Books

30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books

It's the opening line of your masterpiece: you want to catch readers' attention from the very start.

Why not make it funny? To quote Mr Alan Partridge, who features on our list, "straight away, you've got them by the jaffers" - and who wouldn't take his advice?

We've found 30 humourous, bizarre and mirth-filled opening lines of books; read on and brighten up your day.

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books

    Breaking Up

    Author: Bill Manville

    "I don’t know how other men feel about their wives walking out on them, but I helped mine pack."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 1

    Thank You For Smoking

    Author: Christopher Buckley

    "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."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 2

    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    Author: Douglas Adams

    "In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 3

    I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan

    Author: Alan Partridge

    "When I was 8 years old, I suffered a nosebleed so profuse and generous I bolted from the schoolyard and sought solace in the first class countryside of Norfolk."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 4

    The Lost Continent

    Author: Bill Bryson

    "I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 5

    The Crow Road

    'Author: Iain Banks

    "It was the day my grandmother exploded."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 6

    Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

    Author: Seth Grahame-Smith

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 7

    Wake in Fright

    Author: Kenneth Cook

    "He sat at his desk, wearily watching the children file out of the room, reflecting that, this term at least, it was reasonable to assume that none of the girls was pregnant."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 8

    Clown Girl

    Author: Monica Drake

    Balloon Tying For Christ was the cheapest balloon manual I could find."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 9

    Wild Wood

    Author: Colin Meloy

    “How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.”

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 10

    Machine Man

    Author: Max Barry

    “As a boy, I wanted to be a train.”

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 11

    Seven Up

    Author: Janet Evanovich

    "For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple–I wanted to be an intergalactic princess."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 12

    The Fifth Elephant

    Author: Terry Pratchett

    "They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 13

    Still Life With Woodpecker

    Author: Tom Robbins

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

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 14

    Into Your Tent I'll Creep

    Author: Peter De Vries

    “It wasn’t until I had become engaged to Miss Piano that I began avoiding her.”

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 15

    Sacred Games

    Author: Vikram Chandra

    “A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 16

    I Capture the Castle

    Author: Dodie Smith

    "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 17

    A River Runs Through It

    Author: Norman Maclean

    "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."

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  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 18

    An Abundance of Katherines

    Author: John Green

    "The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 19

    Waiting

    Author: Ha Jin

    "Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 20

    Patient Zero

    Author: Jonathan Maberry

    "When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there’s nothing wrong with my skills."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 21

    Sideways Stories From Wayside School

    Author: Louis Sachar

    "We’re going to tell you about three of the children in Mrs. Jewls’s class, on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead, it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 22

    The Day of the Triffids

    Author: John Wyndham

    "When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 23

    Middlesex

    Author: Jeffrey Eugenides

    "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."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 24

    The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul

    Author: Douglas Adams

    "It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression ‘As pretty as an airport.'"

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 25

    Choke

    Author: Chuck Palahniuk

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

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 26

    The Princess Bride

    Author: William Goldman

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

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 27

    Matilda

    Author: Roald Dahl

    "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."

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 28

    The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    Author: Franz Kafka

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

  • 30 Funniest Opening Lines of Books 29

    Charlotte's Web

    Author: E.B. White

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