How to Get a Reader’s Attention

What’s the most eye-catching opening line of anything you have ever read?  I like to pick a work at random and just read the first line to see how interesting it sounds.  “Once upon a time…” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”  worked pretty well for Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez began his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude with “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis starts “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”

My all-time personal favorite is from the December 2002 issue of National Geographic magazine.  An article “By Camel Across the Sahara” begins “It takes a tough nerve and an exceptionally steady hand to perform an operation with a razor blade on someone’s eye.”  Well, what do you do when you’re in the middle of the desert and someone gets sand in his eye?

What is your favorite?

By the way, the operation was successful.


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