While you may recognize “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” you might not recall some of literature’s other, equally gripping first lines quite so easily. The proofreading service Scribendi has 34 of the best novel openers collected in the infographic below, featured on Boing Boing, examining everything from Zora Neale Hurston’s “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board” to J.K. Rowling’s Dursley-centered opener from the first Harry Potter book. It's guaranteed that at least one of these lines will have you running to your local library to check out its corresponding classic. 

[h/t Boing Boing]

Banner image by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.