Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish, where the writers, like me, are particularly fond of lists.
This week’s topic is…top 10 favourite beginnings or endings in books. You’re free to talk about books that started or ended just perfectly or with a bang, but I’m going to go mainly for opening lines. I’ve been thinking about opening lines a lot this week, so this is a good topic, but it’s also a really difficult one. I’ve realised, in compiling this list, that many of my favourite first lines are from childhood, but I guess that’s the power of a good line – it stays with you.
1. “Once upon a time…”
2. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
–A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.
3. “Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.”
–Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter.
4. “This is how the story begins. On a dark, dark hill, there was a dark, dark town.”
–Funny Bones, Janet and Allan Ahlberg.
5. “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling.
6. “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers.”
–Matilda, Roald Dahl.
7. “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, Jane Austen.
8. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
–Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.
9. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
–I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith.
And one powerful ending…
10. “But in the meantime, there is a second bedroom in my serviceable apartment. The bedspread is plain. A copy of Robin Hood lies on the bookshelf. And the sheets are clean.”
–We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver.
If you need some inspiration, Stylist has compiled lists of the 100 best first lines from children’s books and just generally, and The Telegraph has a list of 30 great opening lines here.