Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Name That Novel

I Have Returned!

I know I sort of dropped off the face of the blogging planet for a while there, but I apologize and I blame visiting parents (two sets of them).

I also realize that it’s been many weeks since I stuck to my once-a-week Name That Novel challenge, and in the end I must confess that there’s little chance of it continuing since my life will only get busier for the foreseeable future.

So, here’s one last hurrah for Name That Novel – which book opens like this? (Chapter 1, not the Prologue):

 Strange thing, time. It weighs most on those who have it least.  Nothing is lighter than being young with the world on your shoulders; it gives you a feeling of possibility so seductive, you know there must be something more important you could be doing than studying for exams.

I can see myself now, the night it all began. I’m lying back on the old red sofa in our dorm room, wrestling with Pavlov and his dogs in my introductory psychology book, wondering why I never fulfilled my science requirement as a freshman like everyone else.A pair of letters sits on the coffee table in front of me, each containing a vision of what I could be doing next year. The night of Good Friday has fallen, cold April in Princeton, New Jersey, and with only a month of college left I’m no different from anyone else in the class of 1999: I’m having trouble getting my mind off the future.

Have fun! I was going to write more, but I just made lunch plans, which means I should really get a shower.


Name That Novel

I know I’ve been curiously absent as of late.  I’ve been traveling and thinking about reworking my overall online presence, and I think it’s time to make some changes.

Basically, this is how it all boils down:  I’ll be more active on this blog from now on.  You won’t necessarily get “All writing-related material, all the time!” but I promise it will be interesting. Maybe even entertaining sometimes.  One can hope, anyway.

Also, the Name That Novel challenge will be once a week, and I’ll just let you know if it’s an opening or an ending.

Sound good?  Good!  Here’s your next clue, opening style:

Lessa woke, cold.

Hey, it’s not as hard as it seems, I promise.  ;)  Happy guessing!


Name that Novel – Friday Edition

Well no one managed to guess Madeleine L’Engle or A Wrinkle In Time, which was the novel from last Friday and Monday. One of my favorites as a child.

I’m afraid I’m swamped again this time around, but I have managed to pick another ending for your Friday enjoyment.

High Lord Ben Holiday, King of Landover, began the new day rather earlier than expected.

Have at it!


Name That Novel – Monday Edition

 Oops, a little late in the day getting this out, but I’ve been busy getting the house ready for friends coming over for Memorial Day dinner.

We had no takers on Friday’s ending, so I’m going to give you a bit from the same book’s opening.  See if it rings any bells.  I suppose most people would consider this young adult fiction, but I like it just as much now as I did then.

I hope you’ve had a lovely holiday if you had the opportunity!

On to the opening:

It was a dark and stormy night.

 In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind.  Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky.  Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.

C’mon, you know this one!


Name that Novel – Friday Edition

No one was adventurous enough to venture a guess on Monday’s opening.  It is the first two paragraphs on Carol Berg’s latest release, Flesh and Spirit.  It’s a fantastic read, as are her other eight novels.  If you need a place to start and would rather have a complete series before you, I recommend Son of Avonar as a lovely introduction to her writing.  Flesh and Spirit is the first of a duet; the second, Breath and Bone, is scheduled for release in January 2008.

I’ve been trying to find a method of moderating the comments on Name That Novel days so that people won’t be able to see the other guesses before all is revealed.  However, it seems the only way to do that is to moderate all comments for all my blog entries, and I’m not much interested in that.

At any rate, it’s been a crazy, hectic, frustrating week – I’ve been so busy just trying to catch up with life that I haven’t had much time for profound thoughts.  I will be dedicating more space here to endeavors other than Name That Novel, as soon as I have time to think.

Here’s your Friday Edition:

 But they never learned what it was that Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which had to do, for there was a gust of wind, and they were gone.

Make me proud!


Name That Novel – Monday Edition

Well I’m back and though perhaps not better than ever, I’m certainly doing better than last week. My current complaint about life in general is that there’s never a backlog of things to take care of until you’re too exhausted and otherwise busy to do anything justice.

