Intriguing First Lines

What’s this in my hand? A challenged book? Perhaps . . .

Curious about some of the books that have made the Top 100 list of banned/challenged books? Here are a few first lines (to whet your appetite):

“They’re out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them. They’re mopping when I come out the form, all three of them sulky and hating everything, the time of day, the place they’re at here, the people they got to work around. When they hate like this, better if they don’t see me.”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.”
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.”
Beloved by Toni Morrison

“A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool.”
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone.”
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“My best friend, Tracy Wu, says I’m really tough on people. She says she wonders sometimes how I can like her. But we both know that’s a big joke. Tracy’s the best friend I’ll ever have. I just wish we were in the same fifth-grade class.”
Blubber by Judy Blume


About centerforthereader

St. Louis Central Library, Center for the Reader, is where you can find fiction, reading suggestions, author information, and much more!
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