Friday, 25 April 2008


I don't know what's happened, but fewer bloggers seem to be tagging one another with 'memes' these days, but then probably the daily - hourly - pressure of coping with the demands of Facebook and MySpace means that folk simply don't have the time any more!

Anyway, Qenny was tagged the other week and - I have to say, in a totally dissolute way - invited people to tag themselves in response.

So I have...

The rules of this particular 'meme' are as follows:
1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Write down the first 4 sentences.
4. Invite 5 friends to do the same.
Here then are my five sentences taken from page 123 of Somewhere a Band is Playing by Ray Bradbury:

She was a beautiful woman not to one man or two men but to every man who lived in the town of Green River, Illinois in that summer when the sound of the trees at night was like a great green sea moving on an endless shore of warm white sand.

She was the sun who moved among them by day. She was the moon that glided, moving the shadows aside, by night. Her face was snow, her hands snow, her dresses lemon and lilac.

Somewhere a Band is Playing by Ray Bradbury was first published by Gauntlet Press in 2007.

The extract is actually from one of Bradbury's early fragments out of which grew his novel Dandelion Wine, and because I love Bradbury's lyrical prose so much, I have to give you - simply as a bonus - the next few sentences...
Her hair was soft sun wheat. Her lips said apple, cherry, apricot and rose. Her eye spoke cool iliac in fresh rain. Early mornings you would see trails of footprints on her lawn and knew she had been out early walking somewhere. You hated to see the sun rise and draw off the dew, annihilating the paths forever.

The windows of her house were always up that summer and she sat before one and touched the piano keys with her white hands and the songs she played were songs every man carries in his head all his life...
The novella Somewhere a Band is Playing is also included (along with Bradbury's Leviathan '99) in the volume Now and Forever, published by William Morrow in 2007

Now I'd like to invite Boll Weavil, Diva of Deception, Gill, Good Dog and Lisah, to pick a book, look up page 123 and send me their five sentences.

And if anyone else wants to join in - well, please, feel free...

Now check out the Thoughts section below to see what pages got turned up...


LisaH said...

"t was considered scandalous, where we lived, my not having a bar mitzvah. It was only one up from marrying out.
People invented the most far-fetched reasons for it. My mother wasn't really Jewish and therefore I wasn't really Jewish either. My father had killed someone in a fight years before and no rabbi would barmitzvah the son of a murderer. My sister was pregnant and the family feared that the excitement of my barmitzvah would either terminate or bring on the pregnancy. My father was so desperately poor,thanks to the money my sister lavished on a wardrobe she never wore and the huge amounts my mother was known to spend hosting and having her hair done for her kalooki evenings, that he simply couldn't afford to give me a bar mitzvah."

Page 123 of Kalooki Nights, by Howard Jacobson

For those not familiar with it, kalooki is a card game.

Since you've added a few sentences, I thought I may as well get to the end of the second paragraph.

Diva of Deception said...

Thanks Lisah - you've made me want to read that book now....

Meanwhile I used being tagged as an excuse to blog again so my bit can be seen at

Good game, good game...

luinfalathiel said...

"On the outskirts of All-Hands' Village, an open wagon filled with women swept by them at an alarming pace. The women were laughing and shrieking. One got to her feet, raised her skirt all the way to her hairy crotch, and did a tipsy bump and grind. She would have tumbled over the side of the wagon and into the ditch - probably breaking her neck - if one of her colleagues hadn't grabbed her by the back of the skirt and pulled her rudely back down."

- The Talisman, Stephen King and Peter Straub

Boll Weavil said...

Ford : Oh Almighty Zarquon ! Has no one done anything ? Well ?
No.2 : I have declared war on the next continent !
Ford : Declared war ? But there is no one even living there ?
No. 2 :No, but there will be one day.I've left a sort of open-ended ultimatum and blown up a few military installations.
Captain : Military installations Number 2 ?
No. 2 : Well potentital military installations...all right, trees.And we interrogated a gazelle.

Page 123 - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Original Radio Scripts

Brian Sibley said...

Gosh that was quick! Thanks, Lisah, Diva, Luinfalathiel and Boll.

I've been meaning to read something by Howard Jacobson for some while. Must get around to it.

I used to read Stephen King, but they always seemed to give me nightmares that were considerably more graphic than the films based on his books - and without the comfort of popcorn!

Rather more than four sentences, Boll! But worth it for a reminder of Douglas Adam's incomparable style. It's half-a-lifetime since HGG was first broadcast and yet I can still recall hearing the opening episode: I was lying in a bath and stayed there until the programme was over - by which time the water was stone cold! I didn't notice: I'd been listening to the work of a comic genius...

For convenience, here's a quick route to Diva's extract which is from Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins and comes with photos of the author's house! Bonus points for that, Diva!

LisaH said...

"My daughter, Soraya jan," General Tanheri said. He took a deep breath, like a man eager to change the subject and checked his gold pocket watch. "Well, time to go and set up." He and Baba kissed on the cheek and he shook my hand in both of his. "Best of luck with the writing," he said, looking me in the eye. His pale blue eyes revealed nothing of the thoughts behind them.
For the rest of that day, I fought the urge to look toward the grey van."

