The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books - Life - Stylist Magazine

Best opening lines from books

Celebrity special: opening lines from books

Stars reveal their favourite first words

The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books remains stylist.co.uk’s most popular piece of content ever. In homage to that fact, we asked former Stylist contributors to share the opening lines that mean the most to them.

Click here for the reasons behind their choices

Exclusive illustration: Quentin Blake

  • No Woman, No Cry: My life With Bob Marley

    No Woman, No Cry: My life W…

    Chosen by: Vicky McClure “I was an ambitious… More details

    No Woman, No Cry: My life With Bob Marley

    No Woman, No Cry: My life With Bob Marley

    Chosen by: Vicky McClure

    “I was an ambitious girl child. I knew even then that I had to be, in that environment of thugs, thieves, killers, prostitutes, gamblers – you name it, you’d find it in Trench Town.”

    No Woman, No Cry: My life With Bob Marley, Rita Marley

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  • Brighton Rock

    Brighton Rock

    Chosen by: Julie Burchill “Hale knew, before he… More details

    Brighton Rock

    Brighton Rock

    Chosen by: Julie Burchill

    “Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.”

    Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

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  • The Year Of Magical Thinking

    The Year Of Magical Thinking

    Chosen by: Miriam González Durántez “Life… More details

    The Year Of Magical Thinking

    The Year Of Magical Thinking

    Chosen by: Miriam González Durántez

    “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

    The Year Of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

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  • I Capture The Castle

    I Capture The Castle

    Chosen by: Liz Jones “I write this sitting in… More details

    I Capture The Castle

    I Capture The Castle

    Chosen by: Liz Jones

    “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

    I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

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  • The Siren And Selected Writings

    The Siren And Selected Writ…

    Chosen by: Manolo Blahnik “With everyone, I… More details

    The Siren And Selected Writings

    The Siren And Selected Writings

    Chosen by: Manolo Blahnik

    “With everyone, I think, memories of early childhood consist of a series of visual impressions, many very clear but lacking any sense of chronology.”

    The Siren And Selected Writings, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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  • Still Life With Woodpecker

    Still Life With Woodpecker

    Chosen by: Davina McCall “If this typewriter… More details

    Still Life With Woodpecker

    Still Life With Woodpecker

    Chosen by: Davina McCall

    “If this typewriter can’t do it, then f*** it, it can’t be done.”

    Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins

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  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales

    Grimm’s Fairy Tales

    Chosen by: Miranda Hart “Once upon a… More details

    Grimm’s Fairy Tales

    Grimm’s Fairy Tales

    Chosen by: Miranda Hart

    “Once upon a time…”

    Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

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  • Many Lives, Many Masters

    Many Lives, Many Masters

    Chosen by: Jennifer Aniston “The first time I… More details

    Many Lives, Many Masters

    Many Lives, Many Masters

    Chosen by: Jennifer Aniston

    “The first time I saw Catherine she was wearing a vivid crimson dress and was nervously leafing through a magazine in my waiting room. She was visibly out of breath.”

    Many Lives, Many Masters, Dr Brian Weiss

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  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

    Chosen by: Dawn O'Porter “Like most people I… More details

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

    Chosen by: Dawn O'Porter

    “Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle: it didn’t matter what. She was in the white corner and that was that.”

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson

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  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

    The Untethered Soul: The Jo…

    Chosen by: Leona Lewis “In case you hadn’t… More details

    The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

    The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

    Chosen by: Leona Lewis

    “In case you hadn’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it?”

    The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael A Singer

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  • A Tale Of Two Cities

    A Tale Of Two Cities

    Chosen by: Clare Balding “It was the best of… More details

    A Tale Of Two Cities

    A Tale Of Two Cities

    Chosen by: Clare Balding

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

    A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

  • Eureka Street

    Eureka Street

    Chosen by: Clémence Poésy “All stories are… More details

    Eureka Street

    Eureka Street

    Chosen by: Clémence Poésy

    “All stories are love stories.”

    Eureka Street, Robert McLiam Wilson

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  • The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye

    “If you really want to hear about it, the first… More details

    The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye

    “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

    The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

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  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley… More details

    Rebecca

    Rebecca

    "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

    Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

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  • Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina

    "All happy families are alike; each unhappy… More details

    Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina

    "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

    Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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  • Pride & Prejudice

    Pride & Prejudice

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a… More details

    Pride & Prejudice

    Pride & Prejudice

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

    Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

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  •  Mrs Dalloway

    Mrs Dalloway

    “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers… More details

     Mrs Dalloway

    Mrs Dalloway

    “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

    Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolfe

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  • Back When We Were Grownups

    Back When We Were Grownups

    “Once upon a time, there was a woman who… More details

    Back When We Were Grownups

    Back When We Were Grownups

    “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”

    Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  •  The Great Gatsby

    The Great Gatsby

    “In my younger and more vulnerable years my… More details

     The Great Gatsby

    The Great Gatsby

    “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.”

