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Help me--Need wonderful openings from great stories/books

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I am teaching a junior high co-op class tomorrow and want to give a list of some of the very best story openings ever. Anyone want to help?


So far I have these:


"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." (Tolkein, The Hobbit)


"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession

of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Austen, Pride and Prejudice)


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . " (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)



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Here are a few from 100 Best First Lines from Novels


1. Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)


2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)


6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)


8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)


9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)


12. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. —Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)


20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. —Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)


22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)


25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. —William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)


27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. —Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605; trans. Edith Grossman)


47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)


48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)


53. It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)


56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call'd me. —Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)


64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)


75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. —Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)

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some more:


From Top 15 Opening Lines of Books

9. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic vermin.†— Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

The First Line of Children's Novels

All children, except one, grow up. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie


In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. Madeline - Ludwig Bemelmans


The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame


When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse. Stuart Little - E.B. White


This is George. He lived in Africa. Curious George - H.A. Rey


Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong The Little Engine that Could - Watty Piper


Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live. Make Way for Ducklings - Robert McCloskey


"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White


When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett


"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott


Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis


For many days we had been tempest-tossed. The Swiss Family Robinson - Johann Wyss


The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell


There was a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself - not just sometimes, but always. The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster


I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson

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some I like....


When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. --- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee


"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, S.E. Hinton

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"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." -- Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude


"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." -- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

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