Page 123 Meme!

I'm lollygagging around the blogosphere today, which usually translates to clicking on the links in my email to see what the cat drags in. As usual, some pretty fun stuff.

From one of my usual haunts, Tribe's blog, comes this:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

By a very strange sequence of events I have a book open that produces this on page 123:

Yet on holding the verso against a lit rush this new book of Morses responded most remarkably to the silent query of our worlds oldest light and its recto let out the piquant fact that it was but pierced butnot punctured (in the university sense of the term) by numerous stabs and foliated gashes made by a pronged instrument.

A couple of clues: it's not something from my slush pile. It is published. It's currently in print.

Any brave guessers out there amongst the Snarklings? And if you want to cheat and google, go ahead of course, but it takes the fun out of the game.


WannabeMe said...

"Oh, I can't believe this."

- page 123, 5th sentence, of a book my niece is reading for school, which happens to be exactly how my niece feels towards this particular assigned reading.

(She's reading the 4th Potter book - Goblet of Fire. She's fallen asleep on it 3 times already.)

Anonymous said...

No guesses, but here's mine from Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird:

You are going to feel awful beyond words.

Hope it's not predictive of 2006 for me, writing or otherwise!

Tribe said...

Name of the Rose? Foucault's Pendulum?

Mindy Tarquini said...

Um, Miss Snark? That has to be the most boring line I have ever read in my entire life, including calculus.

Here's mine:

'First they brought him delicatre wine,
Mead in bowls of maple and pine,
All sorts of royal spices,
And gingerbread as fine as fine,
And licorice and sweet cummin,
And sugar that so nice is.'

From David Wright's modern prose version of The Canterbury Tales. It's from Mr. Chaucer's Tale, Sir Topaz

I have two novel projects right now that require knowledge of Chaucer in its variety of translation, both of them humor. I like Mr. Wright's modern prose version because he leaves out The Tale of Melibeus entirely saying:

It's boring.

Anonymous said...

I'd guess Finnegan's wake.

I had next to me HITMAN, a collection of Lawrence Block's "Keller" stories. On page 123 I found:

"Some muffled sounds came through the door".

Anonymous said...

I googled and I never would have guessed where it's from.

remi_bz said...

"I was sorry Tisserand hadn't killed the black guy; day was breaking."

Taken from 'Whatever' by Michel Houellebecq.

Anonymous said...

Here's mine.

Boy did this make me want to run and get a book of poetry!

"I looked for him all over the lighthouse, and then I saw that the mackerel boat had gone, and the sea chest."

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Ginsburg, or one of the other beats...

Sonarbabe said...

Here's one from one of the romance books in my stash.

page 123, 5th sentence:

"Great. I've gone from puppet to pillow," he groused.

(Hmm. I wonder what kind of scene follows this comment?)

Anonymous said...

Finnegan's Wake, James Joyce.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I'm with M.G....God love ya' Miss Snark but I had to read your sentence twice before I understood it!

Mine is: She smoked whenever she was impatient, which meant she had a pack-a-day habit, by his calculations.

It's from "Comes a Horseman" by Robert Liparulo. It's a thriller!

d said...

I think your 5th sentence (Ms.Snark) it's from "Finnegan's Wake"

My 5th sentence is from a Grammar book --yeeks, I'm a yawn.

I'm posting it on my blog per instructions.

Thanks Ms. S.

McKoala said...

Miss Snark, I have no idea, but it took a couple of read throughs to even figure out what it was about! Context is everything.

Here's my contribution:

Abbreviations, counties, 42.

It does make sense - the closest book to me is a grammar; and p 123 is the start of the index. Not exciting, but you did say the closest book.

Anonymous said...

Don't need to Google to recognize Joyce. As to the book, I have a copy of Ulysses but doesn't match that on p.123. So by deduction (assuming it's not a different edition - which is quite possible, but the thought of wading into Bloom's day right now is too intimidating. Therefore...) I will guess Finnegan's Wake.

As for the book next to my keyboard at the moment (just sent by a friend in Australia)

p. 123 - 5th sentence: "Tristessa & Lucido"

"It's not about knowledge."

Oh, and belated thanks for the synopsis marathon. Hope your synapses have recovered.

Jude Hardin said...

The book next to me, the one I'm reading right now, the one I bought because Miss Snark recommended it, is Laura Lippman's BY A SPIDER'S THREAD, which doesn't have a page 123 (it skips from 121 to 125 at a new chapter/day). This from John D. MacDonald's THE DEEP BLUE GOODBYE, next up on the pile beside my desk:

The optimum image is the teak cockpit loaded soft with brown dazed girls while the eagle-eyed skipper on his fly bridge chugs BABY DEAR under a lift bridge to keep a hundred cars stalled waiting in the sun, their drivers staring malignantly at the slow passage of the lazy-day sex float and the jaunty brown muscles of the man at the helm.

