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MDavis
07-06-2006, 08:37 AM
This may be too hard to play for a sustained amount of time, but I thought it would be fun for the bibliophiles among us (and I hope that's all of us) to play a game with great first sentences in famous or not-so famous novels.

I'll post the first one (an easy one, I don't have too many of these memorized) and then the next person post that novel's title and author. Then that person gives us a new opening line and the game continues. If no one can guess the response, that person can supply the answer and suggest a new line.

I'm kind of hoping that this proves educational to those of us still struggling to capture the essence of a great first sentence.

Ok here goes.

"Call me Ishmael."

What's the book? Who wrote it?

My-Immortal
07-06-2006, 09:11 AM
Moby Dick - Herman Melville


Next first line:

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

FreeStyle
07-07-2006, 08:27 AM
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


next,

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

triceretops
07-07-2006, 08:50 AM
Uh, Ulysses?

If so, next:

"My wound is geography."

Tri

MDavis
07-07-2006, 10:25 PM
Pat Conroy :D Prince of Tides

Ok how about...(maybe another easy one?)

"It is a truth generally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

(I hope I got that all right)

Forbidden Snowflake
07-07-2006, 10:35 PM
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen.

You couldn't get a book I love more than this one!

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

FreeStyle
07-07-2006, 10:35 PM
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.

next,

All this happened, more or less.

MDavis
07-07-2006, 11:56 PM
Oooh! Ooh!! and now you got my favorite book Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte! Thanks Forbidden Snowflake :D (P&P is prob 2nd favorite)

I'm going to step in and place FreeStyle's suggestion here as the next first line:


Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.

next,

All this happened, more or less.

FreeStyle
07-11-2006, 05:55 AM
Does no one know this one or are people just bored with the game? I like this game!:) K, I'll post the first and second sentences:

All this happened more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.


If still no one knows I'll post the first paragraph.

Tre
07-11-2006, 06:11 AM
All this happened more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.

Slaughterhouse Five

It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.

Silver King
07-11-2006, 07:02 AM
This game is hard, I'm telling ya, hard, which is what makes it such great fun. I feel like I'm on the game show Jeopardy, buzzer in hand, and I have all the time in the world to make up my mind. The answer is so close to the tip of my tongue that I can feel the letters sliding across the back of my teeth.

I'm sorry I don't know the answer. (I think I do, but it's so far down there at the moment, I can't draw it out.)

What a great idea to make a thread last forever.

PattiTheWicked
07-11-2006, 07:26 AM
It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.

"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."

FreeStyle
07-11-2006, 08:15 PM
This game is hard, I'm telling ya, hard, which is what makes it such great fun. I feel like I'm on the game show Jeopardy, buzzer in hand, and I have all the time in the world to make up my mind. The answer is so close to the tip of my tongue that I can feel the letters sliding across the back of my teeth.

I'm sorry I don't know the answer. (I think I do, but it's so far down there at the moment, I can't draw it out.)

What a great idea to make a thread last forever.

I agree, i really like this game!! If for no other reason than creating a long list of first lines to read, appreciate and be inspired by (that first line is always so difficult). Sometimes you forget the tone and mood of the very first line of some great masterpiece. It's nice to remember.

I have NO CLUE about PattitheWicked's line but I'm sure someone can figure it out.

MDavis
07-11-2006, 09:54 PM
"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (love that book!)

I'm glad everyone's enjoying this game, I really am :)

How about a twist then...

riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth, Castle and Environs.

That's it--correct capitalization and all. And I will give FIVE rep points to the person who can give me the novel's last line (hm...that's kind of a hint ;)).

CaroGirl
07-11-2006, 10:22 PM
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake. I think it ends like this(?):
"Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the "

How about this one:

"The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest."

Silver King
07-12-2006, 04:09 AM
Heart of Darkness, by Conrad.

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.

Silver King
07-13-2006, 01:50 AM
Hint: The novel takes place in Europe during World War I.

If it helps, I'll add another line or two.

alleycat
07-13-2006, 01:54 AM
A Farewell to Arms

"Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure."

Cath
07-13-2006, 02:47 AM
Albert Camus - the Stranger.

"When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta."



Hope it's not too obscure...

Cabinscribe
07-13-2006, 07:26 AM
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami.


"Gil and I crossed the eastern divide about two by the sun."

Silver King
07-17-2006, 08:54 AM
Is this thread going to die by hanging? I thought it would last forever...

Mark Lazer
07-17-2006, 11:51 AM
"Gil and I crossed the eastern divide about two by the sun."
I'm not sure, but could it be The Ox-bow Incident written by Walter vna Tilburg Clark?

MDavis
07-17-2006, 06:54 PM
I googled it for the sake of the thread and you're correct Mark! Go ahead and give us the next line when you get the chance.

