First Lines, Last Lines


last update: 2 July 2020


Occasionally a TV quiz question touches on one or other famous first or last line of a book, and here I will try to collect some of those famous lines.

Remember, this is not about the best, but about what might turn up in a quiz…

1. Which books opens with this line?
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
5. Which book opens with this line?
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
13. Which book opens with this line?
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."


First Lines


Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. - Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605)

I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull … - Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. - Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

Call me Ishmael. - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. - George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877)

The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)


Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. - Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

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. - J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
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 (1952)
It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
All this happened, more or less. - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel. - William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)



"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
Emma, Jane Austen

"You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

"1801 – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.”
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book', thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?"
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

"'What’s it going to be then, eh?'"
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

"It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful."
Matilda, Roald Dahl

“All children, except one, grow up.”
Peter Pan, JM Barrie

Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.
The Godfather, Mario Puzo

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

"The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand."
The Invisible Man , H. G. Wells

"Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living."
2001 - A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke.

"It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills."
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

“No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”
The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.

"The primroses were over."
Watership Down , Richard Adams

"Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse."
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die."
Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

"Marley was dead, to begin with."
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure."
—The Stranger by Albert Camus



Last Lines



  • "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
    The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald
  • Gone with the Wind
    gone-with-the-wind-3



  • "After all, tomorrow is another day."
    Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
    to-kill-a-mockingbird-1



  • "He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • The Bell Jar
    the-bell-jar-1



  • "The eyes and faces all turned themselves towards me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room."
    The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • Animal Farm
    animal-farm-1



  • "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
    Animal Farm, George Orwell
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  • Life of Pi
    life-of-pi-1



  • "Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger."
    Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  • The House At Pooh Corner
    the-house-at-pooh-corner-1



  • "But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
    The House At Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
    the-time-traveler-s-wife-1



  • "He is coming, and I am here."
    The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Old Man and the Sea
    the-old-man-and-the-sea-1



  • "The old man was dreaming about the lions."
    The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
    memoirs-of-a-geisha-1



  • "Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper."
    Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

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  • Pride and Prejudice
    pride-and-prejudice-1



  • "With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them."
    Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • P.S. I Love You
    p-s-i-love-you-1



  • "In the meantime, she would just live."
    P.S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern
  • 1984
    1984-1



  • "He loved Big Brother."
    1984, George Orwell
  • Charlotte's Web
    charlotte-s-web-1



  • "It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."
    Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
  • The Catcher in the Rye
    the-catcher-in-the-rye-1



  • "It's funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."
    The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

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  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
    divine-secrets-of-the-ya-ya-sisterhood-1



  • "For Siddalee Walker, the need to understand has passed, at least for the moment. All that was left was love and wonder."
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells
  • A Clockwork Orange
    a-clockwork-orange-1



  • "And so farewell from your little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms of lip-music brrrrr. And they can kiss my sharries. But you, O my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal."
    A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  • A Tale of Two Cities
    a-tale-of-two-cities-1



  • "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
    A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • Dracula
    dracula-1



  • "Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake."
    Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • Where the Wild Things Are
    where-the-wild-things-are-1



  • "Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him—and it was still hot."

    Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

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  • The End of the Affair
    the-end-of-the-affair-1



  • "I wrote at the start that this was a record of hate, and walking there beside Henry towards the evening glass of beer, I found the one prayer that seemed to serve the winter mood: O God, You've done enough, You've robbed me of enough, I'm too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone forever."
    The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
  • The Color Purple
    the-color-purple-1



  • "But I don't think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt."
    The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
    the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-1



  • "Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room. The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below."
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • Wild Swans
    wild-swans-1



  • "As I left China farther and farther behind, I looked out of the window and saw a great universe beyond the plane's silver wing. I took one more glance over my past life, then turned to the future. I was eager to embrace the world."
    Wild Swans, Jung Chang
  • Origin of Species
    origin-of-species-1



  • "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
    Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