Cornelia Read said...

Page 123, fifth sentence, from the 1945 edition of Emily Post's ETIQUETTE (Christmas present from my Mom, which I'd tossed on my desk):

"Custom, which has altered many ways and manners, has taken away all opprobium from the formal invitation by telephone."

And thank you very much for this meme, since I discovered that Mom paperclipped a check to the opening page of the book--which I otherwise would probably not have found for several years.

Ballpoint Wren said...

"The mail() function returns a 1 or a 0 indicating the success of the function call."

It's a new book I just bought tonight with my $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites.

quanty p biederman said...

Bharadwaja smiled.

(Ramayana, retold by William Buck)

Problem Child said...

I just had graduate school flashbacks.

They weren't pretty.


Maya Reynolds said...

"The same source informed its readers of a dandy, staying at a country house, who came down to breakfast 'in a redingote vest of plain velvet, waistcoat of flowered marcella, shirt of embroidered muslin, cravat of foulard, and --satin pantaloons.'"

From "The History of Underclothes" by Willett and Cunnington

Anonymous said...

"He had no idea what his wife was going through."

From 'Dark Nights of the Soul' by Thomas Moore.

Miss Scarlett said...

"I simply can't see Sam making gelee out of calves' feet himself."


Which is my opinion of this book, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. It's a good idea in theory, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

Unknown said...

Maybe they would have had better luck if they had submittted a Crapometer approved synopsis....

New York Times
January 4, 2006
Rejected by the Publishers

Submitted to 20 publishers and agents, the typed manuscripts of the opening chapters of two books were assumed to be the work of aspiring novelists. Of 21 replies, all but one were rejections. Sent by The Sunday Times of London, the manuscripts were the opening chapters of novels that won Booker Prizes in the 1970's. One was "Holiday," by Stanley Middleton; the other was "In a Free State," by Sir V. S. Naipaul, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature. Mr. Middleton said he wasn't surprised. "People don't seem to know what a good novel is nowadays," he said. Mr. Naipaul said: "To see something is well written and appetizingly written takes a lot of talent, and there is not a great deal of that around. With all the other forms of entertainment today, there are very few people around who would understand what a good paragraph is."

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

My guesses, without looking it up: Chicago Manual of Style or Words into Type, showing dummy text for providing typeset samples. But then I supposed I'm cheating just by attempting an answer; I'm a copyeditor who's been in publishing for 22 years.

Anonymous said...

Are you an investor in this Miss Snark?

marrije said...

I googled this, so I'm strengthened in my conviction that I'm not going to read that book.

But before googling I was certain it was something by Dan Brown!

Bernita said...

Finnigan's Wake.

"He governed England four years and sixteen weeks; and in his days tribute was paid to sixteen ships, at the rate of eight marks for each steersman, as was done before in King Knute's days."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
I was looking up something.

Molly said...

I'm at work and reached out blindly to bookshelf. Touched "Set Phasers on Stun" which yielded:

Second, each housing covered a hole, or nozzle, leading down into the reactor.

JI said...

I have done it before. Second time the playfulness doubles ;-)

'For some days after Miss Shepherd's death I left the van as it was, not from piety or anything to do with decorum but because I could not face getting into it, and though I put on a new padlock I made no attempt to extract her bank books or locate the necessary envelope.'

Allan Bennet - Writing Home

Rhonda Helms said...

I have NO idea, but here's one from _How to Win Friends and Influence People_:

"You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words--and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you?"

Anonymous said...

I have THE TALE OF THE HEIKE next to me, and you don't want to know.
Sigh! We make many sacrifices for our books.

Anonymous said...

Waylander, Im headed to Paris today to visit that bakery!!!!

Carla said...

Everything on my desk is journal articles, which rarely have a page 123. The nearest book was on the floor:
"To his illustrious daughter Queen Ethelburga, from Bishop Boniface, servant of the servants of God."

Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Penguin Classics translation. I was looking something up last night and forgot to put the book back on the shelf.

ahickpoet said...

Thomas Pynchon?

DD3123 said...

Consequently, 0 < ||x-x0|| < δ and
x [member] A implies x [member] Dδ(x0) [union] U.

-pg 123, 5th sentence

Kim Harrington said...

"He takes a silk handkerchief from his breast pocket."

From Charlie Huston's ALREADY DEAD. This sentence is not representative of the novel. Lower on the page, a more representative sentence reads, "Of course the costumes are mostly slutty lingerie and leather harnesses, and the sets are mostly sheets of plywood with dungeon walls painted on them, so they don't take up much space."

