ManyBooks Logo
Get Free and Discounted Ebooks
Join 150,000+ fellow readers! Enjoy our handpicked selection of great free and deeply discounted ebooks - straight to your inbox.

Get Handpicked Free And Discounted Ebooks

Start Reading

As Seen In

The 7 Weirdest Opening Sentences In Books

The opening line of a book are one of the most important as it must grab the reader and entice them to read further. Without a good hook, the story might seem boring or long winded before it has even properly begun. However, some authors tend to take things to the extreme by opening their books with lines that are a little unusual, to say the least. Take a look at the following X weirdest opening sentences that can be found in books.


1. The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen


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

George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)

What better way to start a book about a world where not everything makes sense by having the clocks strike thirteen. 


2. The Day My Grandmother Exploded


“It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

Iain Banks: The Crow Road (1992)

For a book with a lot of death and dark humor there can be no doubt that the opening line, weird as it is, sets the tone perfectly.


3. A Woman Who Discovered She Turned Into the Wrong Person


“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” Anne Tyler:

Anne Tyler: Back When We Were Grownups (2001)

Everyone reaches a point in their life where they realize that things didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted, or expected to, when they were younger. This opening line might sound weird, but it captures that feeling perfectly. 


4. They Threw me Off the Hay Track


“They threw me off the hay track about noon.” James M. Cain:

James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)

With this opening line, the protagonist and reader are thrown headlong into the fast-moving, but brief, crime novel. Perhaps just as weird is the fact that despite the title of the book no postman ever appears or are even mentioned in the book.


5. He Found Himself Transformed into a Monstrous Vermin


“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”

Franz Kafka: Metamorphosis (1915)

When a book opens with a traveling salesman spontaneously transforming into a large, insect-like creature and then have to deal with the consequences you know you are in for an interesting read.


6. Every Summer He Returned to Divorce His Wife


“Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.”

Ha Jin: Waiting (1999).

What makes the opening line of Waiting even weirder is the fact that Lin Kong has been attempting to divorce his wife for eighteen years.


7. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other


“I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled.”

Robert Graves: I, Claudius (1934)

I, Claudius not only opens with one of the weirdest sentences in literature, but it is also pretty hard to beat in terms of length.

Get Free and Discounted Ebooks
Join 150,000+ fellow readers! Enjoy our handpicked selection of great free and deeply discounted ebooks.

About ManyBooks

Since 2004, more than 100,000,000 books have been downloaded from ManyBooks. Our library contains more than 33,000 free ebooks formatted for Kindle, Nook and most other ereaders. You can also access an HTML version of the books to read online. Our downloadable books can be found here.