Friday, July 10, 2009

First sentences quiz

The other day I read an author's blog post about getting the first words of a book right. Now I'm noticing the first words of every book I read. Here are the first sentences of 14 classic books that I grabbed off my shelves. See if you can guess the titles and authors. All were written before 1965. I've skipped any introductions or prefaces and gone straight to Chapter 1.

1. As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.

2. I never really knew Father very well till we moved to the ranch on the Fort Logan-Morrison road, not far from Denver.

3. In the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe and America was excited by a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon.

4. After an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting Federal Government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America.

5. 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.

6. Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes.

7. In 1815 Monsieur Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne.

8. Dog.

9. O, for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!

10. Rose sat all alone in the big best parlor, with her little handkerchief laid ready to catch the first tear, for she was thinking of her troubles, and a shower was expected.

11. The Western American Explorers’ Club, in the city of San Francisco, was honored as it had never been honored before in the first week of October 1883 by being promised to be first to hear the details of an unexplained, extraordinary adventure; the biggest news story of the year, the story the whole world was waiting impatiently to hear – the tale of Professor William Waterman Sherman’s singular voyage.

12. In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him.

13. Once upon a time there was a very beautiful doll’s-house; it was red brick with white windows, and it had real muslin curtains and a front door and a chimney.

14. A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.


Harmony said...

Boy, do I feel illiterate!

Kelly said...

The only one I got was little britches. The others I recognized but couldn't place. What a good Idea.

Anna said...

7 is Les Mis...just finished it on Christmas night. Loved it!