The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.It's a simple line, direct, to the point, and uncluttered. Yet, it sums up the entire story, and sets the path for King's greatest literary work (The Dark Tower series).
Grupthink, has a thread on this very topic, currently they have 1984 at the top of the list:
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.Of course, Dickens is on the list as well:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...I disagree with this entry. Yes, what is quoted above is a great line, but the first line in A Tale of Two Cities actually reads:
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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.I understand what he's doing here, and it is a fine piece of writing, but it is a little wordy, and I'm pretty sure that if I had written something like this in high school I would have been marked down for it.
It seems that there are several lists of this type online, I like the list from American Book Review, and another on bestuff.com.
What I'm really interested in though is you people reading this. What is your favorite? Leave it in the comments.