Looking for something to read over Labor Day? For inspiration for writing that report due Friday? Or tomorrow's presentation?

Here is a personal collection of some of the greatest opening words to some of the greatest books. You'll recognize some, want to read others, and be amazed by nearly all, I bet.

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant day when his father took him to discover ice.

- One Hundred Years of Solitude

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

- A Tale of Two Cities

Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure

- The Stranger

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

- 1984

I am in invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

- Invisible Man

The night Max wore his wolf suit and mad mischief of one kind and another, his mother called him "Wild Thing!"

- Where the Wild Things Are

Call me Ishmael.

- Moby Dick

Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin. My soul. The tip of the tongue takes a trip of three steps down the palate to tap at three on the teeth. Lo. Li. Ta.

- Lolita (I skipped a few words before these)

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

- The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care

Gregor Samsa awoke one morning after unsettling dreams to discover himself transformed into a monstrous vermin.

- Metamorphosis

The way that can be named is not the true way.

- Tao Te Ching

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures.

- The Iliad

When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only

- Walden

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.

- The Odyssey

Do you like green eggs and ham?

- Green Eggs and Ham

Leaving there and proceeding for three days toward the east, you reach Diomira, a city with sixty silver domes, bronze statues of all the gods, streets paved with lead, a crystal theater, a golden cock that crows each morning on a tower

- Invisible Cities

I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world.

- The Little Prince

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice-they won't hear you otherwise-"I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.

- If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

It was inevitable. The scent of bitter almonds always reminded Dr. Juvenal Urbino of the fate of unrequited love.

- Love in the Time of Cholera

I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe -- 'That government is best which governs not at all'; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

- Civil Disobedience

This book is an attack on current city planning and rebuilding.

- The Death and Life of Great American Cities

War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.

- The Art of War

I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be able to be a source of great comfort and support.

- Diary of Anne Frank

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

- In Defense of Food

I am a sick man... I am a spiteful man. An unattractive man. I think that my liver hurts.

- Notes From Underground

And so began my voyage of discovery in a place as strange as Brooklyn.

- Sophie's Choice, whose closing line also means a lot to me:

This was not judgment day. Only morning. Morning: Excellent and fair.

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

- Finnegan's Wake

Did I miss any great ones? I haven't finished reading all the books in the world yet so I'm sure I did.