~Michelle

Silver King
07-18-2006, 02:40 AM
I hadn't considered the Google aspect and fear it may put a damper on the future of this game. It does save the time of actually thinking through to a solution, standing up, walking to a bookshelf and leafing through volumes to confirm answers are correct.

Maybe we should change the exercise to famous last lines, or can search engines recognize those as well?

MDavis
07-18-2006, 03:06 AM
I think we can just say no Googling unless a first line has been sitting here for two days with no responses. Then you can Google.

It'll help us get unstuck, and I'm sure most people won't cheat and post.

Mark Lazer
07-18-2006, 10:53 AM
Thank you, MDavis. Here is a new one.

It wasn't easy simultaneously mending six billion broken hearts, but I managed.

Bmwhtly
07-18-2006, 03:48 PM
Is that The Anomolies by ... Joey something?

if it is (and if that answer is full enough), whats this:

Night fell as the airport taxi rattled along the six miles of coastal road into Beirut

Mark Lazer
07-19-2006, 01:08 PM
Is that The Anomolies by ... Joey something?

if it is (and if that answer is full enough), whats this:

Night fell as the airport taxi rattled along the six miles of coastal road into Beirut
Joey Goebel it is; don't know yours though.

persiphone_hellecat
07-19-2006, 10:42 PM
How about an easy one?

Last nght I dreamed I went to Manderlay again.

alleycat
07-19-2006, 10:56 PM
Easy enough. Rebecca.

"When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon."

persiphone_hellecat
07-20-2006, 09:55 AM
The Last Good Kiss (Big Crime Fiction reader here!!) Author Crumbley? something like that?

"My father had a small Estate in Nottinghamshire, I was the Third of five sons.

alleycat
07-20-2006, 09:59 AM
The Last Good Kiss (Big Crime Fiction reader here!!) Author Crumbley? something like that?
Yes, you're close enough. The writer was James Crumley.

. . . please continue . . .

persiphone_hellecat
07-20-2006, 11:04 PM
I already gave one ... (see above)


"My father had a small Estate in Nottinghamshire, I was the Third of five sons."

Tre
07-24-2006, 08:23 AM
Gulliver's Travels

"I shall begin my story with an experience I had when I was ten and attended our small town's Latin school."

Anonymisty
07-28-2006, 03:49 AM
"I shall begin my story with an experience I had when I was ten and attended our small town's Latin school."

Only because of a brief desire to take every philosophy class during college (instigated by my terrible, unrequited desire for my philosophy professor) did I happen to read a portion of <u>Demian</u> by Hesse.

So here's my offering:

"What does it mean to be good?"

persiphone_hellecat
07-28-2006, 04:13 AM
Well done ! I knew it was Hesse but I couldnt think of the name for my life!

JimmyB27
07-31-2006, 07:04 PM
Only because of a brief desire to take every philosophy class during college (instigated by my terrible, unrequited desire for my philosophy professor) did I happen to read a portion of <u>Demian</u> by Hesse.

So here's my offering:

"What does it mean to be good?"

Random guess - 'How To Be Good' - Nick Hornby?

perky_ms_d
08-03-2006, 01:37 PM
A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: "Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That's all right!"

persiphone_hellecat
08-04-2006, 12:30 AM
Kate Chopin The Awakening ... Great Work!

Some years ago, there was in the city of York, a society of magicians.

Anonymisty
08-05-2006, 11:44 PM
Random guess - 'How To Be Good' - Nick Hornby?

Alas, no. Anyone else for a try?

Here's a hint...Phedre and Joscelin appear in the book.

Anonymisty
08-05-2006, 11:45 PM
Kate Chopin The Awakening ... Great Work!

Some years ago, there was in the city of York, a society of magicians.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell?

persiphone_hellecat
08-05-2006, 11:46 PM
Right but let's return to the one no one guessed


"What does it mean to be good?"

Anonymisty
08-11-2006, 10:59 PM
Okay, I've apparently stumped everyone - it was from Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey.

Here's an easier target:

"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

persiphone_hellecat
08-11-2006, 11:03 PM
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? The first one I think

davids
08-11-2006, 11:48 PM
since Persiphone did not give a first sentence here is mine

Inis Orga was double-humped like a Bactrian camel.

Loria Amnekia
09-17-2006, 10:14 AM
Since this has sat for a while, I googled-Festival of Fools by Michael Mullen is what I found. New line:

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.

Okay, name the story please.

persiphone_hellecat
09-17-2006, 10:25 AM
The Cask of Amontillado?

Loria Amnekia
09-17-2006, 10:39 AM
Yep! Cask of Amontillado. Not really a novel, but I love Poe. Here's one from a novel:

It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.

persiphone_hellecat
09-17-2006, 10:57 AM
That would be the latest Harry Potter??

Loria Amnekia
09-17-2006, 11:24 AM
Yep. Your turn for a line.