Answers–13 Opening Lines–How Many Can You Guess?

I mentioned that I had to go on maternity leave for my reading jobs, so my On Reading posts will no longer mean that I read a book for work. I could be a stickler for consistency and just stop doing them, but they’re just too much fun–especially when I catch the fever for a really great meme like the one accidentally started by the Accidental Novelist, and picked up by Poodlerat.

Here are 13 opening lines (or two) to books that are beloved by me, the Superfast Reader. See if you can guess where they come from. I’ll update the post with the answers as the correct ones come in.

  1. “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, guessed by Danika

  3. “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could neither read nor write.”
  4. –Ruth Rendell’s classic Judgment in Stone.

  5. “There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills.”
  6. Ann correctly guessed Alan Paton’s magnificent Cry, the Beloved Country.

  7. “The primroses were over. Toward the edge of the wood, where the ground became open and sloped down to an old fence and a brambly ditch beyond, only a few fading patches of pale yellow still showed among the dog’s mercury and oak-tree roots.”
  8. Danika guessed right–this is the opening to Watership Down.

  9. “Every time the men’s-room door opened, the amped-up onslaught of Swarm, the band banging out the concert in the theater overhead, came crashing in, richocheting off all the mirrors and ceramic surfaces until it seemed twice as loud. But then an air hinge would close the door, and Swarm would vanish, and you could once again hear students drunk on youth and beer being funny or at least loud as they stood before the urinals.”
  10. I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

  11. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
  12. –Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca, guessed by Katya.

  13. “I WILL NOT…Drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week.”
  14. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding, guessed by Eva.

  15. “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”
  16. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, guessed by Becky.

  17. “News item from the Westover (Me.) weekly Enterprise, August 19, 1966: RAIN OF STONES REPORTED.”
  18. –Danika correctly guessed Stephen King… but what book? Danika came back with Carrie & she’s right!

  19. “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”
  20. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

  21. “Indian summer is like a woman.”
  22. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

  23. “When the earthly goods of Ivar Gjesling the Younger of Sundbu were divided up in the year 1306, his property at Sils was given to his daugher Ragnfrid and her husband Lavrans Bjorgulfson.”
  24. –And Poodlerat takes it, identifying this from Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset, translated by Tiina Nunnally.

  25. “On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York.”
  26. –Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence

Who knows my books?

21 thoughts on “Answers–13 Opening Lines–How Many Can You Guess?”

  1. I’ve read more than one of these books — I know I have but I can only identify β€œLast night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” from Rebecca.

  2. Awww… I was excited that I immediately spotted Bridget Jones’ Diary, but Eva got it.

    I’m pretty sure #1 is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    I have no idea where #8 or #10 are from, but I love them both!

    Some of the others sound familiar, but I can’t place them. I immediately thought of Stephen King for #9, but I haven’t read any of his novels for a long time.

  3. This one rather psyched me out, I couldn’t get any of them. I did better at the Accidental Novelist. Anyway, to make myself feel better, I posted my own list. Hopefully I can stump a person or two.

  4. LOL! I didn’t twig that Annie=Superfast Reader. Of course, the connection between Walrus and Janet is not that transparent either.

  5. Yup, our handles are confusing… I’m Danika / OpenChannel / The Accidental Novelist.

    I think it’s Carrie for #9

    Now I have to run over to Walrus / Janet and see what she’s posted.

    The Accidental Meme… haha!

  6. Come on, you got #5. Sure, you’d just stumbled across it earlier, but so what? We have to take all the hard knocks we get in life, whether we deserve them or not. So why not accept it happily when we get unfair advantages? ;o)

  7. I’ve revealed the answers on all mine over at The Accidental Novelist!

    oh, and is #4 from Watership Down?

    Walrus – okay! I’ll take serendipity then, that I just happened to come across that line earlier in the day. hooray for happy accidents!

  8. No. 3 is Alan Paton’s ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’ which I think is one of the most magnificent books ever written. His feel for the music behind the language just leaves me breathless and I am so glad to find another reader who values this beautiful and tragic novel.

  9. Danika–yes!

    Ann–definitely yes! My 9th grade English teacher wanted me to memorize that first paragraph for our annual poetry contest. I chose to memorize “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe instead and she totally picked somebody else to compete. It was a small school so I am sure it was personal on her part…

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