Nicodemus (nicodemusrat) wrote,

Name That Tome!

So we've had quizzes featuring lyrics snippets and movie dialogue... How about books? I've picked 15 short passages, slightly edited. Can you identify the books that they came from?

I've split them into three categories:


1. By AD 100, the well workers, understanding that the disturbances were caused by an invisible substance, found the holes where it came out of the ground, lit them, and started placing pots close by. They could cook with it. Soon they learned to insulate the bamboo tubes with mud and brine and pipe the invisible force to boiling houses. They were open sheds where pots of brine cooked until the water evaporated and left salt crystals. This is the first known use of natural gas in the world.
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Guessed by Qatar.

2. A delicious evening that was cool but not cold, an evening of haze-blurred stars beneath which, as I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River fought the rising tide to rush into the harbor. And then I was down from the bird's-eye view of the bridge and into the twinkling buildings, then the side streets, then the alley, which is not really light and not really dark but locked in its semi-sickly fluorescence. They were out, grazing peacefully in the two garbage berms, in the Chinese and Irish restaurant trash.
Rats by Robert Sullivan. Guessed by Melchar.

3. It was at all times clear that, from the point of view of the idea it conveys to us, every motion must be considered only as a relative motion. Returning to the illustration we have frequently used of the embankment and the railway carriage, we can express the fact of the motion here taking place in the following two forms, both of which are equally justifiable: (a) The carriage is in motion relative to the embankment; (b) The embankment is in motion relative to the carriage.

4. To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as "Thank God its Friday" (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence. The confusion of the possessive "its" (no apostrophe) with the contractice "it's" (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian "kill" response in the average stickler.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Guessed by Alopex.

5. As much as I dig the even heat of the stack-o'-bricks oven, I came to realize that even a freak like me doesn't want to stack bricks every time a chicken crosses the kitchen. What I needed was a brick oven "lite," an easy-to-handle vessel that would absorb and evenly distribute head to the bird. Clearly, it was time for a visit to the gardener's supply store.
I'm Only Here for the Food by Alton Brown. Guessed by Witch of November.

General Fiction

6. A face peered in through broken glass. It bore an uncertain expression. "Is there a Mr. Stollitt or Mr. Pratchitt about?"

"I'm Stollitt," she said. "Sidney Stollitt." The face's accent was aristocratic. It was probably connected to a mark. "Why don't you come in?"

"Ah," said Timmaeus. "Thank you. Sidney's an unusual name for a girl, isn't it?" He turned the doorknob. It came off in his hand. He stared at it for a moment, then pushed on the door, which opened. He came into the office and set the knob on Sidney's desk.

"No," said Sidney, in complete defiance of the facts, "it's not."

7. "They didn't tell me this when they offered me the job!" Flere-Imsaho protested, slamming the empty body-shell shut again. "They say it's because the Empire isn't supposed to know how small us drones are! Why couldn't they just have got a big drone then? Why saddle me with this... this..."

"Fancy dress?" Gurgeh suggested.

"Fancy?" the library drone screamed. "Dowdy's what it is; rags! Worse than that, I'm supposed to make a 'humming' noise and produce lots of static electricity, just to convince these barbarian dingbats we can't build drones properly." The small machine's voice rose to a screech. "A 'humming' noise, I ask you!"

8. The enemy outbumbered him a thousand to one; the simulator glowed green with them. They were grouped in a dozen different formations, shifting positions, changing shapes, moving in seemingly random patterns through the simulator field. He could not find a path through them -- a space that seemed to open would close suddenly, and another appear, and a formation that seemed penetrable would suddenly change and be forbidding. The planet was at the far edge of the field...

He heard his squadron leaders breathing heavily; he could also hear, from the observers behind him, a quiet curse. It was nice to know that one of the adults noticed that it wasn't a fair test.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Guessed by Brer.

9. He slapped the shorthand pad on the counter.

"Thief!" the secretary shrieked, "Thief! Larcenist!"

"Don't, Sydelle," Angela said softly, her eyes set on the D she was embroidering.

"You wouldn't understand, Angela, you don't know what it's like to be..." Her voice broke. She paused then lashed out at her enemies, all of them. "Who cares a fig about Sydelle Pulaski? Nobody, that's who. I'm no fool, you know. I knew I couldn't trust any one of you. You can't read my shorthand because I wrote in Polish!"

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Guessed by Foobart.

10. Conrad Conch was waddling toward him, gesturing with the pistol in his big pink right hand and shouting something unintelligible through his mouth hole.

Still holding his TEC-9, Tark walked over to Conrad Conch, who started shouting again through his mouth hole, obviously very pissed off. "MMMWMF!" he said.

"I got no idea what you're saying," said Tark. "Take off the damn head."

Conrad reached his big pink hands up and stuck them into the areas where his shoulders would be, if shells had shoulders. He gave an upward yank. There was the sound of Velcro fasteners letting go.

Furry Fiction

11. A hush of interspecies expectancy had settled over the crowd. All attention was focused overhead as the ermine began to toy with the clasps securing one veil.

He had never had occasion to imagine an animal executing anything as erotic as a striptease. After all, beneath any clothing lay another layer of solid fur and not the bare flesh of a human. But eroticism has little to do with nudity, as he soon discovered. It was the movement, the supple twisting and turning that no human female could possibly match, that was stimulating.

Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster. Guessed by Brer.

12. I made a dash toward the open end of the corridor -- and then jumped back. I could not go on. About two feet from my cage (still open behind me) there was something dreadfully wrong with the floor. When I touched my feet to it, a terrible, prickling feeling came over my skin, my muscles cramped, my eyes blurred, and I instantly got dizzy. I never got used to that feeling -- no one ever does -- but I did experience it many times, and eventually learned what it was: electric shock. It is not exactly pain, but it is unbearable.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien. Guessed by Brer.

13. "Police-station?" he murmured dreamily. "Me complain of that beautiful, of that heavenly vision that has been vouchsafed me! Mend the cart! I've done with carts forever. I never want to see the cart, or to hear of it, again. You can't think how obliged I am to you for consenting to come on this trip! I wouldn't have gone without you, and then I might never have seen that -- that swan, that sunbeam, that thunderbolt! I might never have heard that entrancing sound, or smelt that bewitching smell! I owe it all to you, my best of friends!"
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Guessed by Altivo.

14. He had been dreaming in a confused way -- something about rain and elder bloom -- when he woke to realize that there was someone beside him. He raised his head and said, "Do you want to talk to me?"

"Yes, that's what I've come for," replied the other. "You know me, don't you?"

"Yes, of course," he said, hoping he would be able to remember the name in a moment. Then he saw in the darkness of the burrow the stranger's ears were shining with a faint silver light. "Yes, my lord," he said. "Yes, I know you."

Watership Down by Richard Adams. Guessed by Brer.

15. Cluny had climbed down from his perch on the tombstone. He stood by the churchyard fence, intent on trying out the shipping power of his fearsome tail upon a few rats that he had dubbed "the awkward squad." Flexing his long scourge-like tail, he gave a few experimental swishes and cracks as he shouted commands.
Redwall by Brian Jacques. Guessed by Brer and Altivo.

Good luck and have fun! Comments are not screened so that people can see what's been guessed.

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  • FC 2016

    Kit and I flew down to FC. The flight was an inauspicious start to the trip... SF was stacked up due to weather. We actually took off at 11:15…

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