Goodbye January 2022! It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst …

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

I don’t know about A Tale of Two Cities, but here in this cold, damp corner of London Town, in January 2022 the tale of this city is soaring infection rates and daily news bulletins confirming that we are led by thieves and liars, in case we weren’t sure, and firmly established in the age of ignorance.

In order to cheer myself up and because I have spent most of last week weeping into my tea like the mad hatter at Alice in Wonderland’s tea party (or was it Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party) I thought I would do something different this week other than my usual book review. I am indebted to Sister Rune for many of these ideas.  So tah-dah. Here is my Literary First Lines Quiz to celebrate the end of Odious January 2022.

(Answers below)

Also Davida has something similar going on at The Chocolate Lady’s Review Blog .


  1. ‘All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’
  2. ‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.’
  3. ‘It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the Archbishop had come to see me.” 
  4. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.’
  5. ‘In the beginning …’
  6. ‘To begin at the beginning: it is Spring, moonless night in the small town.’
  7. ‘When shall we three meet again…’ .
  8. It was a queery, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
  9. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —
  10. ‘”Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.’
  11. ‘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.’ —
  12. ‘You better not never tell nobody but God.’
  13. ‘Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.’
  14. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
  15. ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’




  1. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy (1878)
  2. The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley (1953)
  3. Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
  4. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (1948)
  5. (Genesis 1.1)
  6. Under Milk Wood. Dylan Thomas.
  7. Macbeth, Shakespeare
  8. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963
  9. James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)
  10. Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)
  11. Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)
  12. Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982
  13. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
  14. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  15. George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

2 thoughts on “Goodbye January 2022! It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst …

  1. This was so much fun! I always love bookish quizzes; I suppose they bring out my competitive streak 🤣 And I am proud to announce that I correctly identified all first lines of the books I’ve read! Then again, that probably isn’t much of an achievement… I’m currently reading Anna Karenina, The Bell Jar’s first line was one of the most intriguing ones I’ve ever come across, and Macbeth, Pride and Prejudice, and 1984 have such famous first lines that you probably don’t even need to have read them to recognize them 😄