TT #16

10 May 2007

image yoinked from Write From Karen
Thirteen Things Opening lines
For most of my book reviews I like to note down the opening sentence, or two, and here is a list of thirteen of my favourites. I’m sure I’ve left some out. Source links go to my reviews.

  1. Her name is Teresa Ann Gravatt and she is seven years old: She has a mirror through which she can see into another world.

    Simple, but gets your attention doesn’t it?

  2. Not everyone knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar.

    Run on sentence or what?

  3. See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves.

    More poetry than prose.

  4. ‘Pierre, something’s wrong with the garden,’ said Sophia.
    She opened the window and examined the patch of ground. She knew it by heart, every blade of grass. What she saw sent a shiver down her spine.

    Bet you’re now wondering what was wrong in the garden.

  5. Thud…
    That was the sound the heavy club made as it connected with the head. The body jerked, and slumped back.
    And it was done, unheard, unseen: the perfect end, a perfect solution, a perfect story.
    But, as the dwarfs say, where there is trouble you will always find a troll.
    The troll saw.

    A perfect opening

  6. The people who remained in this place have often asked themselves why it was that Ibrahim went mad. I am the only one who knows, but I have always been committed to silence, because he begged me to respect his grief, or, as he also put it, to take pity upon his guilt.

    So now you are wondering why Ibrahim went mad. And who this trusted individual is.

  7. Dear Franklin,
    I’m unsure why one trifling incident this afternoon has moved me to write to you. But since we’ve been separated, I may most miss coming home to deliver the narrative curiosities of my day, the way a cat might lay mice at your feet: the small, humble offerings that couples proffer after foraging in separate backyards.

    Cute, but there is death there too, so you won’t be expecting sun and light.

  8. They do it with mirrors. It’s a cliché, of course, but it’s also true. Magicians have been using mirrors, usually set at a forty-fice-degree angle, ever since the Victorians began to manufacture reliable, clear mirrors in quantity, well over a hundred years ago.

    Gaiman does have a way with opening lines

  9. They said later that he rode into the village on a horse the color of buttermilk, but I saw him walk out of the wood

    I just like this one.

  10. On Tuesday, four sheep were killed at Ventebrune in the French Alps. On Thursday, nine were lost at Pierrefort. “It’s the wolves,” a local said. “They’re coming down to eat us all up.”
    The other man drained his glass, then raised his hand. “A wolf, Pierrot, my lad. It’s a wolf. A beast such as you have never clapped eyes on before. Coming down, as you say, to eat us all up.”

    You gotta watch out for the wolf

  11. All day long, under a yellow and smoking Tuscan sky, the two huge guns vomited fire.

    Got my interest so it did.

  12. There was a silence in the book-room, not the silence of intimacy but a silence fraught with tension

    tension about what?

  13. The waves are hissing the secrets of winter. They arrive here bearing a wind which has lost no sharpness since it left the west coast of Scotland. The roads are empty and frosted tonight. The moon is timid in a louring sky. The dressing room lights are off. The floodlights have yet to be cranked up. The pitch is fringed with frost. There is nobody here. Why would anyone come?

    Setting the scene

    Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

  1. Joystory
  2. Gem-osophy
  3. Mother’s Home!
  4. SciFiChick
  5. Jenny’s Wandering Thoughts
  6. Live.Love.Read.
  7. Random Musings
  8. Special K Family
  9. Everybody Lies
  10. Too Many Ideas
  11. the screaming pages
  12. Cat Banter with Kimo & Sabi
  13. Chicken Scratch
  14. Anne Douglas
  15. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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21 Responses

  1. Gale Martin says:

    Really liked your TT post. Love the excerpts from your reviews, definitely different. I'm intrigued by your blog, too. And will come back and visit soon.

  2. Joy Renee says:

    Really wonderful TT list. I love opening lines of books. I am drooling over every one of these.

    my #31 is about books too.

  3. Stine says:

    These really do make you want more…

    Great list – thanks for visiting mine!

  4. SciFiChick says:

    Great lines! I'm glad you linked to the books..

  5. jenny® says:

    how did u do the quote sign? it's pretty cool!

  6. heather anne says:

    Excellent list. I wish I had some of my favorites nearby. Maybe I'll add them later. :)

  7. Nancy says:

    Thanks for coming by.

    I love this idea. I may have to "borrow" it some time. All these sentences would make me take a second look at the book.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Great minds think alike. :) I also did my 13 on book quotes.

  9. Kelly says:

    Okay, Fency, those were ALL great quotes. However, I'm STILL a little put out that you guys once made fun of my "babies smelling of mouseholes" quote. I'm just saying. (Hi there, friend!)

  10. Harlequin says:


  11. Toni says:

    Great list! What a great idea!

  12. samulli says:

    I love bookish TT's. This one is great. I have only read #5 and #7 (loved the Pratchett, wasn't too sure about the other one), but some of the others sound pretty interesting as well. Thanks for giving me new ideas what to add to my ever-growing Mt. TBR. ;o)

  13. I like 4 for the mystery, the fact it could go anywhere and that it's a great hook.

  14. Fence says:

    You're more than welcome to drop by as often as you wish Gale :)

    Joy, the opening can make such an impact.

    Stine, they do, don't they.

    SciFiChick, No point in hiding them away :)

    Jenny, I just used the blockquote tag. That indents them and allows me to set properties, so when you hover over you should see the book title and author. And this theme is set up to display that image for all blockquotes.

    I'll look forward to reading them Heather Anne.

    Hi Toni, and thanks.

    Samulli, I love Pratchett. And Thud! is one of my favourites. I was however a bit "hmmm" over We Need To Talk About Kevin. On one hand I really liked it, loved the writing, but I'm not sure I bought the plot. And the ending was a little weak.

    Mark, a great hook is right.

    Borrow away Nancy :)

    Jennifer, my favourite TTs are usually book related somehow.

    Kells! Welcome back :)

    H, zackly.

  15. Harlequin says:

    I was so excited I never even commented on your beautiful TT. Lovely. Just lovely. Thud! is my favourite but honourable mentions to Fred Vargas (finished The Three Evangelists today, really enjoyed it). Wouldn't have picked April Lady as a great Heyer opening line but I can't off the top of my poor battered and bruised (emotionally and intellectually) head think of another one of hers that I loved so I'll leave it.

    Opening lines I love and know off by heart:

    "It was the day my grandmother exploded." – Iain Banks, The Crow Road. The explosion is not a metaphor at all!

    "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful but men seldom realised it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

  16. she says:

    I'm fond of Thud and Smoke & Mirrors, but We need to talk about Kevin still blows me away.

  17. kimo & sabi says:

    Nice TT! Thanks fer visitin' us!

  18. Christine says:

    I love this idea for a TT. Opening lines – some books have great ones and end up being mediocre reads. I'm thinking of Zoli – what a disappointing book. Opening sequence was great though.

    Thanks for stopping by my TT. Have a great weekend, XINE

  19. Fence says:

    Well H, I was limited to the ones that I'd reviewed and had written down the opening lines. Wasn't likely to pick up every book I've ever read and read the first few lines. Sides, I likes that :)

    She, I'm just not to sure about the Kevin character in <cite>We Need to talk about Kevin</cite>

    Thanks kimo & sabi

    Hi Christine, yup, first impressions really matter, but sometimes the rest of the book doesn't really live up to it :)

  20. Anne Douglas says:

    I think I like 10 and 11 the best.

    10 makes me think this wolf has an interesting story – quite possibly a tragic one.

    11 makes me think of war, and how the horros would make you vomit – just like the guns.

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