Yesterday, I came across an infographic on Pinterest:

34 Compelling First Lines of Famous Books

Immediately, I thought of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, then I patted myself on the back, when I saw they had both been included in this list…

34 Compelling First Lines of Famous Books - - Infographic

After I read it, I proceeded to tearing apart my bookshelves, hunting for novels that had golden introductions.

I tend to pick a lot of my books based on their opening sentences, as it’s my belief that good writing will hook you from the start. If there isn’t something captivating at the beginning, I don’t really want to waste my time reading on.

I don’t mean to say that all novels should jump straight into action or conflict, but rather, the first sentence should be carefully crafted and compelling enough to capture my attention. Whether that be through clever humour, a philosophical proposition or just simply, a good concept. (I like wild ideas.)

I discarded a few books [on the floor] , totally unimpressed by their openings, but others hooked me instantly and I ended up adding half my collection to a re-read pile.


Take a look at my favourite openings:

  • “Once upon a time – for that is how all stories should begin – there was a boy who lost his mother. He had, in truth, been losing her for a very long time.” – The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.
  • “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.” – Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
  • “I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometimes I try to be, but often I’m not. So when it was my turn to cover my eyes and count to a hundred – I cheated.” – The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer. 


During my bookshelf rampage, I actually managed to shake off my writers block.

(Lately, I’ve been struggling to keep up with the blogosphere and consequently, I fell into a blog comatose.) zzZ

But, after reading book after book, I truly realised just how many ways you could write a novel/blog post and how many different novels/blog posts you could write.

I often worry about writing repetitive posts, themes or regurgitating cliché ideas that I’ve picked up from social media. This is the reason I slow blog, I prefer quality over quantity. It doesn’t do wonders for my blog traffic, but that’s okay. I’m not blogging for fame. I blog to connect with/help like-minded people, to improve my writing and most importantly, to relax.

–> Yes. Self-proclaimed writing geek, right here. <–


I hope, like me, you found some writing inspiration in this infographic.


Thanks for reading,

& Let me know your thoughts!


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2 thoughts on “Famous First Lines

  1. That’s such a lovely post! Reading this list made me want to read so many books! I feel like I’m constantly behind on reading so many great stories that are out there! To me, Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter came instantly to my mind when I read the title of your post. :)
    I also think it’s not necessary to put out post after post just for the sake of the numbers. It’s so much more important to write about things you actually care about and I totally agree that quality should always come before quantity!
    Patti Shifting Tales

    1. Thanks Patti!

      Pride and Prejudice has a great opening, I actually added it to my re-read pile :P

      & Yes, it’s so important to write posts that mean something. Glad you agree!

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