Weekly Geeks

Crikey. This week’s Weekly Geeks is a quiz. The post lists 100 first lines from books and asks how many you can identify. There is some kind of contest about getting all of them but ehh, I’ll just see how well I can do off the top of my head. Here’s the ones I know for sure:

1. Call me Ishmael.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Er, duh. Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984 by George Orwell

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 by Charles Dickens (*snore*)

10. I am an invisible man.
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (not H.G. Wells *grin*)

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 by Mark Twain

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.
Gee, I wonder if this could possibly be If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. ;)

16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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.
(I can’t technically count this one. After all, I only know it because of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. That is, I only know who wrote it because of that. I first learned it, like most people, from reading Peanuts.)

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 by Jeffrey Eugenides. (Great book, BTW.)

53. It was a pleasure to burn.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

65. You better not never tell nobody but God.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (another excellent book)

66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.”
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (kind of a meh book)

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (a very strange but intriguing book)

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 by Katherine Dunn (I loved it, but it’s not for everyone)

So, I was able to identify 15 of the 100. Not bad, considering how few of the books I’ve actually read. I recognized many more, but Googling is cheating, so I’ll leave it at that. I hope subsequent Weekly Geeks are more interesting than the memes that routinely show up on LiveJournal.

  1. You knew a lot of them! Some of the ones I knew only because the first lines are famous and not because I read them! Dewey just asked how many we could identify! LOL

  2. A lot of the ones I “knew” were only because they were famous too! I did actually read #97 though, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, so you can add that to your list. =-)

  3. 28 is The Stranger by Albert Camus
    20 is David Copperfield by Dickens

    I might have a few more you missed.

  4. #23 is The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
    #30 is Neuromancer, by William Gibson
    #69 is Herzog, by Saul Bellow

  5. Book Zombie (Joanne)

    3. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
    24. City Of Glass by Paul Auster
    37. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    38. Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
    54. End Of The Affair by Graham Greene
    56. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
    81. Crash by JG Ballard
    85. Last Good Kiss by James Krumley
    96. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

  6. I only know as many as I do because I’ve got classic lit books coming out my ears (I won’t say that I’ve actually read them all, though). You’re welcome to take as many as you’d like from my list here.

    I’ve been doing Weekly Geeks off and on from the beginning, it’s usually pretty fun, keep checking it out!

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