push" by Ashley Audrain

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

    "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton

    5. "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."

    The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    6. "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."

    "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath

    7. “Happy families are all alike; unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way."

    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    8. "You are a fingerprint. When you open your eyes on the last day of your life, you see your own thumb."

    "Notes on an Execution" by Danya Kukafka

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

    "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

    10. "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

    "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez

    11. "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

    "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold

    12. "This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it."

    "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman

    13. “This is the story of a man named Eddie and it starts at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It may seem strange to start a story with an ending, but all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.”

    "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom

    14. “Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too.”

    "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng

    15. "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."

    "The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket

    16. “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

    "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion

    17. "At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country."

    "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

    18. "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

    "The Gunslinger" by Stephen King

    19. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.”

    "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston

    20. "No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality walked alone."

    "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson

    21. "124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children."

    "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

    22. “When he woke in the woods in the dark and cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.”

    "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

    23. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

    "1984" by George Orwell

    24. “I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time."

    "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    25. "The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."

    "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern

    26. “You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy."

    "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

    27. "Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it."

    "Night Watch" by Terry Pratchett

    28. “The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw."

    "White Oleander" by Janet Fitch

    What's your favorite opening line from a book — something that immediately pulled you in from the very first page? Tell us in the comments below!