Top Ten Beginnings and Ends

I had such a fright when I saw this week’s TTT. I was like, “I’m supposed to know that?!” I’ve never really been the type to take a particular cognisance of a book’s beginning or end. Is that bad? I know that I like or don’t like a beginning or end, but… that’s about it. So it was quite a challenge to go back and find these.



1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman, What if Shakespeare had it wrong?

A provocative question makes for a memorable start in a modern YA novel.



2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Maybe one of the best-known opening lines. Feminist, sarcastic, and shocking for its era.

open63. Matilda by 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.

Dahl has a way of catching the attention. The original word-wizard. And he usually gets a spot on my lists.



4. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, All children, except one, grow up.

Another outrageous statement that you can’t help but remember. If you ask any child what Peter Pan is about, chances are their answer will reflect this simple statement.



5. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea.

I would not have read the second Hitchhiker’s book if not for this sentence. Brash and outspoken and full of irony, it invites intrigue.



6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, They’re out there.

Sets the tone wonderfully and easily for a novel that verges on challenging reality.



7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic vermin.

This was me: “Mh, I guess I should be cultured and read some Kafka. Yes, yes, he was anxious, and he woke up and he was turned into an insect, yes… WAIT, WHAT?!”



8. Darkness Visible by William Styron, There, whoever has been restored to health has almost always been restored to the capacity for serenity and joy, and this may be indemnity enough for having endured the despair beyond despair.

Thank goodness for a ray of light in this dark memoir.

open29. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper. (ending)

I do like an inspirational quote to end a long read.



10. Looking for Alaska by John Green, Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’ I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful. (ending)

It sounds a little generic and treacle sweet, but in terms of Miles’ obsession with famous last words, it is just SO fitting.




  1. Rory says:

    I do love #4 and #5, neither made my list, but both easily could’ve!

  2. Love the way you formatted your list this week! 🙂 And I started cracking up on #5, I remember doing the same when I first read that book. Now I really want to go back and re-read all of the Hitchhiker novels xD

    My TTT

    1. Thank you! I had some fun with it 🙂

  3. I really like the beginning of Peter Pan and Just One Day (though the ending had me so anxious for Just One Year)! 🙂 My TTT list:

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  4. Geraldine says:

    ‘Just One Day’ sounds so good from the first sentence!! Looking it up right now and seeing what it’s about!
    Great list~~~

    1. It is a wonderful book! I hope you’d like it.

  5. ChrissiReads says:

    I love how many people have added Matilda. I just love that book!

  6. emziixgx says:

    Great list, love the children’s books beginnings the nest I think 🙂

  7. readerbuzz says:

    Teach me, oh wise one. Teach me how you did this. Please?

    Here’s my list of favorite first lines.

    1. Aw thanks! You mean the graphics? I just played around on PicMonkey’s collage section. Find a background picture, use a swatch for the title side, and then click “edit” to add the text. I’ve seen some bloggers do incredible graphics, these are pretty straightforward. You just need a lot of time though…

  8. beckireads says:

    I really enjoyed reading your list, quite a few made me smile and wish I’d thought to include them.

  9. Wonderful list! While the only quote we share is from Pride & Prejudice, you’ve made me want to read a whole whack of books now: Just One Day, Peter Pan, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Looking for Alaska.

    1. They’re all good, so I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  10. Oh Matilda! Dahl really does write some awesome books- I love how unique they are for children’s novels.

    Yay for including Looking for Alaska. I am so fascinated by people’s last words now because of that book.

  11. I love the graphics you included. Several of these I’ve read, but didn’t remember the opening line. It was a wonderful set of reminders — made me want to reread several. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I don’t think I’ve ever re-read a book. It feels like there isn’t enough time for that! Though I do sometimes re-read chapters.

  12. TrishaDM says:

    I am so excited that you included the Matilda quote as well!
    Peter Pan was a good choice, I forgot about that one.
    I was terrified about this challenge too, but I cheated and only included quotes for some of my beginnings and endings and sometimes just included the overarching concepts.

    1. Matilda FTW 🙂
      I don’t think it’s cheating, really. The instructions did say you could just use general endings/beginnings too. 🙂

  13. Jenn says:

    love the Peter Pan quote!

    Great list.

    My TTT

  14. I love #9 and 10 especially. You always come up with the prettiest graphics for your quotes 🙂

  15. elena says:

    Great list! Love the Adams and Kafka quotes!

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