First Lines:                                                                                                                            S.Warner


1. “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundlesss day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at last I found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.” (1839) Edgar Allan Poe “The Fall of the House of Usher”


2. “Dear Son: I never had a Pleasure in [of] obtaining any little Anecdotes of my ancestors.” (1771) Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


3. “A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.” The Scarlet Letter   (1850) Nathaniel Hawthorne


4. “I am an American, Chicago born – Chicago, that somber city – and go at things as have have taught myself, free style, and will make a record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.” Saul Bellow  Adventures of Augie Marcy  (1953)


5. “All this happened, more or less.” Kurt Vonnegut Slaughter-house Five (1968)


6. “Howard Roark laughed.” Ayn Rand The Fountainhead (1943)


7. “Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” Herman Melville Moby Dick (1851)


8. “Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”  Henry James Portrait of a Lady (1881)


9. “Through the fence, between the flower spaces, I could see them hitting.” William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury  (1929)


10. “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.” Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)


11. “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think that I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Cohn.” Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises (1926)


12. “The last time I’d worked in Port City had been in 1989 when an important software tycoon had hired me to retrieve his wife, who had run off with a fisherman named Costa.” Robert B. Parker Walking Shadow (1994)


13. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my head ever since.” F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)


14. “I first heard of Antonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America.” Willa Cather  My Antonia  (1918)


15. “Here is an account of a few years in the life of Quoyle, born in Brooklyn and raised in a shuffle of dreary upstate towns.” E.Annie Proulx  The Shipping News (1993)


16. “A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare to it now.” Thomas Pynchon Gravity’s Rainbow (193)