Saturday, 5 November 2011

Home home home

Quick post to say that I'm at home with Colin and my parents and Sherpa at the moment - so posts might slow down for a few days.

But wanted to put you out of your misery, for the little test.  I realised after I made it that it was basically impossible - I should have included more quotations, or synopses, or similar - but never mind! Hope you still had a bit of fun.  Here are the answers:

a.) Mary sometimes heard people say: "I can't bear to be alone."  She could never understand this.
1940: Mariana by Monica Dickens

b.) It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea.
1970: Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach

c.) "Get away from here, you dirty swine," she said.
"There's a dirty swine in every man," he said.
1960: The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark

d.) One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister.
1910: Howards End by E.M. Forster

e.) On a March evening, at eight o'clock, Backhouse, the medium - a fast-rising star in the psychic world - was ushered into the study at 'Proland,' the Hampstead residence of Montague Faull.
1920: The Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

f.) Jem was a joyful mystery to Alice.  She was something to give thanks for.
1990: Temples of Delight by Barbara Trapido

g.) I have noticed that when someone asks for you on the telephone and, finding you out, leaves a message begging you to call him up the moment you come in, as it's important, the matter is more often important to him than to you.
1930: Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham

h.) A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.
1980: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

i.) It is highly probable that the tea shop would never have started at all if Commander David Tompkins hadn't fancied himself at being something of a dab-hand at cooking.
1950: Tea Is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex

j.) The opening chapter does not concern itself with Love—indeed that antagonist does not certainly appear until the third -
1900: Love and Mr. Lewisham by H.G. Wells

I do enjoy quoting opening lines, to see whether or not they capture people's interest. Perhaps next time I'll just give you some, and let you decide whether or not they sound worth pursuing...

Happy Weekend, one and all!


  1. Hello, Simon. Can you please tell us more about Mary Essex? I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of her!

  2. Well, I was waaaaaaaaaay off the beam. But it was an interesting exercise, trying to connect prose to its era.

  3. Haha! I was dying to find out the answer to c. Well done, Simon!

  4. Well chosen to whet our appetite for the books themselves......
    Actually Marianna was a great hit when I first read it several centuries ago.

  5. I'd like to know more about Mary Essex too. Of the 10 quotations that was the one that appealed to me most and I've never heard of her or that book.

  6. I knew better than to try this one. Happy weekend to you and the family!

  7. I hope you and family are ok Simon? I have read in Guardian online re motorway disaster in Somerset... Merenia x

  8. Thanks for asking, Merenia - we're all fine, although I had been on that stretch of road an hour beforehand (albeit in the other direction) - scary thought.

  9. Hmmm...Mary Essex...I bought one of her books years ago (though I never read it). Our then newly acquired golden retriever puppy ate it. I found it alongside a half-chewed copy of The Squire by Enid Bagnold.

  10. I didn't discover you had a quiz until too late--just a swell as I would have done abysmally. I am inspired to look up Mary Essex. This beginning is very seductive.
    Erika W.

  11. I should have said... I found the practically unrecognizable REMAINS of it. I'm now pondering...was the book my dog ate by Mary Essex or Mary Wesley???


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