I realize that I wrote at the end of my post “First Lines, Part two” that I’d give the answers in the next post. And then I got all distracted, first by Valentine’s Day and then by the Post-a-week challenge. So I apologize. Congrats to John Bennett, who got most of them correct and put them in the comments section. (See, if you just thought the correct answers, you get no credit.) Here are the answers:
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.
It’s one of my favorites: J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
No, it wasn’t a trick question as someone thought. Virginia Woolf’, Mrs. Dalloway
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.
Okay, I’m willing to admit I’ve never read this book, but I love reading the Bulwer-Lytton contest winners every year, so I had to include it. Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford
Mother died today.
Not to brag, but I read this one in the original French! Albert Camus, The Stranger (or L’étranger).
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
All this happened, more or less.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
It was love at first sight.
I have to admit that I read and loved this book but had not remembered that this was its first line. Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.
This book has a much better beginning than ending. I admire and revere David Foster Wallace, but the ending of this book actually made me angry. And it’s not just that I’m jealous that he wrote this in college…David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Okay, if you didn’t get this one, I’d be surprised. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (Or if you’re referring to the U.K. edition, as John pointed out, it would be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.)