First, for rollick, the first-lines-of-novels quiz:
Ground rules -- all of these are from novels (no non-fiction, no comics, no plays, no short stories). I picked a mix of well-known (without being obvious) and obscure, but all are probably Googleable, so no cheating. They're not necessarily my all-time favorite books, but they're all books I like a lot. Your job: name the novel that features these first lines.
1. We had brought, in the holds of the S.S. Tuscaloosa, a full cargo of cotton from New Orleans to Antwerp.
2. It was, gentlemen, after a long absence -- seven years to be exact, during which time I was studying in Europe -- that I returned to my people.
3. I am seated in my office, surrounded by heads and bodies.
4. I'd finished my pie and was having a second cup of coffee when I saw him.
5. Christmas Eve, 1955, Benny Profane, wearing black levis, suede jacket, sneakers and big cowboy hat, happened to pass through Norfolk, Virginia.
6. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes' chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired to the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression.
7. When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.
8. Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.
9. The Elite Cafe was entered by a staircase from the foyer of a cinema.
10. Money...? in a voice that rustled.
11. We were in class when the headmaster came in, followed by a new boy, not wearing the school uniform, and a school servant carrying a large desk.
12. Jewel and I come up from the field, following the path in single file.
13. The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.
14. 'What are you doing here, my little man?'
15. It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.
16. It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
17. I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped.
18. It's a new elevator, freshly pressed to the rails, and it's not built to fall this fast.
19. to wound the autumnal city.
20. He always shot up by TV light.
21. First of all we need a place to stand.
22. The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus.
23. At the hour of sunset, on a hot spring day, two citizens appeared in the Patriarch's Ponds Park.
24. Vaughn died yesterday in his last car-crash.
25. Never having known a mother, her mother had died when Janey was a year old, Janey depended on her father for everything and regarded her father as boyfriend, brother, sister, money, amusement, and father.
Next, for lucifrix, the lyrics quiz:
Ground rules -- all from songs on my "top-rated" iTunes playlist. No other real rhyme or reason. I probably made all this too hard. It's late.
(a) What's that I hear?/the sound of marching feet/it has a strange allure/it has a strange allure.
(b) You make me shiver/I feel so tender/we make a pretty good team/don't get exhausted/I'll do some driving/you ought to get you some sleep.
(c) Far beyond the pale horizon/someplace near the desert strand/where my Studebaker takes me/that's where I'll make my stand.
(d) From the way the lights are/I can see your face, it's getting clearer/it's like you never really left here/it's like you never had a reason.
(e) L.A. bus doors open/kicking both doors open/when it rested on 6th Street/that's when he drug off a girl inside.
(f) Red hair with a curl/mellow roll for the flavor and the eyes for peeping/can't keep away from the girl/these two sides of my brain need to have a meeting.
(g) I was pissing on the desert sands/when the desert whispered to me/it said "Isn't this a shame?/Things will never be the same."
(h) Early in the morning at the break of dawn/he used to sleep until the afternoon/and if you never heard him sing/I guess you won't too soon.
(i) Television/all hail, grand pixellator/god of fantasy murderscapes/dream impersonator.
(j) Don't ask us to attend 'cause we're not all there/don't pretend 'cause I don't care/I don't believe illusions 'cause too much is real/so stop your cheap comment/'cause we know what we feel.
(k) Now I have you with me under my power/our love grows stronger now with every hour/look into my eyes, you'll see who I am/my name is Lucifer, please take my hand.
(l) Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon/there are two colors in my head/what, what is that you tried to say?
(m) In my motorcycle mirror I think about the life I've led/and how my soul's been aching all the holes where I have bled.
(n) It feels like a wish coming true/it feels like an angel dreaming of you/it feels like heaven forgiving and forgetting/it feels like a fading celebrating.
(o) Spit it out/spit it out/go ahead/spit out that itty bitty style you upchuck/better believe I buttfuck MCs from the rear/it appears you're stuck up.
(p) I called a preacher/holy holy/I beg forgiveness/and this he told me:/"Son, there's nothing that I can prescribe/to keep your raunchy bag of bones alive."
(q) If I don't start crying it's because that I have got no eyes/my father's in the fireplace and my dog lies hypnotized.
(r) My baby's a swinger/and he's hard to dodge/kickin' up gravel/by the motor lodge.
(s) Where can I go?/what can I do?/I don't wanna sing about love again/I don't wanna sing about love again.
(t) Alas and alack/you just don't call me back/you have just disappeared/it makes me drink beer.
(u) Him, just fuckin' kill him/I don't care if it hurts/yes I do, I want it to/fuckin' kill him, but first/make him cry like a woman/no particular woman/make him hold out hope that/someone or other might come.
(v) You would never believe that/she'd tasted royalty and fame/if you saw her now.
(w) Up from the top of Shasta Gulch/to the bottom of the Tahoe lake/man-made deltas and concrete rivers/the south takes what the north delivers.
(x) My brother and me used to play it out at the bars/taking money from guys more used to the playing of cards.
(y) I hope it stays dark forever/I hope the worst isn't over/I hope you blink before I do/and I hope we never get sober.
When I check in, I'll post the answers and who got 'em first, if anyone gets 'em. Have as fine as week as I know I'll have with my honey.