Twits, Tweets, and Opening Lines

(Picture courtesy of NicksFlickPicks.)

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years–if it ever did end–began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.” 1

“Howard Roark laughed. He stood naked at the edge of a cliff.” 2

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” 3

And of course, quite possibly the best opening lines ever, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.” 4

I don’t know about you, but I love opening lines. They can tell you so much about a book right off the bat. You know that Gunter Grass, for example, isn’t going to be an easy bathtub read when The Tin Drum begins with “Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peep-hole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.” Wow! (Hmmm, I had forgotten how good that book is. I’m going to have to sit down and read that again as soon as this post is finished…)

Most people standing in a bookstore will choose a book based on the cover, or the blurb on the back, or perhaps the reviews. All of those are good things to know before committing to a book, but me, I like to read the opening line.

Which is why I am absolutely delighted to have found “TwitterLit“, a member of the Twitter community who, as her profile says, is “Twittering the first lines of books so you don’t have to.” I’m not sure how many of you readers out there are on Twitter, but if you are I HIGHLY recommend following @TwitterLit. Every day she tweets the first line of a new book, and includes a link to the book on Amazon.com. Some of the first lines I’ve been intrigued by so far are:

“He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad” http://snipr.com/5sdsd

“The day the stock market falls out of bed and breaks its back is the worst day of your life” http://snipr.com/552wt

“I started puberty very late” http://snipr.com/5n71k

“It is its own religion, this love” http://snipr.com/5gnn8

It’s a potential new addiction delivered directly to you every day! I’m only upset that I didn’t think of it myself! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the first line of a book calling my name…

(If you are not familiar with it, Twitter is a micro-blogging application somewhat like Facebook, but with only the status updates. The gist of it is this, if you join Twitter (become a Twit?) you have 140 characters in which to say something, absolutely no more. You may “tweet” as often as you like, and include links to interesting web finds or photos. I started “tweeting” about 3 or 4 months ago, and I’ve met some interesting people, but I’m still not sure if it’s the application for me. If you decide to give it a try, or are already on Twitter, let me know. My profile is @ghostblogger.)

1 It by Stephen King

2 The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

3 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

4 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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2 thoughts on “Twits, Tweets, and Opening Lines

  1. Meghan, I think it's interesting that you recognized the Stephen King line! I thought that might be the most obscure of all because it didn't mention any character names. Thanks for stopping by!

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