Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Meme for a Day

By Cornelia

Back from Syracuse, still deadlining... I just did the following meme on Joshilyn Jackson's hugely excellent blog, Faster than Kudzu:

1. Take five 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:

Here is mine:

"It was my second husband and I have left him for ever because he has fallen in love with a welfare worker, not that you'd know what that is, because I'm sure they don't have them in France." In the morning he got up early and made his own breakfast of a glass of grappa, a thick slice of Genoa salami with a chunk of fresh Italian bread that was still delivered to his door as in the old days. We are like an orphanage to art and artifact, because we are willing to handle the unwanted, we give them value. Or the slow evolution of spring: before the city thawed, the Catkin week fair, with its stalls and sideshows on Konnogvadisky (Horse Guards) Boulevand, its bright-lacquered wooden toys; weeks later, servants sweeping dead snow from the shallow roofs, hidden in St. Petersburg as if roofing iron were as intimate as crinoline or whalebone; later still, workmen would prize up the octagonal pinewood paving blocks and trim new ones as the city spring-cleans its streets, and barges creak once more on the Neva or the Moika canal just the other side of Morskaya. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

1. Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years

2. The Pursuit of Love

3.The Godfather

4. A Dirty Job

5. The Bitch Posse

Okay, so that's not the order in which the sentences appear in the paragraph, but it's just the order in which I picked the books up around the living room.

Whaddaya got on your shelf?


  1. OK, so it only made even a little bit of sense (and was kind of funny ;-) as two paragraphs:

    “I accept your proposition with pleasure,” the Potter announced with irritating politeness. “I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me”.

    “I have learned a few tricks along the way, a few random skills and simple avoidance techniques – but mainly it has been luck, I think, and a keen attention to karma, along with my natural girlish charm.” Reacher left Gregory working with his cell phone on the sofa and wandered back through the kitchen to Lane’s office. “I’d better be going”.

    The books are, in order:
    A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon
    The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
    Kingdom of Fear, Hunter S. Thompson
    The Hard Way, Lee Child
    The Sisters, Robert Littell

  2. I love the idea of Reacher's natural girlish charm!

  3. Yeah, it made me chuckle, too, especially coming from Thompson.....


  4. Cornelia, you're making me work too hard this morning!

    I'll use your meme as a spot of relaxation this afternoon. Report back later.

  5. Love the idea, but this is going to have to wait until I get home, because I don't think there's much you can do with biological supply catalogues and scientific papers.

  6. What's a meme?

    I will go try this exercise with at least one part Wodehouse and get back to you.

  7. I love posts with homework!

    Andie tried to be as efficient as possible with her update. He was intrigued by Maurice Blanche and his interest in Maisie's education, and it was this involvement, rather than his wife's philanthropic gestures, that led him to allow that the project might, in fact, have some merit. I thought for a moment and then leaned close enough to whisper in his ear, "Did I mention that Muldoon is away for the weekend?" They squabbled a while, and Steve—not getting his way—had stomped off the boat in his Jockeys and dived into the rope hammock strung between two sabal palms. There are people who can be happy anywhere.

    Under Cover of Darkness by James Grippado
    Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
    Cover Your Asset by Patricia Smiley
    The Deep Blue Alib byPaul Levine
    A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read

  8. YAY PATTY!!!!!!! And I'm psyched about Julia's Wodehouse!!!!!

  9. Oh, this is fun. And you KNOW I would so much rather do something like this than my real work. So here goes:

    I grew up around a father and a mother who read every chance they got, who took us to the library every Thursday night to load up on books for the coming week. Tony asked her too but he was philosophical about it when she told him she was already engaged. “There is only one thing I do not care for, however,” he said as the order was passed reverently around the table, “and that is this foolish insistence upon the word ‘surgeon.’” He continued his somewhat uncertain way to the ground and before he had quite reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard the company above him turn round and follow him downwards. “You're not going to be able to get past St. Peter just on the strength of going to Sunday school, you know.”

