by Karen Ball
It’s 71 degrees outside as I write this, the sun is shining for the first day in weeks, and there’s a gentle breeze tickling the suddenly budding tree branches outside my office window. As you can probably imagine, I’m having a LOT of trouble concentrating on work. So I thought I’d share something fun with you.
I always wonder how much of the books we love actually stays with us. So let’s do a test. I’m going to list a series of first lines from best-selling books in the Christian market. Immediately following will be three best-selling titles. Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to figure out, without cheating of course, which book those first lines belong to. (answers are at the end)
Ready? Here we go!
1. The morning sun shone brightly on the canvas of the covered wagon, promising an unseasonably warm day for mid-October.
a. Prairie Promises, Kelly Eileen Hake
b. Scattered Petals, Amanda Cabot
c. Love Comes Softly, Janette Oke
2. I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.
a. Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado
b. Love Does, Bob Goff
c. Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller
3. November days, being what they were in southeastern Pennsylvania, held an icy grip all their own.
a. The Silence of Winter, Wanda E. Brunstetter
b. The Shunning, Beverly Lewis
c. Waiting, Suzanne Woods Fisher
4. A glowing sun-orb fills an August sky the day this story begins, the day I am born, the day I begin to live.
a. One Thousand Gifts, Anne Voskamp
b. Soul Detox, Craig Groeschel
c. All In, Mark Batterson
5. March unleashed a torrent of rainfall after an abnormally dry winter.
a. The Chance, Karen Kingsbury
b. The Shack, William P. Young
c. The Negotiator, Dee Henderson
6. Emotions aren’t bad.
a. Unglued, Lisa TerKeurst
b. Let. It. Go., Karen Ehman
c. Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer
7. Alex Stafford was just like Mama said.
a. A Vote of Confidence, Robin Lee Hatcher
b. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
c. Chasing the Sun, Tracie Petersen
8. I first experienced the presence of God is a setting of exquisite beauty.
a. Experiencing God, Richard Blackaby
b. Crazy Love, Francis Chan
c. Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
9. “call now. Desper8.”
a. Truth-Stained Lies, Terri Blackstock
b. Dark Justice, Brandilyn Collins
c. I, Saul, Jerry Jenkins
10. Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Okay, to end this bit of fun, here are two one of my all-time favorite openings for novels, one Christian, one general market:
The first time I saw the sin eater was the night Granny Forbes was carried to her grave. I was very young and Granny my dearest companion, and I was greatly troubled in my mind.
“Dunna look at the sin eater, Cadi,” I’d been told by my pa. “And no be asking why.”
Being so grieviously forewarned, I tried to obey. Mama said I was accurst with curiosity. Papa said it was pure, cussed nosiness. Only Granny, with her tender spot for me, had understood.
The Last Sin Eater, Francine Rivers
It’s Nathan’s fault I became God.
It is, as I would learn, hell to be God.
Nathan, to begin with, is a close to a genius as anyone I ever expect to know. If this story has any moral at all, it is that you should stay away from geniuses.
The God Game, Andrew Greeley
How about you? What are your favorite first lines/beginnings?
1:c, 2:c, 3:b, 4:a, 5:b, 6:a, 7: b, 8:c, 9: c, 10: b