- Fizzy Thoughts: Weekly Geeks #21 - first lines

Weekly Geeks #21 - first lines

Sunday, October 12, 2008

***The updated list is here.***
This week all the weekly geeks are teaming up to identify 100 first lines from books. Check out the complete details on this week's challenge here.

These are the quotes I knew off the top of my head. I'm still thinking on a few others, so I may be adding to this initial list.

1. Call me Ishmael. Moby Dick, Herman Melville

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

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, Charles Dickens

10. I am an invisible man. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italo Calvino

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, Cervantes

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

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, Ernest Hemingway

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, Jeffrey Eugenides

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.” Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. I, Claudius, Robert Graves

This one, I thought I knew, but it turns out I was wrong. Since I'm not cheating, I need someone to tell me where this came from:

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.


Here are a few more. Can anyone identify the book and author? No googling allowed! Please answer only if you can say "Aha! I know that!"

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.

17. 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.

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

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; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.

20. 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.

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

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

10 comment(s):

Rachel said...

Hey, thanks for visiting! I added two of yours to my list and linked to your blog. I am fascinated by first lines. I used to keep a list of them in a notebook, but I've since lost the notebook.

Maree said...

Number 8 is 1984 by George Orwell :)

Karen Harrington said...

Very cool. A lot of those sparked in my memory, too. Really enjoy your blog!

Icedream said...

Wow, you really knew a lot! Sorry I can't help, I only knew #8 like maree.

penryn said...

Wow, you got so many I didn't! And I got a lot you didn't! We are well matched, you and I. :)

#2 is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

#38 is Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut

#44 is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

#53 is Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

#65 is The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Eva said...

#20 is David Copperfield! I'm too lazy to go around collecting the ones I didn't know (lol), but I knew 25 of them and posted them on my blog in case you need any others. :)

Susan L said...

Thanks for visiting me. I picked up some from you to.

bkclubcare said...

Oops, how'd I miss the Geek Love one? oh well.


Dawn said...

I'm not a "weekly geek" (yet), but I've been following this "treasure hunt" over all the blogs I read. What fun to work together in solving it!

Cesia said...

You did way better than me. I only knew three of them!

So, I made up my own challenge. Don't worry, there are only 5 lines.


- Cesia.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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