Great Is the Art of Beginning

The beginning is the most important part of a book. It needs to captivate the reader, make them want to know more, go forward, find out. I’ve fallen into the habit of picking up an interesting-looking book at the bookstore and, instead of reading the blurb, turning to the first page. If there is a prologue, I will also see how the first actually chapter begins.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In any case, I thought I would gather here some great beginnings of books I have read (and own, since quoting becomes harder when you don’t have the material at hand). Some are just the first sentence, some the first paragraph. Some are from prologues, some from first chapters.

“I am the Vampire Lestat. I’m immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire – these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not.”

–       The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

“In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”

–       Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework, but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard.”

–       Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

“Contrary to whatever stories and songs there may be about the subject, there are only a handful of respectable things a man can do after he picks up a sword.”

–       Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes

“Ravens! Always the ravens. They settled on the gables of the church even before the injured became the dead.”

–       Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

“As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.”

–       The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

“At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.”

–       The Lies of Locke Lamora b Scott Lynch

“The game was Carousel Hazard, the stakes were roughly half of all the wealth they commanded in the entire world, and the plain truth was that Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen were getting beaten like a pair of dusty carpets.”

–       Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

All of these are excellent books, and if any of the beginning appealed to you, I recommend from my heart that you read the book it is from.

I will return at the end of the month!

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