Meaningless awards

The American Book Review, a nonprofit journal published by the Illinois State University, recently compiled a list of the 100 best first lines from novels. As always, this is is totally subjective: Nabakov's
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."
was preferred to both Charles Dickens's
"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."
and Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
I would have ranked both of these higher (based on the strength of their opening sections alone), but maybe the list makers gave points for brevity?

Note: I found the perfectly glorious image of Mr. Bulwer-Lytton I'm using for this post here. I wish they made a wallpaper edition, don't you? Imagine, like, an entryway papered entirely with little Bulwer-Lyttons...
Posted by: Julianka


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