Monday, February 7, 2011


There was a game at the bookstore where I work that looked intriguing. Several of us had talked about getting it, but no one had taken the plunge and bought it and played it. Until I did and we took it on our recent vacation.

Liebrary is a board game where one person is the Liebrarian. He or she reads the card with the title of a book and a brief plot summary. From the title and plot summary, the other players write what they think would be a plausible first sentence or line for that book. The Liebrarian writes down the real first line. When everyone is done writing their first line, the Liebrarian reads each of them aloud, and the players each decide which first line they think is the actual one. Guessing the actual first line moves you ahead on the board, as does having other people vote for the first line you wrote.


One of the books we were given was The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. The plot summary is as follows:

"When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover, then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime."

The first lines from the game:

"He had never met anyone like Hanna again."

"Michael walked, then stumbled, not able to catch himself from falling."

"When I was fifteen I got hepatitis."

"Michael longed for their long nights together, wondering now where she might have gone."

"He knew he needed to get home, his mother would be worried."

One of these is the actual first line of The Reader. Do you know which one?

Another book from the game was The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerey. The plot summary:

"As girls growing up the Clare Valley, Australia, Anna, Bett and Carrie Quinlan were childhood singing stars known as the Alphabet Sisters. As adults, they haven't spoken in years - ever since Bett's fiance deserted her for Carrie. Now, Lola, their flamboyant grandmother, is turning 80 and throwing a blowout bash to reunite the sisters."

The first lines from the game:

"They know us as the Alphabet Sisters by our names - Anna, Bett, and Carrie."

"The sisters didn't know, but they would soon enough."

"Your sister is married to your ex-fiance? Jessica's voice rose to such a pitch Bett Quinlan half expected the lightbulbs to explode."

"Lola sat in her old rocking chair on the front porch and a plan started to develop in her mind."

"We sang as one, but we also sang apart."

Which one do you think is the real first line?

And we had Jerry Seinfeld's Seinlanguage. Plot summary...

"Jerry Seinfeld muses about everything from Raisinettes to relationships, childhood to cop shows, and parents to power suits."

First lines from the game...

"Signs, they're everywhere, I tell you."

"Dating is pressure and tension."

"I never knew the places I'd go."

"People always think I'm more like Kramer than I am."

Do you know which is the correct first line?

It was great fun to be given the short synopsis of books and then try and come up with a first line believable enough for others to think it might be the real one.

Great game!

And the answers?
The Reader "When I was fifteen I got hepatitis."
The Alphabet Sisters "Your sister is married to your ex-fiance? Jessica's voice rose to such a pitch Bett Quinlan half expected the lightbulbs to explode."
Seinlanguage "Dating is pressure and tension."
How well did you do?

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1 comment:

  1. This is great! Perfect for a beach vacation with a bunch of readers. I got the first two correct. Fun.