The First-Ever Herald Press First Lines Quiz

I had just sat down to work on this blog post when the telephone rang.  “Tomorrow schools will be operating on a two-hour delay,” the school district superintendent’s cheerful recorded voice intoned. He had called the night before, telling me that school was cancelled for that day. Did I mention that tonight we’re under a winter storm warning, with forecasters predicting that tomorrow morning’s commute will be “severely impacted”? While I’m not a fan of verbed nouns, I got the forecasters’ drift.

Just another January in socked-in central Pennsylvania. Between delays and cancellations, it’s enough to drive a parent to distraction. The upside of all of this is that we’ve been reading a lot around my house: books like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis for all of us, and Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber for me. Both of these books have memorable first lines.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

And Pastrix: “S–t,” I thought to myself, “I’m going to be late for New Testament class.”

These first lines got me thinking about the first lines of Herald Press books. So in the interest of sanity and fun distraction for stir-crazy, snowbound folks like me–and anyone else, no matter where you live–I decided to scrap my plans for a regular blog post and create a little quiz. Here’s how it works: fill out the form below with your best guess as to which first lines from a Herald Press book matches which titles. Submit the form by noon on Monday, February 10, and be entered into a drawing to receive a free Herald Press book. Two winners will be notified and will receive the Herald Press book of their choice that appears on one of the drop-down menus in the quiz (if it’s not out of print). And it doesn’t even matter how well you do on the quiz itself; just submitting the form enters you in the drawing. Check back here on Wednesday, February 12 to find out the right answers. Oh, and going to your bookshelf or using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature isn’t allowed.

So refrain from cheating and have fun! Check back here on Wednesday, February 12 to find out how you did. Meanwhile, I’ll be opening random books on my shelf to taste delectable first lines–and waiting for our nightly phone call from the superintendent.

ValerieWeaverZercher Valerie Weaver-Zercher, managing editor, Herald Press

P.S.: As always, you can find all Herald Press titles for sale here. And in addition to filling out the form, you can think about this: what’s your favorite opening line from a book? Write it in a comment below.

[contact-form to=’ValerieWZ@MennoMedia.org’ subject=’First Lines Quiz’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’1. Mother eyed me critically as I blew my nose and mopped up the drippings in an overworked hankie.’ type=’select’ options=’Bonnet Strings by Saloma Miller Furlong,Blush by Shirley Hershey Showalter,The Storekeeper%26#039;s Daughter by Katie Funk Wiebe,Ordinary Miracles by Rachel S. Gerber’/][contact-field label=’2. Among the cookbooks on the pantry shelf at home there has always been the little hand-written notebook of recipes.’ type=’select’ options=’More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre,Mennonite Girls Can Cook by Lovella Schellenberg%26#x002c; et al.,Mennonite Country-Style Recipes by Esther H. Shank,Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter’/][contact-field label=’3. Brass samovars of sweet%26#x002c; milky tea mark the quarter of Peshawar%26#x002c; Pakistan%26#x002c; that has long been called Qissa Khwani%26#x002c; or the %26quot;storytellers%26#039; bazaar.%26quot;’ type=’select’ options=’A Muslim and a Christian Dialogue by Badru Kateregga and David W. Shenk,Making Friends Among the Taliban by Jonathan P. Larson,Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr,Teatime in Mogadishu by Ahmed Ali Haile’/][contact-field label=’4. Ever since I was little%26#x002c; I wanted to be big.’ type=’select’ options=’Laughter is Sacred Space by Ted Swartz,Bonnet Strings by Saloma Miller Furlong,Blush by Shirley Hershey Showalter,Jacob%26#039;s Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman’/][contact-field label=’5. Cutting back sounds like a dismal prospect. %26quot;Let%26#039;s splurge%26#x002c; just this once%26quot; appeals more to American and Canadian ears.’ type=’select’ options=’Simply in Season by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind,More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre,Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter,Extending the Table by Joetta Handrich Schlabach’/][contact-field label=’6. Thirty-seven percent is a comfortable humidity level%26#x002c; a great batting average if you%26#039;re a baseball player. If it%26#039;s a grade on a test%26#x002c; it is not . . . so great.’ type=’select’ options=’Blush by Shirley Hershey Showalter,Laughter is Sacred Space by Ted Swartz,Jacob%26#039;s Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman,For God and Country [in that order by Logan Mehl-Laituri’/][contact-field label=’7. I actually killed a cactus once. I mean%26#x002c; really: who kills a cactus?’ type=’select’ options=’Ordinary Miracles by Rachel S. Gerber,Laughter is Sacred Space by Ted Swartz,The Journey Toward Reconciliation by John Paul Lederach,Blush by Shirley Hershey Showalter’/][contact-field label=’8. It was a mismatch from the start–being born with a nature that just did not fit into my Amish culture.’ type=’select’ options=’Jacob%26#039;s Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman,Ordinary Miracles by Rachel S. Gerber,Blush by Shirley Hershey Showalter,Bonnet Strings by Saloma Miller Furlong’/][contact-field label=’9. %26quot;The Anabaptists are back!%26quot; announced an American author a few years ago in a book.’ type=’select’ options=’The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald B. Kraybill,Doctrines of the Bible by Daniel Kauffman,The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray,An Introduction to Mennonite History by Cornelius J. Dyck’/][contact-field label=’10. Anna Stutzman sank into her rocking chair as the last rays of the midsummer sun dimmed on the Kansas horizon.’ type=’select’ options=’Tobias of the Amish by Ervin R. Stutzman,Jacob%26#039;s Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman,A Treasured Friendship by Carrie Bender,Calm Before the Storm by Janice Dick’/][/contact-form]