Top Ten Tuesday: Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is to share ten opening lines that we find funny, interesting, well-written, etc. I’m focusing my list on ten opening lines in classic novels that feel very relevant right now.


It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

1984 by George Orwell – April felt pretty topsy-turvy indeed.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – This is sort of how everything feels right now: so many emotions all at once that you don’t know what to think!

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – Confused? So am I.

All this happened, more or less.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – How I feel when I update my friends on what I’ve been up to lately…

 I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Clark – Pretty much sums up how wild everything feels right now.

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – My forlorn thoughts whenever it’s raining outside and I’m sitting at my desk, gazing out my window.

The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – How I imagine my family feels whenever they walk into my room after I’ve been lighting candles for hours.

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Sort of how I feel about summer… what will summer be without beach trips and ice cream stands and camping and little road trips to visit friends and fireworks and cookouts?

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Me when I finally leave my room after hours of studying.

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Always looking for little ways to make each day brighter!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list! It was so fun to make. What are your favorite opening lines? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned, or of the novels they come from? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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55 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant”

  1. I do love the opening of the hobbit! And Dorian Gray made my list this week too! Great choices 😊
    My TTT: https://lifewithallthebooks.com/2020/05/26/top-ten-tuesday-great-opening-lines/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! 🙂

      Like

  2. Great list! The opening line to A Tale of Two Cities does feel particularly poignant right now. & ‘All this happened, more or less’ is also a very apt one for these strange times!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I completely agree, I think “All this happened, more or less” might be my favorite of this list 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a lovely list, Holly! Some of your reasons for choosing these opening lines really had me chuckling 😛 I love those opening lines for Tale of Two Cities but I have yet to read it, even though every time I see it I want to immediately pick it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha I’m so glad, thank you!! I highly recommend A Tale of Two Cities–such a brilliant novel!

      Like

  4. 1984 was honestly decades ahead of its time. Great list.

    My TTT .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely!! Thanks so much!

      Like

  5. Great list!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed this – absoutely spot on.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! 🙂

      Like

  7. Great list! I love the opening line of 1984, and one of these days I need to try I Capture the Castle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!! I highly recommend I Capture the Castle–it’s such a lovely read.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great list, I love your twist on the topic! Though I have to say, between what I’ve (tried to) read of James Joyce before, plus this opening line, I’m thinking he might not be an author for me… 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Haha and I definitely feel that about Joyce–he’s an odd one for sure!

      Like

      1. I only tried reading one of his works (I think it was Dubliners?) but I just didn’t get it.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The Storyteller Avatar
    The Storyteller

    I loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel opening lines are important like vvv important

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love your twist on this week’s topic! And I love the opening line for I Capture the Castle – I almost included it on my list as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!

      Like

  12. Haha, love The Hobbit one, very much how I feel right now 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha same!! 🙂

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  13. Oh I love this! The opening lines of Mrs. Dalloway get me every time. So much meaning in those few words. And I have to admit that while I do love the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, I did not enjoy most of the book. It was a beast. Ha! Great post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❤ I feel the same way about Mrs. Dalloway–those first few words definitely pack a punch!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The 1984 choice was inspired. April certainly did feel like the world had been turned upside down. But then May has also been similar 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true!! And May is almost over already?! When did that happen? 🙂

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  15. Great list – thanks for sharing! The Jane Eyre feels very apt right now doesn’t it?
    My TTT is here https://bookloverssanctuary.com/2020/05/26/top-ten-tuesday-opening-lines/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! And it definitely does!

      Like

  16. I like your spin on the topic. I’ve read almost all of these books. The Hobbit was a childhood favorite for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!

      Like

  17. Okay, it’s actually really eerie how well those quotes apply to our current situation. Yikes!

    Happy TTT!

    Susan
    http://www.blogginboutbooks.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! I had that same eerie feeling when I was writing this post… Happy TTT! 🙂

      Like

  18. These really do feel relevant! Nice way to do this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A Tale of Two Cities is one of the greats isn’t it. It’s my fav Dickens. Was obsessed with it when I first read it and reread it countless times through my teens. I’m long overdue a reread 😊😊😊💚🧡💙

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so good!! I haven’t read it since I was in high school, so I’m definitely due for a reread as well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. wow this are all so relevant I love this take on the topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!!

      Like

  21. Ahh what a brilliant and so, so relevant list, I love it so much, Holly! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Love this post! April did feel very topsy turvy indeed (and I love that opening line from 1984). And I agree about tale of two cities and I capture the castle! Really relate! And yup to Jane Eyre and little women. I really like your reasoning for picture of dorian gray as well. haha I’m most definitely the hobbit right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Haha same, definitely some hobbit vibes coming from me 🙂

      Like

  23. Love this idea! One of my favourite opening lines is:
    “Two households, both alike in dignity
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”
    –I guess I don’t even have to mention the source 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh that’s such a great one! A true classic 👌

      Liked by 1 person

  24. […] Top Ten Tuesday: Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant […]

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  25. […] all kinds of lit fic. That’s why I LOVE her unique takes on the TTT meme- her one lately on Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant was amazing, but you can check out a few more here. Holly also has some great posts on classic recs […]

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  26. Love these! They are so relevant to what’s been going on these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Holly!! I love this list of opening lines. Usually I am intimidated by classics but this makes me feel more like reading them more. Little Women in one of the books that I hope to read soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m so glad! ❤ Hope you enjoy Little Women, it's such a lovely read!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. […] Check out Holly’s Top Ten Tuesday post about opening lines in classic novels that feel very relevant! […]

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