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April 01, 2011

Demon's Lexicon: First Lines Game!

BotM: Demon's Lexicon

I originally picked up this book because I had found the author on Twitter via other authors I like, and enjoyed her tweets. Honestly, I wasn't sure about the premise of the book starting out, but it grabbed me in the first paragraph:

The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.
I was enthralled from that moment on. The mention of a "favorite sword" is obviously a hook to catch the reader's attention, but it goes deeper: the juxtaposition of a leaky sink and a sword sets the tone for the rest of the book, of fantasy that is very much grounded in the real world, and the humor of the lines is an excellent preview of what is to come.

In celebration of awesome first lines, I have put together a little game for you. Here are memorable first lines from 20 books that I adore. How many can you identify? I will keep comments screened; you have until the end of the month or until someone gets all of them to figure it out. (And if you tell me your guesses, I'll tell you which ones you have right, so you can keep working on the others. And if you guess five and then think of a sixth later, send it along. Not a one-shot deal!) Whoever gets the most correct gets a prize. Enjoy!

HINT: No two are by the same author. Most, but not quite all, are fiction.

1. "Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof."

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

3. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

4. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."

5. "He has forgotten something, he knows that for sure when he wakes up. Something he dreamt during the night. Something he ought to remember."

6. "It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book."

7. "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

8. "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

10. "I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him."

11. "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too."

12. "August came in, that summer of 1141, tawny as a lion and somnolent and purring as a hearthside cat."

13. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

14. "The Fossil sisters lived in the Cromwell Road. At that end of it which is farthest away from the Brompton Road, and yet sufficiently near it so one could be taken to look at the dolls' houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day. If the weather were not too wet, one was expected to 'save the penny and walk.'"

15. "The first day of term has a flavour that is all its own; a whiff of lazy days behind and a foretaste of the busy future. The essential thing, for a village schoolmistress on such a day, is to get up early."

16. "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."

17. "When Lady Ann Sercomb married George Smiley towards the end of the war she described him to her astonished Mayfair friends as breathtakingly ordinary."

18. "It was a dark and stormy night." (This is a trick question, as there are at least two books that start that way. If you know me, you'll know which one I mean.)

19. "In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen."

20. "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."

Posted by Kat at April 1, 2011 07:30 AM
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