Book Meme

This particular meme, via Eve Tushnet, seems irresistible for the bookish.

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.

OK: as usual I am reading about eight books but the nearest physically is John Ure’s In Search of Nomads.

“The one thing he did not attempt was to follow the Bedouin practice of riding a camel perched on the saddle in a kneeling position; unsteadiness and the prospect of a cramp made this an impossible feat for a European, particularly if he might need to shoot at game while on the move. Possibly more than any European traveller with the Bedouin, ——– became absorbed in their ways and by his writings acted as an interpreter between them and the Western world.

“He entitled his book of photographs about travel in Arabia, Morocco, Afghanistan, and elsewhere Visions of a Nomad, and it was this aspect of travel that most firmly gripped him.”

Who was this traveler?

I tag Pluvi , Doc H, Peculiar, Chas, and Heidi.

My co- bloggers and everybody else are cordially encouraged– I don’t think you are supposed to tag yr. partners.


  1. “This has meant,” said my husband as we wandered through the impeded city, “infinite suffering to a lot of people,” and it is true. Because of it many old men have said to their sons, “We are ruined,” many lawyers have said to widows, “I am afraid there will be nothing, nothing at all.” All this suffering is due, to a large part, to English inefficiency.

    Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

  2. “Or so one would think. The young men trained the bird to hunt out of a Volksvagen Beetle with one person driving and Ernesto sitting ready to launch the hawk, spearlike, out the open window at startled flocks of great tailed grackles. It was a long way from the medieval sport of chivalry but the roadside hawk learned to excel at this bizarre style of hunting.”

    great fun,,followed the rules to the letter,,Maggie

  3. Strangely, this one kind of goes with Pluvi’s. It’s from the nearest book (slightly nearer than “The Time Almanac for Kids 2008,” Thank God!). Title is “Models for Teaching Writing” by Kolin. This, evidently, is a model:

    “2. Mix the propane vapor with air to form a combustible micture.
    3. Burn the resulting mixture to form a directional flow of very hot gases which enter the open throat of the envelope.

    The burner consists of a cylindrical ‘can,’ open at both ends, the upper section of which is encircled by a coil of fuel line tubing.”

  4. “I reached down and took it from her to dispatch it quickly and add it to my already awesome burden. I felt for its hind legs, but my God there was no powder-puff scut but a long scaly tail. Fly had retrieved a live rat.”

    It is probably not hard to think where this came from.

    W Hingley

  5. It was either this or something less spellbinding…

    “At temperatures in the kyanite stability field (point I, fig 1a), local equilibrium will keep the activities of aluminum and potassium in the rock at the stable invariant point where the minerals kyanite + muscovite + quartz + water coexist. This invariant point is….”

    Can’t bring myself to type out anymore of this. From Fluid-Mineral Interactions: A Tribute to H.P. Eugster, The Geochemical Society, 1990.

  6. I changed the rules ever so slightly by tagging no one but doing five books over at Flyover Country. Mixed results, but fortunately there’s a dearth of technical manuals at my house. : )

  7. Matt’s right, it was Veracruz, from Scott Weidensaul’s Living on the Wind; Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds.

    All of these are fascinating,,what people have within reach,,!

    lets see if I can type in these letters correctly now,,,,


  8. OK, here it is, ellipses as in the original:

    Osbert Sitwell was well acquainted with the story. He says that the deserters included French, Italians, Germans, Austrians, Australians, Englishmen, and Canadians; they lived “–at least they lived — in caves and grottoes under certain parts of the front line…They would issue forth, it was said, from their secret lairs, after each of the interminable checkmate battles, to rob the dying of their few possessions…”

    Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory

  9. Here’s mine.

    I just had an idea for a slightly random extended version of the meme:

    Pick the first noun in the second sentence of the passage you have produced from the first book, and use that as a search term in Google Books. Pick the third search result, and repeat the first meme with the online book.

  10. If you do the Google books meme, use Advanced Search and check the “Full View” option (otherwise you may not be able to see page 123).

    I tried it, but my word was ‘parking’, which produced some exceptionally dull results.

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