Memorable First Sentences From Memorable Books

What's a memorable first sentence? We have no idea, but we (think we) know one when we see it. These are just a few that has received from visitors to the Hotel Sterrettania - they're are pretty good. If you want to add to this list please send it. has added to their Associates program

 Coming Soon:  The Top 100 Memorable First Sentences From Memorable Books


"It was not a street anymore but a world, a time and space of falling ash and near night."

Falling Man by Don DeLillo

"Seven time zones west of Belfast the dead woman was alive yet and well."

Hidden River by Adrian McKinty

"Cassandra Devine was not yet thirty, but she was already tired."

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley



"In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters."

New American Standard Bible

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

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

"I sent one boy to the gas chamber in Huntsville. One and only one. My arrest and my testimony. I went up there to visit him two or three times. Threes times. The last time was the day of his execution."

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

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

Anna Karenina - by Leo Tolstoy

"Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes up to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet."

Saturday by Ian McEwan

"The Empire Grill was long and low-slung, with windows that ran its entire length, and since the building next door, a Rexall drugstore, had been condemned and razed, it was now possible to sit at a lunch counter and see straight down Empire Avenue all the way to the old textile mill and its adjacent shirt factory."

Empire Falls by Richard Russo


"Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: 'Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.' That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday."

The Stranger by Albert Camus

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy."

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

"Hands on hips, brows lowered, Emerson stood gazing fixedly at the recumbent ruminant."

The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters

"I was born twice: first as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

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

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

"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;"

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

"The magician's underwear has just been found in a cardboard suitcase floating in a stagnant pond on the outskirts of Miami."

Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

"The summer my father bought the bear, none of us was born - we weren't even conceived: not Frank, the oldest; not Franny, the loudest; not me, the next; and not the youngest of us, Lilly and Egg."

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving


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

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

"Go traveler, go wherever you want, the universe is a big place. Probably the biggest."

Venus on the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout

"While Pearl Tull was dying, a funny thought occurred to her. It twitched her lips and rustled her breath, and she felt her son lean forward from where he kept watch over her bed. "Get . . ." she told him. "You should have got . . ."

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

"I think he was dead before I shot him."
"I beg your pardon?" said Roberts.
"I think he was dead," said Nestor. "Already. Before . . . you know."
Roberts looked down at the dead man.

Yeats Is Dead!: A Mystery by 15 Irish Writers

"The Swede. During the war years, when I was still a grade school boy, this was a magical name in our Newark neighborhood, even to adults just a generation removed from the city's old Prince Street ghetto and not yet so flawlessly Americanized as to be bowled over by the prowess of a high school athlete."

American Pastoral by Philip Roth 

"When I was a young lad of twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done on Mrs. Nugent. I was hiding out by the river in a hole under a tangle of briars. It was a hide me and Joe made. Death to all dogs who enter here, we said. Except us of course."

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

"A cool heavenly breeze took position of him. Above, the blossoming skies had opened into a thick tangle of stares; below, on the ground, the stones were steaming, still afire from the great heat of the day. Heaven and earth were peaceful and sweet, filled with the deep silence of ageless night voices, more silent than silence itself."

The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis


"I remember with utter clarity the first great shock of my life. A scream came from the cottage next door. I rushed into the room, as familiar as my own home. The Larkin kids, Connor, Liam and Brigid, all hovered about the alcove in which a mattress of bog fir bedded old Kilty. They stood in gaped-mouth awe."

Trinity by Leon Uris

"Roy Hobbes pawed at the glass before thinking to prick a match with his thumbnail and hold the spurting flame in his cupped palm close to the lower berth window, but by then he had figured it was a tunnel they were passing through and was no longer surprised at the bright sight of himself holding a yellow light over his head, peering back in."

The Natural by Bernard Malamud

"When I was six, my father gave me a bright-red scorebook that opened my heart to the game of baseball."

Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"Keith, the boy in the rumpled shorts and shirt, did not know he was being watched as he entered room 215 of the Mountain View Inn. Neither did his mother and father, who both looked hot and tired. They had come from Erie, Pennsylvania and for five days had driven across plains and deserts and over mountains to the old hotel in the California foothills twenty-five miles from Highway 40."

Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

"To get along with me - don't increase my tensions."

Cobb: A Biography by Al Stump

"Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tidewater dog, string of muscle and with warm long hair from Pugent Sound to San Diago."

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

"Mark was eleven and had been smoking off and on for two years, never trying to quit but being careful not to get hooked. He preferred Kools, his father's brand, but his mother smoked Virginia Slims at the rate of two packs a day, and he could in an average week pilfer ten or twelve from her. She was a busy woman with many problems, perhaps a little naive when it came to her boys, and she never dreamed her eldest would be smoking at the age of eleven."

The Client by John Grisham


"No one - least of all Dr. Litchfield - came right out and told Ralph Roberts that his wife was going to die, but there came a time when Ralph understood without needing to be told. The months between March and June were a jangling, screaming time inside his head. A time of conferences with doctors, of evening runs to the hospital with Carolyn, of trips to other hospitals in other states for special tests (Ralph spent much of his travel time on these trips thanking God for Carolyn's Blue Cross/Major Medical coverage), of personal research in the Derry Public Library, at first looking for answers the specialists might have overlooked, later on just looking for hope and grasping at straws."

Insomnia by Stephen King

"With the woman on his mind and a deep uneasiness in his heart, Spencer Grant drove through the glistening night, searching for the red door. The vigilant dog sat silently beside him. Rain ticked on the roof of the truck."

Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz

"For a time after the first pieces of Route 495 were laid down across central Massachusetts, in the middle 1960s, the main hazard to drivers was deer. About fifteen years later, although traffic went by in processions, stretches of the highway's banks still looked lonesome."

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder


"I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious)."

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

"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 by J. D. Salinger

"I first met him in Piraeus."

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was an age of wisdom, it was an age of foolishness, it was an epoch of belief, it was an epoch of incredulity, it was a season of Light, it was a season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

"All children, except one, grow."

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents-except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

"t is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

"Call me Ishmael."

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

"Call me Jonah"

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

"The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended."

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

"To be born again," sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die."

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

"Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women."

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson



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