54 great opening lines: 38

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck


This was a title on a ‘must read’ booklist.  I’ve forgotten where and when I read the list, but I haven’t forgotten the book.  As I began reading, I thought: I don’t know where Soledad is, nor the Salinas River, but if it runs deep and green I want to go there.  I couldn’t stop reading, and when the end came and I had to, I passed it on to a son who reads very little, yet he, too, read it without stopping.  We had been moved equally but differently by certain lines or twists.  Afterwards, we both asked ourselves the same questions:  ‘Was that acceptable? What would I have done in his shoes?’

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