POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 06, 2015 AT 21:56 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 06, 2015 21:56 IST

The Gawker Review of Books put together a list of literature's best opening sentences. 

As Stephen King put it: "An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story...It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this."

Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice come to mind when one thinks of classic opening sentences in fiction. 

We give you 10 best ones from Gawker's list of 50:

"The time has come."
—Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

"They shoot the white girl first." 
—Toni Morrison, Paradise

"The man who had had the room before, after having slept the sleep of the just for hours on end, oblivious to the worries and unrest of the recent early morning, awoke when the day was well advanced and the sounds of the city completely invaded the air of the half-opened room." 
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dialogue with the Mirror

"Pale freckled eggs." 
—Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." 
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

"Don't look for dignity in public bathrooms."
—Victor LaValle, Big Machine

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." 
—Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

"You better not never tell nobody but God." 
—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." 
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"Dear Anyone Who Finds This, Do not blame the drugs." 
—Lynda Barry, Cruddy

Do tell us which opening sentences from literature you absolutely love.

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FILED IN:  Literature
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 06, 2015 AT 21:56 IST, Edited At: Feb 06, 2015 21:56 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Aug 22, 2014 AT 18:31 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 22, 2014 18:31 IST

On the 94th birth anniversary of Ray Bradbury, best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, here is a 1963 documentary on the writer by David L. Wolper -- Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer which captures all the contradictions that the late writer embodied.

Happy Watching.

From archives, also see: Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), R.I.P.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Aug 22, 2014 AT 18:31 IST, Edited At: Aug 22, 2014 18:31 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 28, 2014 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: May 28, 2014 20:15 IST

Do you have a favourite Maya Angelou quote? Share it with us in the comments section.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 28, 2014 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: May 28, 2014 20:15 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 24, 2013 AT 01:06 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2013 01:06 IST

Janet Maslin in the NYT: Elmore Leonard: A Man of Few, Yet Perfect, Words:

Mr. Leonard, who died [last] Tuesday, will forever be admired for the sheer irresistibility of the stories he told. But his legacy is much larger. He was the most influential, widely imitated crime writer of his era, and his career was a long one: more than 60 years.

After he had worked in advertising long enough to learn to appreciate brevity and catchiness, he began writing pulp westerns. They weren’t that different from the crime books that would come later. The talk was tight and crisp, the action even more so, though Mr. Leonard also kept readers slightly off balance.

“You come to see me. How do you know I’m here?” the title character is asked in “Valdez Is Coming” (1970).

“You or somebody else,” Valdez replies. “It doesn’t matter.”

Mr. Leonard’s books did most of their work through dialogue, some of it hard-boiled, some delectably funny. Either way, the syntax was contagious, to the point where Mr. Leonard’s writing voice echoes every time another crime writer drops a subject or pronoun, links unrelated clauses with just a comma.

Martin Amis called attention to Mr. Leonard’s much-copied use of the present participle: “Warren Ganz, living up in Manalapan” was his way of saying “Warren Ganz lived up in Manalapan.” Just as distinctive were his capsule descriptions, like this one from “Djibouti,” about Somali pirates: “They on the sauce gettin millions for their ransom notes.” 

Read on at the NYT: Elmore Leonard: A Man of Few, Yet Perfect, Words

And, of course, we have his Ten Rules of Writing:

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FILED IN:  Literature|Obituaries
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 24, 2013 AT 01:06 IST, Edited At: Aug 24, 2013 01:06 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
     
 
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