Mystery House

First Lines Meme

I’m not big on memes, for the most part, but this one intrigued me.  Perhaps it’s simply because of my deep love of books; perhaps it’s because I’ve spent so much time lately considering what makes a good first line, a line that grabs you by the short hairs and compels you to read the rest of the book.  Whatever it is, I had to borrow this tougher-than-it-looks quiz from Amy.

The rules:

1. Pick 10 of your favorite books.
2. Post the first sentence of each book. (If one sentence seems too short, post two or three!)
3. Let everyone try to guess the titles and authors of your books! (I’ll take guesses in the comments.)

Books on Shelf

Choosing ten favorite books?  Well, not so easy.  The trick actually proved to be finding them on my shelves.  I mean, where is my copy of Sula?  I have no idea.  You get a pass on Sula.  Some of my favorites are not here, but I definitely love all of these.  (Hint:  As you can see in the photo, my tastes are all over the place.)  And since number six is pretty much a giveaway, I’ve added one more…

1)  The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from Mercy to the other side of Lake Superior at three o’clock.

2)  It was inevitable:  the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

3)  There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

4)  When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

5)  My journal is a private affair, but as I cannot know the time of my coming death, and since I am not disposed, however unfortunately, to the serious consideration of self-termination, I am afraid that others will see these pages.

6)  Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.

7)  What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?  I won’t tell you that, but I’ll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me…the most dreadful thing…

8)  “Next year at this time, I want carpenters working on our house,” Mama said.

9)  It’s a new elevator, freshly pressed to the rails, and it’s not built to fall this fast.

10)  Imagine a morning in late November.  A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago.

11)  Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Amy says:

    sadly, I can only get the 2 obvious ones:
    #3, Jane Eyre, by that uber-brilliant Bronte, Charlotte
    #6, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    It is an interesting exercise. I was going to post the first line of Anne of Green Gables, but lordy, talk about a run-on sentence!

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  2. * kmkat says:

    I love this meme, even though I suck at guessing. Here goes:
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (?) (I guessed that over at Amy’s, too — maybe this time I’ll be right)
    6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    Several of your first lines sound familiar – 2, 3, 5, and 7, but I have no guesses for them.

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  3. * cursingmama says:

    Somehow I managed only
    4 – To Kill a Mockingbird (I do love that book)
    6 – Rebecca
    Some sound familiar but I am not feeling too terribly sure of myself to guess.

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  4. * marylou says:

    Boy, I thought I would do better than this:
    2. love in the time of cholera – garcia marquez
    3. Jane Eyre Ch Bronte
    4.To Kill a Mockingbird harper lee
    6. Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
    10: A Christmas Memory Truman Capote one my FAVORITES

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  5. * Kelly says:

    I have absolutely no guesses…
    but I have to say, I’ve never seen books arranged so prettily! The color!

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  6. * deb says:

    4. To Kill a Mockingbird: I just read it for the first time EVER last summer!
    11. The Road: Had a deep, lasting impact on me, still does.
    No one would like the books I have, much less know them I fear!

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  7. * lisa says:

    Hah! I haven’t a clue… though I’ve probably read at least some of them… definitely if your other commenters are correct! You know, in one eye and out the other…

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  8. * Guinifer says:

    I remembered none of those sentences! Upon research, however, I discovered that I had read 1,2,3,4,6,7 and 11!

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  9. * Janet says:

    1. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.
    2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    3 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    7. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
    9 The Heart of the Matter by Grahame Greene
    10. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
    11: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I hated this book BTW because the mother kills herself.

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  10. * Carrie K says:

    I didn’t even get Jane Eyre, only Rebecca.
    Do you really sort your books by color? Does it work out for you?

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago

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