If you happened into the store last month, you saw our First Line Contest. We set up a range of first lines and books and you had to match one with the other. Here are the answers for those of you curious to see how you did. (Or those of you who are just interested in this kind of literary trivia.)
1 – Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet
In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army.
2 – Louisa May Alcott, LittleWomen
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents, “ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
3 – William Styron, LieDown in Darkness
Riding down to Port Warwick from Richmond, the train begins to pick up speed on the outskirts of the city, past the tobacco factories with their ever-present haze of acrid, sweetish dust and past the rows of uniformly brown clapboard houses which stretch down the hilly streets for miles, it seems the hundreds of rooftops all reflecting the pale light of dawn; past the suburban roads still sluggish and sleepy with early morning traffic, and rattling swiftly now over the bridge which separates the last two hills where in the valley below you can see the James River winding beneath its acid-green crust of scum out beside the chemical plants and more rows of clapboard houses and into the woods beyond.
4 – William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom
From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that – a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.
5 – Oscar Wilde, ThePicture of Dorian Gray
The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.
6 – Charlotte Bronte, JaneEyre
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.
7 – Kurt Vonnegut, Welcometo the Monkey House
Not very long ago, an encyclopedia salesman stopped by America’s oldest library building, which is the lovely Sturgis Library in Barnstable Village, on Cape Cod’s north shore.
8 – John Kennedy Toole, AConfederacy of Dunces
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.
9 – Dennis Lehane, Mystic River
When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worked together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them.
10 – Gustave Flaubert, MadamBovary
We were at prep, when the Head came in, followed by a new boy not in uniform and a school-servant carrying a big desk.
11 – John Steinbeck, TheGrapes of Wrath
To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
12 – Thomas Hardy, Tessof the D’Urbervilles
On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor.
13 – D. H. Lawrence, LadyChatterley’s Lover
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.
14 – Michael Pollan, TheOmnivore’s Dilemma
Air-conditioned, odorless, illuminated by buzzing fluorescent tubes, the American supermarket doesn’t present itself as having very much to do with Nature.