Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Meme

My friend Thomma tagged me for a book meme. I remember this one going around a year or two ago, but nothing wrong with playing again.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.

2. Open it to page 123.

3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.

4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

Here at my desk in my study, the nearest book happens to be in the bookcase reserved for my antique books. The one nearest to hand, which I could grab from my chair if the book weren’t so delicate, is the following:

Our First Century:
Being a Popular Descriptive Portraiture
of the
One Hundred Great and Memorable Events of Perpetual Interest
in the
History of Our Country,
Political, Military, Mechanical, Social, Scientific and Commercial:
Embracing Also Delineations of All the Great Historic Characters
Celebrated in the Annals of the Republic;
Men of Heroism, Statesmanship, Genius, Oratory, Adventure and Philanthropy.

Whew! Those Victorians loved long titles, didn’t they?

This book is by R.M. Devens. Publication Date: 1876.

I found this book in the attic of my great-aunt’s barn on Cape Cod when I was visiting my grandmother the summer I was seventeen. My great-aunt sold antiques out of the barn of her Federal-era home. What was in the attic was mostly junk, but I had never been exploring up there on any of my other visits and my cousin Julie from Quincy was game, so off we went. I acquired an early edition of Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith from the same place, as well as a player-piano scroll which is now missing.

Anyway, here is what I found on page 123. Sadly, it’s part of a rather dull little speech by John Adams, himself a rather dull little man. This is from Chapter VIII: Appointment of the First Minister Plenipotentiary, from the New Republic to the English Court— 1785.

“Sire: The United States have appointed me minister plenipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to deliver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence of it.”

The book has two columns per page, which is why five lines in the book came out to three on the blog. Wherever I’ve copied titles and quotes from the book, I’ve kept the original punctuation, in case anyone is wondering.

Considering that this book also has chapters on sea monsters and a "wonderful dark day" when the sun supposedly never came up, I was very disappointed in the results of this meme. We need to change the page number the next time this one makes the rounds!

Since this meme seems to be spreading rapidly among the blogs on my list, I’m going to leave this tag open-ended. If you haven’t played yet, you’re it!


Anonymous said...

ACK! What a title! :-D That absolutely cracked me up, and I was compelled to read it out lout to my husband. :)

Great answer -- aren't antique books simply marvelous? :)

And I agree, the sea monsters or the day the sun never came up would have been more interesting than John Adams, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh... my! That title alone tired me out, just reading it. Must go take a catnap now.

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn!

WriterKat said...

Wow! You need to find a good trashy pick me up. These books make one think too much. "plenipotentiary" - I have to look that one up. :-)

My nearest book is Deathly Hallows. I'm a Harry freak.

ChristineEldin said...

Ooooo, I'm curious about the letter being delivered to his majesty!

Sounds like a fun book to have decorating a book case.

Michael said...

Really! The title was longer than the excerpt. Funny...

Well, I'm going to move on so I can read some wonderful flash fiction!

Alice Audrey said...

THAT was the book sitting closest to you? I'm glad you explained about the barn and all. The one closest to me right now is Into the Flame by Christina Dodd.