Among writers of popular fiction it is widely believed that if book shop browsers are not hooked by the end of page one, they won’t buy. But that assumes they get beyond the first line. Twitterlit.com, which aims to sell books on the strength of their first lines, does not have the openminded innocence of hard-headed thriller writers. Twice a day, at 5am and 5pm, the site ‘twitters’ the first line of a book and provides a link to the book’s product page on Amazon’s UK, Canadian, and American sites. It’s fun for a while trying to guess the name of the book and it is possible that this is a good way to find out about new books, but I just don’t see it myself. When separated from the following 300 pages the first lines of books are downright odd and in many cases banal. The site itself has a strange pull, but it feels a bit like eating a whole packet of Liquorice Allsorts in one go: you didn’t really want any of them when you started and now you feel a bit sick.