100+ Famous Novels With Catchy First Lines Books

100+ Famous Novels With Catchy First Lines

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List Criteria: Novels that have often quoted first lines or opening sentences that are otherwise in the cultural zeitgeist. Vote up the most memorable.

The opening lines of a novel can prove crucial, and many authors spend an inordinate amount of time considering how their books will begin. From Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities to Melville's Moby Dick, often the opening sentence or two of a book will become the most frequently quoted and iconic passage from the entire novel. This list has the best novels with great first lines, bound to make the best impression on readers. 

These books of fiction are well known for their opening lines. The authors know that books don't just need a great story, there also needs to be something that draws in the reader. The opening line is that hook and the books on this list all have intriguing, interesting, and unique opening sentences.

This is a list of the greatest novels with the best introductory text, including world literature (with an emphasis on English literature), from throughout history, with the most memorable and significant beginnings. Vote up the most memorable first lines from fiction below.

Soure: American Book Review

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  1. 1
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    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.
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    • Author: Charles Dickens
    • First Published: 1859
  2. 2
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    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
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    • Author: George Orwell
    • First Published: 1949-06-08
  3. 3
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    It was a pleasure to burn.
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    • Author: Ray Bradbury
    • First Published: 1953
  4. 4
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    All this happened, more or less.
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    • Author: Kurt Vonnegut
    • First Published: 1969
  5. 5
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    Call me Ishmael.
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    • Author: Herman Melville
    • First Published: 1851-10-18
  6. 6
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    Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
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    • Author: Leo Tolstoy
    • First Published: 1877
  7. 7
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    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
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    • Author: Jane Austen
    • First Published: 1813-01-28
  8. 8
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    Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
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    • Author: Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
    • First Published: 1955
  9. 9
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    Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.
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    • Author: Miguel de Cervantes
    • First Published: 1605
  10. 10
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    It was love at first sight.
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    • Author: Joseph Heller
    • First Published: 1961-11-11
  11. 11
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    The Hobbit
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  
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    • Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
    • First Published: 1937-09-21
  12. 12
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    It was the day my grandmother exploded.
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    • Author: Iain Banks
    • First Published: 1992
  13. 13
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    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.
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    • Author: Mark Twain
    • First Published: 1884-12
  14. 14
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    There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
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    • Author: C. S. Lewis
    • First Published: 1952-09-15
  15. 15
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    I am an invisible man.
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    • Author: Ralph Ellison
    • First Published: 1952
  16. 16
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    In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
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    • Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • First Published: 1925-04-10
  17. 17
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    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.
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    • Author: J. D. Salinger
    • First Published: 1951-07-16
  18. 18
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    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.
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    • Author: Charles Dickens
    • First Published: 1850
  19. 19
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    Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
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    • Author: Gabriel García Márquez
    • First Published: 1967
  20. 20
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    "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."
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    • Author: Franz Kafka
    • First Published: 1915
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