What's your favorite book opening?

"Marley was dead: to begin with."

One of the simplest, shortest, and straight-to-the-point opening sentences in literature, and it does so much to set the scene and the feeling of the opening of the book.

B Dog wrote:

"I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany." A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving.

Absolutely love this intro. I didn't care for rest of the book as much and fizzled out before I finished, but those lines are incredible.

Don't know that I have a favorite, per se, but I love Raymond Chandler so much..

The Long Goodbye wrote:

The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers. The parking lot attendant had brought the car out and he was still holding the door open because Terry Lennox's left foot was still dangling outside, as if he had forgotten he had one. He had a young-looking face but his hair was bone white. You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline, but otherwise he looked like any other nice young guy in a dinner jacket who had been spending too much money in a joint that exists for that purpose and for no other.

There was a girl beside him. Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink that almost made the Rolls-Royce look like just another automobile. It didn't quite. Nothing can.

The attendant was the usual half-tough character in a white coat with the name of the restaurant stitched across the front of it in red. He was getting fed up.

"Look, mister," he said with an edge to his voice, "would you mind a whole lot pulling your leg into the car so I can kind of shut the door? Or should I open it all the way so you can fall out?"

The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back. It didn't bother him enough to give him the shakes. At The Dancers they get the sort of people that disillusion you about what a lot of golfing money can do for the personality

The opening chapter of The Passage is amazing.

Robear wrote:

Ah, Dudley, I forgot about Pride and Prejudice. To this day, I'm not sure if she's being literal, or snarky, or both. I suspect the latter, a disdain for social constraints, but it's a marvelous sentence (and a fantastic story).

I think it's one of the purest examples of literary irony, since much of the novel is about women pursuing men in possession of good fortunes.

For my part, I'll add:

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." — Anna Karenena, Tolstoy. Too bad the rest of the book kinda stunk.

Saw the thread title. Came to post my favourite. Found it was the OP.

Eezy_Bordone wrote:

The first chapter of Diamond Crash is still one of the best I've read.

I can't find a Diamond Crash. Did you mean Snow Crash? Or Diamond Age? I was going to mention Snow Crash.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.