• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,919 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

First Lines Answer


Vroman’s in Pasadena

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Here is the first-line contest answer and result. I’ll update the blog with reviews and reading list very soon.

1. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” (7)
The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley

2. “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (3)
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

3. “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, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” (3)
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

4. “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.” (5)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

5. “One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.” (5)
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

6. “124 was spiteful.” (5)
Beloved, Toni Morrison

7. “Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.” (7)
Waiting, Ha Jin

8. “I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.” (5)
Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky

9. “I stand at the window of this great house in the south of France as night falls, the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life.” (7)
Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

10. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was beginning with God and the duty of every faithful monk would be to repeat every day with chanting humility the one never-changing event whose incontrovertible truth can be asserted.” (6)
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

11. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” (6)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

12. “It was love at first sight.” (3)
Catch-22, Joseph Heller

13. “I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.” (5)
The Razor’s Edge, W. Somerset Maugham

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.” (3)
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

15. “Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.” (5)
A Frolic of His Own, William Gaddis

16. “In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together.” (3)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

17. “All children, except one, grow up.” (3)
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

18. “They’re out there.” (7)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

19. “One hot spring evening, just as the sun was going down, two men appeared at Patriarch’s Ponds.” (5)
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

20. “It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.” (7)
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro

Contest Result:
Kathleen 23
Rebecca @ The Book Lady’s Blog 31
CW 37
Eva 27 (#6 is Beloved)
uncertainprinciples 13
rebeccareid 20
Lily 65
Jenny 39
Mae 14
Ruth 34
Claire 32
Jeanne 30

Lily from Related reading scored a respectable 65 and is the winner of the contest. Please e-mail me at mattviews@yahoo.com your contact info so I can send you the prize. CW has got the most questions that most entries do not answer. I wish to thank everyone for participating.

5 Responses

  1. Great little contest, thanks for running it!

    I will now admit that I have not actually read The Crying of Lot 49. Rather, it sits on my bookshelf next to the couch, and sometimes when I recline on said couch, I pick that book up. I cannot count the number of times I have read that line about Oedipa Maas. I actually knew that line immediately, without having to think about it. Sadly I have never felt compelled to read any further than that line…

  2. Congratulations to Lily, wow!

    I also haven’t read The Razor’s Edge but I bought the book because of those first lines so I know them by heart. I can’t believe I forgot Notes from the Underground!! ANd also, I started reading Their Eyes Were Watching God today, aarrgh! I already read those first lines before, which was the reason I picked the book up, but I guess I forgot. Hehe. This was fun, Matt, thanks!

    I admit, the first lines are the indicator of my purchasing or picking up a book.

  3. What a great idea! Sorry I wasn’t here to participate, although I don’t think I would have scored a 65!

  4. Congratulations, Lily! I’m so impressed. Loved the contest. 🙂

  5. It was fun. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten first lines from books I’ve read, like Catch-22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And I knew the Anna Karenina one was from some Russian novel I’d read, back when I was 19-20 and read them all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: