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Back in school, my creative writing teachers always stressed that you only had a few seconds to truly snag your reader's attention. It wasn't a skill we were all good at, but those who got it right truly left an impression on those of us who read their work.


Reddit user puppypasta asked:

Bookworms of Reddit: What was the best opening first line you have ever come across and what was the book?

and these authors managed to leave some serious impressions on their readers as well. It's easy to see why. Some of these are beautifully crafted and full of ornate words that delicately paint a picture for you. Others bash you over the head with their brashness. All of them, though, are unforgettably good.

A Bad Move

"In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very upset and been widely regarded as a bad move"

- Mega_Mans_Pet_Cat

It was The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which is a sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

- corvettee01

Beware Statistical Mechanics

"Ludwig Boltzman, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously."

- afuckingpolarbear

Opening lines of the States of Matter textbook.

Love it, but also they should teach that correlation is not necessarily causation.

- prettylieswillperish

Lmao that's the textbook for my physics class right now

- bojangles69420

The Martian

"I'm pretty much f*cked." - The Martian

- Valkyr1785

Came here for this! Remember that one part, where at the end of one chapter he says "I'll live", then you turn the page and the next chapter starts with "I'm fcked". I actually lol'ed at that moment

- blck_lght

The Comfort Hole

Giphy

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. "

-- The Hobbit Or There And Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

- damag3d-g00ds

This first line means so much to me. The Hobbit is my all time favorite book and it really molded my love for fantasy. I love this line because from any point in Bilbo's adventure you can look back at this line and remember how far he had come from the comforts of his hobbit hole.

Now, every time I read a fantasy novel, I make sure to remember the first line so I can look back and realize how far the protagonist has come.

- Clarkmandi

Algernon

"Mr. Strauss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing that st happins to me from now on. I dont know why but he says its importint so they will see if they will use me. I hope they use me. Miss Kinnian says maybe they can make me smart. I want to be smart."

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (spelling and grammar are as written at this point in the book)

- shinyhappycat

This was a reddit recommendation for me... I couldn't put it down and was so invested in it. I sobbed.

- mrtoddkraines

Yeaahhh that book made me cry and I didn't even feel the tears until my mom asked why I was crying

- FishiesR4Life

Mom

'My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I received a telegram from the old people's home: "Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Very sincerely yours." That doesn't mean anything. It might have been yesterday."

Albert Camus, The Stranger. It's the one I'll never forget.

- florananas

We read this in high school English class.

The teacher asked one of the students "What happen to his mother?"

The student responded "I didn't get that far"

- babypandra

Almost ... 


"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb ,and he almost deserved it"

- ILoveEverythingGreen

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.

- GinsuViking

We Didn't Start The Fire

"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault."

Blood Rites. One of the books from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Flaming monkey poo flinging demons did it (not really a spoiler since it's an intro en media res bit)

- CalumKinkaid

Dead As A Doornail

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

He then goes off on a wonderful tangent as to why we use a doornail as a comparison for dead people, when a coffin nail would be a much more appropriate piece of ironmongery.

- Bowgs

Agony

Giphy

YEAH, I KNOW. You guys are going to read about how I died in agony, and you're going be like, 'Wow! That sounds cool, Magnus! Can I die in agony, too?'

Rick Riordan, the Magnus series.

- jaconjack

You can open literally any Rick Riordan book and you'll always find a hilarious opening sentence. This man is a genius.

- talyann


Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

There's a million things that can happen to you while out on on the road.

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