Events, Library life

Whose First Line Is It Anyway?

In January’s edition of The Leaf, we’re challenging you to identify books by their first lines. Those lines are given below, with the answers at the bottom of the page. Good luck!

  1. “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”
  2. “‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”
  3. “‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”
  4. “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”
  5. “All children, except one, grow up.”
  6. “Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.”
  7. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
  8. “My suffering left me sad and gloomy.”
  9. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”
  10. “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
  11. “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”
  12. “I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”
  13. “Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”
  14. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
  15. “You better not never tell nobody but God.”



* = available in our library, at the call number listed

^ = available at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library

  1. ^The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  2. *Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) – PZ 7 .A335 LI 1989
  3. *Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) – PZ 7 .W58277 CH
  4. ^The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
  5. ^Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
  6. *The Godfather (Mario Puzo) – PS 3566.U9 G6 2006
  7. *1984 (George Orwell) – PR 6029.R8 N49 1977
  8. ^Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  9. *Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) – PS 3515 .U789 T5 1998
  10. *A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) – PR 4572 .A1 1994
  11. *Holes (Louis Sachar) – PZ 7 .S1185 HO 1998
  12. ^Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
  13. ^The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
  14. *Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) – PG 3366.A6 G35 1939
  15. *The Color Purple (Alice Walker) – PS 3573 .A425 C6 1982
Library life

Happy Banned Books Week!


This week, libraries and bookstores across America are drawing attention to the many books that have been challenged and banned. From often-challenged books, like Beloved and the “Captain Underpants” series, to surprising challenges, like Charlotte’s Web and the dictionary, Banned Books Week celebrates our freedom to make our own reading choices.

Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning writer who most recently took home a 2014 National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, has this to say on the topic:

“I definitely can understand parents having objections. As a mom, as someone who wants to protect my children in any way that I can, I can kind of get inside the heads of people who are saying, ‘This is not okay,’ only because they’re fearful. That’s where I can begin to have the conversation. I think people are willing to talk about anything if you come to it with kindness. But there are all these conversations that I fear are not being had, and as a result, we get banned and challenged.”

(The rest of Woodson’s discussion, entitled “It’s Banned Books Week Again. Can We Stop Yelling at Each Other About It?”, is available here.)

Curious about what titles made the list of Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged in 2014? Here’s the definitive list from the American Library Association. In the spirit of the week, the ALA also encourages you to take a selfie in front of a bookshelf (a “shelfie”) and/or with your favorite challenged or banned book, with the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #IReadBannedBooks.


Image credit: geralt on Pixabay.