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  • Brokeback Mountain
    brokeback-mountain-1



  • "There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it."
    Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx
  • The Makioka Sisters
    the-makioka-sisters-1



  • "Yukiko's diarrhoea persisted through the twenty-sixth, and was a problem on the train to Tokyo."
    The Makioka Sisters, Junichiro Tanizaki
  • Crime and Punishment
    crime-and-punishment-1



  • "But that is the beginning of a new story - the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended."
    Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Like Water for Chocolate
    like-water-for-chocolate-1



  • "How wonderful the flavor, the aroma of her kitchen, her stories as she prepared the meal, her Christmas Rolls! I don't know why mine never turn out like hers, or why my tears flow so freely when I prepare them - perhaps I am as sensitive to onions as Tita, my great-aunt, who will go on living as long as there is someone who cooks her recipes."
    Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
  • Little Women
    little-women-1



  • "Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this."
    Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

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  • Sarah's Key
    sarah-s-key-1



  • "We sat there for a long time, till the crowd around us thinned, till the sun shifted and the light changed. Till we felt our eyes could meet again, without the tears."
    Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz-1



  • "'From the Land of Oz,' said Dorothy gravely. 'And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!'"
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
  • The Book Thief
    the-book-thief-1



  • "A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans."
    The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • The Awakening
    the-awakening-1



  • "There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air."
    The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  • The Beach
    the-beach-1



  • "I'm fine. I have bad dreams but I never saw Mister Duck again. I play video games. I smoke a little dope. I got my thousand-yard stare. I carry a lot of scars. I like the way that sounds. I carry a lot of scars."
    The Beach, Alex Garland

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  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-1



  • "The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well."
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
  • Frankenstein
    frankenstein-1



  • "He was soon borne away
    by the waves and lost in darkness and distance."
    Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • Watership Down
    watership-down-1



  • "He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom."
    Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • Rebecca
    rebecca-1



  • "And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea."
    Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  • The Handmaid's Tale
    the-handmaid-s-tale-1



  • "Are there any questions?"
    The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

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  • Moby Dick
    moby-dick-1



  • "It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan."
    Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • The Kite Runner
    the-kite-runner-1



  • "I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the valley of Panjsher on my lips. I ran."
    The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  • The Stranger
    the-stranger-1



  • "For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration."
    The Stranger, Albert Camus
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
    the-girl-who-kicked-the-hornet-s-nest-1



  • "She opened the door wide and let him into her life again."
    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
  • Of Mice and Men
    of-mice-and-men-1



  • "Curley and Carlson looked after them. And Carlson said, 'Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?'"
    Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck



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  • Never Let Me Go
    never-let-me-go-1



  • "I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be."
    Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Moll Flanders
    moll-flanders-1



  • "My husband remained there some time after me to settle our affairs, and at first I had intended to go back to him, but at his desire I altered that resolution, and he is come over to England also, where we resolve to spend the remainder of our years in sincere penitence for the wicked lives we have lived."
    Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    the-devil-wears-prada-1



  • "And then, while the pretty brunette girl finished singing her verse, he buzzed me through like I was someone who mattered."
    The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
  • The Green Mile
    the-green-mile-1



  • "We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long."
    The Green Mile, Stephen King
  • The Age of Innocence
    the-age-of-innocence-1



  • "At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for, Newland Archer got up slowly and walked back alone to his hotel."
    The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
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  • The Cellist of Sarajevo
    the-cellist-of-sarajevo-1



  • "Her lips move and a moment before the door splinters off its hinges she says, her voice strong and quiet, 'My name is Alisa.'"
    The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway
  • Middlesex
    middlesex-1



  • "I lost track after a while, happy to be home, weeping for my father, and thinking about what was next."
    Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Suite Francaise
    suite-francaise-1



  • "The men began singing, a grave, slow song that drifted away into the night. Soon the road was empty. All that remained of the German regiment was a little cloud of dust."
    Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky
  • A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali
    a-sunday-at-the-pool-in-kigali-1



