While most of us pick up books because we couldn’t NOT pick a book by our favorite authors, there are some among us who’d not hesitate to visit the library- tracing the spine of the book with our fingers, feel the beating pulse of the characters living inside, take a whiff of their scent through old, musty covers and turning the leaf to breathe in the lives of the characters through an enchanted read. We’d, perhaps, not even change the process when at a bookstore, throwing open the magical world of words to check out if the opening lines can draw us further in. If you belong to this category, you’ve come to the right place.
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Check out the most beautiful opening lines from literature right here:
1. “If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we found out who we are.”
— Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
2. “At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country.
The tide climbs. The moon hangs small and yellow and gibbous. On the rooftops of the beachfront hotels to the east, and in the gardens behind them, a half-dozen American artillery units drop incendiary rounds into the mouths of mortars.”
— Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
3. “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
— Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
4. “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer.”
— Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
5. “The town of Rye rose from the flat marshes like an island, its umbled pyramid of red-tiled roofs glowing in the slanting evening light. The high Sussex bluffs were a massive, unbroken line of shadow from east to west, the fields breather out the heat of the day, and the sea was a sheet of hammered pewter.”
— Helen Simonson, The Summer Before the War
6. “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”
— John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
7. “Forty-five minutes north-east of Cambridge is a landscape I’ve come to love very much indeed. It’s where wet fen gives way to parched sand. It’s a land of twisted pine trees, burnt-out cars, shotgun-peppered road signs and US Air Force bases. There are ghosts here: houses crumble inside numbered blocks of pine forestry. There are spaces built for air-delivered nukes inside grassy tumuli behind 12ft fences, tattoo parlours and US Air Force golf courses. In spring it’s a riot of noise: constant plane traffic, gas-guns over pea fields, woodlarks and jet engines. It’s called the Brecklands – the broken lands – and it’s where I ended up that morning, seven years ago, in early spring, on a trip I hadn’t planned at all.”
— Helen Macdonald, H Is for Hawk
8. “He wakes to the scratching of a pencil against a page: a noise out of the darkness. He lies quite still on his back, reaching out for the sound. His ears have become wings, straining, stretching, carrying him away. The world comes to him only through sound, and there is precious little of that.”
— Sheila Kohler, Becoming Jane Eyre
9. “A thick drizzle from the sky, like a curtain’s sudden sweeping. The seabirds stopped their turning, the ocean went mute. Houselights over the water dimmed to gray.”
— Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
10. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some, they come in with the tide. For others they sail on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turn his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth.”
— Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
11. “Why at the beginning of things is there always light? Dorrigo Evans’ earliest memories were of sun flooding a church hall in which he sat with his mother and grandmother. A wooded church hall. blinding light and him toddling back and forth, in and out of its transcendent welcome, into the arms of women. Women who loved him. Like entering the sea and returning to the beach. Over and over.”
—Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Suggested read: 20 Beau Taplin quotes that will make you fall in love… again!
12. “Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. If you can bend space you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster than light you could travel backward in time and exist in two places at once.”
— Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
Hooked? We bet you are! Go read on!
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