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!

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