Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm It?

Annie at AmbivaBlog tagged me with the Page 123 Book Meme. This is the first such meme I've been tagged with. So, lets see, what are the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
At the moment, there are a number of books stacked neatly on top of each other about 18" from my keyboard. None is really any closer than the other. On top of the stack is the Consumer Reports 2008 Buying Guide Despite their earnest discussion of warantees for LCD televisions on p.123, I think we can dispense with that one.

The rest of the stack, in descending order:
Bingo Night at the Fire Hall -Barbara Holland
Endangered Pleasures -Barbara Holland
Onions in the Stew -Betty MacDonald
The Plague & I -Betty MacDonald
When All the World Was Young -Barbara Holland
Discover Your Inner Economist -Tyler Cowen
I was tempted to fudge and quote sentences 3-5 from p.123 of Holland's Bingo Night at the Fire Hall

My mind bulges with clothes. In my mind, though not in my closets, they fall into several geographic categories on a map marked with concentric circles. The choice of acceptable garments narrows as the circles widen towards civilization and gets complicated by winters, which include November and March, when I can't get as far as the car except dressed as a Muscovite charwoman, booted and bundled and scarved, and emerge in the mild valley from my snow-caked car like a messenger of doom from the frozen north.

But that would be cheating. Playing by the rules, I'll quote Holland's Endangered Pleasures, a series of essays in defense of naps, bacon, martinis, profanity and other indulgences as the sub-title says:

This is like saying the sexual revolution of the sixties took all the fun out of sex. What gambling has lost in romance it's gained in availability, and it is our duty in these pages to provide pleasure for all, even the respectable. Elitists who still miss the illicit thrill can always try Russian roulette.

As the Boston Globe observed, Barbara Holland "is a gifted and joyful storyteller. She delights in recounting in a straighforward manner stories you couldn't make up." Russell Baker described Bingo Night at the Fire Hall as "a passionate elegy for the passing of one of the most beautiful counties in America."

Whenever Barbara Holland sets pen to paper, sparks can fly and tears stream, but laughter is almost always a page away, while insight and comfort are ever present.

I read most of these books years ago. The books are stacked to take over to my mom later today. (Had I seen this meme yesterday, it would have been a different stack, as my nephew and I were meeting to talk about markets and investing and I had a couple of books ready for him - Cowen's book was a leftover from that stack). I'll write about Betty MacDonald another day.

I wonder what books "JdJ" at Within the Crainium, Peter at Growing Things, Ruth Anne at Maternal Optimist, Michael at Sideways Mencken and Jason at Xenogere have close at hand.


Ruth Anne Adams said...


jason said...

The deed is done, Randy.

And thank you for sharing this one with me.

Michael Reynolds said...

I wish I'd seen this before I drank that glass of Scotch. I'll try and respond fittingly tomorrow.

peter hoh said...

Okay. I'll get on it as soon as I tuck the kinfolk in bed.