Top Ten Tuesday: Great Opening Lines

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello! I hope you’re all doing alright and coping in these bizarre times! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is discussing opening lines which I love, because a great opening line can totally grab you and make you want to read the rest of the book! I’ve chosen the first ten that came to my mind when thinking about this. There’s a couple where I’ve included the first couple of lines because I think they’re so brilliant but I don’t think that’s cheating too much! I’ve tried to use a mix of modern books and classics so hopefully you enjoy reading them!

1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins


“My trial starts the way my life did: a squall of elbows and shoving and spit.”

2. Circe by Madeline Miller


“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.”

3. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick SΓΌskind


“In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages.”

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling


“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.”

6. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton


9.16 a.m.

“A moment of stillness; as if time itself is waiting, can no longer be measured. Then the subtle press of a fingertip, whorled skin against cool metal, starts it beating again and the bullet moves faster than sound.”

7. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea


“The day the earth shifts, a body emerges from the belly of the ice-crusted sea. Bone-white fingers waving, as if alive.”

8. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


“I like to think I know what death is. I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.”

9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


“They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine.”

10. The Secret History by Donna Tartt


“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.”


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (it is such a quoted opening line but I couldn’t not include it because it’s one of my favourite ever books!)


“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”


Well that’s it for today! Ten of my favourite opening lines from literature! I really hope you enjoyed my list and I would love to know your thoughts so please do let’s chat in the comments! And feel free to leave a link to your own list – I can’t wait to ready everyone else’s lists!



41 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Great Opening Lines

  1. Emer @alittlehazebookblog says:

    Hello fellow Circe quoter 😊😊😊 This made me realise that I need to finally get around to reading Rebecca though. Because I’d truly love to know the whole story behind that oft quoted opening line πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Šβ€οΈπŸ’›πŸ’š great ttt Christine


  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Hey Christine, you have some great opening lines here – As you know, I too, have Harry Potter and Rebecca on my list. The only other one here I’ve read is The Picture of Dorian Grey, but looking at some of these opening lines, I want to read many of them! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mehsi says:

    Great list! I love seeing this Top 10 go around on so many sites and seeing how many have Harry Potter on it. πŸ™‚ My favourites from your list would be: The Glass Woman and Burial Rites.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

    Your list is the first time I’ve seen Rebecca mentioned so far! I’m really surprised, because I agree with you. It’s one of the best. And I own Circe but haven’t read it yet. Now I want to pick it up even more. What a great first line! ❀


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