Sunday Diversion: A Second Line Quiz (with answers)

On Sunday, I challenged you to guess thirteeen famous novels from just their second sentences. It’s time now for the answers. If you didn’t catch this over the weekend, I’ve included the answers below each sentence, but you need to highlight the answer to see it. This way you can still play along.

Alright, here we go.


1. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clearly and swiftly moving and blue in the channels.

ANSWER: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

2. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the fence.

ANSWER: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

3. To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled, the expedition were bound to take place, and the wonder to which he had looked forward, for years and years it seemed, was, after a night’s darkness and a day’s sail, within touch.

ANSWER: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

4. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

ANSWER: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

5. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of surrounding families, that he is considered as the right property of some one or the other of their daughters.

ANSWER: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

6. He had safely avoided meeting the landlady on the stairs.

ANSWER: Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 

7. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood movie-ectoplasms.

ANSWER: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

8. My sin, my soul.

ANSWER: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

9. Full of a baby’s venom.

ANSWER: Beloved by Toni Morrison

10. There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France.

ANSWER: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

11. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

ANSWER: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

12. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.

ANSWER: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

13. It was a pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.

ANSWER: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury