Ten opening lines and not a "dark and stormy night" among them? Sheesh, they don't write them like they used to. Thank goodness. The first pages of the books that made up The Christian Science Monitor's 10 Best Fiction Books of 2011 grab readers and propel them forward. They're set in a room, a taxi, a memory; they dip into childhood, nature and death; they are grabbers. Do you recognize the following opening lines?
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier lights a candle inside a bunker for Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights, at the India-Bangladesh border on the outskirts of Agartala, India, on Oct. 26. For Diwali, Hindus light lamps to signify the victory of good over evil. New clothes are worn; gifts, traditionally of sweets, are given; and prayers are offered to goddess the Lakshmi.
A couple walks along the Delaware Canal towpath Saturday during the Delaware Canal festival, in Yardley, Pa.
Luke Tinsman, of San Clemente, Calif., eyes a perch while in a fisheye bubble at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor in Dana Point, Calif.
Seaman Quincy Fermer of the USS Carl Vinson hugs his Thiana after seeing her for the first time after disembarking from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. The US Navy aircraft carrier from which the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea has returned to its home port in San Diego Bay.
Antigovernment protesters sit on the ground as they listen to a Friday prayers' speech during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen. Tens of thousands of Yemenis held a mass funeral Friday for 50 people killed in regime-sponsored violence in the capital.
Kashmiri villagers watch the funeral procession of suspected militants of Jaish-e- Mohammed in Keller, south of Srinagar, India. Thousands attended the funeral of two suspected rebels in Indian Kashmir Friday, a day after they were killed in a gun battle with government forces in the restive region, according to the police.
The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks from the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party hold up oil lamps during a peaceful protest against a UN-appointed panel report in Colombo. The Sri Lankan hardliner nationalist, all Buddhist monk party JHU held a protest against the UN report, which alleged thousands of civilians were killed during the last phase of the war, as they and other protesters marched to Independence Square.