Top Ten Tuesday: Beginnings/Endings In Books

toptentuesssTop Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Beginnings/Endings In Literature

I’m on vacation so I had to cobble this together without the luxury of my bookshelf before me! Beginnings were super easy because of the Amazon “look inside” feature so I could get the quotes for my fave beginnings but my endings were ones I loved and could find online or just remembered I loved the ending but have no quote.



“Dear Friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that.” 


“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted.” What an attention grabbing first line!


“I AM A COWARD. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing the Battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers — and even though I am a girl, they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. After the ridiculous deal I made with SS- Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden, I know I am a coward. And I’m going to give you anything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely Every Last Detail.”


“I’ve been locked up for 264 days. I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company. 1 window. 4 walls. 144 square feet of space. 26 letters in an alphabet I haven’t spoken in 264 days of isolation. 6,336 hours since I’ve touched another human being.”  >> I was so pulled in from the start with this first paragraph


“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider he unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”




“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.” God, I love everything about this book. I wept for quite some time after it. This story haunts ME.


 “Take down the walls.
That is, after all, the whole point.
You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don’t know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise or destruction.
Take down the walls.
Otherwise you must live closely, in fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell; but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities, or your one bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling you stomach.
And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”

>> I had REALLY mixed feelings about this book and the ending but the last paragraph was the most beautiful ever.


It’s not a particular quote for this one but I just loved the ending of this so much with how Perry finds out about where the Still Blue is and then Aria and he are reunited and SIGH…I just loved the ending and I can’t wait until the third book.


OMG you find out the REALLY BIG THING about a certain person and it completely blew my mind. That ending was just like WHAT THE HELL. WAIT. HUH??

to10“But that is the beginning of a new story—the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.” >>One of my favorite classics ever and this line just always struck me as profound when I read it.



So tell me…what beginnings and endings do you think are great?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I really liked the beginning of Shatter Me too, it really sucked me in and explained Juliette’s mental state, and the ending of Requiem is so wonderfully written! 🙂 My TTT list:

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  2. I know what you mean re: The Book Thief, the novel was amazing from start to finish and left me all teary-eyed ;_; Great list!

    My TTT

  3. Wow, I can’t imagine having to put together this week’s post without the help of my bookshelves. I really admire your perseverance! As always, I just have to say I absolutely love how you’ve organized this week’s post. Your use of graphics and colour always make me smile as they’re so cheerful!

    I’ve actually read very few of the novels you’ve listed this week apart from Shatter Me and Unearthly but I’m certainly more interested in Jellicoe Road and Code Name Verity after reading those opening lines. Talk about beginnings that grab your attention from the very first word! I recently purchased the former when it was on sale for Kindle but am a little intimidated to read it as I’ve spoken to quite a few people who really struggled to initially be drawn into the story and who said that confusion is quite common throughout. That said, everyone absolutely raves about the beauty of Melina Marchetta’s writing, and I’m sure I’ll really enjoy it once I work up the courage to read it 😉 I can’t get over that novel’s opening line, it actually took my breath away!

  4. I love the opening of Perks of Being a Wallflower and the ending of The Book Thief. The beginning of Jellicoe Road is definitely attention grabbing. I need to read that pronto! (By the way, I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but the John Green quote is from Paper Towns, not Looking for Alaska. I included it on my list, actually, and almost did the same thing.)

    My TTT

  5. I just adore the beginning of Perks! It’s so good and sets the book up perfectly. Also, the beginning of Code Name pulled me right in! I’m actually reading that one right now and it’s so good!
    My TTT

  6. Lovely picks! I am so glad you liked the ending of Requiem as well, not many people did.

    Happy reading!
    My TTT
    My DESIGNS blog

  7. Great picks! I love the beginning of Perks. I added Jellicoe Rd to my To read List. I keep seeing it and the first line just grabs me. I love the one from Code Name Verity… I’m going to add that one as well.
    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesdays Post
    Megan @ Love, Literature, Art, and Reason

  8. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    The opening lines of Perks sounds like he is speaking right to me. Powerful.

