Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Book I Read

This week I was tagged by Jenny (Some Breath, Assured Pints) and asked to perform the following instructions:

Here are the rules: Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

However: me being me I have a slight alteration to make. Instead of tagging 5 people I would just like everyone who reads this post to leave a few paragraphs on the responses page regarding what they are reading right now – you don’t even have to quote the book in question unless you particularly want to.

I am also going to cheat slightly, by pasting bits from two different sources…this is partially because, as per usual, I am reading more than one book at present. I have a book by my bed – which is a compendium of three Ian Rankin novels (crime/detective) – this is too big to bring to work, so I also have two other books that I am reading for research into my next novel – one of which I have quoted below as ordered:

Those who are idolators have a language distinct from the others. This city lies towards the east-north-east. They are not a commercial, but an agricultural people, having much wheat. There are in this country a number of monasteries and abbeys, which are filled with idols of various descriptions. To these, which they regard with the profoundest reverence, they deliver sacrifices and, upon the birth of a son, they recommend him to their idol’s protection.

NB: the book is The Travels Of Marco Polo and is full of this sort of thing – lots of talk about people worshiping idols and offering their wives to strangers in the hope of honour from their gods. Although some modern scholars now believe the journals to be fake Marco Polo’s story remains the earliest travelogue and a rare example of West meets East at that time.

The second novel I’m going to quote from is another slight cheat, but it is one that is constantly with me and has been for over ten years:

Yes, that’s right – it’s my own pitiful attempt at being published. As it’s all in single-line spaced word files at present I had to take a rough guess at the 56th page – and the below is a short quote:

His stomach churned in horror and his face became a mask of pain. He looked up; his mind clouded with panic, and saw that the tavern had emptied and that people were already searching for water to fight the fire. It would only be a matter of seconds before he was seen. Somehow he scrambled to his feet and ran into the darkness, not pausing to look back.

On a final note – some of you may (or may not) have noticed that my topic titles are often quotes from songs or books – this one is the name of a Talking Heads song and the previous post was the first line of a song by Blur.

I look forward to your responses – will keep an eye on them over the next few days. Meanwhile, keep reading :)


Áine Caitríona said...

Right now I'm reading In The Skin Of A Lion by Michael Ondaatje. I want to like it more than I do... I try and read Canadian and I loved Anil's Ghost and Running In The Family, but parts of this book make me feel like I'm reading bad litrotica... maybe I'll warm to it as I get more into it?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hi aine

Thanks for the visit - great blog by the way!

I hope the book gets better. I find with Lord Of The Rings that the first few hundred pages are a load of rubbish about Trolls leaping out and singing at people - then it suddenly gets better as the story gets darker.

Maybe the author is at that Difficult Third Book stage??

This Brazen Teacher said...

"Make Money Not Excuses." by: Jean Chatzky

I promised my mom.

It's probably a very practical read for me, although I greatly dislike books of this genre.

Plus my Brazen ego doesn't much care for being scolded via 250 pages by a (very rich) author.

Pete McGregor: said...

For me, the nearest book right now is Ngata's English-Maori dictionary. Sticking strictly to the definition of a sentence (i.e. excluding the headwords etc.), the fifth sentence is:
"We must go and cast a vote".

Given the polls are now open for early voting in the US and NZ, how's that for coincidence?

raccoonlover1963 said...

I would try it, but all my books are packed away. Not many books in the house. Just the entire Harry Potter series and six bibles and Michael's set of encyclopedias.
I know most people think it's a huge conflict of interest to read the bible as well as Harry Potter, but after all, Harry Potter isn't a true story, it is only fantasy! It's not like I'm going to believe what I read in those pages.
Have a great week, what's left of it. I'll see you again after we get moved and set back up.

Anonymous said...

To raccoonlover above me, it's not a conflict of interest at all to read The Bible and Harry Potter. Considering that it is always open minded to read books of different genres. Considering that one is for principal and the other is for entertainment. Considering that J.K. Rowling herself is a Christian, so the book's undertone may match things you're reading in the other book.

