There are a couple new biographies out on Ayn Rand. I read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged when I was a teenager. NPR, Slate, the NY Times…all have featured recent segments about the biographies, and I realized that I have the first lines from each book memorized.
“Howard Roark laughed” is the first line of The Fountainhead and “Who is John Galt?” is the first line of Atlas Shrugged.
Lessee…I also know the first line of A Tale of Two Cities. Other than that, none come to mind, although I know if I picked up many more classics I’d definitely recognize them. What’s the first line of The Catcher in the Rye? Probably has “crummy” or “phony” in it.
I’ve read The Great Gatsby numerous times, but I have no idea what the first line is. I’ll get up and go look…I’ll bet I recognize it.
Wow. I totally remember it:
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
Damn, what a great book. What great advice.
Ok. Catcher next:
“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.”
Again, I totally remember that. I could just sit and read books all night.
Next to Catcher was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.”
I made a small bet with myself that I wouldn’t have known that one, but I did. And I only read it once. Years ago.
I grabbed one more book…Trainspotting. I didn’t remember the line, but I liked it:
“The sweat wis lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling.”
Do you have any memorized?