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Thirteen opening sentences (how many do you know?)

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Books

One of the most famous first lines in literary history is:It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

But how many others do you know?

For today’s Thursday Thirteen, I present a companion piece to a post I wrote last December. Hopefully it will be as much fun as that was, whilst still testing your literary knowledge and continue to make you both think and smile in equal measure.

Listed below are thirteen famous opening lines from thirteen (very) famous books…all you have to do is work out which novel each line comes from.

Simple, eh? :)

Thirteen opening sentences…

1. “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day,”

2. “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow,”

3. “I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father’s house,”

4. “The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards,”

5. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,”

6. “Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight – an upper middle-class family in full plumage.”

7. “I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror,”

8. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.”

9. “Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life,”

10. “All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion”

11. “Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.”

12. “Even in high summer, Tintagel was a haunted place; Igraine, Lady of Duke Gorlois, looked out over the sea from the headland.”

and, just for fun, the longest opening sentence I can remember…

13. “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 door, 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.”

The answers…

To reveal the answers, simply highlight the empty space after each number!

1. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

3. Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson)

4. A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin)

5. 1984 (George Orwell)

6. The Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy)

7. Fifty Shades of Grey (EL James)

8. Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne)

9. James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl)

10. Anna Karenin (Leo Tolstoy)

11. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)

12. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

13. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

So, how’d you go? You must have at least got number eleven! :p

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2 thoughts on “Thirteen opening sentences (how many do you know?)

  1. I knew the childrens books, you never seem to forget them.

    Like

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