I've only got a little way into Kalooki Nights - but I've read Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner a couple of times already.

Good Dog said...

Of the three "sick bed" books I took off the shelves after finishing with The Showrunners, this was the one I started yesterday evening:

Several times I saw Captain Nemo stop and raise his gun to his shoulder; then after watching for a few moments, he would move on.

Finally, at about four o’clock, the fascinating expedition came to an end. A massive wall of superb, impressive rocks rose up before us; it was a heap of gigantic blocks, an enormous cliff of granite dotted with dark grottos and no practicable means of ascent.

It was the shore of the Isle of Crespo; we had struck land!

It is, of course, Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, although I doubt there is any need to give the title.

The other two were The Great Gatsby and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. If I had started with Fitzgerald there would have been less to type.

Brian Sibley said...

LISAH - a second quote! And from another book I've not read -- mainly, of course, because I see everybody reading it on the tube and I stubbornly refuse to join the club... :-O

GOOD - Great stuff! How brilliant to call such a memorable character 'no one', but I do wonder what Monsieur Verne would think about having a animated fish named after his hero...

David Weeks said...

Doh! I've been tagged: by Mandy.
Page 123

"You'll notice that I prefer giving the cards a long leash. Actually, I use the ribbon so that you will know that neither I, nor my assistant, play any part in the experiment. It's all up to the cards." Addressing the spectator at the end of the ribbon, he says, "Hit steady."

The Conjuring Anthology by Jim Steinmeyer

Now to find the other five . . .

Eudora said...

May I ? This is a wonderful meme.

"Oh no, you have never tried it; it's awfully interesting," said Missy, laying, "it seemed to Nekhlyudov, a very affected stress on the word "awfully".

Then a discussion arose in wich Mikhail Sergeyevich, Katerina Alexeyevna, and all took part, except the governess, the student, and the children, who sat silent and wearied.

"Oh, these everlasting disputes!" said old Korchagin, laughing, and he pulled the napkind out of his waistcoat, noisily pushed back his chair (wichthe footman instantly caught hold of) and left the table.

Every body rose after him, and went up another table on wich, in bowls, stood glasses of warm scented water. They rinsed their mouths; then resumed the conversation, interesting to no one.

LEV TOLSTOI, Resurrection, (translated from the russian by Louise Maude), Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1953

This is one of the few books that I have in english, my father brought it in a suitcase plenty of books, from Russia. But some the books couldn`t pass the spanish frontier, I'm talking about the 60`s-70`s.

Brian Sibley said...

DAVID - Bad luck! But thanks for sharing a bit of magic that is totally inexplicable! Of course I realise that you couldn't risk getting thrown out of The Magic Circle for exposing methods... ;-) Still, Jim Steinmeyer is a brilliant deviser of magical effects, so I'll content myself with looking forward to seeing it demonstrated one day...

EUDORA - Thank you for adding Tolstoy to our reading list. The description: "They rinsed their mouths; then resumed the conversation, interesting to no one" is utterly devastating...

Brian Sibley said...

GILL writes...

"On the banks of the Euphrates find a secret garden cunningly walled. There is an entrance but the entrance is guarded. There is no way in for you, inside you will find every plant that grows growing circular-wise like a target. Close to the heart is a sundial and at the heart an orange tree. This fruit had tripped up athletes while others have healed their wounds. All true quests end in this garden, where the split fruit pours forth blood and the halved fruit is a full bowl for travellers and pilgrims."

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.

Sorry: 6 sentences; but, otherwise, incomplete!

Brian Sibley said...

GILL - Thanks. Winterton made so many astute observations on life; she is the Wise Woman of Our Age. I especially like: "Quest is at the heart of what I do - the holy grail, and the terror that you'll never find it, seemed a perfect metaphor for life."

And, short but true: "Naked is the best disguise."

LisaH said...

I think this should be voted Blog of the Year!

"For one thing he couldn't afford to allow her to run about the country telling all and sundry that she had had him trussed to a bed in a rubber nightdress and that he hadn't been man enough to take an injection. He was just consoling himself with the thought that Miss Hazelstone's circle of friends was pretty exclusive, when he remembered that among other assets like gold mines, the Hazelstones owned the local newspaper, whose editor had never shown any great regard for the police. Kommandant Van Heerden had no desire whatsover to provide copy for the Natal Chronicle and the thought of headlines like: 'The Tiny Prick. Kommandant in Rubber Nightie says 'No to Needle' made his blood run cold.

He gave orders that road blocks be set up on all roads leading out of Piemburg and that the homes of all Miss Hazelstone's friends were to be raided.

Not for the prudish, but Tom Sharpe's Riotous Assembly was a superb send-up of apartheid and the Afrikaaner mindset.

Brian Sibley said...

LISAH - "More?" As Mr Bumble asked?

What a rich and varied library we've built between us!

James said...

I wasn't sure how to transcribe the first four sentences of this book's p123, so how about the first four BARS?

This moment is like a brief shout of praise during the last movement of Beethoven's 6th Symphony - 'Pastoral Song – Feelings of joy and gratitude after the Storm.'

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks, James... I know the piece well, and also love it... Here's the quick route to Beethoven's p. 123.