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Book quiz

Here's a quiz for you: can you identify the books that these opening paragraphs come from? Most are classics that should be on any well-stocked bookshelf. A couple are translations into English, and one is a 'cult' novel that some of you will know. For an added bit of fun, the first letters of the authors' names will spell out a name familiar to many of you.

I returned from the City about three o'clock on that May afternoon pretty well disgusted with life. I had been three months in the Old Country, and was fed up with it. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have been feeling like that I should have laughed at him; but there was the fact. The weather made me liverish, the talk of the ordinary Englishman made me sick, I couldn't get enough exercise, and the amusements of London seemed as flat as soda-water that has been standing in the sun. 'Richard Hannay,' I kept telling myself, 'you have got into the wrong ditch, my friend, and you had better climb out.'
Roger, aged seven, and no longer the youngest of the family, ran in wide zigzags, to and fro, across the steep field that sloped up from the lake to Holly Howe, the farm where they were staying for part of the summer holidays. He ran until he nearly reached the hedge by the footpath, then turned and ran until he nearly reached the hedge on the other side of the field. Then he turned and crossed the field again. Each crossing of the field brought him nearer to the farm. The wind was against him, and he was tacking up against it to the farm, where at the gate his patient mother was awaiting him. He could not run straight against the wind because he was a sailling vessel, a tea-clipper, the Cutty Sark. His elder brother John had said only that morning that steamships were just engines in tin boxes. Sail was the thing, and so, though it took rather longer, Roger made his way up the field in broad tacks.
A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing among the big trees, and they never saw that little house again.
I met my Aunt Augusta for the first time in more than half a century at my mother's funeral. My mother was approaching eighty-six when she died, and my aunt was some eleven or twelve years younger. I had retired from the bank two years before with an adequate pension and a silver handshake. There had been a take-over by the Westminster and my branch was considered redundant. Everyone thought me lucky, but I found it difficult to occupy my time. I have never married, I have always lived quietly, and, apart from my interest in dahlias, I have no hobby. For those reasons I found myself agreeably excited by my mother's funeral.
Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down - from high flat temples - in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It was Apollo, Son of Zeus and Leto, who started the feud, when he punished the King for his discourtesy to Chryses, his priest, by inflicting a deadly plague on his army and destroying his men. Chryses had come to the Achaean ships to recover his captured daughter. He brought with him a generous ransom and carried the chaplet of the Archer-god Apollo on a golden staff in his hand. He appealed to the whole Achaean army, and most of all to its two commanders, the sons of Atreus.
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. This was beginning with God and the duty of every faithful monk would be to repeat every day with chanting humility the one never-changing event whose incontrovertible truth can be asserted. But we see now through a glass darkly, and the truth, before it is revealed to all, face to face, we see in fragments (alas, how illegible) in the error of the world, so we must spell out its faithful signals even when they seem obscure to us and as if amalgamated with a will wholly bent on evil.
Roy Tappen was always mildly amazed when the security police passed him through the high steel gates into the tightest of all Britain's research establishments, the Nuclear-Utilization Technology Centre, whose inmates alternately pronounced the acronym Nuts or vilely anagrammatized it. Not that he felt a suspicious character; indeed, he regarded himself as startlingly handsome and distinguished, tastefully average in height, appropriately kempt of hair and generally British through and through. The trouble was his security pass, with a photo labelled R TAPPEN SSO, but in fact showing an unshaven homicidal lunatic and child-molester with a crippling hangover and at least one glass eye, photographed after forty-eight hours' strenuous axe-murdering. How unfair that each morning the Ministry of Defence police acknowledged this apparition to be unmistakably Tappen, and agreed that his pleasant light brown hair was identical with the photograph's, which appeared to be plaid.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

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Wow, call me an illiterate American...

I've only read two of these! Number 3, and obviously number 6. Sigh...

Re: Wow, call me an illiterate American...

If you're more into media, by my count seven of them have been filmed.

Well, 1 is the 39 Steps. I thought for a while it was going to be 'Alan Quartermaine'- the sequel for King Soloman's mines, but the 'Hannay' gave it away!

2 is Swallows and Amazons, I think

5... could it be 'The Maltese Falcon'?

6 Do I have to comment?

8 Is it 'A Canticle for Lieberwitz'?

Not bad.

Nice try for 8, but no.

I'm also illiterate - I recognised Swallows and Amazons and the Hobbit, and that's that.

If people are going to post spoilers, then I must say that (3) is Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Which is actually the second book in the series; Little House in the Big Woods is the first.)

Re: well all right...

But wasn't Little House in the Big Woods one of the later ones to be written? :) Or is that just being picky?

3 - Yup, I got Little House on the Prairie too. Sad, aren't I?

9 - The most excellent 'The Leaky Establishment' by Dave Langford

10 - Dickens... Great Expectations?

8 - The Name of the Rose?

...and well done for 8 - I thought it would be quite tricky!

(Deleted comment)
You're online at an insane hour. I thought it was only me who suffered insomnia like this. :)

Currently bouncing a very wide-awake baby on my knee. Its not me with the insomnia...

Ah, I did wonder. Good luck getting her back to sleep then.

If it wasn't Canticle, it had to be Rose. What else is so centred on monks? Not that I've read the Name of the Rose yet (although I have, of course, read Canticle for Lieberwitz).

10... Du Maurier, perhaps? Although I couldn't tell you the name of the book. Or the film. I just remember Mandaley and Du Maurier for some reason.

1 - 39 Steps - John Buchan
2 - Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
3 - Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
4 - Travels With My Aunt - Graham Greene (had to look up the author, very good film with Maggie Smith)
5 -
6 - The Hobbit - JRR Tolkein
7 - The Illiyad - Homer
8 -
9 - The Leaky Establishment - David Langford
10 - Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier


I'm guessing 5's author starts with an H and 8's with an E :-)

I would have guessed Raymond Chandler for 5 but doesn't fit with the first letter.

That would be

'The Maltese Falcon' by Dashiel Hammett

The Name of the Rose is by Umberto Eco.

And yeah Tom, I initially thought 1 was Alan Quartermain as well :)

7 - The Illiad? Rather than the Odyssey

Ello - I was just about to show Stephen what Mark looked like on your site, and couldn't! Could you be a sweetie and mail me the salient photos from the St. Andrews ball in June last year, at lilitufire @

Tank oo!

1 - B

John Buchan The Thirty-Nine Steps

2 - R

Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons

3 - I

Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie

4 - G

Graham Greene Travels with my Aunt

5 - H

Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon

6 - T

J. R. R. Tolkien The Hobbit

7 - H

Homer The Iliad

8 - E

Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose

9 - L

David Langford The Leaky Establishment

10 - M

Daphne du Maurier Rebecca

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