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BOOKS (FIRST LINES)
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[ Also see Books Books (Last Lines) Books (Quotes) Quotations ]

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
  "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
      - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby [1925]
         (ch. 1)

Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while.
      - F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise [1920]
         (book 1, ch. 1)

We were in class when the head-master came in, followed by a "new fellow," not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk. Those who had been asleep woke up, and every one rose as if just surprised at his work.
      - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary [1857] (ch. 1),
        (Eleanor Marx-Aveling translation)

Julian's father and mother lived in a castle with a forest round it, on the slope of a hill.
      - Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales [1877],
        The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller, second short story, ch. 1

Madame Aubain's servant Felicite was the envy of the ladies of Pont-l'Eveque for half a century.
      - Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales [1877],
        A Simple Heart, first short story, ch. 1

The citadel of Machaerus rose east of the Dead Sea on a basalt Peak shaped like a cone, girdled by four deep valleys; two about its sides, one in front, and the fourth behind.
      - Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales [1877],
        Herodias, third short story, ch. 1

It was a Monday in Washington, January 21; Jefferson Davis rose from his seat in the Senate.
      - Shelby Foote, The Civil War

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. We had known the Ashburnhams for nine seasons of the town of Nauheim with an extreme intimacy--or, with an acquaintanceship as loose and easy and yet as close as a good glove's with your hand. My wife and I knew Captain and Mrs. Ashburnham as well as it was possible to know anybody, and yet, in another sense, we knew nothing at all about them.
      - Ford Madox Ford (originally Hueffer),
        The Good Soldier [1915]

"Alonzo now once more found himself upon an element that had twice proved destructive to his happiness, but Neptune was propitious, and with gentle Breezes wafted him toward his haven of bliss, toward Amarylis, Alas, when but one day from happiness, a Moorish zebec."
  "Janice!" called a voice.
      - Paul Leicester Ford, Janice Meredith [1899]

Although she herself was ill enough to justify being in bed had been a person weak-minded enough to give up, Rose Sawyer could see that her brother, the Reverend Samuel Sayer, was far more ill.
      - Cecil Scott Forester, The African Queen [1935]
         (ch. 1)

Except for the Marabar Caves--and they are twenty miles off--the city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary.
      - E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster,
        A Passage to India [1924]

"The Signora had no business to do it," said Miss Bartlett, "no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!"
      - E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster,
        A Room with a View [1908]

One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister.
      - E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster, Howards End [1910]

They were all at Charing Cross to see Lilia off--Philip, Harriet, Irma, Mrs. Herriton herself.
      - E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster,
        Where Angels Fear to Tread [1905]

Twin spirals of blue smoke rose on either side of the spur, crept tendril-like up two dark ravines, and clearing the feathery green crests of the trees, drifted lazily on upward until, high above, they melted shyly together and into the haze that veiled the drowsy face of the mountain.
      - John William Fox (John Fox Jr.),
        The Heart of the Hills [1913]

The days of that April had been days of mist and rain. Sometimes, for hours, there would come a miracle of blue sky, white cloud, and yellow light, but always between dark and dark the rain would fall and the mist creep up the mountains and steam from the tops--only to roll together from either range, drip back into the valleys, and lift, straightway, as mist again.
      - John William Fox (John Fox Jr.),
        The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come [1903]

She sat at the base of the big tree--her little sunbonnet pushed back, her arms locked about her knees, her bare feet gathered under her crimson gown and her deep eyes fixed on the smoke in the valley below. Her breath was still coming fast between her parted lips. There were tiny drops along the roots of her shining hair, for the climb had been steep, and now the shadow of disappointment darkened her eyes.
      - John William Fox (John Fox Jr.),
        The Trail of the Lonesome Pine [1908]

The black soil of the hillside field glistened coldly in the meagre rays of the westering sun which were all that it caught of warmth and light during the day, surrounded as it was on three sides by dense pine copses.
      - Harold Webber Freeman,
        Joseph and His Brethren [1928] (ch. 1)

PRAISE BE TO ALLAH - THE BENEFICENT KING - THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE - LORD OF THE THREE WORLDS - WHO SET UP THE FIRMAMENT WITHOUT PILLARS IN ITS STEAD - AND WHO STRETCHED OUT THE EARTH EVEN AS A BED - AND GRACE, AND PRAYER - BLESSING BE UPON OUR LORD MOHAMMED - LORD OF APOSTOLIC MEN - AND UPON HIS FAMILY AND COMPANION TRAIN - PRAYER AND BLESSINGS ENDURING AND GRACE WHICH UNTO THE DAY OF DOOM SHALL REMAIN - AMEN! - O THOU OF THE THREE WORLDS SOVEREIGN!
      - Antoine Galland, Arabian Nights [1704],
        (Sir Richard Burton translation)

The Bishop of Portminister was sinking fast; they had sent for his four nephews, his two nieces and their one husband.
      - John Galsworthy, Maid in Waiting [1931]

Clare, who for seventeen months had been the wife of Sir Gerald Corven of the Colonial Service, stood on the boat deck of an Orient liner in the river Thames, waiting for it to dock.
      - John Galsworthy, One More River [1933]

In modern Society, one thing after another, this spice on that, ensures a kind of memoristic vacuum, and Fleur Mont's passage of arms with Majorie Ferrar was, by the spring of 1926, well-nigh forgotten.
      - John Galsworthy, Swan Song [1928]

Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight--an upper middle-class family in full plumage. But whosoever of these favoured persons has possessed the gift of psychological analysis (a talent without monetary value and properly ignored by the Forsytes), has witnessed a spectacle, not only delightful in itself, but illustrative of an obscure human problem. In plainer words, he has gleaned from a gathering of this family--no branch of which had a liking for the other, between no three members of whom existed anything worthy of the name of sympathy--evidence of that mysterious concrete tenacity which renders a family so formidable a unit of society, so clear a reproduction of society in miniature. He has been admitted to a vision of the dim roads of social progress, has understood something of patriarchal life, of the swarmings of savage hordes, of the rise and fall of nations.
      - John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga [1922] (ch. I)

The young man who, at the end of September, 1924, dismounted from a taxicab in South Square, Westminster, was so unobtrusively American that his driver had some hesitation in asking for double his fare. The young man had no hesitation in refusing it.
      - John Galsworthy, The Silver Spoon [1926]

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, General Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
      - Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
        One Hundred Years of Solitude


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