The first few lines are the fastest—most fun—way to pick a book. Think of it like this: If the author has got you on page one, just imagine what she can do by page 300.
By Leigh Newman
"When the year turns, there are bells on the wind. All the old years fall on the ground in lights."
— Jayne Anne Phillips, Quiet Dell: A Novel
"The first thing that went wrong was the emergency landing. My husband and I were both reading In Flight Magazine and enjoying the complimentary wine in first class—I'd never flown first class before, but it was our honeymoon and we thought that was what we were supposed to do; drink in the daytime, luxuriate in our good fortune—when the plane lurched and oxygen masks fell from the ceiling and a passenger in the back screamed."
— Laura van den Berg, The Isle of Youth: Stories
"You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed."
— Julian Barnes, Levels of Life
"Everyone needs a hero. In the worst of times there is someone, in the past or the present, in the same household or a thousand miles away, who can teach you what you need to know, a guide through the darkness."
— Alice Hoffman, Survival Lessons
"I was born in 1924 near Lindon, Indiana, the sort of small, unremarkable rural town that some twenty years before my birth had begun to duplicate itself, quietly but insistently, across the Midwest."
— Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees: A Novel
"If I had not heard the singing voice that night, none of the rest might have happened. Mama might yet be carving her bones; Mordecai lingering in his attic, leading me through the same old lessons on the Sperm; both of my crows would still accompany me everywhere."
— Janice Clark, The Rathbones: A Novel
"I once knew a girl who wouldn't eat apples. She wove her walking around groves and orchards. She didn't even like to look at them."
— Aimee Bender, The Color Master
"There are yet states of being that have no name, anonymous human conditions that thrive at the periphery of powerful emotion the way bedroom communities manacle a city. James Candler and Elizabeth Ray reside in such a place. Separately."
— Robert Boswell, Tumbledown