Saturday, December 02, 2006

Random Reading

I was just visiting Somewhat Refined, a site I enjoy, and I will now steal her post, which she stole from someone else, who probably stole it from someone before that. You know how that kind of pilfering goes on. Anyway, here are the rules:

1. grab the nearest book. no cheating! the nearest book.
2. open the book to page 123.
3. find the fifth sentence
4. post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. don't you dare dig for a cool or intellectual book on your shelf. pick out whatever is closest!

I'll confess here that I skipped my grandmother's fourth-grade mathematics book. The reading I will post, then, is the second nearest book--The Portable Oscar Wilde, a 1946 Viking Press edition (Dive, you would be appalled. The binding has come loose, and I'm not doing a thing about it.) This excerpt is from The Critic as Artist.

"I am very fond of the work of many of the Impressionist painters of Paris and London. Subtlety and distinction have not yet left the school. Some of their arrangements and harmonies serve to remind one of the unapproachable beauty of Gautier's immortal Symphonie en blanc majeur, that flawless masterpiece of colour and music which may have suggested the type as well as the titles of many of their best pictures. For a class that welcomes the incompetent with sympathetic eagerness, and that confuses the bizarre with the beautiful, and vulgarity with truth, they are extremely accomplished."

I love the line "confuses the bizarre with the beautiful and vulgarity with truth. Students try so hard to have what they think are the "right" opinions, to be smarter than they are, they come across as more ignorant than if they were simply honest.

11 comments:

dive said...

Hoorah!
Tha "Tasks Of Robyn" are back.

Right. Assuming the "nearest book" to be the top one of the heap beside my computers, here goes …

dive said...

Okay. Done it.

I like the idea, by the way, of having a "portable Oscar Wilde".
You caould produce him with a flourish whenever his glorious wit were required.

And you're forgiven for the binding, Robyn. I have a rather large queue of tatty books awaiting repair myself …

Robyn said...

Well, if you were truly my neighbor, Dive, you could come over here and rifle through my collection of old neglected books and determine which ones should be salvaged. It doesn't bother me that they are in sad repair because they show their history.

dive said...

That's true.
I'm starting to show "character" around my tatty edges now I'm getting older, so I cannot blame any book for soing the same.

dive said...

… and around my typing …

Molly said...

Thanks for the link, Robyn, and for sharing your five sentences. I'll have to point Lisabeth your way so that she can see the chain of pilfering in action. But you know, now I'm really dying to know what your grandmother's mathematics book has on page 123, sentence five. :-)

Robyn said...

Molly, my buddy Dive in the UK pilfered as well, and then his friend in India followed suit. If you follow my sidebar link to Small Glass Planet, you can see the chain of events. Very fun. Make sure you pass the whole thing on to the originator.

JanieBelle said...

I have caught the meme, and even infected another blogger.

I also traced the meme back like 8 or 9 blogs and back then (way back in October) you weren't supposed to tell what the book was, everyone was supposed to guess.

It's an interesting twist, so I edited out the name of my book.

Unfortunately, I'm not currently reading a trashy romance novel.

Thanks for this one, Robyn.

JanieBelle said...

Hi Robyn!

I was thinking about how to reveal the name of my book to those who want to know, but not to those who want to guess first, so I add a picture of my great great great grandfather, Jonas. Jonas has nothing to do with the book, but if you mouse over his picture, the title tag will tell you the answer.

Robyn said...

JanieBelle, that's a great idea. And the photo of Jonas is one to treasure.

JanieBelle said...

Thanks, Robyn. I love that picture.

It's often told in the family that he used to sit in that rocker on the porch for hours on end, smoking his pipe and just watching the world. (He was a carpenter before he retired.)

Every now and again, he'd (apparently) think of something amusing and just start chuckling. My great grandmother (he would have been her grandfather-in-law) used to say that he probably laughed himself to death.

I can't think of a better epitaph.