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Famous First Lines?
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Famous First Lines?

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Much like the first impression of a person, the first line of a book can tell you almost everything you need to know about your imminent literary journey. What novels have captivated you with a single sentence? For extra credit, go ahead...

Much like the first impression of a person, the first line of a book can tell you almost everything you need to know about your imminent literary journey. What novels have captivated you with a single sentence?

For extra credit, go ahead and choose a sound or video as the accompanying media that you think conveys the tone of the opening sentence, or how you feel when reading it.
Allyson Gronowitz
Feb 24, 2015
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Cleo Birdwell - Amazons
Allyson Gronowitz

"If a man's name sounds right whether you say it forwards or backwards, it means he went to Yale."

Naturally, I paused for a few minutes just one sentence into this book in order to test-drive a few "Yale names." (It's a pretty amusing exercise.)

This sardonic first sentence is the perfect gateway to one of the most sociologically fascinating books in recent memory. The blurb itself invites ironic speculation: "Amazons" is a "memoir" written by "Cleo Birdwell," the first woman to play in the National Hockey League. In reality, the book was written by existential sports enthusiast Don DeLillo-- but DeLillo has never publicly acknowledged writing it, and has refused to allow its reprinting. Google only offers a paltry 5,000 results when offered "Amazons by Cleo Birdwell," and the hardcover version is available on (heh) Amazon for around $50. Not your usual bestseller. But I'm a few chapters into the book, and it already shows signs of DeLillo's usual irreverent humor, so I'm excited to pour through it over the weekend.
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