I hope the BBC have given whoever came up with the idea for The Big Read a pay rise. It's boosted book sales, as well as boosting the corporation's status as a successful public service broadcaster. Informative, educational and entertaining - Lord Reith would have been proud. Last year it was history, this year it's books - I wonder what highbrow theme we're in for next year. Britain's favourite painting perhaps, or Britain's favourite composer, or Britain's favourite soap opera character? Britain's favourite Top 100 books were announced earlier in the year, and tonight the BBC whittles that list down to just 21. So, today would seem to be a good day for a literary quiz, but more a tiny read than a big read.
Can you identify these books (all from the Big Read Top 100) from their first lines?
1)The primroses were over. 2) She only stopped screaming when she died.
3)Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. 4) A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories.
5)It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 6) Fire swept through the bifurcated city of Ankh-Morpork.
7)Once upon a time there were three children, Joe, Beth and Frannie... 8) It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.
9)All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 10) Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes.
11)'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. 12) The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.
13)A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. 14) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
15)The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon. 16) If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.