In novels, that is, not in pick-up bars.

“Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.”

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Did you know, o brethren and … sistren in the Coterie of Serious Readers, that there is a new list out to hash and trash and bicker about?

What am I missing when I read this list? The opening of “Losing Battles” comes to mind.

“When the rooster crowed, the moon had still not left the world but was going down on flushed cheek, one day short of the full. A long thin cloud crossed it slowly, drawing itself out like a name being called.”

OK, so that’s two lines. But a lot of the lines that are on the list only really work when you know the second line (the opening of “Catch-22,” for example). My one-time newsroom co-worker, who blogs here, noted in the comments on my site, “It’s interesting how much the first lines of many of the most “modern” novels, especially the later ones, resemble [newspaper] ledes.” I hadn’t thought of that, but she’s right.

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