Thursday, 20 August 2009

First Lines Quiz

My friend Lazy over at Lazy's library (in Swedish) recently re-arranged her bookshelf applying the somewhat maddening sorting system of placing the books in alphabetical order based on the first sentence of each book (and she does have quite a few books, I hasten to add). As a side effect of this project, Lazy made a number of quiz like blog posts, where the idea was to guess the authors responsible for a number of first lines and which books they were from.

Now, while the whole re-arranging bookshelf according to a somewhat maddening sorting system is not a thing I would ever get into my own head to try, I have to say that the first lines quiz does strike a certain chord with me. And therefore I have decided to hold a little first lines quiz on my own over here.

There are ten quoted first lines below. Answers require an author and a book title for each quote (and you do not have to provide answers to all ten quotes if you cannot). There are no prizes given except honour, and the correct answers will be posted separately in a week or so.

Anyway... here goes:

1. I was born in the city of Bombay . . . once upon a time.

2. The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

3. So intent was Frank upon solving the puzzle of Lemarchand's box that he didn't hear the great bell begin to ring.

4. I hope that no suggestion of any strange land that may be conveyed by the title will scare readers away from this book; for though some chapters do indeed tell of Elfland, in the greater part of them there is no more to be shown than the face of the fields we know, and ordinary English woods and a common village and valley, a good twenty or twenty-five miles from the border of Elfland.

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

6. The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.

7. I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why.

8. On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

9. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

10. The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset.

Good luck!


  1. Intressant system, men jag skulle nog bli tokig. Å andra sidan har jag inget system alls just nu... :-D

  2. Oh goddammit, and I consider myself so well read. The only one I recognized right off the bat is "I am Legend."

  3. Ed, answers require title AND author... and naturally also which quote number said title and author are supposed to belong to (especially if you're not providing answers for all quotes).

    But welcome as the first playing contestant.

  4. 1- midnight's children
    6- casino royale
    8- i am legend (the name gave it away)
    9- neuromancer

  5. didn't include authors's names, because that's just too obvious. so there.

  6. Number two is so obvious (and excellent) I don't really even want to answer. And of course it has that bonus feature that would be a spoiler to anyone who hasn't read... all of it.

    Four should be Dunsany, is my guess, The King of Elfland's daughter?

    Five sounds familiar... looked it up and was right! Conrad, Heart of Darkness.