Top Ten Best Opening Lines Of A Novel

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is the Top Ten Best Opening Lines Of A Novel.

As always, these choices are listed in no particular order.

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”

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

“I planned my death carefully; unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it.”

“If it had not rained on a certain May morning Valancy Stirling’s whole life would have been entirely different.”

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

42 responses to “Top Ten Best Opening Lines Of A Novel”

  1. Oh, Madeline! I adore that book so much. <3 And yes to The Hobbit. I almost put that one on my list this week.

    My TTT post πŸ™‚
    Merin @ Read and Reviewed recently posted…Top Ten Beginnings of BooksMy Profile

  2. I do love the start of Northanger Abbey. It’s a great opening.

    And Madeline! That line brings back a lot of memories. Great list!
    Kate @ whYAnot recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Beginnings in BooksMy Profile

  3. Oh I like that line from Lady Oracle, makes me want to find out what the book is about.
    Read Books and Blog recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Opening/Closing LinesMy Profile

  4. Sofia says:

    I love your classic choices! Those are really amazing books you’ve listed! Great picks. πŸ™‚
    Sofia recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday (#3): Favourite Beginnings/Endings in BooksMy Profile

  5. Harry made almost every list today, so cool! I love the starting of the series so so much!
    Great list.

    Happy reading!
    My TTT
    My DESIGNS blog

  6. Leanna says:

    Definitely some of the best opening lines. I love the opening line to Madeline. So cute! I keep meaning to re-read The Bell Jar.
    Leanna recently posted…Book Review: Swimming Pool Summer by Rebecca Farnworth.My Profile

  7. You’ve gone for some great classic choices! How could I forget The Hobbit?! I loved the start of that book – I definitely should have included it on my own list. Madeleine and Lolita have really fantastic and iconic opening lines too. I haven’t read The Blue Castle, but I loved Anne of Green Gables, so I will definitely check that out now. Brilliant picks! πŸ™‚
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Beginnings & Endings in BooksMy Profile

    • I can’t recommend The Blue Castle highly enough! I love it just as much as Anne of Green Gables and it seems as though very few people have heard of it, let alone read it. Don’t mind the rather dated cover that’s on most editions – It’s such a delightful little story and features one of my favourite female protagonists of all time. I would love to hear what you thought of it should you ever read it! πŸ˜€
      Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Waiting On…Constable & Toop by Gareth P. JonesMy Profile

  8. Loooooove this list. While the only quote we share is from Pride & Prejudice, there are a bunch of other quotes here that make me happy and make me want to read those books: The Bell Jar, Lolita and The Blue Castle.
    Lauren @ Books, Tea & Me recently posted…Top 10 Beginnings and Endings of BooksMy Profile

  9. Rachel says:

    I LOVE the opening line of Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s so funny and perfect. I remember quoting it all the time when I was younger!
    Rachel recently posted…Top Ten Favorite Book EndingsMy Profile

  10. Great list! I loved The Bell Jar, would love to reread it soon. I laughed at The Hobbit line.

  11. Great list, Jen! I’m excited to see Lolita, The Bell Jar, and Madeline on there! And some of those others are just brilliant (Lady Oracle? I need to read this!).
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Book Blogging BFFsMy Profile

  12. I’ve read three of these books, and two of them, Harry Potter and P&P, also made it onto my TTT today. Some of the best opening lines ever, to be sure.

    I was never a huge fan of The Hobbit, the other book I’ve read, but I do like the opening line, and I can remember liking it at the time I read the book.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In BooksMy Profile

  13. Kerri says:

    Great list- I love Madeline! The others are wonderful!
    Kerri recently posted…Top Ten Favorite Beginnings and EndingsMy Profile

  14. Katie says:

    THE HOBBIT is my favorite first line of any book ever, but I think that’s mostly for sentimental reasons, as I’m a HUGE Tolkien fan. I also really like the one for NORTHANGER ABBEY. Very sassy and fun! πŸ™‚
    Katie recently posted…Introducing a New Series: YAround the World!My Profile

  15. I love how most of these are from classic books and of course, Harry Potter! xD
    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Beginnings and EndingsMy Profile

  16. Betty says:

    Love that you went with so many classics!! Seriously… love so many of them, especially The Bell Jar!! πŸ™‚

  17. What a great list! I almost listed Austen’s Northanger Abbey, but when I opted to include endings I left it out. Ah how could I have forgotten about Nabokov’s Lolita, Bemelman’s Madeline, and Orwell’s 1984?
    Jess @ Literary, etc recently posted…Ten Favorite Book Beginnings / EndingsMy Profile

  18. Jen and Em says:

    I love your list. Ms. Austen and Ms. Montgomery are great reads! And the hobbit was the book that first caught my interest into the land of fantasy.

  19. I love your choices, and your post is so pretty πŸ™‚
    Angela @ AJ Arndt Books Blog recently posted…Young Adult Summer Reading Flowchart infographicMy Profile

  20. 1. Hated The Bell Jar, but that is a good first line.

    2. Not a fan of that first line tbh, but I read the first page or two and it was gorgeous. Must find time to actually read that book.


    4. The semi-colon has not been used properly in that sentence. *twitches*

    5. I don’t think I’ve heard of this book.

    6. Yeah, JA!

    7. So excited to reread HP at the end of the year!

    8. Ooh, a children’s book. Hello variety.

    9. How ominous.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Cover Snark (65): Romancing the SnarkMy Profile

    • I would highly recommend The Blue Castle! As much as I adore Anne of Green Gables and Montgomery’s other assorted works, The Blue Castle is her most under-rated (and one of her best) novels, in my opinion. It’s so witty and smart and Valancy Stirling is one of my favourite protagonists of all time. I can’t say enough about it, but the fact that I re-read it at least once a year should give you a good indication of how much I adore it πŸ˜‰
      Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Review: Frigid by J. LynnMy Profile

  21. So many epic quotes here! Great selection! I can’t even decide which one is my favorite. I LOVED seeing Madeline on here, and of course you have to love Harry Potter. Hmmm… I guess I’d go with Lolita. I haven’t read it. But “fire of my loins” just calls to me. Haha.
    Asti (A Bookish Heart) recently posted…Bookish Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

    • Thanks, Asti! I’ve actually never read Lolita in its entirety either, but the opening lines have always called to me. They’re just so lyrical and stunning. It’s definitely one of those books that I’m determined to read before I die, no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter might make me πŸ˜›
      Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Review: Frigid by J. LynnMy Profile

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