Listed below are some first lines from some well known books. Mostly just the first sentence is given but sometimes following sentences are included when the first sentence is particularly short. There is a mix of classics and more modern novels and I'll add more over the next few days.
Guessing the author and novel from the first line is often a good intro, filler or bonus round to include in a pub quiz. Teams can match up authors and books during the run up to the start of the quiz or whilst the quizmaster is marking answer sheets.
|A Tale of Two Cities||Charles Dickens||
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,....
|Brave New World||Aldous Huxley|
A squat grey building of only thirty-four storeys. Over the main entrance the words, Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, and, in a shield, the World State's Motto, Community, Identity, Stability.
It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice.
|Crime and Punishment||Fyodor Dostoyevsky|
At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening, a certain young man came down on to the street from the little room he rented from some tenants in S--- Lane and slowly, almost hesitantly, set off towards K---n Bridge.
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||J.K. Rowling|
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
|Heart of Darkness||Joseph Conrad|
The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
|Nineteen Eighty-Four||George Orwell|
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
|Northern Lights||Philip Pullman|
Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
|Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austen|
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time||Mark Haddon|
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 Da Vinci Code||Dan Brown|
Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.
|The Godfather||Mario Puzo|
Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had co cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.
|The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy||Douglas Adams|
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
|The Lord of the Rings||J.R.R. Tolkien|
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 Selfish Gene||Richard Dawkins|
Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: "Have they discovered evolution yet?"
|The Wasp Factory||Iain Banks|
I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped. I already knew something was going to happen; the Factory told me.
|Stupid White Men||Michael Moore|
I am a citizen of the United States of America. Our government has been overthrown. Our elected President has been exiled. Old white men wielding martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation's capital.