First Lines

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women

"Please, sir, is this Plumfield?" asked a ragged boy of the man who opened the great gate at which the omnibus left him.

Lousia May Alcott
Little Men

When I was three and Bailey was four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed - "To Whom It May Concern" - that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.

Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.

Isaac Asimov

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

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

Jane Austen

All children, except one, grow up.

James Matthew Barrie
Peter Pan

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife.

Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail.

Peter Benchley

Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all.

William Peter Blatty
The Exorcist

It was a pleasure to burn.

Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451

1801-- I have just returned from a visit to my landlord -- the solitary neighbor that I shall be troubled with.

Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights

What's it going to be then, eh?

Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange

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

Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden

Mother died today.

Albert Camus
The Stranger

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice "without pictures or conversation?"

Lewis Caroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

At a village of La Mancha, whose name I do not wish to remember, there lived a little while ago one of those gentlemen who are wont to keep a lance in the rack, an old buckler, a lean horse and a swift greyhound.

Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote

The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.

Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A space Odyssey

He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.

Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim

It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet.

James Fenimore Cooper
The Last of the Mohicans

These two very old people are the father and mother of Mr. Bucket.

Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though 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 good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznear; but by the usual corruption of words in England we are now called, nay, we call ourselves, and write our name, Crusoe, and so my companions always called me.

Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.

Phillip Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Blade Runner)

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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so.

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities

My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

Charles Dickens
Great Expectations

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
The Personal History of David Copperfield

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.

Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles

On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the town of Meung, in which the author of The Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in a perfect state of revolution as if the Hugenots had just made a second Rochelle of it.

Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers

On the 24th of February, 1815, the lookout of Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon, from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. As usual, a pilot put off immediately, and rounding the Chateau d'If, got on board the vessel between Cape Morgion and the Isle of Rion.

Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo

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

James Bond, wth two double bourbons inside him, sat back in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

Ian Fleming

Most motorcars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and gasoline and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the back seat last Sunday.

Ian Fleming

At seven o'clock, the morning of the 26th of December, the S.S. Poseidon, 81,000 tons, homeward bound for Lisbon after a month-long Christmas cruise to African and South American ports, suddenly found herself in the midst of an unaccountable swell, 400 miles south-west of the Azores, and began to roll like a pig.

Paul Gallico
The Poseidon Adventure

The old ram stands looking down over rockslides, stupidly triumphant.

John Gardner

The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon.

William Golding
Lord of the Flies

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

William Goldman
The Princess Bride

The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

It is a curious thing that at my age, fifty-five last birthday, I should find myself taking up a pen to try and write a history.

H. R. Haggard
King Solomon's Mines

Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.

Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon

Halfway down a bystreet of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of Seven Gables

A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter

It was love at first sight.

Joseph Heller

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf stream and he had gone 84 days now without taking a fish.

Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea

In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.

Frank Herbert

It was three hundred forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen days ago today that the citizens of Paris were awakened by the pealing of all the bells in the triple precincts of the City, the University, and the Town.

Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.

Stephen King

Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not on the subconscious level where savage things grow.

Stephen King

It was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips.

Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy.

C. S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Buck did not read the newspapers or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.

Jack London
The Call of the Wild

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

H. P. Lovecraft
The Call of the Cthulhu

Call me Ishmael.

Herman Melville
Moby Dick

I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere nor a chair misplaced. We are alone here and we are dead.

Henry Miller
Tropic of Cancer

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

Margaret Mitchell
Gone With the Wind

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

George Orwell

Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.

Mario Puzo
The Godfather

Who is John Galt?

Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged

We are five miles behind the front.

Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front

Amoebae leave no fossils.

Tom Robbins
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

"To be born again," sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die."

Salman Rushdie
The Satanic Verses

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

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

Anna Sewell
Black Beauty

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

Mary Shelley

Not long ago, there lived in London a young married couple of Dalmatian dogs named Pongo and Misses Pongo.

Dodie Smith
101 Dalmatians

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hill-side bank and runs deep and green.

John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath

Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.

Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17 - , and go back to the time when my father kept the `Admiral Benbow' inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island

3 May. Bistritz. - Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but the train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got from the train and the little I could walk through the streets.

Bram Stoker

My father asked me to be the fourth corner at the Joy Luck Club.

Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club

We drove past Tiny Polski's mansion house to the main road, and then the five miles into Northampton, Father talking the whole way about savages and the awfulness of America - how it got turned into a dope-taking, door locking, ulcerated danger zone of rabid scavengers and criminal millionaires and moral sneaks.

Paul Theroux
The Mosquito Coast

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.

Henry David Thoreau

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit

"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes."

Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace

If you want to find Cherry Tree Lane all you have to do is ask a policeman at the crossroads.

P. L. Travers
Mary Poppins

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
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

No answer.
No answer.

Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

On the morning of August 8, 1965, Robert Kincaid locked the door to his small two-room apartment on the third floor of a rambling house in Bellingham, Washington.

Robert Waller
The Bridges of Madison County

I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the "Lady Vain."

H. G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Time Traveler (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.

H. G. Wells
The Time Machine

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scru- tinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

H. G. Wells
The War of the Worlds

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

E. B. White
Charlotte's Web

For many days we had been tempest-tossed.

