It Was the Best of Quizzes, It Was the Worst of Quizzes: Can You Name These Classic Novels From Their Opening Lines?

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Becky

6 Min Quiz

Call me Ishmael.

"Call me Ishmael" is the first line from Moby Dick. Moby Dick was written by Herman Melville in 1851.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" is the first line of Pride and Prejudice. This classic novel was written by Jane Austen in 1813.

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Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice" is the opening line of the classic novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. The book was written by Gabriel García Márquez in 1967.

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

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" is the opening line of the classic novel Anna Karenina. The book was written by Leo Tolstoy in 1877.

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

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" is the opening line of 1984. The book was written by George Orwell in 1949.

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..." is the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities. The book was written by Charles Dickens in 1859.

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I am an invisible man.

"I am an invisible man" is the opening line of Invisible Man. The book was written by Ralph Ellison in 1952. Yeah, this one was kind of a gimme.

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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.

"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" is the opening line of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book was written by Mark Twain in 1885.

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Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested" is the opening line of the classic novel The Trial. The book was written by Franz Kafka in 1925.

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If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born ...

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born ..." is the first line of the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. The book was written by J.D. Salinger in 1951.

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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.

"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" is the opening line of the classic novel David Copperfield. The book was written by Charles Dickens in 1850.

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Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed" is the opening line of the classic novel Ulysses. The book was written by James Joyce in 1922.

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124 was spiteful.

"124 was spiteful" is the opening line of the classic novel Beloved. The book was written by Toni Morrison in 1987.

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Mother died today.

"Mother died today" is the opening line of the classic novel The Stranger. The book was written by Albert Camus in 1942.

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I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.

"I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man" is the opening line of Notes from Underground. The book was written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1864.

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Where now? Who now? When now?

"Where now? Who now? When now?" is the opening line of the classic novel The Unnameable. The book was written by Samuel Beckett in 1953.

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In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

"In a sense, I am Jacob Horner" is the opening line of The End of the Road. The book was written by John Barth in 1958.

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Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself" is the opening line of the classic novel Mrs. Dalloway. The book was written by Virginia Woolf in 1925. If you didn't guess this one correctly, you're in trouble.

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All this happened, more or less.

"All this happened, more or less" is the opening line of the classic novel Slaughterhouse Five. The book was written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1969.

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For a long time, I went to bed early.

For a long time, I went to bed early" is the opening line of the classic novel Swann's Way. The book was written by Marcel Proust in 1913.

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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.

"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" is the opening line of The Old Man and the Sea. The book was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1952.

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It was a pleasure to burn.

"It was a pleasure to burn" is the opening line of the classic novel Fahrenheit 451. The book was written by Ray Bradbury in 1953.

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I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country...

"I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country..." is the opening line of the classic novel Robinson Crusoe. The book was written by Daniel Defoe in 1719.

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Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress" is the opening line of the classic novel Middlemarch. The book was written by George Eliot in 1872.

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It was love at first sight.

"It was love at first sight" is the opening line of the classic novel Catch-22. The book was written by Joseph Heller in 1961.

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I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving" is the opening line of the classic novel The Razor's Edge. The book was written by W. Somerset Maugham in 1944.

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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning...

"The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning" is the opening line of the classic novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill. The book was written by G. K. Chesterton in 1904.

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In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since" is the opening line of the classic novel The Great Gatsby. The book was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.

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You better not never tell nobody but God.

"You better not never tell nobody but God" is the opening line of the classic novel The Color Purple. The book was written by Alice Walker in 1982.

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It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York" is the opening line of the classic novel The Bell Jar. The book was written by Sylvia Plath in 1963.

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In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.

"In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains" is the opening line of the classic novel A Farewell to Arms. The book was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929.

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I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink" is the opening line of the classic novel I Capture the Castle. The book was written by Dodie Smith in 1948.

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I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as...

"I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as..." is the opening line of the classic novel I, Claudius. The book was written by Robert Graves in 1934.

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Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.

"Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space" is the opening line of the classic novel Cat's Eye. The book was written by Margaret Atwood in 1988.

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The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.

"The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting" is the opening line of the classic novel The Red Badge of Courage. The book was written by Stephen Crane in 1895.

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About This Quiz

Are you a die-hard fan of classic literature? If so, you are probably very familiar with such great novels as A Tale of Two Cities, Slaughterhouse Five and 1984. If you think you remember the opening lines of each of these classic novels, and 32 others, then this is the quiz for you. Let's get started to find out if you know as much as you think you do.

One of the most recognizable lines of all time is "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This opening line, from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, has been spoken in movies and by people throughout the world. But this isn't the only classic novel that Dickens wrote. If you are a fan of classic literature, you know that Dickens also wrote such great reads as Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. A great number of his works have been made into movies, so that even non-readers will recognize his stories. One of the greatest storytellers of all time, Dickens was also praised by other great storytellers, his contemporaries, such as George Orwell and Leo Tolstoy.

If you think you remember the opening lines of the classic novels included in this quiz, let's get started!

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