This book rocks.

Anonymous said...

WTF? To steal your famous response to crazy crap...ooops...didn't realize it was actually Harry Potter. Should I readjust my thinking?

I'll be sure to use this at my site...thanks for picking it up and sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Can you hike your sweater a little, up to your bra strap?

Theresa Monsour - Dark House (paperback ed.)

Emelle in OK

Anonymous said...

Wow, a dull sentence from a good book:

"Devlin had shouldered the chest."

--Once An Eagle, by Anton Myrer

Reading this out of context makes you wonder if ole Anton left his sentence unfinished--should it end with "out of the doorway," perhaps?

But, no, Dev has actually lifted the chest to his shoulders.

God, I hope nobody does this to a work of mine--assuming one is ever read.

Bethany K. Warner said...

"Companion or whore, ruby or glass, it was all the same to him if she allowed herself to be reduced to a shiny bauble, crafted for display and contracted to sparkle, when he knew her to be so much more."
(from Finding Serenity, edited by Jane Espenson)

Linda said...

I have no clue about your quote. Here's mine: "Webberly explained to them as best he could: When an unexpected death occurred, when someone died who was not under the care of a physician who could sign a death certificate, when someone died in an accident--like a drowning--then a post-mortem exampnation was required by law." A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George.

"Orange Mike" Lowrey said...

"But Wield was there."

Oy, what a lousy sentence from a morbidly fascinating book (On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill).

Anonymous said...

My sentence is:

She might not be the brightest or most brilliant of girls, but she was pretty and compliant and rich.

It comes from Rosamond's Revenge by Madeleine Conway.

Mindy Tarquini said...

Consequently, 0 < ||x-x0|| < δ and
x [member] A implies x [member] Dδ(x0) [union] U.

Megoblocks book collection scares me.

Anonymous said...

From Margaret Atwood's THE ROBBER BRIDE

"West is the opposite -- despite his amazing spider-monkey reach, he's clumsy at high speeds."

Anonymous said...

Mine was (unromanized):

"Koko ni ha Pope no Iliad to Odyssey no hanyakugaatta."

Translation: "Here was Pope's translation of the Iliad and Odyssey."

From a bilingual (english/japanese) version of "Biographical Stories" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Page 123 *had* to be the japanese side of the book, didn't it? >_<

Liz Jones said...

Finnegan's Wake.

"You want to avoid any sudden moves, chum."

from Broken Angels, by Richard K. Morgan.

Voix said...

"In Milan was the self-exiled Prince de Condé, and in eastern France, the powerful Duc de Bouillon, who threatened a Hugenot uprising if the young King were to marry the Spanish infanta--a match arranged when he was just ten years old."

La Belle France by Alaistair Horne (This sentence is about Louis XIII)

Susan said...

Ack! The 123rd page in the book I picked up was totally blank, except for the word "Spencer." (it's a section heading)

I think I need another book.

Next book in the pile:

"Using a range of sensory details, this scene creates simultaneous feelings of abundance and uneasiness." (From Deepening Fiction, by Sarah Stone & Ron Nyren)

Anonymous said...

"By default, you can select only one option in a list box."

from ASP.NET Unleashed

(I so wanted to use sentence 2 which involves the phrase "hair dryer, shaving cream and electric comb", but I restrained myself.)

Jean said...

I don't know yours, but I'm willing to believe the votes for Joyce; haven't checked yet.

Mine, from Jeff Hawkins' On Intelligence is:

"A region doesn't know--indeed it can't know--what any of those inputs mean."

Hawkins is discussing his theory for how the cortex works.

Anonymous said...

The book next to me does not have sentences on page 123. But the 5th line on page 123 is:

0.354 1.42475 51864 79888 380 0.70187 49673 55394 037

M. C. Pearson said...

Is it: How to BBQ 101? Just kidding...I have NO idea.

M. C. Pearson said...

page 123, 5th sentence:
"Also you shall take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them, the right thigh (for it is a ram of consecration..."

It just goes on and on. Yeah, it is the Bible but it also sound like BBQ 101.

Anonymous said...

They want their language to be graceful at times and powerful at times.

From Consider The Lobster by DF Wallace

BorderMoon said...

Miss Snark, may I suggest another literary amusement? Have your dedicated fans post the first line from the book of their choice, and see if it serves the function of hooking the reader. For added credit, see if they can guess which book it's from(of course they can look it up, but that takes half the fun out). My selection is

"I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other."

Anonymous said...

"This lithograph depicts an impossible figure inspired by the Necker cube."

Page 123 of Psychology: Themes and Variations, by Weiten.

Pretty good text, interesting if it's your thing...