Peter Pan is the book with England’s favorite opening line, according to a new poll.
‘All children, except one, grow up,’ wrote J M Barrie in his children’s classic which scooped 20% of the vote in a poll commissioned to mark World Book Day next month.
But it’s not just childhood fairy tales that adults have fond memories of, as the opening lines from classic 19th Century novel “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens scored second place, while George Orwell’s “1984” completed the top three.
One in five of those polled admitted they will put a book down if the first line isn’t engaging.
However, one in four said they will continue reading a novel to the end even if they don’t enjoy it and, with complete disregard for the opening line, 15% admit jumping to the last chapter first to find out a book’s ending.
Here are the top 10 selections:
1. ‘All children, except one, grow up.’ – Peter Pan
2. ‘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
3. ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ – 1984
4. ‘When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.’ – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
5. ‘Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?”‘ – Alice in Wonderland
6. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ – Pride and Prejudice
7. ‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.’ – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
8. ‘Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.’ – Winnie-The-Pooh
9. ‘My father got the dog drunk on cherry brandy at the party last night.’ – Adrian Mole
10. ‘The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.’ – The Cat in the Hat
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