angie’s favorite first lines

Why does it have to be fiction?

Ginsburg's Howl
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,"

Whitman's Leaves of Grass
"I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."

Sharon Olds's Satan Says
(the whole first poem kicks ass)

Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
"I hadn't so much forgot as I couldn't bring myself to remember."

OK, fiction:

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God
"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing . . . That is the life of men. / Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly."

Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions
"I was not sorry when my brother died."

Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's Who Would Have Thought It?
"'What would the good and proper people of this world do if there were no rogues in it-no social delinquents?"

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
"New Year's Resolutions"

That Affair Next Door by Anna Katherine Green
"I am not an inquisitive woman . . . "

Who Do You Think You Are? Alice Munro
"Royal Beating. That was Flo's promise. You are going to get one Royal Beating."

-angie kritenbrink

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