The Master and Margarita has been my favorite book for over thirty years. I like it so much, I’ve bought every translation I can find. Of course, it’s included below.

Today is hump day.

The middle day of the week.

When we hit noon, we’ve made it halfway through our work week. Since I live in Seattle and many of the school districts around us are still closed, I want to give you something to engage your mind and hopefully, make you smile.

You’ve probably read a lot of really great books in your life. And every great book starts with a memorable opening line. Here are a dozen opening lines from books you may have read and if you haven’t, maybe the opening line will have you getting out your library card to go check it out.

See how many you can name:

  1. Call me Ishmael.
  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
  3. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clockswere striking thirteen.
  4. Marley was dead to begin with.
  5. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad,Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
  6. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
  7. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “withoutpictures or conversations?”
  8. True! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervousI had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?
  9. It was a pleasure to burn.
  10. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.
  11. At the hour of sunset on a hot spring day, two citizens appeared in the Patriarch’s Ponds Park.
  12. Three things happened simultaneously; the soft, warm curve of a woman’s bare ass tucked enticingly against Zakary Stark’s good-morning-happy-to-feel-you erection, the familiar gut-wrenching realization that she was the wrong woman, and the cold hard metal of a gun barrel pressedto his temple.




  1. HermanMelville – Moby Dick
  2. Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities
  3. George Orwell – 1984
  4. CharlesDickens, A Christmas Carol
  5. GabrielGarcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude
  6. JaneAustin – Pride and Prejudice
  7. Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
  8. Edgar Allen Poe – The Tell-tale Heart
  9. RayBradbury – Fahrenheit 451
  10. VladimirNabokov, Lolita
  11. MikhailBulgakov – The Master and Margarita
  12. Cherry Adair – Hush

Well, how did you do?