Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... and other famous first lines

I saw a similar game on another blog and thought it would be fun to play here. The rules are: Below are a list of 30 famous first lines to both classic and more recent novels. Be the first to guess the title and author and leave me a comment. Feel free to look in your own collection of books if you're not sure, but don't cheat. No googling. I'll update with the correct answers as we go along!

And just for fun, try to guess which one is from the book I'm currently reading!

1. I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped.

2. Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, answered correctly by Ms Mac

3. Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had co cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.

4. It was 7 minutes after midnight.

5. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.Answered correctly by Kate - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, Kate again

7. At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening, a certain young man came down on to the street from the little room he rented from some tenants in S--- Lane and slowly, almost hesitantly, set off towards K---n Bridge.

8. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,.... Answered correctly by Ms Mac! A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

9. The primroses were over.

10. Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, answered correctly by Keris

11. It was a pleasure to burn.

12. I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.

13. In a village of La Mancha the name of which have no desire to recall, there lived not so long ago one of those gentlemen who always have a lance in the rack, an ancient buckler, a skinny nag, and a greyhound for the chase. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Keris again

14. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

15. Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, answered correctly by Kate

16. On they went, singing 'Eternal Memory', and whenever they stopped, the sound of their feet, the horses and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing.

17. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.

18. Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book about the jungle called True Stories.

19. 'Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents', grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.Kate is on a roll! Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

20. All children, except one, grow up.Go Kate! Peter Pan by JM Barrie

21. When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, got by Kate

22. 'If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but...The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, another one answered correctly by Ms Mac

23. Call me Ishmael. Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Keris is on a roll!

24. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

25. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, answered by Keris

26. 124 was spiteful.

27. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.

28. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.One of Kate's favourite books and one of mine - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

29. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.

30. Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, again answered by Keris


  1. Oh awesome! I can't tell you how much of a clever clogs I feel, actually knowing the answers to some of these!

    Nummber 8 is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

  2. You've made me break my non-commenting habit again!

    5. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen.
    6. 1984 - George Orwell.
    15. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis.
    19. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
    20. Peter Pan and Wendy - J.M. Barrie.
    21. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
    28. I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith (one of my favouritist books ever)

    (am I allowed to guess that many all in one go?)

  3. Number 22 is The Catcher in the Rye

    Is Number 2 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

  4. Ooh fun!

    No. 10 is either Captain Corelli's Mandolin or a Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    I think 13 is Don Quixote. Is 17 In Cold Blood? 23 is Moby Dick and 24 is going to drive me mad! I think 25 might be David Copperfield.

    That was rubbish, wasn't it?

    I know one for certain and that's No. 30 - Rebecca!

  5. No3 is The Godfather I think...not entirely sure

    No12 is Wuthering Heights? Possibly?

    No14 is The Great Gatsby!

    No17 is The Bell Jar

    (Luckily I've been studying these latter 3 for A level English Lit!)


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