Adventures in Reading

Weekly Geeks #21: First Lines
October 15, 2008, 2:04 pm
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , ,

This round of Weekly Geeks has us looking at (more or less) famous first lines of novels to see what we can identify. I was pretty well pleased with what I was able to guess at.

1. “Call me Ishmael.” – Moby Dick

2. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Pride & Prejudice

5. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” – Lolita

6. “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Anna Karenina

7. “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.” – Finnegan’s Wake

9. “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.” – A Tale of Two Cities

16. “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 I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” – Cather in the Rye

18. “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” – The Good Soldier

19. “I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me…” – Tristram Shandy

21. “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” – Ulysses

27. “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.” – Don Quixote

28. “Mother died today.” – The Stranger

37. “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” – Mrs. Dalloway

48. “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.” – The Old Man and the Sea

50. “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” – Middlesex

66. ““To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.”” – The Satanic Verses


Without knowing what the book was about, I happened to read The Stranger on the beach at Puerto Vallarta!

#9 isn’t it A Tale of Two Cities?

Comment by Matthew

Matthew: Muy gracias Matthew. I’ve actually never read anything by Dickens, and it was a guess someone sat sitting next to me confirmed.

I am envious of your travels! I read The Stranger in Ohio. Not quite as exciting.

Comment by bookchronicle

Impressive! I think some of those I would have definitely gotten but a lot not. I need to start making more time for weekly geeks again! I can hardly even keep up with my reader these days, though!

Comment by Trish

The beginning of Ulysses just isn’t the same without the giant “S” on “Stately,” which has always caused me to pronounce it silently as Voldemort would.

Comment by Jeanne

Trish: I hear ya. I’ve been a bit hit or miss with Weekly Geeks, but this was a fun one to participate in.

Jeanne: Very true! and on Finnegan’s Wake I couldn’t help but add the “beginning” of the sentence from the last page. Oh, Joyce!

Comment by bookchronicle

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: