First Lines

Tonight I am going to share the first lines of several classics. My mind wandered to my collection of Penguin Popular Classics as I found another title to add to it today.

Penguin Popular Classics, Paperbacks, Penguin Books, European Books, Used BooksFor the past years I have been collecting a particular series of Penguin paperbacks. I am not sure if this series was sold in the US. The first ones that I acquired came from Germany and most of the ones that I run across here in the US have some indication that they were purchased abroad.

I now have 40 titles from this series. I really like the look of this series, especially the spine with the small picture on top and the distinctive format for the author and title.

Every time I go to a used book store I look to see if they have one that is not on my shelves.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Penguin Popular Classics, First LinesHere is the book that I picked up today. I have read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and already have several copies. However, I didn’t have one from this series.

I think many would agree that this is one of the most recognized first lines.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Moby Dick, The Whale, Herman Melville, Penguin Popular Classics, Famous First Lines Moby Dick by Herman Melville also has a hard to forget first line.

Call me Ishmael.

I reread Moby Dick last year and really enjoyed it. I was reading it while on The Journey Home from Turkey and mention it in my post that day.

The Woman in White, Wilkie  Collins, First Lines, Penguin Popular ClassicsThe first line of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins is not as well known, but I really like it.

This is a story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.

Did you know that Wilkie Collins co-wrote some of Dickens’ Christmas stories?

Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte, Penguin Popular Classics, First LinesI have not yet read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, but it is has been on my to-read list. I also plan on reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

Tonight I opened up this copy of Agnes Grey and read the first line. The book has now moved up closer to the top of my to-read list.

All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.

What are some of your favorite first lines?




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10 Responses to First Lines

  1. Best/worst of times – Dickens

  2. Glenda McDougal says:

    Can’t think right now.

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  6. This is like poetry to me, it’s the first line from Dean Koontz book One door away from heaven: “The world is full of broken people. Splints, casts, miracle drugs, and time can’t mend fractured hearts, wounded minds, torn spirits.”

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  10. Frank says:

    I just recently read Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    I have the same edition of Moby Dick that you have pictured on your blog. I love that cover! I first started reading it while traveling on the coast of Wales. I was staying in a little room accessed by a ladder and it seemed so appropriate while reading about Ishmael and the sea. It’s hard to beat that first line!

    I also really like this series of Penguin editions. I think all the ones that I’ve picked up came from traveling in the British Isles. There are some really neat Thomas Hardy ones, too.

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