Tuesday, May 12, 2009


a·le·a·to·ry (l--tôr, -tr) adj.1. Dependent on chance, luck, or an uncertain outcome.

OK, now I've even run out of pretty springtime photographs and I'm still feeling cotton-headed, so I'm going to call in one of my Get Out of Blogathon Jail Free markers. It's an old meme that recently resurrected on one of my favorite bookish blogs, pages turned. I'm not even going to go as far as the bookshelf -- our kitchen table tends to end up being kind of a staging area for books recently purchased, recently read, and recently pulled off the shelf for one reason or another, so I'm just going to pick what's physically closest:

1. Take five (random!) books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph:

One fine evening the no less fine office manager Ivan Dmitrich Cherviakov was sitting in the second row of the stalls, watching The Bells of Corneville through opera glasses. Sometimes -- an idle but anguishing sport of the mind -- he told himself he was the victim of some practical joke on the scale of the universe of which everybody and everything, from the stars and the Manger to the pipe-cleaners, tooth-soap and bootlaces fringing his existence, were linked in furtive enjoyment. I hear myself or someone else saying things like: "In my opinion the Russian people are a great people, but--" or "Yes, what you say about the hypocrisy of the North is unquestionably true. However --" and I think to myself: this is death. I went back to the low-pitchd tent in the shelter of a dune, lay down beside Sergeant Hamano and closed my eyes. Sammy slung in the bag and stepped inside then the door slammed shut and that was him, out of sight.How weird is it that the first two sentences have a manager in them? Totally random, I swear. [Just reread this and realized that's not true -- one is "manager" and one is "Manger." I'd better go home and check that one out.] The story from the Love Stories collection that the last sentence on page 50 comes from is Elizabeth Bowen's "Dead Mabelle."

OK, that's all for tonight. Someone else post some.

And all right, one cat photo because I never tire of how cute these little bastards are.



Blogger Margarita said...

Je vais t'aimer demain, aujourd'hui je ne te connais pas encore. (I will love you tommorrow, today I don't know you yet.) I think so. It wasn't time for it. I've been wondering. Until then, I would live for him in my writings.

BRILLIANT! Did I say I studied contemp. lit and abstract art!!!! I could not believe it when it came out. Or maybe it just shows the state of contemporary writing, compared to Chekhov.

Here are the books:
1) Marc Levy "Les Enfants de la Liberte" - hang on - I'm making progress on this book,it's quite good...
2)Ayn Rand "Atlas Shrugged" - are you surprised?
3) Haruki Murakami "Kafka on the Shore" - funny there always has to be a Murakami book around,
4) Nicole Mones "Last Chinese Chef" - to-read list, everything Chinese,
5) Lisa See "Peony in Love", a favorite of mine, and did I say "everything Chinese"?

Well, this was a little cheat, but worth it. The first fifth book I pulled was "Food Combining for Health" by Grant and Joice. I put it down and pulled a fiction book from the shelf above. Otherwise, the last sentence would have been "Any of the above sandwiches preceded by a thermos of hot vegetable soup and followed by a handful of nuts and raisins or sunflower seeds would make an excellent and sustaining meal." Until the morning, I live for you in my writings and my sandwiches!

11:18 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

This is great and I'm definitely filing this card away for a rainy day.

Also, those little bastards are adorable.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Great idea, Lisa! I've taken to stacking up recent lunchtime acquisitions and Amazon deliveries on a bookshelf at work (partly because I'm running out of room at home). So, here's the paragraph -- a nice connection with the two laughters, but mostly a dense thicket with a vaguely Gatsby-ish ending.

"Julian Donahue's father was on a Billie Holiday record. And so, Benjie, Faithful Beast, obeyed by quickly backing off and immediately assuming the role of sadistic spectator because, as was common knowledge, Oscy could make mincemeat of Hermie. The young man laughed. If we were living in the years before the Civil War, the humor would certainly be more obvious, and it might even be hitting us over the head. We had made about fifty miles this day with sail and oar, and now, far in the evening, our boat was grating against the bulrushes of its native port, and its keel recognized the Concord mud, where some semblance of its outline was still preserved in the flattened flags which had scarce yet erected themselves since our departure; and we leaped gladly on shore, drawing it up, and fastening it to the wild apple-tree, whose stem still bore the mark which its chain had worn in the chafing of the spring freshets."

The Song is You (Arthur Phillips)
Summer of '42 (Herman Raucher)
The Winter Vault (Anne Michaels)
The Thoreau You Don't Know (Robert Sullivan)
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Henry D. Thoreau)

9:08 PM  

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