    Here’s my list of favorite first lines.

  9. I think that quote is from Paper Towns, not Looking for Alaska, but nevertheless both books are amazing!!

  10. Perks <3 LOVE it. Some GREAT GREAT lines in that book.

    I haven't seen a list WITHOUT Tahereh Mafi or Lauren Oliver, and RIGHTFULLY so. I love the Requiem ending too, its simply BEAUTIFUL. And both you and Judith had Looking for Alaska, and I own it.. I think it may be time.. to you know… READ it!

  11. I’m seeing Shatter Me and The Book Thief over and over today. But I didn’t put either of them on my list!

  12. Gah, Perks! Such a great beginning. I still don’t know who he was writing to & I’m wondering if anyone has figured it out. Do you know?

  13. The beginning of Jellico Road is perfection. It also made my list.

  14. Ack, Requiem! As I mentioned on Jana’s post, that series seriously frustrated me. I don’t think I’ve ever been as annoyed with a series as I was with that one. Sigh. Still a good ending, though!

  15. The lines from The Book Thief and Jellicoe Road are incredible. Feeling inspired to read them!

  16. I also have The Book Thief as one of my favourite endings. So simply beautiful. And cue the bawling…
    But you’ve got a great list here! You’ve made me want to read a bunch of new books now: Shatter Me, Paper Towns, and Requiem. 🙂

  17. Shatter Me, that quote caught my attention…I’d now like to read it! Same with Code Name Verity, that seems to be one the pops up on many lists.

  18. The opening of Jellicoe Road definitely grabbed my attention too. And the opening to Paper Towns is just incredible, as soon as I read the very first line I knew it was going to become my favourite John Green book. I completely forgot about the opening line of Perks… if I’d remembered, it would have definitely made my list this week.

  19. Shatter Me made my list as well! I didn’t particularly like the ending to Requiem, but I do agree that it was a beautiful last paragraph. I love Aria and Perry! I need Into the Still Blue right now! Great list!

    My TTT

  20. Some of your chosen quotes sound really interesting. I really want to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Shatter Me sounds great as well.

    Here’s my list. I’ve gone mostly for opening lines.


  21. I had mixed feelings about REQUIEM too, but I quite enjoyed the poetry of Lauren’s writing – especially those lines. And agreed about JELLICOE ROAD!

  22. I should just go buy Jellicoe Road because that line is ALL I see today! Gaah! Anyway, the first line of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is really awesome and I love the letter theme throughout the whole book.

    P. S. Enjoy your vacay, Jamie!

  23. The Book Thief and Crime and Punishment were on my list for favorite endings as well. They’re both so profound!

  24. I love, love The Perks of Being a Wallflower since I can relate to it so much. I read Crime and Punishment during my senior year of HS and I thought reading it was quite near what I thought was “punishment” but reading the ending lines, I think I may have to take another look at Crime and Punishment.

  25. From the first lines of Shatter Me, I knew I was going to love it. SO glad that I did.

    (Skipped your endings because I haven’t read any of those books YET.)

  26. YES Unearthly’s ending was very mind-blowing because I didn’t see it coming AT ALL! Still haven’t read the next books. I really love this TTT because all these beginnings and endings are so poetic! Great choices 😀

  27. I just started reading the Shatter Me series..I am enjoying so far!

  28. Excellent list! Shatter Me and The Book Thief I totally agree with. There weren’t really any bad parts in The Book Thief though.

  29. The Book Thief is actually perfection.

  30. The Book Thief is so depressing but wonderful; I can totally understand why you cried. And that opening to Paper Towns sounds amazing!

  31. I’ve never read Jellico Road- my goodness, that is an INTENSE opening line!!

    So glad The Book Thief made the list! That book tore me to pieces and left me sobbing. I loved that ending so much!