Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Famous first lines

This is totally just something for fun.  I'm going to give you a list of first lines in books.  You tell me the book/author (or just the book is fine.)  On Sunday, I'll give you all the answers.

I have one big, fat rule.  Please, PLEASE do not go onto the internet and look them up and then answer them all.  This is not a contest; we're not giving anything away; it's just to be fun.  So if you know it, GREAT.  Comment and tell us!  If you don't, then leave it be in case someone else does.

Also, as people guess the right answers, I'm going to cross them out. :D
  1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  2. Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
  3. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’
  4. Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.
  5. Who is John Galt?
  6. 124 was spiteful.
  7. A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” and, in a shield, the World State's Motto: “Community, Identity, Stability”.
  8. Call me Ishmael.
  9. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
  10. Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity--Good.
  11. They murdered him.
  12. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  13. Marley was dead, to begin with.
  14. Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.
  15. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
  16. Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.
  17. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.
  18. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.
  19. The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.
  20. It was a pleasure to burn.
  21. You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.
  22. Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.
  23. Mother died today.
  24. "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
  25. All this happened, more or less.
  26. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  27. 'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
  28. It was a nice day.
  29. To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
  30. Not every 13-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty.
  31. Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board.
  32. It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.
  33. Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan.
  34. The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.
  35. It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.
  36. Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
  37. In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
  38. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
  39. It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.
  40. All children, except one, grow up.
  41. Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin
  42. The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.
  43. When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.
  44. Once on a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.
  45. True! - nervous - very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?
  46. The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.
  47. Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach.
  48. It was a dark and stormy night.
  49. The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit
  50. Shadow had done three years in prison.
There you go!  50 first lines.  See how many you know.  If you want, leave a first line in the comments that's not on the list to see if anyone else knows it.

Have fun!


  1. ...I thought I wasn't going to know any of these, but I actually did:

    2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    3. Through the Looking Glass (might be Alice in Wonderland, but I think it's the first one not the second.)
    4. I think this is Hitchhiker's Guide.
    5. Atlas Shrugged
    13. I think this is A Christmas Carol
    14. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    15. The Great Gatsby
    18. The Man of La Macha, which I haven't read, but the line is kind of a giveaway.
    22. Fight Club, which I've only seen.
    24. Is the one about the sisters that I can't remember the name of, but I know. >.<
    25. I've read this, but I can't remember what book it is. GDI.
    26. The Bible.
    27. Where the Red Fern Grows. Interestingly, I haven't read this in YEARS, but I was talking to mom about it this weekend and couldn't remember the title.
    29. American Gods?
    36. Romeo and Juliet
    37. Madeline
    40. Peter Pan
    41. Some Winnie the Pooh book.
    42. The Princess Bride? Had no idea that was a book...

    There were a few others that I've read, but couldn't remember the book they were from.

    Now Imma go google them to get the answers.

    1. Hahaha...one of the ones I got wrong is the correct answer for one of the others on the list. I've actually read it, but obviously couldn't remember the first line.

    2. Just for the record of others:
      29 is wrong
      27 is wrong.
      24 is right, even though you didn't give a name. ;)
      18 is right but that's not what the book is called. :P

      And "Alice in Wonderland" IS the first one. Through The Looking Glass is the sequel.

    3. See? This is what happens when you make me answer without Google. I get a whole bunch of little things wrong. It was Little Women, BTW, which I totally facepalmed at. I didn't know what #12 was, but when I read it I was like "oh, that's gotta be some Jane Austen thing".

  2. 2. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone
    3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    7. Brave New World
    12. Pride and Prejudice
    13. A Christmas Carol
    15. The Great Gatsby
    18. Don Quixote
    20. Fahrenheit 451
    22. Fight Club
    24. Little Women
    26. The Bible
    36. Romeo and Juliet
    37. Madeline
    38. The Old Man and the Sea
    39. The Time Traveler's Wife
    40. Peter Pan
    41. The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    42. The Princess Bride
    43. The Secret Garden.

    That's all I know, but a lot more of them sounded familiar.

  3. Also, 8. Moby Dick. For some reason my brain did not notice that one.

  4. Travis is putting forth the following guesses
    4. Dune
    5. Atlas Shrugged (which I know Kristina already guessed, but he knew it and I didn't)
    31. Treasure Island
    34. Lord of the Flies (If this is right, I'm going to punch myself. I love this book)
    35. Emile

    1. Then you should get on that punching, because he was right (about #5, also, but not the rest.)

      You actually got all the ones you guessed right. I knew you would get The Time Traveller's Wife. I kind of put it on there for you. :D

      Haha, I was SURE Kristina would get Moby Dick, but then she didn't. When I saw you missed it at first I was like, "OMG, WHY DON'T YOU KNOW MOBY DICK!" but then you redeemed yourself, so it's ok.

      I'm REALLY surprised you didn't get 44 or 27. ESPECIALLY 27.

    2. You should not be surprised. I looked them up. I have never read either of those books, but I have seen the films.