Recently, while scrolling Bookstagram, I came across this question – “How do you typically decide which book you are going to buy next?” Whether the cover catches my eye or the bookstore has recommendations worked into the book display – I always open to the first page and read.
I want to get a sense of the author’s writing style and the narrator’s voice. If I were more in favor of making informed decisions, I might read the whole first chapter, but in all honesty I read the first few lines and that’s where I make my decision. Think of it as the author’s chance to “pick me up” using their best one-liner.
Sometimes this steers me wrong, but rarely.
Below I’ve listed my favorite opening lines of novels. I recommend each of these six books as a “must read” because the excitement doesn’t stop at the first line. Enjoy!
“The first sentence of a novel is the most important, except maybe the last, which can stay with you after you’ve shut the book, the way the echoing of a closing door follows you down the hall.”The Serialist by David Gordon
“Fuck you,”Savages by Don Winslow
“Ayoola summons me with these words – Korede, I killed him.”My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
“People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles.”Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
“For eight years I dreamed of fire.”The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
“If you’re going to read this, don’t bother.”Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Do you have a favorite opening line of a novel I didn’t list above? Let me know in the comments!