Anyway, she listed me on the meme, so I'm also going to do this book thing on my blog in a few, but to answer your question, I'm reading "Veronika Decides To Die" by Paulo Coelho. It is an awesome book with a great writing style and I suggest everyone who sees this comment to at least try a paragraph or two at Barnes and Noble or online or whatever your book source is. I'm going to write about it on my Literary Memento soon enough.

This Brazen Teacher said...


Veronika Decides to Die is one of the few books I've read more than once.

LOVE it. And love you more now too ;-)

Lydia said...

I just started Barack Obama's DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. Fifth sentence page 56 is: "It's ten o'clock at night!"

The excerpt from your book is intriguing I must say! And Marco Polo I never would have thought of to read!

I'm going for Samurai's suggestion to read a couple paragraphs online of the Coelho book. Only recently became aware of Coelho (i know, i know) and I'm quite interested. I visited his website, which is wonderful.

RaccoonLover, good for you for not being one of those close-minded so-and-sos who tag Harry Potter as evil. What a ridiculous waste of time to try to turn people away from literature.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

TBT - I know what you mean, self-improvement books (which i assume this to be) tend to over generalise and usually just tell you things you already know

Pete - the dictionary sounds intriguing, and what a funny coincidence!

Lisa - i don't see any conflict here...if you believe that God created us then he also gave us his creativity. I've not read any HP novels myself (must be the only one!)

Samurai - i keep an eye on your Literary Memento and can recommend it to anyone reading this response. Look forward to the review

Lydia - i hope that Barack's book is interesting? "celebrity" memoirs don't always give you what they promise. I read Nick (drummer) Mason's "Behind the scenes of Pink Floyd" memoirs and was disappointed by the lack of details

Michael said...

Two more custodians come banging out of the trailer, carrying off the divisional pornography library and a life-size cardboard cutout photograph of the president of America, with his cleft chin, his golfer's tan, his air of self-importance, worn lightly, quarterback-style. The detectives like to dress the cardboard president in lacy underpants and pelt him with wadded clots of wet toilet paper.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon

Another curiously synchronous coincidence...

Honour said...

Ohhh .... exciting. Can't wait to see more of your book. As per usual, I have eclectic tastes and am reading two books at the moment.

"I can't help myself when he gets all bossy like that. My natural teenage instincts overpower me."

" She told herself that she would count up to ten and then open her eyelids, she said it twice, counted twice, failed to open them twice."

First - stephanie meyer's "eclipse" from the twighlight series, girl falls in love with vampire boy. Second - blindness by Jose saramago.

I'm at a conference right now for publishing/writing in sci-fi fantasy! it's great!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

michael - seems an apt time to be reading things with a political bent - especially with the events rapidly approaching

Honour - both your books sound fascinating. I hope you enjoy your course xx

Buddha said...

The DAO that can be expressed
is not the eternal DAO.
The named that can be named
is not the eternal name.
"non existence" I call the beginning of Heaven and Earth...
Tao te Ching
Lao Tzu
The book I keep near my bed so I can deep into it before I go to sleep.

Buddha said...

The DAO that can be expressed
is not the eternal DAO.
The named that can be named
is not the eternal name.
"non existence" I call the beginning of Heaven and Earth...
Tao te Ching
Lao Tzu
The book I keep near my bed so I can deep into it before I go to sleep.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Bhudda - that's an interesting book to keep nearby and an interesting concept - the name that can be named is not the eternal name. I agree with this.

We all have our secret faces...

Anonymous said...

Page 56, fifth sentence?

"There was no time to waste congratulating herself, and not just because she might hear the Pillbox's front door open anytime. She had other problems. Her muscles were strained and trembling from trying to walk in what was almost a sitting position; she felt like an out-of-condition amateur attempting some outrageous tantra yoga position. If she didn't do this at once, she wouldn't be able to do it at all. And if the chair was as strong as it looked -"

From Stephen King's latest, Just After Sunset.