You never know when book trivia is going to come up in conversation. I was once asked at a job interview to recite the first line of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I pulled that line out of nowhere (“Call me Ishmael.”) and, although I didn’t get the job, I had a moment of victory.
That’s the thing about trivia, isn’t it? It’s seemingly useless information that comes in handy at unexpected times.
I was thinking about that yesterday and decided I’d better brush up on my favorite books. Here are the first lines of my Top 15 Faves:
“At dusk they pour from the sky.”
“First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try.”
“In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.”
“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
“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.”
“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.”
“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’”
“There is nothing in the world more perfect than a slide rule.”
“From where I sit, the story of Arthur Less is not so bad.”
“A fug of tobacco smoke and damp clammy air hit her as she entered the café.”
“We were in class when the head-master came in, followed by a ‘new fellow’ not wearing the school uniform and a school servant carrying large desk.”
“For many years Henry Kitteridge was a pharmacist in the next town over, driving every morning on snowy roads, or rainy roads, or summertime roads, when the wild raspberries shot their new growth in brambles along the last section of town before he turned off to where the wider road led to the pharmacy.”
“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
“The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh’s moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog.”
“Have you ever known a famous man before he became famous?
Do you remember the first lines of your favorite books?
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