I mean it. Don’t.
Most books begin with quotes. No story exists without other stories, without other words, so it’s only proper for books to start with shout-outs to other stories.
These quotes go on the first pages of a lot of novels to introduce the reader to the themes, to signal to other writers the soul of the book.
They don’t belong on the first page of a book. They belong on the last page of a book.
Once you’ve read a book, once you followed the author along his plots, her themes, once you’ve understood the emotional truth of the novel, then and only then should you read those quotes.
I don’t know about other people, but I never remember the quotes that start a book. I get caught up in the narrative, and forget whatever preceded it, whatever line was there before the story actually began. But when I finish a book and then flip back to read the quotes, I understand them. I can’t get the emotional truth of an isolated sentence and its relevance to the novel until after I’ve read the novel.
So don’t read the first thing in a novel first. And even if you do, remember to flip back to the beginning after you’ve finished the last page. You won’t regret it.