Monday, February 18, 2008

Wonderfully Out of Context

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 2, Number 2

My Uncle Dave (find him in the sidebar under Rellies - he's "Actively Avuncular") tagged me to do this "nearest book" thing where you find the closest book, turn to page 123, and post the fifth through eighth sentences. I'm going to do this, as ever, my way.

Nearest Book of Any Description - Charlotte's Web
"A rat can creep out late at night and have a feast. In the horse barn you will find oats that the trotters and pacers have spilled. In the trampled grass of the infield you will find old discarded lunch boxes containing the foul remains of peanut butter sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, cracker crumbs, bits of doughnuts, and particles of cheese. In the hard-packed dirt of the midway, after the glaring lights are out and the people have gone home to bed, you will find a veritable treasure of popcorn fragments, frozen custard dribblings, candied apples abandoned by tired children, sugar fluff crystals, salted almonds, popsicles, partially gnawed ice cream cones, and the wooden sticks of lollypops."

Who's hungry?

Nearest Grownup Book - Household Counts: Canadian Households and Families in 1901
(Page 123 is a map: I had to go to page 153.)

Another way of representing the differences in the social environment between the new world and Europe is to compare how many young people were participating in life-cycle service. Although it was common in eighteenth-century Europe, historians have noted that the tradition of young people leaving home to work for a succession of employers in their teenage years generally declined in the modern era. Hajnal and Berkner both note the prevalence of young servants in western European populations and suggest that between 30 and 40 per cent of males and females at ages 15 to 19 were servants in the eighteenth century. Laslett and Kussmaul have stressed its importance in eighteenth-century England as well.

Who's bored?

Nearest Book Belonging to ME: The Penelopiad
I had a whole run of dreams that night, dreams that have not been recorded, for I never told them to a living soul. In one, Odysseus was having his head bashed in and his brains eaten by the Cyclops; in another, he was leaping into the water from his ship and swiming towards the Sirens, who were singing with ravishing sweetness, just like my maids, but were already stretching out their birds' claws to tear him apart; in yet another, he was making love with a beautiful goddess, and enjoying it very much. Then the goddess turned into Helen; she was looking at me over the bare shoulder of my husband with a malicious little smirk. This last was such a nightmare that it woke me up, and I prayed that it was a false dream sent from the cave of Morpheus through the gate of ivory, not a true one sent through the gate of horn.

Hm. Good one Maggie.

Nearest Book I'm Actually READING: The Odyssey of Homer
These things the famous singer sang for them, but Odysseus, taking in his ponderous hands the great mantle dyed in sea-purple, drew it over his head and veiled his fine features, shamed for tears running down his face before the Phaiakians; and every time the divine singer would pause in his singing, he would take the mantle away from his head, and wipe the tears off, and taking up a two-handled goblet would pour a libation to the gods, but every time he began again, and the greatest of the Phaiakians would urge him to sing, since they joyed in his stories, Odysseus would cover his head again, and make lamentation. There, shedding tears, he went unnoticed by all the others, but Alkinoos alone understood what he did and noticed, since he was sitting next him and heard him groaning heavily. At once he spoke aloud to the oar-loving Phaiakians: 'Hear me, you leaders of the Phaiakians and men of counsel. By this time we have filled our desire for the equal feasting and for the lyre, which is the companion to the generous feast.'

I give Homer props for adjective use. And if you've always wanted to try a classical epic but aren't sure which one to tackle, pick this one. (The Lattimore translation is excellent - see link.)

Book that is Nearest to my Heart: The Hounds of the Morrigan
"But we'd never get it. She'd kill us first."
"Kill us?" said Brigit. She looked around wide-eyed at the idea of anyone even thinking such a thing.

The most wonderful book EVER and EVERYONE should read it.

Book that is Second Nearest to my Heart: A Traveller in Time
"You know who she is?"
I shook my head, not venturing to guess.
"Her blessed Majesty, Mary Queen of Scotland," said he, "My beloved and sacred queen. One day she will be Queen of England, on her rightful throne, and the true religion will come back, and all will be well on earth as in heaven."

I'm getting a bad feeling about this....


Isn't it amazing what you can say in four sentences? Especially if you punctuate effectively.


Annalea said...

It's so funny, the different reactions we have to literature. The second example, about teenaged servants, I found really interesting. Then again, I have a bee in my bonnet about how children are institutionalized and warehoused, sequestered from society, often forcibly kept from contributing meaningfully to the community and the lives of those around them, until they're grown into selfish, somewhat twisted, entertainment-seeking quasi-adults who live the grind and watch TV for the rest of their lives, half asleep and never knowing it.

lol How's that for a take on #2?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Well done! I wish I had seen yours before writing mine. I'd have loved to have picked a favourite book ... but hmmm ... deciding which would be the problem. I knew that you were particularly suited to rise to this challenge and right I was.

kate said...

Effective punctuation .... you do know the way to this girl's heart!

I liked this one.

Jo said...

Very interesting - I think I will take this up when I get home (I just got to work, so you will have to wait a few hours!0

Jo said...

Okay, mine are up if you want to have a look.

lizbon said...

It's striking to me just how differently the same number of sentences can come out, in length and depth and overall feel.

Jenny said...

Will do this one for sure!!
How fun!