My Favourite First Lines in Literature

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is going to talk about my favourite opening lines in books. Though I don’t think a bad first line can break a book, I do think a really good first line can make for such an enjoyable and magical reading experience. If I’m hooked from the get-go then the chances are that I’ll absolutely love reading further. First lines have the power of capturing your attention and reeling you in, as well as introducing you to important people and places, as well as giving you an idea of the voice of the story.

These first lines are my favourite because they make me want to read on to the second line. I don’t think there’s any coincidence that my favourite lines tend to be from my favourite books…

What are your favourite first lines in literature?


“It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen” – 1984 by George Orwell

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.'” – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“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.” – David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink” – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

“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 by Jane Austen

“Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” – The Stranger by Albert Camus

“All children, except one, grow up.” – Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.” – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.” – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.” – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares” – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Thanks for reading!

Love, Zoë xx

3 thoughts on “My Favourite First Lines in Literature

Add yours

  1. Great idea for a blog post. I once closed a book and stuck it back on the shelf in the shop – I cant even remember the name of it now or the author – I just remember they’d ripped off one of the most famous opening lines in lit history, Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’.

    Liked by 1 person

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