Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fancy book learnin'

"Lookie here, he be gone done tryin' to read!"

There's a doins a transpirin' in the world o' meme-ery, but thankfully, this one involves one of my favorite things, books. En plus, I was tagged by my favorite nun, so it makes it extra special or religious or something like that.

Here are the rules, suckers:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.

2. Find page 123.

3. Find the first 5 sentences and read them.

4. Post the next 3 sentences.

Easy as freshly-baked pie cooling on the windowsill, no? Not exactly. Given where I sit at home while typing up some of the ridiculous posts of this crappy blog, the final book on not one, but two separate and distinct shelves rests equidistant from yours truly. It would seem that I was presented by the Fates with a dilemma, but rest easy, for it was a problem that offered its own solution.

I had the choice of excerpts from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, or from the book pictured below. See, told you it was a piece of cake pie.

Given Proust's proclivity towards enormous sentences, the five that I was required to read took up nearly all of page 123. Therefore, the bulk of these three sentences appears on the following page, where the narrator has just left a swanky soirée at the Guermantes' place and is traveling in their coupé.

I was to tire myself out seeking vainly to imagine, during the months when my desire turned rather to young girls, what the one whom Saint-Loup had talked to me about was like in her person, or who she was, and during the months when I would have preferred a lady's maid, that of Mme Putbus. But how restful, after being perpetually troubled by my anxious longings for so many fugitive creatures whose names even I often did not know, who were in any case so hard to find, even more so to get to know, and impossible perhaps to conquer, to have selected, from out of all this scattered, fugitive, and anonymous beauty, two choice specimens complete with their descriptions, whom I was at least sure of procuring for myself when I wanted! I deferred the moment of starting on this twofold pleasure, as I did that of working, but the certainty of enjoying it whenever I wanted excused me almost from taking it, like the sleeping pills that it is enough to have within reach of our hand for us no longer to need them but to fall asleep.
The following victims are tagged, standard disclaimers apply: Marjorie, La Belette Rouge, Colleen. And LBR, I apologize for not changing the page from 123 to 122, for contained in the five sentences was a mention of -- you guessed it -- red shoes.


Mary Ellen said...

I should have known you would have Marcel Proust!

My favorite Proust quote, and probably one of his shortest, "Love is a reciprocal torture." Man, he nailed that one!

I've always had a hard time reading his works...so lengthy, it takes forever to get through one paragraph only to realize it could have been said in one sentence. It must be my short attention span...

Wait...what were we talking about again?

pissed off patricia said...

OT, just wanted to say thank you.

My Inner French Girl said...

Merci, Randal! Your choice was interesting and frankly, quite revealing. Why? Because the writing style is so similar to yours, I now understand why you love Proust so much. Having never read any of the good man's works, though, I can only assume that this will make more sense to me once I actually take the time to get this from the library and read it cover to cover.

Still...is it just me, or is it a bit depressing?

Anyhoo, merci for the tag. I'm on it! (Although since I've packed almost all of my books, I fear that all I have left is a reference volume of some kind. Yawn.


Anonymous said...

too kind, too kind indeed.

b said...

Hi Randal. This post just makes me more eager to read Proust. I hope all is well with you! Miss you!

La Belette Rouge said...

Thanks for the tag! I am in. But, here's the conundrum--I write in my living room and the only books in my living room are art books with no text. Hmm. To cheat or not to cheat?

And, apology accepted as long as you write about red shoes in an upcoming post.;-)

I knew you were going to quote Proust. Bible, Dictionary, Phone book and Proust are most likely held in the same local. Okay, maybe not the bible.:-)

Randal Graves said...

ME, weed and sex, I think. That's one reason why I love his stuff, so verbose, meandering.

POP, de rien, mon amie.

marjorie, seems I Freudian slipped an author whom I steal from, huh. ;-) Depressing? Not in an overtly tragic way, more of a dark thread that constantly runs through every facet of life, a ghost, barely there, but perceptible nonetheless. I'm not really doing a description justice, so just read it. ;-)

colleen, merci, but no rush. Save it for whenever you can't think of a post.

b, you're alive! I feared you had been abducted by aliens, yet still you matriculate upon planet Earth. Don't disappear for so long next time. ;-)

LBR, I think you'll have to cheat, lest we get "sentences" of painter x, oil on canvas, 1872.

I have three things in my wardrobe with red: a couple of t-shirts with a smidgen of that color, and one of my two ties has some red on it. How the hell am I going to write about red shoes? ;-)

And I swear I didn't cheat! I picked up a couple of books the other day, so if I had gotten tagged last week, it might have been Rimbaud or Kafka or something. And no, surprisingly, there is no Bible in my house. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Proust, mais naturellement ! Cette personne abaissée diffuse était le fléau de mon vingt et un vieux arts de l'auto-portrait d'an. Je jure, bien que, maintenant j'aille devoir le lire pour aucune autre raison que je préfère structurer des phrases dans la plus ou moins même chose, la longue, compliquée, serpentante manière qu'il a choisi de structurer sa prose quand il a écrit.

Mathman6293 said...

I want to thank you French speaking high brows for leaving me out of this meme. You might end up with a Dr Seuss Anthology.

Randal Graves said...

dcup, Proust ? Un fléau ? Mon dieu ! ;-) Sa prose est un labyrinth ordonné; c'est facile y devenir perdu, mais il y a toujours un sens d'un base - un âme, peut-être ? - même si'il est éphemère. Alors qu'il puisse être vu comme un grand mystère, je me sens accueilli par ses mots. Si je peux écrire un roman, il serait comme le sien.

mathman, don't think us too highbrow. I cannot speak for your better half, but it's not like I read the damn thing IN French. I'd still be on page 7!