This week’s opener is a bit harder, but shouldn’t be outside the realm of guesses especially for those of you who know what I’ve been reading lately. Other than that, it’s fantasy, and the author will be at BaltiCon next weekend. In a fit of generosity, I’m giving you the whole first two paragraphs. Good luck!

On my seventh birthday, my father swore, for the first of many times, that I would die facedown in a cesspool. On that same occasion, my mother, with all the accompanying mystery and elevated language appropriate for a prominent diviner, turned her cards, screamed delicately, and proclaimed that my doom was written in water and blood and ice. As for me, from about that time and for the twenty years since, I had spat on my middle finger and slapped the rump of every aingerou I noticed, murmuring the sincerest, devoutest prayer that I might prove my parents’ predictions wrong. Not so much that I feared the doom itself–doom is just the hind end of living, after all–but to see the two who birthed me confounded.

Sadly, as with so many of my devotions, some to greater gods than those friendly imps carved into the arches and drainpipes of palaces, hovels, latrines, and sop-houses, my fervent petition had come to naught. I’d been bloody for two days now, the rain was quickly turning to sleet, and I seemed to have reached the hind end of everything…

There you go. Have at it! I want guesses, people! I don’t care how far off you are, and neither does anyone else!


Name That Novel – Friday Edition

 I do intend to do more with this blog than just run Name That Novel – I promise. I have lots of great excuses for not posting more thoughtful material lately, and most of them revolve around the fact that it’s the end of the spring term for everyone in our household and I’m flying to Boston this weekend.

I expect to be properly philosophical again in a week or so when the wacky wears off my schedule.

Johanna L. Gribble is all kinds of on the ball. She guessed Monday’s beginning from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (JK Rowling) in record time.

Since last Friday’s book ending seemed a little to far from everyone’s consciousness and I’m in a fabulous mood as this school term draws to a close, I’m throwing you another bone this week.

 And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

He drew a deep breath.  ‘Well, I’m back,” he said.

Where’d I find it?  *g*


Name That Novel – Monday Edition

 Well Friday’s challenge was a hard one, and came from the end of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

This week’s Opening Challenge is a bit easier.

 Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Come on, folks!  You can do it!


Name That Novel – Friday Edition

Congrats to K. Ceres Wright, who ventured to guess at Monday’s opening, which comes from Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.

And since I’m caught a bit off-guard at how difficult this “ending” guessing might be, I’m going to toss out a few clues to give everyone a context for their speculations. Please don’t be afraid of guessing – just take a wild shot if you’ve got no clue, and see if you’re right!

Here’s today’s ending:

Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, southeast, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east….

Now, I read this book some years ago and have to admit I absolutely don’t remember the ending. So my clues to you are that it was required in my high school, it doesn’t really fit a genre label (though it is described in one place as “a fantasy of the future” for what what’s worth), and it’s one of those books about which almost everyone says “I should read that” when it comes up in conversation.

Speaking of which, perhaps I should read it… again.


Name That Novel

I’ve decided to create an interactive challenge for my blog. Every Monday I’ll post the opening of a book, every Friday I’ll post a last line (not from the same book), and you all get to take a swipe at guessing the novel in which they are found.

To be fair, if the opening sentence is really unhelpful, I’ll give you a bit more. And if there’s an introduction or a prologue, I reserve the right to decide whether the story really begins there or not. In the latter case, the “opening” will come from Chapter One instead. Don’t worry, I won’t be tricksy – or at least, if I am I’ll let you know about it ahead of time.

Monday answers will be posted in the Friday edition, and vice versa, so you’ll have a few days to make guesses.

I should also mention that until I exhaust the reserve of fiction on my very own shelves, you can probably find the novel in question on this list of the books in our fiction collection.

Feel free to chime in with questions – copy and pasting into Google for a search is generally frowned upon, and you get extra points for knowing title and author *without* having to double check. Not that I’ll know if you lie about it, but hey.

On to the first challenge:

It was the evening on which Messieurs Debienne and Poligny, the managers of the Opera, were giving a farewell gala performance to mark their retirement.

Name that Novel!


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