Sometimes you open a book, you read that first phrase, and you know: yes. This is it. This is the start of a journey that’s going to take me places. Whether that actually turns out to be true for the rest of the book, at that point, it doesn’t really matter. Because… Oh my goodness… Those first sentences!
1. Pride and Prejudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
This is one of those phrases that just completely sets the tone for the entire novel. That little bit of sarcasm already, both at the idea of a universal truth existing and.. Well, you know… At the then-current concept of what a single man “must” want.
2. The Secret History
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.
I only read this book for the first time a couple of months ago and honestly… From the moment I read that first phrase? I was hooked. Again, there’s just that right amount of foreboding for what the rest of the book will actually be. And the tone of the narrator? Well, it’s clear here, and it is honestly so important throughout this book that, just, well… Writing down that first phrase just made me want to go back and read the entire thing again!
3. Peter Pan
All children, except one, grow up.
Peter Pan is honestly one of those books that has captivated audiences for ages. And it deserves to.
4. The Night Circus
The circus arrives without warning.
I bought this book because of the first phrase.
Okay, sure, maybe also because so many people I was following on Tumblr seemed to love it. But mostly? Because of that first phrase. And the next couple of lines that followed it. If you like magical realism? This is such a huge recommendation!
5. Little Women
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
Honestly, this quote, man… I don’t know if any of you ever read those High School Musical spin-off books? Well, in one of those, Gabriella participated in a quiz that she won because she knew this phrase was the first to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Now, at that point I had read the children’s version (heavily abridged) in Dutch, but that HSM-book made me want to read the original. I think it’s largely because of that, but even just in general: I love this first phrase. Also, you know… Christmas… There’s that 🙂
So, do you have any of those first phrases? The ones that take you back to a book, the ones that made you read a book? Or just those phrases that, you know… They’re just so beautiful? Be sure to let me know below!