What is the first sentence from the book you are currently reading?

“Elizabeth Hanover scuttled along the grimy sidewalk, her shoulders hunched and eyes downcast, running away from the sour fear-stink of a rendezvous gone wrong.”

Invisible Sun by Charles Stross

“It is no accident that Ken Lay’s career in the energy business began - and, most likely, ended - in the city of Houston, Texas.”

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean

“On the morning Perveen saw the stranger, they’d almost collided.”

The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey

“Lucian Freud’s 1952 portrait of his friend, the artist Francis Bacon, is the size of a pocket paperback.”

The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art, by Sebastian Smee.

“Late on the afternoon of Tuesday the ninth of April in the Year of Our Risen Lord 1468, a solitary traveller was to be observed picking his way on horseback across the wild moorland of that ancient region of southwestern England known since Saxon times as Wessex.”

The Second Sleep, by Robert Harris

Catherine Montaigne was appalled.

  • To End in Fire by David Weber and Eric Flint

“It was a nice day.”

Good Omens - Pratchett & Gaiman (for maybe the billionth time)

“The driveway wound at least a mile through the dark woods, off the paved road.”

The Dragon House, by Darrell Schweitzer

It was early morning on the banks of the Elkinslough River. Mist hung heavily over the brown water, turning it briefly pale and disguising the muddiness of the flow. Five men stood on the city-side bank, looking at a corpse.

Paladin’s Hope, Ursula Vernon (writing as T. Kingfisher)

“On June 26, 1659, a representative from five towns in a province of northern Italy initiated legal proceedings against caterpillars.”

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, by Mary Roach

“Tell me, Mr. Maverick, is this your first time on the riverboat?”

The Odd Couple, by Neil Simon

(Note that the speaker, a poker buddy of Oscar Madison’s, is presumably himself quoting from the TV series Maverick.)

‘Of all the myriad races of thinking creatures in the world, the two that most delight in telling stories are the flesh-and-blood humans and the long-lived, fiery jinn.’

prologue, The Hidden Palace; a novel of The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.

“In some years, more than 40 percent of all local laws passed by the New York City Council have been street name changes.”

The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power, by Deirdre Mask.

I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old. It was the summer after the war, and the Ayreses still had most of their money then, were still big people in the district.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

I was born in 1961, so I would have been seven or eight years old when the events detailed in this compelling book took place.

–Peter Jackson’s forward to The Beatles: Get Back

“On a Saturday morning in late November 1944, in a railway shed in the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen, three ballistic missiles, each nearly fifteen meters long, lay in their steel cradles like cosseted patients in a private clinic, their inspection covers open, hooked up to monitors and tended by technicians in the shapeless grey denim overalls of the German army.”

V2, by Robert Harris

They called him Old Man Eloquent, but he was more than that, more than eloquent; he was resolute, canny, cantankerous.

Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 by Brenda Wineapple

The reference is to John Quincy Adams and the book opens with his death in 1848.

“See Moll Frith, nineteen years young and dressed like a boy, cap squared and head lowered, doing the cutpurse dance along the cobbles behind the half-cheering crowd and pulling in coins every minute.”

Tales from Alternate Earths III. (Note that this is an anthology, and this sentence is from the first story, “Gunpowder Treason”, by Alan Smale.)

“I should have given up, I suppose, after the goat.”

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South, by Rick Bragg.

“There was a time when people were in the habit of addressing themselves frequently and felt no shame at making a record of their inward transactions.”
Dangling Man, by Saul Bellow