Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Monday 17 March 2008

Page 123, multiplied

There's a meme going round, which invites people to quote the fifth and sixth sentences (some people suggest more) on page 123 of whatever book they happen to be reading.

I tried this with a couple of books, but the results looked so uninteresting I decided not to bother.

And then I thought, what would happen if you combined the results from books you have been reading recently?

So here's a collage from page 123 of some books currently lying about:

"The larger and more colourful a city is, the more places there are to hide one's guilt and sin; the more crowded it is, the more people there are to hide behind. A city's intellect ought not to be measured by its scholars, libraries, miniaturists, calligraphers and schools, but by the number of crimes insidiously committed on its dark streets over thousands of years.[1]

Most of the houses were exactly the same inside and outside, except for those which had been purchased from the council, an achievement often marked by a neon-coloured front door or a wall built around a garden of blue gravel.[2]

Again there was no answer but she took a few steps back and saw the lace curtains on the upstairs window fall back into place. She returned to the door and pressed the buttons simultaneously and continuously for about five seconds, then released them.[3]

She started to explain what had happened and how she'd been trying to get home, but trailed off as she realized that he wasn't listening to her but was staring at the stuffed monkey she had attached to her bag. "Where did you get that?" he said.[4] "Don't worry," Miss Throckmorton replied. "We'll take good care of him."[5]

The pain was terrible. Removing his boot he fingered his worn sock and was relieved to find he wasn't bleeding.[6] "For solidarity". He smiled grimly.[7] Was it trivial that a beatiful woman had wanted him? He suspected that it was.[8]

Clesant dragged himself up and across the floor, he opened the cupboard, and the man bundled in and hid, and that was how it ended. Yes, that's how it ends, that's what comes of being kind to handsome strangers and wanting to touch them.[9]"

[1] Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red.
[2] Andrew O'Hagan, Be Near Me.
[3] Jasper fforde, The Fourth Bear.
[4] Catherine O'Flynn, What Was Lost.
[5} Kim Edwards, The Memorykeeper's Daughter.
[6] Beryl Bainbridge, Young Adolf.
[7] C. J. Sansom, Winter in Madrid.
[8] Mark Mills, The Savage Garden.
[9] E. M. Forster, Dr. Woollacott.

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