Favorite First Line

So many books, so many opening lines. That’s why I really had to think about this post. I looked at my favorite books. I looked at my least favorite books. Nothing really stood out until I dug deep into my college days. The opening line that stuck with me over the years is an iconic one: “Call me Ishmael.” Even those who have not read Mody Dick know this line, or is at least familiar with it.

Because I’m a literature major, Moby Dick was on my reading list. I am happy to report that I finished reading this book. Did not even cheat or anything. Of course, it’s more a whaling manual than a work of fiction, but who can resist Captain Ahab and his quest for the white whale?

Three words, “Call me Ishmael,” bring you into the story right away. It’s a conversation between you and Ishmael, the narrator. But I won’t bore you with details about Moby Dick. If you haven’t read it, put it on your bucket list. What I like most about this opening line is its almost Shakespearean quality. It’s just as good as “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” or “To be, or not to be.”

As a side note, did you know, according to the Urban Dictionary “Call me Ishmael” is actually a phrase used to refer to a fat woman? Meaning she’s a white whale. Insulting, I know, but that’s how iconic this line is. The moment someone uses it as a pop culture reference it’s made it to the generation’s psyche.

My latest release is called Til Death from Entangled Teen. So, in accordance to the theme of this post, here’s Til Death’s opening line:


Yup. One word.

Make sure to grab your copy to find out why.


Wherever books are sold near you.

Happy reading!


  1. Great post! Though first dialogue lines are intriguing, I prefer first lines that get to the meat of things.

    "Seth wrung a blood-soaked hand towel until the fabric pinched the flesh of his aching palms." ~ Son of Set


  2. I agree that an opening line can pull you into a novel, but I think it is one of many effective ways of telling a story. The narrator point of view accomplishes a rapport, but with today’s visual generation, perhaps a more effective approach is to get right into the action, like in a really exciting movie or a video game. The more visual the opening of a book is, the quicker the reader gets involved. As a beta reader, I look for action to sweep me into a story and take me down the rushing currents until the very end. :)


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