Share 17 of Our Favorite First Lines to Start 2017

17 of Our Favorite First Lines to Start 2017

Kerry Fiallo is a New York native and copywriter at Simon & Schuster. A lifelong voracious reader, she has a particular fondness for ghost stories, history, and anything to do with Mary Shelley, Ada Lovelace, and the Brontë sisters. The only thing she may love more than books is black tea, but they do often go well together. You can find her as she navigates through literature and history on Twitter @ReadingInNYC.

A new year means a fresh start, and a fresh start on a fantastic book is exactly what we are looking forward to. So we’re starting off 2017 with 17 of our favorite first lines from books. Happy New Year! And Happy Reading!


Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut

The absurdist tale of Billy Pilgrim -- an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden -- and his odyssey through time has become a classic of anti-war fiction and reading lists everywhere.

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The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

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The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
Stephen King

For almost a decade, Stephen King fans have been yearning to see this epic series on the big screen, and they’ll finally get their wish with this adaptation, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It tells the story of the fallen land of Mid-World, through the eyes of a knight whose primary mission is to save his decaying world by reaching the titular tower that stands at the intersection of time and space. This mix of horror, western, and sci-fi will be a must-see. RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
by Tom Franklin

The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Tom Franklin

Seamlessly blending elements of crime and Southern literary fiction, CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER is the powerful and resonant story of two boyhood friends. Torn apart by circumstance, they are brought together again by a terrible crime in a small Mississippi town.

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Rebecca
by Daphne Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

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Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurier

I watched the classic Hitchcock film of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic masterpiece starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine for the first time in years the other night, and in loving it was reminded of how much I also loved the book. Is there a first line of a novel more evocative than “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”? Only Hitchcock could do justice to the moodiness and plot twists of Du Maurier’s genius work.

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The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.

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The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah

With courage, grace, and powerful insight, Kristin Hannah illuminates an intimate and seldom seen part of World War II. Telling the stories of two sisters separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion, and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in war-torn France, this heartbreakingly beautiful novel celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

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A Single Man
by Christopher Isherwood

Waking up begins with saying am and now.

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A Single Man
Christopher Isherwood

Delicately wrenching, mourning and memory, the story of a spouse, newly alone, and the uncertain life now before him. - Scott O'Connor

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Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.

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Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace

"I had a friend in college who claimed this was his favorite book, so I bought a copy and planned to read it over a break. I got about 200 pages in, and my head started spinning, so I stopped (though in my defense, I have made other attempts). I’m pretty sure that’s as far as he got, too, considering the only thing we ever talked about were the first 2 chapters. . ." — Julianna

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The Secret History
by Donna Tartt

The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.

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The Secret History
Donna Tartt

If your favorite character is Jonathan Byers

The misunderstood, unhappy kid who yearns for an East Coast college where he can forget his modest upbringing and meet sufficiently interesting friends? Sounds like Richard Papen, the narrator of Donna Tartt’s first novel, THE SECRET HISTORY.

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The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

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The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin

The very best science fiction creates deeply immersive, textured worlds that at the same time reveal something about the way we live today. More than forty years after its publication, Ursula Le Guin’s novel still challenges our notions of gender and remains a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

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Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

I am dead, but it’s not so bad.

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Warm Bodies
Isaac Marion

In this unexpected retelling of Romeo and Juliet, R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. And then he meets Julie, a blast of living color in his gray landscape. However, their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

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City of Glass
by Paul Auster

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

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City of Glass
Paul Auster

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

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We So Seldom Look on Love
by Barbara Gowdy

In the apartment building across from theirs, six storeys above the ground, a cat walks along a balcony railing.

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We So Seldom Look on Love
Barbara Gowdy

In the apartment building across from theirs, six storeys above the ground, a cat walks along a balcony railing.

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Boy, Snow, Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.

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Boy, Snow, Bird
Helen Oyeyemi

This widely acclaimed novel brilliantly recasts the fairy tale Snow White as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity. It boldly confronts the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston

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Middlesex
by Jeffrey Eugenides

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.

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Middlesex
Jeffrey Eugenides

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Raising Steam
by Terry Pratchett

It is hard to understand nothing, but the multiverse is full of it.

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Raising Steam
Terry Pratchett

It is hard to understand nothing, but the multiverse is full of it.

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17 of Our Favorite First Lines to Start 2017

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The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces.

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The Sympathizer
Viet Thanh Nguyen

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this profound, startling, and beautifully crafted spy novel is the story of a man whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. An astute exploration of extreme politics, as well as a moving love story, THE SYMPATHIZER examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

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