  • "Valcourt is at peace with himself."
    A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, Gil Courtemanche
  • The Fiery Cross
    the-fiery-cross-1



  • "'When the day shall come, that we do part,' he said softly, and turned to look at me, 'if my last words are not ‘I love you’ – ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.'"
    The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon

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  • Chocolat
    chocolat-1



  • "She closes her eyes again and I begin to sing softly:
    '''V'la l'bon vent, v'la l'joli vent
    V'la l'bon vent, ma mie m'appelle.'''
    Hoping that this time it will remain a lullaby. That this time the wind will not hear. That this time - please just this once - it will leave without us."
    Chocolat, Joanne Harris
  • Catch-22
    catch-22-1



  • "The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off."
    Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Wuthering Heights
    wuthering-heights-1



  • "I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth."
    Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  • The Hand That First Held Mine
    the-hand-that-first-held-mine-1



  • "His body stirs beneath the sheets. He twists his head from one side to the other. His eyes, she sees, are open. Then she feels a pressure on her hand and he speaks his first words for a week. 'Keep going, El,' he says, 'Keep going.' And so she does."
    The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell
  • The Long Goodbye
    the-long-goodbye-1



  • ''I never saw any of them again — except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them."
    The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler

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  • Winter in Madrid
    winter-in-madrid-1



  • "She watched as Sandy Forsyth walked across the talmac towards them, smiling like an eager curious schoolboy as he lifted his face to the sunny English afternoon."
    Winter in Madrid, C. J. Sansom
  • The Pianist
    the-pianist-1



  • "I went on my way. A stormy wind rattled the scrap-iron in the ruins, whistling and howling through the charred cavities of the windows. Twilight came on. Snow fell from the darkening, leaden sky."
    The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945, Wladyslaw Szpilman
  • Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
    don-t-let-s-go-to-the-dogs-tonight-1



  • "This is not a full circle. It's Life carrying on. It's the next breath we all take. It's the choice we make to get on with it."
    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, Alexandra Fuller
  • Midnight's Children
    midnight-s-children-1



  • "Yes, they will trample me underfoot, the numbers marching one two three, four hundred million five hundred six, reducing me to specks of voiceless dust, just as, in all good time, they will trample my son who is not my son, and his son who will not be his, and his who will not be his, until the thousand and first generation, until a thousand and one midnights have bestowed their terrible gifts and a thousand and one children have died, because it is the privilege and the curse of midnight’s children to be both masters and victims of their times, to forsake privacy and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and to be unable to live or die in peace."
    Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
  • A Hundred and One Days
    a-hundred-and-one-days-1



  • "The white floodlight shines through the wispy tule and makes thin shadows. A sudden breeze over the Tigris forms a tiny whirlwind. It floats through the balcony doors and makes the curtains dance."
    A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, Asne Seierstad

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  • Cider With Rosie
    cider-with-rosie-1



  • "It was then that I began to sit on my bed and stare out at the nibbling squirrels, and to make up powems from intense abstraction, hour after unmarked hour, imagination scarcely faltering once, rhythm hardly skipping a beat, while sisters called me, suns rose and fell, and the poems I made, which I never remembered, were the first and last of that time…"
    Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee
  • Vile Bodies
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  • "And presently, like a circling typhoon, the sounds of battle began to return."
    Vile Bodies, Evelyn Waugh
  • The House Of The Spirits
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  • "It begins like this: Barrabás came to us by sea…"
    The House Of The Spirits, Isabel Allende
  • Madame Bovary
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  • "He now has more patients than the devil himself could handle; the authorities treat him with deference and public opinion supports him. He has just been awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor."
    Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
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  • "But the naming game involves only male names, because if it's a girl, Laila has already named her."
    A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