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

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  • The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar

    “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they… More details

    The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar

    “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.”

    The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • Moby-Dick

    Moby-Dick

    “Call me Ishmael.” Moby-Dick, Herman… More details

    Moby-Dick

    Moby-Dick

    “Call me Ishmael.”

    Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

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  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to…

    "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the… More details

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

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  • The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    The Metamorphosis and Other…

    “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy… More details

    The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

    The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Franz Kafka

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  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Philos…

    “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet… More details

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

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  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

    The Curious Incident of the…

    “It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was… More details

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

    “It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. Its eyes were closed.”

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon

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  • The Time Travellers Wife

    The Time Travellers Wife

    “Clare: It’s hard being left behind. I wait… More details

    The Time Travellers Wife

    The Time Travellers Wife

    “Clare: It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.”

    The Time Travellers Wife , Audrey Niffenegger

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  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The …

    “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced… More details

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventyifirst birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein

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  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    "We were somewhere around Barstow on the… More details

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson

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  • The Color Purple

    The Color Purple

    “You better not never tell nobody but… More details

    The Color Purple

    The Color Purple

    “You better not never tell nobody but God.''

    The Color Purple, Alice Walker

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  • Their Eyes Were Watching God

    Their Eyes Were Watching God

    “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on… More details

    Their Eyes Were Watching God

    Their Eyes Were Watching God

    “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”

    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

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  • A Room of One's Own

    A Room of One's Own

    "But, you may say, we asked you to speak… More details

    A Room of One's Own

    A Room of One's Own

    "But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction."

    A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolfe

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  • The Secret Life of Bees

    The Secret Life of Bees

    "At night I would lie in bed and watch the… More details

    The Secret Life of Bees

    The Secret Life of Bees

    "At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin."

    The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

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  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

    The Divine Secrets of the Y…

    "Tap-dancing child abuser. That’s what The… More details

    The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

    The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

    "Tap-dancing child abuser. That’s what The Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Vivi."

    The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebeca Wells

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  • A Certain Slant of Light

    A Certain Slant of Light

    "Someone was looking at me, a disturbing… More details

    A Certain Slant of Light

    A Certain Slant of Light

    "Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead."

    A Certain Slant of Light, Laura Whitcomb

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  • Emma

    Emma

    "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich,… More details

    Emma

    Emma

    "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

    Emma, Jane Austen

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  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    "You will rejoice to hear that no disaster… More details

    Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    "You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."

    Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

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  • Revolutionary Road

    Revolutionary Road

    “The final dying sounds of their dress… More details

    Revolutionary Road

    Revolutionary Road

    “The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium.”

    Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

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  • Love in the Time of Cholera

    Love in the Time of Cholera

    “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds… More details

    Love in the Time of Cholera

    Love in the Time of Cholera

    “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

    Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

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  • Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    "1801 – I have just returned from a visit… More details

    Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    "1801 – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.”

    Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

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  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    The Voyage of the Dawn Trea…

    "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence… More details

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis.

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  • Vanity Fair

    Vanity Fair

    "As the Manager of the Performance sits… More details

    Vanity Fair

    Vanity Fair

    "As the Manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards, and, looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place."

    Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray

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  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

    Alice’s Adventures in Won…

    "Alice was beginning to get very tired of… More details

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

    "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?"

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll

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  • Little Women

    Little Women

    "Christmas won't be Christmas without any… More details

    Little Women

    Little Women

    "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

    Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

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  • Lolita

    Lolita

    "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my… More details

    Lolita

    Lolita

    "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."

    Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

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  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    "The studio was filled with the rich odour… More details

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    "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."

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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  • Charlotte's Web

    Charlotte's Web

    "'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said… More details

    Charlotte's Web

    Charlotte's Web

    "'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."

    Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

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  • A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    "'What’s it going to be then, eh?'" A… More details

    A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    "'What’s it going to be then, eh?'"

    A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

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  • Matilda

    Matilda

    "It's a funny thing about mothers and… More details

    Matilda

    Matilda

    "It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful."

    Matilda, Roald Dahl

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  • Atonement

    Atonement

    “The play – for Which Briony had designed the… More details

    Atonement

    Atonement

    “The play – for Which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper – was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.”

    Atonement, Ian McEwan

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  • Where the Heart Is

    Where the Heart Is

    "Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months… More details

    Where the Heart Is

    Where the Heart Is

    "Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight - and superstitious about sevens - shifted uncomfortably in the seat of the old Plymouth and ran her hands down the curve of her belly.”

    Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts

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  • The Princess Bride

    The Princess Bride

    “This is my favorite book in all the world,… More details

    The Princess Bride

    The Princess Bride

    “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

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  • Peter Pan and Wendy

    Peter Pan and Wendy

    “All children, except one, grow up.” Peter… More details

    Peter Pan and Wendy

    Peter Pan and Wendy

    “All children, except one, grow up.”

    Peter Pan, JM Barrie

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  • A Series of Unfortunate Events

    A Series of Unfortunate Events

    "If you are interested in stories with happy… More details

    A Series of Unfortunate Events

    A Series of Unfortunate Events

    "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book."

    A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler

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  • Breakfast of Champions

    Breakfast of Champions

    "This is a tale of a meeting of two… More details

    Breakfast of Champions

    Breakfast of Champions

    "This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast."

    Breakfast of Champions,Kurt Vonnegut

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  • Choke

    Choke

    "If you're going to read this, don't… More details

    Choke

    Choke

    "If you're going to read this, don't bother."

    Choke, Chuck Palahniuk.

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  • The Crow Road

    The Crow Road

    "It was the day my grandmother… More details

    The Crow Road

    The Crow Road

    "It was the day my grandmother exploded."

    The Crow Road, Iain Banks

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  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

    Dirk Gently's Holistic Dete…

    "This time there would be no… More details

    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

    "This time there would be no witnesses."

    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams

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  • The Godfather

    The Godfather

    Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court… More details

    The Godfather

    The Godfather

    Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.

    The Godfather, Mario Puzo

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  • Gone With The Wind

    Gone With The Wind

    "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men… More details

    Gone With The Wind

    Gone With The Wind

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

    Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

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  • 1984

    1984

    "It was a bright cold day in April, and the… More details

    1984

    1984

    "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

    1984, George Orwell

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  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    "The stranger came early in February, one… More details

    The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    "The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand."

    The Invisible Man , H. G. Wells

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  • Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

    Ishmael: An Adventure of th…

    "The first time I read the ad, I choked and… More details

    Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

    Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

    "The first time I read the ad, I choked and cursed and spat and threw the paper to the floor."

    Ishmael, Daniel Quinn.

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • Thank You for Smoking: A Novel

    Thank You for Smoking: A Novel

    "Nick Naylor had been called many things… More details

    Thank You for Smoking: A Novel

    Thank You for Smoking: A Novel

    "Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan."

    Thank You for Smoking: A Novel, Christopher Buckley

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  • Gravity's Rainbow

    Gravity's Rainbow

    "A screaming comes across the… More details

    Gravity's Rainbow

    Gravity's Rainbow

    "A screaming comes across the sky."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

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  • Scaramouche

    Scaramouche

    "He was born with a gift of laughter and a… More details

    Scaramouche

    Scaramouche

    "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."

    Scaramouche, Raphael Sabatini

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  • 2001 - A Space Odyssey

    2001 - A Space Odyssey

    "Behind every man now alive stand thirty… More details

    2001 - A Space Odyssey

    2001 - A Space Odyssey

    "Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living."

    2001 - A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke.

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  • Northanger Abbey

    Northanger Abbey

    "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland… More details

    Northanger Abbey

    Northanger Abbey

    "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine."

    Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

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  • Middlemarch

    Middlemarch

    "Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which… More details

    Middlemarch

    Middlemarch

    "Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress."

    Middlemarch, George Elliot

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  • Cat's Eye

    Cat's Eye

    "Time is not a line but a dimension, like… More details

    Cat's Eye

    Cat's Eye

    "Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space"

    Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood

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  • Catch-22

    Catch-22

    "It was love at first… More details

    Catch-22

    Catch-22

    "It was love at first sight."

    @Catch-22', Joseph Heller

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  • Herzog

    Herzog

    "If I am out of my mind, it's all right with… More details

    Herzog

    Herzog

    "If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me thought Moses Herzog."

    Herzog, Saul Bellow

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • The Big Sleep

    The Big Sleep

    "It was about eleven o’clock in the… More details

    The Big Sleep

    The Big Sleep

    "It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills."

    The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

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  • All The Pretty Horses

    All The Pretty Horses

    "The candleflame and the image of the… More details

    All The Pretty Horses

    All The Pretty Horses

    "The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door.”

    All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • Old Man's War

    Old Man's War

    “I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.… More details

    Old Man's War

    Old Man's War

    “I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army.”

    Old Man's War, John Scalzi

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  • American Psycho

    American Psycho

    “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled… More details

    American Psycho

    American Psycho

    “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, ‘Be My Baby’ on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.”

    American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

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  • The War Of The Worlds

    The War Of The Worlds

    “No one would have believed, in the last years… More details

    The War Of The Worlds

    The War Of The Worlds

    “No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”

    The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells

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  • This Side Of Paradise

    This Side Of Paradise

    “Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every… More details

    This Side Of Paradise

    This Side Of Paradise

    “Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while.”

