Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Literature's greatest opening paragraphs

As with pubs and shoes, you know you’re reading a great book from the second you’re inside it.

In the right hands, a novel’s beginning alone can make you feel like you’ve just fallen into a fast-flowing river, snatched away from reality and hurtled downhill. They range from hard-boiled pulp fiction to classics to, well, The Bible; the only thing they have in common is that they’re so good it’s impossible not to read on. Unfortunately, right now you can’t. But in the meantime, enjoy the best literary handshakes of all time…

Let us know if we've left any off at the bottom.

Related

Author-Advice.jpg

30 Pieces Of Wisdom From Authors

AlternativeBookHERO.jpg

30 Coolest Alternative Book Covers

AP.jpg

Literature’s greatest serial killers

Comments

More

The ShortListen: Rumer (no. 356)

Exclusive comeback track from Brit-nominated singer by Dave Fawbert

26 Jul 2016

Why Bryan Adams will always be better than Drake

One Dance is not good enough to claim the UK chart record by Dave Fawbert

26 Jul 2016

The ShortListen: Kids of the Apocalypse (no. 355)

Excellent Gorillaz-style dark mashup track by Dave Fawbert

26 Jul 2016

Matt Damon recaps the Bourne trilogy in 90 seconds

YOU WILL KNOW HIS NAME (after watching this) by Joe Ellison

26 Jul 2016

This is who the Game of Thrones cast think will die next

26 Jul 2016

QUIZ: Can you name the one-time Simpsons characters?

26 Jul 2016

David Bowie's musical Lazarus is coming to London

Tickets are now on sale

26 Jul 2016

Simon Pegg spills the secrets on Star Trek Beyond

25 Jul 2016

The latest Game of Thrones blooper reel is hilarious

Who knew it was so hard to say "benevolent"...

25 Jul 2016

50 Cent wants to present Top Gear

The new Clarkson?

25 Jul 2016