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  • A Moveable Feast
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  • "But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy."
    A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
  • Lord of the Flies
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  • "He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance."
    Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • Breaking Dawn
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  • "And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever."
    Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
  • The Grapes of Wrath
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  • "She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously."
    The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Kitchen God's Wife
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  • "Of course, it's only superstition, just for fun. But see how fast the smoke rises--oh, even faster when we laugh, lifting our hopes, higher and higher."
    The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan

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  • The Hours
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  • "And here she is, herself, Clarissa, not Mrs. Dalloway anymore; there is no one now to call her that. Here she is with another hour before her. 'Come in, Mrs. Brown,' she says. 'Everything's ready.'"
    The Hours, Michael Cunningham
  • The Sound and the Fury
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  • "The broken flower drooped over Ben's fist and his eyes were empty and blue and serene again as cornice and facade flowed smoothly once more from left to right, post and tree, window and doorway and signboard each in its ordered place."
    The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  • The Good Earth
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  • "'Rest assured, our father, rest assured. The land is not to be sold.' But over the old man's head they looked at each other and smiled."
    The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  • Les Miserables
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  • "This stone is entirely blank. The only thought in cutting it was of the essentials of the grave, and there was no other care than to make this stone long enough and narrow enough to cover a man. No name can be read there."
    Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  • Brave New World
    brave-new-world-1



  • "Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east ... "
    Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

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  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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  • "I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before."
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Atonement
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  • "But now I must sleep."
    Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
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  • "Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days."
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
    perfume-the-story-of-a-murderer-1



  • "When they finally did dare it, at first with stolen glances then candid ones, they had to smile. They were uncommonly proud. For the first time they had done something out of Love."
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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  • "Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead."
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

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  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
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  • "An excellent year's progress."
    Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
  • Anne of Green Gables
    anne-of-green-gables-1



  • "'God's in his heaven, all’s right with the world,' whispered Anne softly."
    Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Man and Wife
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  • "And so we stayed out in the garden of the old house until we couldn’t see to kick a ball, laughing in the gathering twilight, my mother and son, my wife and our daughter, making the most of the good weather and all the days that were left, our little game watched only by next door’s cat, and every star in the heavens."
    Man and Wife, Tony Parsons
  • Norwegian Wood
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  • "Again and again I called out for Midori from the dead centre of this place that was no place."
    Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
  • Emma
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  • "But, in spite of these deficiencies, the wishes, the hopes, the confidence, the predictions of the small band of true friends who witnessed the ceremony, were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union."
    Emma, Jane Austen
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  • Slaughterhouse-Five
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  • "One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, 'Poo-tee-weet?'"
    Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • White Teeth
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  • "Archie, for one, watched the mouse. He watched it stand very still for a second with a smug look as if it exepcted nothing less. He watched it scurry away, over his hand. He watched it dash along the table and through the hands of those who wished to pin it down. He watched it leap off the end and disappear through an air vent. Go on my son! thought Archie."
    White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    the-hound-of-the-baskervilles-1



  • "Might I trouble you then to be ready in half an hour, and we can stop at Marcini’s for a little dinner on the way?"
    The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Any Human Heart
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  • "My personal rollercoaster. Not so much a rollercoaster - a rollercoaster's too smooth - a yo-yo rather - a jerking, spinning toy in the hands of a maladroit child, more like, trying too hard, too impatiently eager to learn how to operate his new yo-yo."
    Any Human Heart, William Boyd
  • The Lovely Bones
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  • "I wish you all a long and happy life."
    The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold




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  • Heart of Darkness
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  • "The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the utmost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."
    Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  • The Outcast
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  • "He didn't think about it, he went straight to a seat facing forwards, so that he could see where he was going."
    The Outcast, Sadie Jones
  • Alone in Berlin
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  • "Because it is written that you reap what you sow, and the boy had sown good corn."
    Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
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  • "She had started to cry softly. Odenigbo took her in his arms."
    Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Before I Die
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  • "Light falls through the window, falls onto me, into me. Moments. All gathering towards this one."
    Before I Die, Jenny Downham