Thursday, July 24, 2008

BTT: You Had Me At Hello

Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favorite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

When I'm reviewing a book, I like to jot down the first sentence or first paragraph (if it's short and relevant) if I remember. This isn't always the case. Sometimes they seem a bit too unremarkable to take notice of. Not that that indicates it's a bad book. It doesn't. Incredible first sentences sometimes means a magical experience is on the way. But not all the time. And I would say more often than not some of my favorite books--books that I loved, loved, loved--didn't have *outstandingly wonderful amazing* first lines to hook me.

That being said, Their Eyes Were Watching God has one of the *best, best, best* first lines of all time:

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. That is the life of men.

Now women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly. (1)

Gone With The Wind is another one that stands out for me.

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. (5)

I like that one because it shows how from the very beginning the book is way way different than the movie. (The book is better.) I could let that "was not beautiful" resonate with me for a long long time!!!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Unknown said...

In HS I was part of the "Schools Match Wits" team for a local TV show. One of our categories was memorizing first and last lines from famous books, and Gone w/ the Wind was right up there! Thanks for bringing back that memory!

Confuzzled Shannon said...

That is a deep line from There eyes were watching God. It kinda reminds me of something my husband would say or agree with. :-)

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

I agree completely about Gone With The Wind. I liked the movie, but there is just so much more in the novel to enjoy.

SmilingSally said...

I loved both books, but There eyes were watching God was amazing for the way the author used dialect.

Jill said...

I'm so glad you quoted Their Eyes Were Watching God...I need to add that one. One of my favorites from that book was, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer."