Literary Blind Taste Test with Authors and Titles

Enjoy!

Albert Camus, The Plague
It was four in the afternoon. The town was warming up to the boiling-point under a sultry sky. Nobody was about, all shops were shuttered.
* * *
Albert Camus, The Plague
Also, he had the walk of a shy young priest, sidling along walls and slipping mouselike into doorways, and he exuded a faint odor of smoke and basement rooms; in short he had all the attributes of insignificance.
* * *
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Hers was the calm ecstasy of achieved consummation, the peace, not of mere vacant satiety and nothingness, but of a balanced life, of energies at rest and in equilibrium. He had emerged from that crimson twilight into the common electric glare with a self-consciousness intensified to the pitch of agony. He was utterly miserable, and perhaps (her shining eyes accused him), perhaps it was his own fault.
* * *
Alexander Dumas, Camille
People have always associated the country with love, and they have done well. Nothing affords so fine a frame for the woman whom one loves as the blue sky, the odors, the flowers, the breeze, the shining solitude of fields, or woods. However much one loves a woman, whatever confidence one may have in her, whatever certainty her past may offer us as to her future, one is always more or less jealous.
* * *
Amanda Quick, Rendezvous
She was still standing there twenty minutes later when a horse and rider appeared from the heart of the storm. The stallion’s hoofbeats blended with a clap of thunder and lightning arced across the sky just as the beast was brought to a shuddering halt in front of the door.
* * *
Anatole Broyard, When Kafka Was the Rage
For her, difficulties were art, an art form—you created them. A lie was more interesting than the truth. She hated plain, ordinary truth—she saw it as a failing, a surrender, even an accusation. The truth, she once said, is for animals, they can smell it.
* * *
Annie Dillard, The Living
Wherever he found himself, in whatever deep caves and vaulted mazes of understanding, he discovered her already there before him, her arched eyes glinting with amused sensibility, her lively small form seeming to beckon him onward. She mocked him, guided him, understood him, and tantalized him, at every level of depth he reached. What else did she know that he did not?
* * *
Annie Dillard, The Living
The lover is simply enabled to see—as if the heavens busted open to admit a charged light—those virtues the beloved does possess in their purest form.

Ann Patchett, Run
There was a thin line of perspiration forming above his eyebrows. He found that he could hardly stand to be in this hallway again. The nurses, the lights, the empty gurneys lined against the wall, every bit of it struck him as unbearable.
* * *
Anthony Trollope, The Duke’s Children
She had done nothing wrong. She had given no signs of extravagance or other juvenile misconduct. But she was beautiful and young. How was he to bring her out into the world? How was he to decide whom she should or should not marry?
* * *
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
What he knew, what he had discovered tonight, was that his recaptured love of existence had not been given back to him by the return of his desire for her—but that the desire had returned after he had regained his world, the love, the value and the sense of his world—and that the desire was not an answer to her body, but a celebration of himself and of his will to live.
* * *
Barbara Cartland, A Dangerous Dandy
He was erudite without being pompous, humorous without being coarse and brilliant without making people feel inferior.
* * *
Barbara Metzger, Christmas Wishes
“What is the meaning of this?” A sharp-featured woman pushed into the room, dragging a portly gentleman in a bagwig behind her past the inexperienced footman who’d been left holding the door.
* * *
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
She moves to my balls which are aching and swollen, as large as two small plums, and she laps at them before placing her mouth over the entire sac, alternately massaging and lightly sucking the balls, separating them with her tongue…this turns me on enough to grab her by the waist and swivel her around and position her cunt over my face, which she gladly sits on.
* * *
Christina Dodd, A Well Favored Gentleman
In the distance she could hear the crying of lambs, the shouts of men, the bleating of sheep, and she hurried toward them. The first of the shepherds came into view, hefting stones to dam the stream, and she veered toward the man-made pool where every summer the sheep were washed and prepared for shearing.
* * *
Courtney Milan, Unlocked
He paused. “Also,” he said, “being a young man, and thus having no thoughts to speak of, it seemed of utmost importance that nobody know I had fallen in love. If they knew, I would be embarrassed. And that would have heralded the end of the world.”
* * *
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
The judge smiled. It is not necessary, he said, that the principals here be in possession of the facts concerning their case, for their acts will ultimately accommodate history with our without their understanding.
* * *
Daniel Silva, The Unlikely Spy
He could enjoy their company when they talked and laughed, but he enjoyed her just as much when she said nothing at all. He loved sitting quietly with her on the veranda of her home or walking through the woods or lying by the lake. Just to have her body next to his—or her hand in his—was enough.
* * *
Diane Gaston, The Vanishing Viscountess
The activity freed her from having to talk with him further as they sailed up the river. Liverpool’s buildings came into sight, a town swollen with brick warehouses and a sprawl of lodgings for the people whose lives depended on the busy port.
* * *
Elizabeth Rolls, The Dutiful Rake
She had been a fool to think that it would be possible to confide in him, ask for his help. He had made his attitude quite plain. She was nothing to him, less than nothing, and it was as well to know it now, before her foolish heart imagined otherwise.
* * *
Elmore Leonard, Cuba Libre
He turned enough to take in the room, the crystal chandelier, a bottle of cognac, snifters, a coffee service and cups on the tablecloth…and a girl—he couldn’t believe it, not ten feet away from him—sitting by herself at the other end of the table, a girl with reddish-brown hair piled an swirled in a way that showed her slender neck, her hair shining in the light from the chandelier, the girl looking right at him, already looking at him when he turned and saw her.
* * *
Eloisa James, The Taming of the Duke
The worst of it was that she was starting to dislike everyone. She no longer met a strange gentleman with the hope that he would prove himself different; she merely watched, indifferent, as the creature spouted his silly chatter, his foolish persiflage.
* * *
Eloisa James, When Beauty Tamed the Beast
A moment later they were both plunging down into the water. Rather than feeling mortally cold, she loved the thrill of the drop, the way the water shocked her, as if she had been sleeping until the instant she hit the water.
* * *
Emma Darcy, Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby
Had she been too hasty in taking such decisive umbrage against him? Was this the weight of disappointment because he wasn’t how she’d wanted him to be, or of regret for cutting herself off before exploring the experience further?
* * *
Emma Petersen, Master of the Game
Even fooling around in high school, she had never misplaced her underwear. The lack of them made her feel sordid and cheap.
* * *
Eric V. Lustbader, White Ninja
His body felt heavy with lust, his had light with abandon. While his body was for the moment sated, he found that his mind was not. He watched through eyes slitted by dusty late-afternoon sunlight and lust as she climbed naked off the bed.
* * *
Frank Herbert, Dune
Pity should be cruel! He nodded. Failure was, by definition, expendable. The whole universe sat there, open to the man who could make the right decisions. The uncertain rabbits had to be exposed, made to run for their burrows. Else how could you control them and breed them?
* * *
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
They had found to a great extent, as most young couples find in some measure, that they possessed in common many fixed ideas and curiosities and odd quirks of mind. They were essentially companionable.
* * *
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
It was vaguely understood between them that on some misty day he would enter a sort of glorified diplomatic service and be envied by princes and prime ministers for his beautiful wife.
* * *
Georgette Heyer, Cotillion
She stood considerably in awe of him, for his cool, well-bred manners were quite unlike her guardian’s, and made him seem immeasurably superior. He had an air of decided fashion, too, and an occasionally satirical tongue. The twinkle, however, reassured her.
* * *
Grace Burrowes, The Heir
I am not particularly charming, as he is, but children don’t mind that. They want honest regard, much like a good horse does.
* * *
Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter
What an absurd thing it was to expect happiness in a world so full of misery. He had cut down his own needs to a minimum, photographs were put away in drawers, the dead were put out of mind; a razor strop, a pair of rusty handcuffs for decoration; but one still had one’s eyes, he thought, one’s ears. Point me out the happy man and I will point out either egotism, selfishness, evil—or else an absolute ignorance.
* * *
Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams
The story was not new. For thousands of years women had rebelled. They had made a fortress of religion—had buried themselves in the cloister, in self-sacrifice, in good works—or even in bad.
* * *
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep.
* * *
Ian Fleming, Octopussy
Then, when the man had turned slowly to look at him with watchful, serious blue-grey eyes, he had known that this was officialdom, and when his cheery smile was not returned, inimical officialdom.
* * *
Irene Nemirovsky, Suite Francaise
She went out. When she came back a few moments later he was asleep. She wanted to lift his head, put her arms round his broad shoulders, feel his chest gently rising and falling. She watched him closely, smoothed back the lock of wild golden hair that had fallen on to his forehead, then looked at him again with a dreamy, hungry look, like a cat staring at a little bird.
* * *
Jane Austen, Persuasion
Both father and daughter seemed to expect that something should be struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments and reduce their expenditure, without involving the loss of any indulgence of taste or pride.
* * *
Jayne Ann Krentz, The Cowboy
Vengeance was a curious thing, he acknowledged. It had the same ability to obsess a man’s soul as love did.
* * *
Joseph Conrad, Nostromo
She did not answer. She seemed tired. They leaned side by side on the rail of the little balcony, very friendly, having exhausted politics, giving themselves up to the silent feelings of their nearness, on one of those profound pauses that fall upon the rhythm of passion.
* * *
Joan Wolf, A London Season
“It is vulgar, Anne, to allow other people’s opinions to divert you from what you know is right. It is vulgar and cowardly and unintelligent.”
* * *
Joan Wolf, His Lordship’s Mistress
Her overtures of peace were met with a perfectly courteous, solid resistance. She was discovering what his family had known for years: he was not easily angered, but when he was, he was not easily pacified.
* * *
Julia London, The Perils of Pursuing a Prince
Still frowning, Miss Fairchild carefully folded the letter and tucked it safely into her reticule. She lifted her gaze to him, her blue eyes filled with loathing. “I should very much like to have my mother write a letter directly to you, my lord, but as she has been dead these fourteen years, I can hardly ask it of her.”
* * *
Kasey Michaels, How to Tempt a Duke
She looked him full in the face in that disconcerting way of hers that meant that, no matter how hard he tried, he would not be able to discern her true feelings.
* * *
Kate Noble, Compromised
That’s not to say it went unnoticed. In the back of the box her eyes shone and sharpened as she focused not on the opera playing out on stage, but rather on the drama of the young couples seated in front of her.
* * *
Katharine Ashe, Captured by a Rogue Lord
He stood up with as many ladies as the orchestra provided sets. He could not recall ever doing so before in the course of his dozen years in society. But tonight he welcomed any diversion from his brother’s increasingly blank stare, his betrothed’s pallid visage, and her mother’s haughty mask triumph.
* * *
Katharine Noel, Halfway House
When he came into the kitchen, Wendy glanced over her shoulder and smiled. She was barefoot, her dark red hair pulled back in a neat knot. They’d been together two years but he still hadn’t gotten used to how different she looked at different times. Sometimes at night, when he unfastened her hair from its bun, she was ethereally beautiful. Other times, she seemed plain, with her pale lashes and wide forehead and freckles everywhere.
* * *
Kieran Kramer, When Harry Met Molly
Everything seemed gray and gloomy the next day to Molly. Her mood, her morning porridge, the sky, each cup of tea she poured for the ladies during the dramatic reading practice, the limp cards she held during the incessant games of whist she played.
* * *
Lawrence Durrell, Monsieur
After nearly a decade of marriage you expect something to wear out, to blow a fuse. In this case he saw himself sitting beside the breathing slender figure of Pia like someone in an old engraving—a beastly old Rembrandt exhaling perfervid gloom of Protestantism and a diet of turnips.
* * *
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs
I was nervous from loss of sleep, and the proximity of the beautiful woman affected me like a fever.
* * *
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
The men crowded together, stirred, and rapidly took off their hats. She lowered her eyes and, tripping over her skirt, came close up to them. So many different eyes, old and young, were fixed on her, and there were so many different faces, that she could not distinguish any of them and, feeling that she must speak to them all at once, did not know how to do it.
* * *
Lisa Hendrix, Immortal Champion
She couldn’t remember what had drawn her to approach him that first evening, whether it was mere childish whim or some deeper augury, but now, standing here in the dark and looking back from a distance of years, it seemed she could have done nothing else.
* * *
Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy
We walked to the loop intersection in contemplative silence. Now that evening was settling there were signs of life in the trailer park…cars turning in, voices and televisions filtering through the thin walls, smells of frying food. The white sun was resting on the horizon, bleeding out color until the sky was drenched in purple and orange and crimson.
* * *
Liz Fielding, The Bride’s Baby
It wasn’t just the portraits or the trees in the parkland. It was the cuffs and wear, the dips in the floorboards where countless feet had walked, the patina of polish applied by a hundred different hands. Scratches where dogs had pawed at doors, raced across ancient oak floors.
* * *
Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels
For hours at a stretch he could be amiable, even charming. Then, for no ascertainable reason, he’d turn on her, trickling sarcasm over her like acid, or patronizing her, or casually uttering a handful of words nicely calculated to turn her mind black with rage.
