you had me at…

“Cranes keep landing as night falls. Ribbons of them roll down, slack against the sky.”

Those are the first two lines of The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers, this years winner of the National Book Award for fiction. I bought the book after I read them and I wasn’t disappointed, it was a great read.

Other opening lines I like: From Barbara Kingsolver’s, Prodigal Summer; “Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen.” From Nicole Krauss’s, The History of Love; “When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, LEO GURSKY IS SURVIVED BY AN APARTMENT FULL OF SHIT.” From Alice McDermott’s, After This; “Leaving the church, she felt the wind rise, felt the pinprick of pebble and grit against her stockings and her cheeks-the slivered shards of mad sunlight in her eyes.” Ahhh, bookbabie bliss.

If you’d like to test your knowledge of famous opening lines from some classics, Encarta has a great quiz, click here to see how well read you are (or in bookbabie’s case, if your aging brain has any functioning memory cells left!).

If you take the quiz, come back and post your scores and tell us what book you’ve read recently that had you at the first few lines.

4 thoughts on “you had me at…

  1. My favorite opening line of a book is “My mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday.” from The Stranger by Albert Camus

  2. I scored an eight, not too bad, but I totally guessed on two of the ones I got right, oh well!

  3. Novel Quiz: Famous Opening Lines
    You got 11/13 correct.
    Yep, you’re smart. Are you putting that big brain to good use?

    Fun quiz.

    My problem — as a serial starter-of-books — is that I like so many opening lines. So full of promise, no? A new book. A new voice. A new favorite first line.


  4. Wow, good score MFS! bookbabie hangs her head in shame with a measly…7:-(

    It’s true, so many books start off great and for a reader there is such promise in discovering that new voice, and disappointment of course when it doesn’t live up to what we’d hoped for.

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