Thursday, February 24, 2005

As Requested By The Frog Princess...

As I have been burning the candle at both ends* and frying my brain into a tender little crisp this week, I thought I would take a request from the Frog Princess and be a meme lemming:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

(I'm terribly sorry. I really wanted to find something trashy like The History of Brothels, but I've mislaid it. This one is rather good though, and it was the second book I saw after The Cat in The Hat.)

From Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino:
"Irene is the city visible when you lean out from the edge of the plateau at the hour when the lights come on, and in the limpid air, the pink of the settlement can be discerned spread out in the distance below: where the windows are more concentrated, where it thins out in dimly lighted alleys, where it collects the shadows of gardens, where it raises towers with signal fires; and if the evening is misty, a hazy glow swells like a milky sponge at the foot of the gulleys. Travellers on the plateau, shepherds shifting their flocks, bird-catchers watching their nets, hermits gathering greens: all look down and speak of Irene. At times the wind brings a music of bass drums and trumpets, the bang of firecrackers in the light-display of a festival; at times the rattle of guns, the explosion of a powder magazine in the sky yellow with the fires of civil war."

* I'm sorry; it was either this or post a section of SQL code I am currently trying to fix...


Blogger portuguesa nova said...

Cool meme. You stumbled across some very concise random sentences.

11:31 PM  
Blogger L said...

Actually, the sixth sentence was coincidentally the beginning of a new chapter (the chapters are quite brief)

I was going to do the Cat in the Hat, since that is the first book I saw-- but it doesn't have 123 pages...

11:40 PM  
Blogger theomorph said...

Being the curious researching type, I immediately looked up your book Invisible Cities on, since I had never heard of it. Customer reviews there fascinate me (talk about your proverbial roomful of monkeys on typewriters), and I've actually done some pretty successful research with them when purchasing books for the store where I work. Anyway, I found this very interesting two-star review of your book:

"It is one thing to dabble in petty paradox, but when a writer opposes the components of paradox obveresly AND makes the ironic comment on it everytime, it becomes apparent that the technique is a stylistic contrivance, more so than the workings of a fecund mind. It is very easy to confuse this type of work as being 'meaningful'. To be sure, the writing in 'Invisible Cities' is greatly crafted, but 'great writing' is not equipollent with 'a great book'. It is also repetitive, and I realize this was intended, but it is too repetitive; When a motif is repeated too often it suggests that the writer does not sufficiently trust the audience to be diacritical. When I started this book I was excited, by the end I was incensed with Calvino's egregious overuse of a technique reserved for subtlety. The audience is represented by the self-satisfied ignorance of the Genghis Khan character and Calvino by the obviously superior Polo. This book may even be a blatant display of contempt for the reader. Insincere, prolix and trite observations dolled up in cloying mysticism."

It's not every day you find Amazon customer reviews with words like "obveresly" [sic], "fecund," "equipollent" (had to look that one up myself), "diacritical," and "prolix." All the better when they're used to condemn a book for its "blatant display of contempt for the reader." Who with the what now?

12:24 AM  
Blogger theomorph said...

Also, while you're at it, don't miss this one.

12:26 AM  
Blogger MooCow said...

Post the SQL. C'mon. It'll be fun.

Unless it involes doing an inner join, I don't want to hear any complaining.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Frally said...

Don't be sorry for your post. I'm really glad you did that otherwise Theomorph wouldn't have dug up that hysterical review.
paradox obveresly indeed!

2:39 AM  
Blogger dayna said...

Okay, that little taste made me want to run out and buy the book. Thanks.

2:56 PM  
Blogger the frog princess said...

hehe .... you mislaid the Brothels book. Love ya, L!

5:43 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I've read the History of Brothels and always felt the climax was a little premature.

8:19 PM  
Blogger L said...

theomorph: those bits of "scholarly" writing are hilarious! I couldn't top the second one if I tried...

moocow: not only was the SQL code uncommented, but it involved pages of left outer joins, nested cursors within while loops, multiple table variables with identity columns, and the translation of one-to-many relationships into arrays. Very Bad Form.

dayna: the book is short and sweet, but I would actually recommend Under The Jaguar Sun first (by Calvino also)

frog princess and frustrated writer: not only was the climax premature, but it was also a very long and hard read.

12:09 PM  

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