Wednesday, April 23, 2008


{Photo by rocketlass.}

Having months ago created, with rocketlass's help, a LOL President, with this post I descend through one more circle of Internet citizenship: I've been tagged!

Ed at the Dizzies has given me the following task:
1 Pick up the nearest book.
2 Open to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
5 Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.
At the moment I was tagged, I was equidistant from two books. Anthony Powell's John Aubrey and His Friends (1948) is nearest to me vertically, being on top of John Aubrey's Miscellanies Upon Various Subjects (1696), which achieves the tie by being wider, and thus closer horizontally. So let's do both!

From page 123 of John Aubrey and His Friends
Edward Adye's answer, given 29 April, 1669, was that, having need of money, he had borrowed from Joan Sumner the amounts named. He had, however, paid them back with interest "long since." He had heard the story of Aubrey's engagement to marry Joan. A Further stage of the case was that, on 7 February, 1670, there was an Order in the Chancery that an injunction be issued to stop the proceedings at law of John Aubrey against Joan Sumner until he had answered the plea put in by her.
Graham Greene, when he was the managing director of Eyre & Spottiswode, Powell's publisher, called John Aubrey and His Friends "bloody boring," thus opening a "white-hot row" with Powell. It must be admitted that that passage does support Greene's position--though the lively interest of Powell's introduction to the book allows me to continue to expect that he'll be proved wrong. I'll let you know soon.

And here's what I found on page 123 of Miscellanies
They had been also instructed by their governesses how to behave themselves toward Cyrus, to gain his favour; not to turn away when he came to them, not to be coy when he touched them, to permit him to kiss them, and many other amatory instructions practised by women who expose their beauty to sale. Each contended to out-vie the other in handsomeness. Only Aspasia would not endure to be clothed with a rich robe, nor to put on a various coloured vest, nor to be washed; but calling upon the Grecian and Eleutherian gods, she cried out upon her father's name, execrating herself to her father. She thought the robe which she should put on was a manifest sign of bondage.
That selection really doesn't do the goofy fun of Aubrey's grab-bag justice. I think he deserves another randomly selected passage:
Arise Evans had a fungous nose, and said, it was revealed to him, that the King's hand would cure him, and at the first coming of King Charles II, into St. James's Park, he kissed the King's hand, and rubbed his nose with it; which disturbed the King, but cured him. Mr. Ashmole told it me.
That's much more pleasantly Aubreyan.

Finally, for the tagging! Bob the librarian--who knows what was just dropped on his desk? Sarah! Jim! Joe! Aaron! All your base, as we LOL-cat-making, meme-conveying Internet citizens like to say, are belong to me!


  1. While it's true that there are some interesting work-related books on my librarian desk at the office, I keep my home bedroom desk somewhat neater, being a minimalist at heart. The nearest books from here are in my living room on my To Read pile, which is on the end table beside my rocking chair in front of my book shelves. 3 of the 8 books on my pile are Christmas gifts you've given me: the first volume of A Dance to the Music of Time (I've conquered the first 2 novels therein, but finding it more often maddening than pleasurable, I've set it down for now), a big (HUGE!) book of hardboiled detective fiction from the Black Mask era (which I dip into now and then), and, physically closest to me, The Aeneid of Virgil, in translation by Robert Fagles. It's really been at the top of my pleasure reading list for quite some time - ever since I finished volume I of Popeye and volume VIII of The Complete Peanuts - but you know I'm a much slower reader than you, and I so often spend my reading time reading for work, or playing video games, or reading for book club. As you know, I'll be reading Anna Karenina for the foreseeable future, when I'm not reading [the next selection for One Book, One Chicago, the title of which will be announced by the mayor in October 2008), but just for tonight, I will read a portion of pg. 123 of The Aenid.