photo 1


Enjoy these ten openings from both fiction and non-fiction books. Then, see if you can match them to the book. The list of titles follows the quotes. It’s easy. You will see why, and so we learn about book beginnings.

(Careful:The picture doesn’t match the list. Sorry about that.)

1. “There was a time in Africa when people could fly.”

2. “ ‘Welcome to Matura,’ the night-darkened sign had said, ‘Home of the Leatherback Turtles.’’

3. “In the town of Martinsburg on the lower tip of the Valley, a seventeen-year-old rebel named Belle Boyd sat by the windows of her wood-frame home, waiting for the war to come to her.”

4. “Despite its abrupt arrival, my accident felt anticipated after the fact, like a long-delayed package arriving as a thump on the doorstep.”

5. For Thomas J. Jackson the war started precisely at 12:30 p.m. on the afternoon of April 21, 1861 in the small Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington, Virginia.”

6. “I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital,
Columbus, Ohio,
a country caught

between Black and White.”

7. “By the time Joan of Arc proclaimed herself La Pucelle, the virgin sent by God to deliver France from its enemies, the English, she had been obeying the counsel of angels for five years.”

8. “On the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skims her predecessor’s notes.”

9. “Walter Langdon hadn’t walked out to check the fence along the creek for a couple of months––now that the cows were up by the barn for easier milking in the winter, he’d been putting off fence-mending––so he hadn’t seen the pair of owls nesting in the big elm.

10. “Through her bedroom wall Molly can hear her foster parents talking about her in the living room, just beyond her door.”

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur by Carl Safina

Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne

Do these opening lines encourage you to pick any of these books for your next read? Share your favorite opening lines with us. Thanks for joining the fun.


  1. mysarahskitchen

    “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”

    “A few months after my twenty-first birthday, a stranger called to give me the news.”

    “In the sea of early memory, there is nothing before this: my sister pounding her head against the blue wall of our bedroom.”

    “Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August 1960.”

    “I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week.”

    “Before you read this book, I must confess a fraud.”

    “The other day Mama made up her mind that she wanted some smoked mullet.”

    1. Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living, by Bailey White
    2. Unless It Moves the Human Heart, The Craft and Art of Writing, by Roger Rosenblatt
    3. Bird By Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
    4. Someone’s in the Kitchen, a Memoir, by Nancy Skadden
    5.To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    6. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
    7. Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama

    Thanks, Paulette for getting me to put down some of my favorite books and authors. Great fun.


Leave a Reply