    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
    Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien
    Last Tales by Isak Dinesen
    Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

  10. Go Ari! Go Ari!

    Hey, speaking of the work you SHOULD be doing, I got a really nice email from a librarian out on Long Island this afternoon. Her sig line referred to her place of work as "the last library before Portugal," which I think is incredibly cool.

  11. from Jacqueline

    OK, Cornelia, I'm saving this one for the weekend, it'll be the commerical break in the week's writing endeavors. Patty, that was clever of you to troll the Naked Authors collective oeuvre.

  12. Okay, now let's try this:

    There had been omens. There is now a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Chongqing, she admits darkly. Not a good sign to be born under.
    But, weirdos that we are, most of us want to. That's why free trips have't been outlawed by the Legislature.

    Incident at Badamya by Dorothy Gilman
    The Discworld Almanac by Terry Pratchett
    Full Circle by Michael Palin
    Paradise Screwed by Carl Hiassen
    Scene of the Crime by Anne Wingate

    Not in that order.

  13. Ahem. Haven't

  14. Brilliant. And KFC gives "born under a bad sign" a whole new twisty meaning.

  15. "All peoples have epic legends about their tribal ancestors, and these legends often formalize themselves into religious cults. The corollary to never going to a meeting without a strategy is never getting off a jet without a strategy, never going to a screening without a strategy, never going to dinner without a strategy, never going to a breakfast without a strategy. "But there's nothing we can do about it now." "It sounds good to me," said Peebles; "I ain't fer goin' 'ome empty 'anded." By restraining them with the nameless unhewn log, they will not feel disgraced, they will be still, whereupon heaven and earth will be made right by themselves."

    (1) River Out Of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, by Richard Dawkins
    (2) Hello He Lied (and other true stories from the Hollywood trenches), by Linda Obst
    (3) Deliverance, by James Dickey
    (4) Tarzan and the Golden Lion, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    (5) Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

    I co-posted the results on my blog, so now I'm curious to see what my mouth-breathing pals come up with (I bet more than a few have to cite multiple issues of Archies comics...)

  16. Nice one! I do have to differ with Lao Tzu, however, in that I think I would feel disgraced if someone restrained me with an unhewn log.

    Did you see they're re-doing Betty and Veronica, BTW?

  17. Especially a NAMELESS unhewn log.

  18. That nameless unhewn log?

    I know his name.

    Not bragggin' -- just sayin', is all.
    Tao Te B

  19. I love "the last library till Portugal"! She sounds great. Did I tell you someone gave me the librarian action fiure with magic shushing action for Hannuka? Now if only they had one for mystery writers.

  20. i'm skipping this one with a whine - getting hold of 5 books is currently not something i can manage. pout. whine.
    It's the shoulder which won't let me reach or carry. Can I have my houseboy back please?

    We have a mythical invisible houseboy. Or had. He disappeared (hard to do) some years back when I was complaining to Stu one weekend that the damn houseboy never brought me my coffee on the weekends anymore and we realized he'd run off.
    Some time later we were explaining about Raoul - if you're gonna have a pretend house servant, shouldn't he be French? - and discovered, to our amazement, that Raoul had in fact run off with Kate and David's mythical French maid, Fifi.
    It's SO hard finding invisible help nowadays, isn't it?
    Do any of the rules say they have to be books you've READ? I am surrounded here by books I'm selling, many of which I've not read, or which I didn't like enough to keep...stacks of books easier than bookshelves, but it means they're likely to be less loved....

  21. Julia's Wodehouse? Sounds like an Elmer Fudd impersonation.

  22. I thought Raoul got eaten? Any five books will do, I think. Five horrible books might make for a fun paragraph....

  23. Yay. I stole this from Marha who stole it from Joshilyn!

    Aren't we all an incestuous bunch? I, of course, wouldn't have it any other way.

  24. You used one of the same books as me and in the same order! But opted for the last line of the appendix rather than the book!

    Never Moo!