Opening Lines

Thought I’d copy a meme and list the first lines from my favorite books. Only, my fiction-books are mostly in boxes and scattered to the four winds, so I’m giving you the first lines from some of my most beloved reference books.

Put this puzzle together and you will find milk, cheese and eggs, meat, fish, beans and cereals, greens, fruits, and root vegetables—foods that contain our essential daily needs. (Joy of Cooking)

C is a general-purpose programming language. (The C Programming Language)

Europe is many things to many people. (Europe on a Shoestring)

The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, continuing the policy of the past, is being revised at frequent intervals. (CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics – duh)

It’s an interesting exercise that admits but one conclusion: no one ever reads the introductions to reference books. Ever. The second paragraphs and beyond are probably variations on the theme of lorem ipsum. I’d verify this, but my eyes slither off the page too quickly to tell, and before I can blink I’m looking up the atomic weight of arsenic.


  1. peter wrote:

    Ooh! Fun game!
    Developments in the field of electronics have constituted one of the great success stories in this century. (Horowitz & Hill, The Art of Electronics)
    The world is full of things that move. (Crawford, Waves)
    This book represents several years of intensive research and experimentation. (McCrieght, The Complete Metalsmith)
    The central nervos system is an unresting assembly of cells that continually recieves information, analyzes and processes it, and makes decisions. (Nicholls, Martin & Wallace, From Neuron to Brain)

  2. Dennis wrote:

    CRC Handbook, huh? I won’t contest the utility factor, but “favorite”? I know “literature” wasn’t explicitly stipulated in the original meme, but it sure feels like it was implied…
    I consider the CRC Handbook a “book” in the same sense that the dictionary and the yellow pages are “books.” Useful, sometimes even interesting to browse through, but not something you want to be reading on the beach or when you’re curled up in bed on a lazy Sunday morning.

  3. yami wrote:

    Sure, but memes are for fucking with.
    And after saving me so much time on homework, the CRC has definitely earned a place in my heart. Plus, I have the 1960 edition, which is old enough to have acquired the usual endearing idiosyncracies.

  4. Tinka wrote:

    It is not a meme. Is it? *ponders*

  5. yami wrote:

    Well, if you use a sufficiently loose definition of the word “meme”…

  6. Tinka wrote:

    Hmph. I object to the word ‘meme’. You don’t see the kiddos at LJ doing it, now do you?

  7. yami wrote:

    Hmm, I alwasy thought the LiveJournal crowd was what made the difference between a “meme” and a “revolution in journalism”.

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