* * *
Lori Foster, Impestuous
She was exhausted from too little sleep, and mind-weary from fretting about things she had no control over.
* * *
Margaret Westhaven, Four in Hand
No woman of firm principles would give in to such sentimental meanderings.
* * *
Marguerite Yourcenar, The Memoirs of Hadrian
We two were in accord on almost everything. Both of us had a passion for adorning, then laying bare, our souls, and for testing our minds on every touchstone. She leaned toward Epicurean philosophy, that narrow but clean bed whereon I have sometimes rested my thought.
* * *
Marguerite Yourcenar, The Memoirs of Hadrian
I nevertheless constrained myself to the utmost politeness toward all these folk, diverse as they were. I was deferent toward some, compliant to others, dissipated when necessary, clever but not too clever.
* * *
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
As I said before, the basic circumstances themselves are so commonplace that they can be dealt with in a very few words. About twenty years ago, while he was still in college at any rate, he became involved with a young girl, and the involvement produced a child. This sort of thing happens, and it is sorted out one way or another, as any clergyman can tell you.
* * *
Martin Amis, Experience
I wanted to be in love again, and, of course, every last non-working man-hour was dedicated to the attempt to bring this about, wandering, staring, blushing, longing, waiting. But now at least I was in love with literature—particularly with poetry.
* * *
Mary Balogh, At Last Comes Love
She almost lost her courage before leaving her dressing room. At her age she should surely be wearing far more sober and decorous gowns. But before she could give serious thought to changing into something else, there was a tap on the door, and when her maid opened it, Stephen poked his head inside.
* * *
Mary Balogh, The Ideal Wife
The wait was interminable. She wandered about the room, looking at all the paintings, afraid to sit down lest she be caught at a disadvantage if the door should open without warning.
* * *
Maya Rodale, A Groom of One’s Own
Her stomach tightened into a knot. Her palms became clammy. She was remembering another wedding in June and the slow breaking of her heart as everyone stared on with curiosity and pity. Breathe, she commanded herself.
* * *
Maya Rodale, A Groom of One’s Own
She peered over the edge of the box at the rabble in the pit below. She counted three scuffles, one bout of fisticuffs, and four women of seemingly negotiable affection plying their trade. English audiences were notorious at the theater for having no manners to speak of.
* * *
Mira Lyn Kelly, Front Page Affair
He wanted her laughing and giving him her smart mouth and her soft body. He wanted the good time. The easy ride. But the easy ride was over.
* * *
Miranda Neville, The Dangerous Viscount
In his more optimistic moments he hoped her prickly attitude was largely the moodiness and irrational emotions attributed to pregnant women, and not because she hated him. Today she’d been in a delightful humor.
* * *
Molly Weatherfield, Carrie’s Story
I was very carefully licking his balls, concentrating on doing it the way he liked, wondering when it would be time to snake my tongue into his asshole, waiting for the little tug on the chain clipped to my nipples, which would be the signal. I got it right, I think—or at least, close enough.
* * *
Molly Weatherfield, Safe Word
Her face flushed and at first her eyes looked frightened, and then I could see a new knowledge gathering within them. I watched her back straighten, her breasts lift under his fascinated gaze.
* * *
Molly Weatherfield, Safe Word
You’re a little afraid of the moment when you’ll be judged, examined. You’re afraid but you also can’t wait—to be seen, to be touched, to be commanded, forced, used.
* * *
Neal Stephenson, Diamond Age
For most of its length the Causeway skimmed the high tide level, but the middle kilometer arched to let ships through; not that anyone really needed ships anymore, but a few recalcitrant swabbies and some creative tour operators were still plying the Yangtze estuary in junks, which looked precious underneath the catenary arch of the big Feed, strumming the ancient-meets-modern chord for adherents of the National Geographic worldview.
* * *
Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead
He could hear them stand up, laugh a little again, and then walk away. His ears were ringing, his head had begun to throb. He gritted his fists, forced his face against the ground once more to stifle his blubbering. All of his body felt weaker, more spent, than he had ever known it. Even his mouth trembled.
* * *
Pam Rosenthal, The Edge of Impropriety
The sounds had come out clearer now. Long, round o. Liquid, sibilant s. Clearer, but hardly English—the language, rather, of a body opening, flesh relaxing its tensions. An answer that obviated the necessity for any further questions.
* * *
P.G. Wodehouse, A Prefect’s Uncle
On this Sunday the conversation during the walk, after beginning, as was right and proper, with cricket, turned to work.
* * *
P.G. Wodehouse, A Prefect’s Uncle
And at this point a painful alternative faces me. I have to choose between truth and inclination.
* * *
Philip Roth, The Human Stain Here one had only the faintest sense of him as someone crawling through life on his hands and knees. Here, made manifest in this embittered ailing remnant of a man was a tiny, tattered piece of what had once been courage.
* * *
Sara Craven, Ruthless Awakening
The feel of the short turf, cool beneath her bare feet as she ran. The hot gritty slide of the sand under her burrowing toes down in the cove, and the eventual, blessed shock of the sea against her heated skin. Misty mornings. Blistering afternoons, lying languid in the shade. All pure nostalgia.
* * *
Sarah Morgan, The Prince’s Waitress Wife
Her attempt at innocence simply fed his irritation. He would have had more respect for her if she’d simply admitted what she’d done. But no confession was forthcoming.
* * *
Sarah Morgan, The Prince’s Waitress Wife
Replace him with someone else. The great thing about really unsuitable men is that they’re not in short supply.
* * *
Sherry Thomas, Delicious
There were, of course, his more insensible hopes—but he’d had to accept that some dreams were stillborn and some memories mirages.
* * *
Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
It was after three hours’ good walking that the servants of Cedric, with their mysterious guide, arrived at a small opening in the forest, in the centre of which grew an oak-tree of enormous magnitude, throwing its twisted branches in every direction. Beneath this tree four or five yeoman lay stretched on the ground, while another, as sentinel, walked to and fro in the moonlight shade.
* * *
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
He had a view of medicine that was at times unorthodox. He thought doctors often drew conclusions that they could not substantiate.
* * *
Stephanie Laurens, On a Wicked Dawn
It was midafternoon; outside their drawn curtains, the sleepy hum of a hot summer’s day held sway. She’d retired after lunch to rest; he’d followed not long after, ostensibly to check on her. In reality to join her, but not to rest.
* * *
Susan Mallery, Hot on Her Heels
She didn’t wear makeup or earrings or anything remotely feminine. There was a toughness about her. A wariness. He wondered if she knew her determination to never show a soft side only made him more aware that there was something she was trying to hide.
* * *
Tessa Dare, One Dance with a Duke
Her chest deflated. Not even midnight, and already his eyes held that wild, liquor-flared spark that indicated he was on the verge of doing something spectacularly ill-conceived.
* * *
Thomas Mann, Dr. Faustus
He went courting, and he did not worry about the financial situation of the girl he courted. On the contrary, he belonged to those men who prefer in marriage to have all the economic power in their hands and to have their wives dependent on them.
* * *
Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full
Meantime, a low buzz had started in the ranks of those shaggy mutts, the Press. Roger turned his head and looked about. The journalists were pulling faces at one another and whispering.
* * *
Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse
Then he would look up benevolently as always, from his smoky vague green eyes. But one only woke people if one knew what one wanted to say to them. And she wanted to say not one thing, but everything.
* * *
V.S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness
For all this there was no audience, and it was like the scrupulous preparation for going out of a girl whom no one will notice. It is with contemporary furniture as with contemporary clothes: sad unless there is some who notices and cares.\
* * *
Wallace Stegner, Big Rock Candy Mountain
In the hot bright street the traffic was thick. Cars coated with dust from the desert nosed into the curb to let out women in bloomers and wrinkled blouses and men in creased plus-fours.
* * *
Wilbur Smith, Assegai
They gazed at each other wordlessly. He reached out to touch her, and she came into his arms with a swift, lissome grace. They clung to each other, as though they were trying to meld their bodies into a single entity. Her lips quivered against his cheek as she whispered, “Kiss me, my darling. I have waited so long. Kiss me now.”
* * *
William Gibson, Count Zero
The curtains were still drawn. He felt a surge of some new exhilaration. He was leaving. He had to leave. Already he’d forgotten the pathetic fondness that his brush with death had generated. He parted the curtains carefully, a thumb-wide gap, and peered out.
* * *
W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge
It might be that the grace of her gestures, the felicity of her carriage, had been acquired by taking thought, but they had a look of perfect spontaneity.
* * *
Zoe Archer, Scoundrel
She wasn’t in England any longer. And she loved how she looked. Like a woman experiencing the world.

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