    This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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  • The Thief of Always

    The Thief of Always

    “The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey… More details

    The Thief of Always

    The Thief of Always

    “The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.”

    The Thief of Always, Clive Barker

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  • The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    "Like the brief doomed flare of exploding… More details

    The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    "Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all."

    The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty

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  • The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath

    "To the red country and part of the gray… More details

    The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath

    "To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth."

    The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

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  • I Am Legend

    I Am Legend

    “On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never… More details

    I Am Legend

    I Am Legend

    “On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.”

    I am Legend, Richard Matheson

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  • Swann's Way

    Swann's Way

    "For a long time, I went to bed… More details

    Swann's Way

    Swann's Way

    "For a long time, I went to bed early."

    Swann's Way from In Search Of Lost Time, Marcel Proust.

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  • The Bible

    The Bible

    "In the beginning God created the heavens… More details

    The Bible

    The Bible

    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

    The Bible

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  • Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    “There was no possibility of taking a walk that… More details

    Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

    Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.

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  • The Road To Wellville

    The Road To Wellville

    “Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the… More details

    The Road To Wellville

    The Road To Wellville

    “Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the cornflake and peanut butter, not to mention caramel-cereal coffee, Bromose, Nuttolene and some seventy-five other gastronomically correct foods, paused to level his gaze on the heavyset women in front of him.”

    The Road to Wellville, T. Coraghessan Boyle

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  • Life of Pi

    Life of Pi

    “My suffering left me sad and gloomy.” Life… More details

    Life of Pi

    Life of Pi

    “My suffering left me sad and gloomy.”

    Life of Pi, Yann Martel

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  • Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia

    Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal …

    "To Sherlock Holmes she is always the… More details

    Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia

    Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia

    "To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman."

    Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia , Arthur Conan Doyle

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  • Slaughterhouse-Five

    Slaughterhouse-Five

    “All this happened, more or… More details

    Slaughterhouse-Five

    Slaughterhouse-Five

    “All this happened, more or less.”

    Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

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  • Smilla's Sense Of Snow

    Smilla's Sense Of Snow

    "It’s freezing - an extraordinary 0… More details

    Smilla's Sense Of Snow

    Smilla's Sense Of Snow

    "It’s freezing - an extraordinary 0 Fahrenfeit - and its snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik - big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost.”

    Smilla's Sense of Snow, Peter Hoeg

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  • Watership Down

    Watership Down

    "The primroses were over." Watership… More details

    Watership Down

    Watership Down

    "The primroses were over."

    Watership Down , Richard Adams

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  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

    "Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in… More details

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

    "Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse."

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

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  • Twelfth Night

    Twelfth Night

    "If music be the food of love, play on, Give… More details

    Twelfth Night

    Twelfth Night

    "If music be the food of love, play on,

    Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

    The appetite may sicken, and so die."

    Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

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  • Desert Of The Heart

    Desert Of The Heart

    "Conventions, like clichés, have a way of… More details

    Desert Of The Heart

    Desert Of The Heart

    "Conventions, like clichés, have a way of surviving their own usefulness."

    Desert of the Heart, Jane Rule

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  • Enduring Love

    Enduring Love

    "The beginning is simple to… More details

    Enduring Love

    Enduring Love

    "The beginning is simple to mark."

    Enduring Love, Ian McEwan

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • Disgrace

    Disgrace

    “For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he… More details

    Disgrace

    Disgrace

    “For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well.”

    Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee

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  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    "Marley was dead, to begin with." A… More details

    A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    "Marley was dead, to begin with."

    A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

    Click here to see our selection of the 50 best children’s books

  • The Dain Curse

    The Dain Curse

    “It was a diamond all right, shining in the… More details

    The Dain Curse

    The Dain Curse

    “It was a diamond all right, shining in the grass half a dozen feet from the the blue brick wall.”

    The Dain Curse, Dashiell Hammett

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  • The Clown

    The Clown

    "It was dark by the time I reached Bonn, and… More details

    The Clown

    The Clown

    "It was dark by the time I reached Bonn, and I forced myself not to succumb to the series of mechanical actions which had taken hold of me in five years of traveling back and forth: down the station steps, up the station steps, put down my suitcase, take my ticket out of my coat pocket, pick up my suitcase, hand in my ticket, cross over to the newstand, buy the evening newspaper, go outside and signal for a taxi."

    The Clown, Heinrich Böll

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  • The Blind Assassin

    The Blind Assassin

    "Ten days after the war ended, my sister… More details

    The Blind Assassin

    The Blind Assassin

    "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge."

    The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

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  • Bastard Our Of Carolina

    Bastard Our Of Carolina

    "I've been called Bone all my life, but my… More details

    Bastard Our Of Carolina

    Bastard Our Of Carolina

    "I've been called Bone all my life, but my name's Ruth Anne."

    Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison

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