Johann Wyss
The Swiss Family Robinson

We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.

Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time

He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like tinted windows of a sleek limousine - he could see out, but you couldn't see in.

John Berendt
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Mr. Hungerton, her father, really was the most tactless person upon earth - a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely centred upon his own silly self.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost World

I am the vampire Lestat. I'm immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire - these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not.

Anne Rice
The Vampire Lestat

Midway in our life's journey, I went astray
from the straight road and woke to find myself
alone in a dark wood.

Dante Alighieri
The Divine Comedy

The sky, over the port, was the color of television tuned to a dead station.

William Gibson

Neil Gaiman

Morgaine speaks... In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wisewoman, queen.

Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists of Avalon

About a hundred years ago, they say, there was a mermaid who ruled the cold, wild sea that washes around northern lands.

Mollie Hunter
The Mermaid Summer

It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenburgs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.

Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar

(contributed by Meredith)

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

Stephen King
The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger

(contributed by Brad C. Hodson)

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.

Raphael Sabatini

Behavioral Science, the FBI section that deals with serial murder, is on the bottom floor of the Academy building at Quantico, half-buried in the earth.

Thomas Harry
The Silence of the Lambs

There is a watch lying on the green carpet of the living room of my childhood. The hands seem to stand motionless at 9:10, freezing time when it happened.

Gerda Weissmann Klein
All But My Life

I am making this statement as an act of wilfil defiance of military authority, because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.

Pat Barker

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene...

William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

(contributed by Barb)

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Vladimir Nabokov

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

Whenever my mother talks to me,she begins the conversation as if we were already in the middle of an argument.

Amy Tan
The Kitchen God's Wife

(contributed by

When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.

John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids

(contributed by Lisa Mat)

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a prty of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

John Ronald Reuld Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings

(contributed by Jakob Bindslet)

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Douglas Adams
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

(contributed by E-wok)

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

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The Holy Bible

(contributed by Mark Timko)

On friday, June 12th, I woke up at six o'clock and no wonder; it was my birthday.

Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl

"Man," said Terl, "is an endangered species."

Battlefield Earth: Saga of the Year 3000

A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of communism.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
The Communist Manifesto

Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy.

The Odyssey

They're out there.

Ken Kesey
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

(contributed by Zah)

It began as a mistake.

Charles Bukowski
Post Office

(contributed by Zah)

A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State's motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.

Aldous Huxley
Brave New World

Sing about the Rage, Goddess, of Peleus´ son Achilleus.


Riding up the winding road of Saint Agnes Cemetery in the back of the rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods.

William Kennedy

I had a farm in Africa.

Isak Dinesen
Out of Africa<

(contributed by mish)

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat.

John Milton
Paradise Lost

Vietnam, me love you long time. All day, all night, me love you long time.

The Beach
Alex Garland

(contributed by Wolfie)

Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.

George Orwell
Animal Farm

Apart from life, a strong constitusion and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolihlahla

Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom

Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.

A. A. Milne

(contributed by Miss Dee)

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolsoy
Anna Karenina

(contributed by Durga)

Sing in me, muse, of arms and a man, who first from the shores of Troy.


Once there was a boy called Jacob Two-Two. He was two plus two plus two years old. He had two ears and two eyes and two arms and two feet and two shoes.

Mordecai Richler
Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang

(contributed by Tish)

It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life.

Helen Keller
The Story of My Life

(contributed by Jesk)

The Nargun was born of the rocks when the world began; it was part of the Dreamtime; it saw the Aborigines come and go.

Patricia Wrightson
The Nargun and the Stars

(contributed by Jesk)

The hills are full of Irish people.

Ruth Park
The Harp in the South

(contributed by Jesk)

The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.

Ursula Le Guin
A Wizard of Earthsea

(contributed by Jesk)

Describe, using diagrams where appropriate, the exact circumstances leading to your death.

Grant Naylor
Red Dwarf

(contributed by Mo Elliott)

This is where the gods play games with the lives of men, on a board which is at one and the same time a simple playing area and the whole world. And Fate always wins.

Terry Pratchett
Interesting Times

(contributed by Zac Robertson)

If you're going to read this, don't bother.

Chuck Palahnuik

It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea.

Richard Bach
Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Back in the late 1970's, when I was fifteen years old, I spent every penny I then had in the bank to fly across the continent in a 747 jet to Brandon, Manitoba, deep in the Canadian prairies, to witness a total eclipse of the sun.

Douglas Coupland
Generation X

(contributed by Shawn Stringfield)

"Bear me no ill will," I said. "We are even. For you see... what has died in this room tonight is the last vestige in me of what was human."

Anne Rice
Interview With The Vampire

I am an invisible man.

Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man

(contributed by Victor Tupangawa)

Howard Roark laughed.

Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were pefectly normal, thank you very much.

J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.

Chuck Palahniuk
Fight Club

(contributed by Stolc)

I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig

(contributed by Stolc)

Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.

Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land

(contributed by Russell Roberts)

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book called "True Stories of the Virgin Forest".

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince

(contributed by Galit)

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