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Brian1946's avatar

What is the first or last sentence of a book that you have at home, or that you know of otherwise?

Asked by Brian1946 (24525points) October 3rd, 2010

I’m asking for the first or last sentence in the body or main part of the book, not something like from the table of contents or the publishing details.

It can be fiction, an instruction manual, a dictionary, or any book that you’d like to reference.

What’s the book title?

Here’s a bonus question:

What novel begins with, “Call me Ishmael”?

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26 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Dude, are you serious?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The first sentences of Pride and Prejudice and A Tale of Two Cities are pretty well known. The last sentence of The Great Gatsby likewise.

Most of the jellies are pretty familiar with Moby Dick.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

First Line: In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Last Line: Among Jinns and among Men.
From _The Holy Qur’an

(Bonus: Yup, Mr. Melville’s fish tale)

gailcalled's avatar

@all: We get A’s. Brain does not.

MissA's avatar

Once upon a time…the end.

DominicX's avatar

Okay, here’s a quiz. Which books end with:

1. “A man can stand up…”

2. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.

3. Huzza, huzza!

What book begins and ends with:

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ll play…I’m warm and not getting off the bed, though
I reached out and the first book I grabbed was Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self by Sharon Preves…
1st line:
Recently I participated in a cultural diversity fieldtrip with twenty-two second graders in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Last line:
I have written it for all of us who are engaged in this effort.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

First line: A screaming comes across the sky.

From: Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

(And, yes, that’s from Moby Dick.)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

As soon as the Governor understood the case,he pardoned Tom at once,and the creditors sold him down the river.
That is the last line in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson

Brian1946's avatar


Is that Tom Sawyer or Tom Wilson?

whothei0's avatar

line one “NUMBERS make them numbers”
last line if only this were Monopoly, you could now pass go… and collect your $200.
the book Number Freak: from 1 to 200 The Hidden Language of Numbers Revealed.

Vunessuh's avatar

This is the last sentence from my favorite book, The Painted Bird.

“I spoke loudly and incessantly like the peasants and then like the city folk, as fast as I could, enraptured by the sounds that were heavy with meaning, as wet snow is heavy with water, convincing myself again and again that speech was now mine and that it did not intend to escape through the door which opened onto the balcony.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Brian1946-Neither.“Tom” is Tom go do your own homework ;)

Loried2008's avatar

First Line: My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

Last Line: I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.

(I wasn’t sure how to break that up so.. yeah it’s kinda long)

One of my favorite books, anyone wanna guess what it is? :)

ducky_dnl's avatar

Does it have to be the first or last sentence? picks up two books to see

I’ll play by the rules then. “And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.”—- Breaking dawn, last line.

Yes, it’s in the twilight series. Yes, I finished all the books in four days. Yes, I like the books. Do I like the movie? No! Am I a twilighter? No way!! I just like the books.

Who can not know Moby Dick? :O

wundayatta's avatar

@Vunessuh So Jerzy Kozinsky’s book is your favorite? That’s very interesting. One of my close friends also considers it his favorite. My friend has a lot in common with the author. Scarily so. Do you identify with Kozinsky, too?

“I wish Giovanni would kiss me.”
First line of eat pray love

Vunessuh's avatar

@wundayatta I can’t say that I necessarily identify with the author, but the story of The Painted Bird fascinates me and the way he tells it is intriguing, to say the least. I can almost feel who he is as a person by reading his words. Just really powerful stuff.

wundayatta's avatar

@Vunessuh A scary amount of what goes on in that book is autobiographical. So, yeah. I’d say you get a real strong idea of who the author is.

gailcalled's avatar

If memory holds, Kosinski has confessed to inventing much of the putative horrific autobiography that he depicts in The Painted Bird. Source

Authorship controversy
According to Eliot Weinberger, contemporary American writer, essayist, editor, and translator, Kosiński was not the author of the book. Weinberger alleged in his collection Karmic Traces that Kosiński had very little fluent knowledge of English at the time of its writing.

M.A. Orthofer addressed Weinberger’s assertion by saying: “Kosinski was, in many respects, a fake – possibly near as genuine a one as Weinberger could want…
– as is the case with Kosinski.) Kosinski famously liked to pretend he was someone he wasn’t…and, apparently, he plagiarized and forged left and right.”

In June 1982, a Village Voice article accused Kosiński of plagiarism, claiming much of his work was derivative of Polish sources unfamiliar to English readers. The article also claimed that Kosiński’s books had actually been ghost-written by his “assistant editors,” pointing to striking stylistic differences among Kosiński’s novels. The New York poet, publisher and translator, George Reavey, who in Kosiński’s American biographer James Sloan’s opinion was embittered by his own lack of literary success, claimed to have written The Painted Bird. Reavey’s assertions were ignored by the press.

The Village Voice article presented a different picture of Kosiński’s life during the Holocaust – a view which was later supported by a Polish biographer, Joanna Siedlecka, and Sloan. The article revealed that The Painted Bird, assumed by reviewers to be semi-autobiographical, was a work of fiction. The article maintained that rather than wandering the Polish countryside, Kosiński had spent the war years in hiding with a Polish Catholic family and had never been appreciably mistreated.

Vunessuh's avatar

@gailcalled True, but he was also incredibly patronized and ridiculed after he released that book. He even got death threats and his mother had to move to another city. So, it makes me wonder if he “confessed” in order to give the public what they wanted. However, even if he did fabricate much of the story, I don’t remember him anywhere in the book itself, trying to pass any of it off as truth. He seemed to kind of leave that up to the reader to decide, unless he admitted that he was the young boy in an interview elsewhere. I don’t really know, but I didn’t let it alter my opinion on the story much. I still think it’s brilliant.

gailcalled's avatar

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

This is a very famous opening line; a friend of mine wrote a book called “Scaling the Ivy Wall.” It was a lively and informed discussion of how to possibly get into an Ivy League College. In the first edition, he led off with the above quote but attributed it to the wrong novel (although he got the author correct).

@Vunessuh. It was, indeed, a gripping and terrifying read but he originally passed it off as the story of his early life.

Vunessuh's avatar

@gailcalled Yes, I do remember that and I believe that he is being truthful in both respects. Components of the story were fabricated and other components were regarding his experiences as a child. Even the fabrications speak volumes about the author, in my personal opinion.

gailcalled's avatar

@Vunessuh: I was living in NYC and read the Voice articles at the time. The issue was that he apparently lifted many of the grimmest parts of the story from articles previously written in Polish (and not by him). After 28 years, I remember the controversy clearly.That is why I googled the sources.

Vunessuh's avatar

You posted that source as an edit so I just now went up and read it.
I’ve researched and read both sides of the story.

mandybookworm's avatar

“Mother Is Dead”. Footsteps in the Snow (I don’t know who it’s by but It’s a book I read when I was about 9 and I remember the first line startling me).

gailcalled's avatar

L’Étranger, by Albert Camus.

“Aujourd’hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. J’ai reçu un télégramme de l’asile….”

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