Can You Match the Line to its Novel?

first line snoopy
First impressions are important; this is especially the case with books. A good first line can mean the difference between putting a book back on the shelf, and reading it all the way to the cashier (or librarian depending on where this scenario is happening). Take for example Jane Austen’s iconic first line to Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” This first line is memorable for a reason; it’s wrought with irony setting a tone that distinguishes this novel from its contemporaries.  Do you have what it takes to match famous first lines to the title of the novel they came from? Give it a try.


1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

2. 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.

3. All this happened, more or less.

4. All children, except one, grow up.

5. 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.

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Good luck!

a)     The Catcher in the Rye  by J. D. Salinger

b)     Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

c)     A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

d)     Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

e)     Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

f)      1984 by George Orwell

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How did you do, were you able to match them all up? What are some of your favorite first lines?

(Answers: 1.f, 2.c, 3.b, 4.e, 5.a, 6.d)